Saturday, May 27, 2017

Playing For That Scholarship--Join Us

Like any first-year prep program, things unfolded here at Conrad rather rapidly. A barrage of student-athletes from all over the world arrived in Central Florida looking to expand their games, refine elements of their overall basketball package, and propel themselves through a daunting/demanding schedule that would enable them to focus on academics and basketball in a full throttle fashion. With a group from Australia and a group from France, along with a veritable “who’s who” of heavily recruited players on our national team, the gelling process steadily took place.
 Beyond all the arduous and endless weight room work under beast masquerading as a man coach Brad Traina and beyond speed and agility classes up the road from our TCA headquarters, we noticed our student-athletes were beginning to buy in.
 From open gyms, the first of which saw Louisville boss Rick Pitino and Florida assistant Dusty May in attendance, to tournaments in Panama City and Clearwater Beach, a brotherhood was born.
Conrad Academy soon had the feel of a legitimate program and considerable contender for the ever-competitive SIAA in 2017.
Boasting three 7-footers and wealth of talented, multi-layered guards, we soon developed a feel for the team concept. Tight bonds were formed. 6AM practices became a necessity. Road trips and pick-up games at nearby University of Central Florida’s outdoor facility became weekly activities for a devoted group, which seemed hell-bent on winning and prolonging their progress at the collegiate level.

There are countless memories which emanate from the 2016-17 campaign. There is Austin Wiley (who later signed with Auburn) scoring 25 points, tearing down 15 rebounds, and blocking five shots during our tournament in Charlotte.

There is Luguentz Dort, one of the nation’s most under-rated and beastly prospects in the Class of 2017, flushing an extravagant one-handed dunk during that same tournament in Charlotte. There is Dort’s 36-point performance against reputable 22 Feet Academy (S.C.) during an event in Kentucky, one which catapulted his recruiting stock to the mountaintops of the world’s unsigned recruits. There is Malcolm Farrington’s deep corner 3-pointers which fended off a tough (eventual SIAA state champion) Oldsmar team during the season-opening tournament. There is Aristide Boya dunking everything he sees, scoring 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting during a league win over Potter’s House.
Post-graduate has more than its fair share of memories. There is the Niko Oliver’s wild 28-point performance at the prestigious Montverde tournament, with the Oak Ridge product seizing the hot hand and refusing to relinquish it.
There is Thomas Fortier’s 26-point performance against Faith Baptist, when he displayed a knack for scoring the rock from all three levels—at the rim, 18-feet, and beyond the arc. Other memories that emerge is the quiet grit of 5-foot-10 guard Adam Starks, a scoring cyborg and veritable game-changer under coach Nik Cicic’s team.
Starks was a veritable one-man machine during a win against Game on the Rise, decimating the defense with deep left-handed treys and constant forays to the rim. For coach Ryan Rodriguez’ team, the idea of being the unwanted underdog has special resonance. Everyone envisioned this team would take a back seat to the elite prep team and others.
That’s not how Karn Goraya saw it.

Goraya, a bullish and well-built 6-foot-3 guard, broke open several games with deadeye shooting and timely trifectas. The Nevada native played with a chip on his shoulder, refusing to whittle under higher-ranked opponents and foes with lofty expectations and all Division-1 lineups. Goraya’s flair for the dramatic was notable against Champions Academy of Fort Lauderdale, FL.

After heating up with a pair of corner treys, Conrad came roaring back from a 19-point deficit to knot it all up. Goraya drilled the tie-breaking 3-pointer to send the game into overtime. In the extra session, the guard play of TJ Giddens and surprise, surprise—Goraya helped TCA preserve the victory. Giddens and Goraya bagged a corner and straightaway 3-pointer, respectively, to solidify a dramatic come from behind victory.
With all of these memories still fresh, we would like to maximize our coverage of the season by providing a “yearbook.” In this TCA ‘yearbook,’ we will profile each player and analyze their statistics, strengths, and future NCAA destinations. This will not only enable them to have a database in our system, it will help those unsigned recruits garner exposure and earn scholarships at the Division-1 level and beyond.

 We are going to be instrumental in helping them find the right college fit and take several of our remaining recruits into showcase games  Since this work requires a great deal of time and focus and resources such as recorders, on-the-road travel, and tournament tees, we are seeking donations of any size. Please send a donation via paypal (, Walmart to Walmart, Western Union, Google Wallet and any other source which works best for you.