Denis Clemente joined Calusa, a 1A school in Miami, last season after moving to the United States from Puerto Rico. As a junior he led the state in scoring averaging 33.5 points per game. This season Clemente has led Calusa to a 7-1 record averaging 28.6 points per game this season. He has shown great speed and quickness on the court while finding his shot.
"The season has been pretty good," Clemente said. "We have only lost one game and we are playing pretty well."
Last weekend he was the leading scorer of the 2nd Annual Zoned Out Shootout averaging 30.0 points per game in three games. Calusa finished fifth place in the eight-team tournament winning their last two games after dropping the tournament opener 94-84 to eventual tournament champion North Miami Beach.
"I played pretty good against North Miami Beach," Clemente said. "I had 31 points, but I'm not doing it alone. We have had some guys play well like Rodriguez.
Jonathan Rodriguez, a 6-foot-5 junior forward, has consistently been in double figures this season providing Calusa with a threat in the low post. Rodriguez joined Calusa this year after moving to Miami from Puerto Rico also. This summer he will play his AAU ball with the Miami Tropics--the same team Clemente played for.
"He has had a good season," Clemente said. "We help each other a lot. He has been good inside and we play well together."
Earlier this season Clemente and his teammates faced Miami-signee 6-foot-6 guard Brian Asbury and his South Miami Cobras squad. South Miami is a 6A school and was the preseason number one-ranked team in class 6A. Calusa defeated South Miami 74-62 and Clemente scored a season-high 41 points. Asbury finished the game with 22 points.
"They had two top players with Asbury and Abdul Herrera," Clemente said. "They had a real big team with guys 6-7, 6-10. It was a fun game against Brian. We played well that game."
"I need to keep working on my defense," Clemente said. "The ACC is a tough conference and it is important to work on my defense to be ready next year."
Calusa begins play in the adidas Kingdom of the Sun National Classic in Ocala, Florida on Monday, December 27. The 16-team tournament began in 1974. This year's tournament will feature 10 Florida schools, two from Georgia, and teams from Ohio, Rhode Island, Kentucky, and New Jersey.
Calusa opens up against LaSalle (Cincinnati, OH) at 3:30 pm. Their next game is on Tuesday and if they win they play at 3:30 pm, if they lose they play at 9:00 am.
Earlier this month Clemente and his teammates found out that they would not be able to participate in the state tournament this season because Calusa failed to field a men's sport in the fall season. Last year they had cross country, but they were unable to put together a cross country team this season.
"The team is taking it okay," Clemente said. "It is disappointing, but we still have a lot of our season left."
When Clemente does not have a game or practice he has been attending a number of the Hurricanes games. He has a close relationship with Miami guard Guillermo Diaz.
"They have played well this year," Clemente said. "They have been winning lately and their guards are playing well together."
Christopher Stock is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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