USC-bound Class of 2018 point guard Elijah Weaver has transferred from reigning SIAA-FL state champion Oldsmar Christian to Rockledge HS.
In returning to his home roots, the smooth left-handed Weaver has altered the landscape of the conference.
Weaver’s illustrious career at Oldsmar, where he evolved into one of the country’s most heavily pursued recruits, hit its pinnacle in 2017.
He guided the program to a wowing upset of The Rock School (Gainesville, Fla.) to the state title, overcoming a monstrous 1-2 punch of Jamari Wheeler (Penn State) and LSU-commit Darius Days.
Prospering in the one on one game and eluding defenders with his handle and versatile scoring aptitude, Weaver averaged 18 points, 6.2 assists and 4.5 boards last season.
He shot a scalding 52 percent from the floor. The bullish Weaver recently chose USC over Ohio State, Florida, Oklahoma State, and myriad others.
With a 6-foot-10 wingspan and an IQ well beyond his years, Weaver shot less and created more in navigating Florida’s state tournament pressure cooker.
“There were some games in the beginning of the year where (Weaver) had to score 30-plus points,” said John Bianchi, who won a state championship at Oldsmar before recently accepting a coaching position at Superior Collegiate Academy in Clearwater.
“The final 13 games, he didn’t always have to be our leading scorer. He’s the type of kid who can go for 14 points, eight assists, and five boards. We were balanced and it took the pressure off him.”
Partly due to the SIAA’s rather lenient transfer rules and partly due to the unprecedented campus-to-campus transfer rate in 2017, the conference has witnessed plenty of jumping pieces lately.
Right before the season, the aforementioned 6-foot-8 forward Darius Days transferred from The Rock to IMG Academy.
Immediately after Bianchi’s departure, Oldsmar bought back a familiar face in Alex Arias.
An assistant under Bianchi at Oldsmar (before spending a year at West Oaks Academy in Orlando), Arias returns to his alma mater with lofty expectations.
Arias helped the program garner national visibility when he brought in LJ Figueroa, a high-scoring 6-foot-5 guard who rapidly evolved into one of the country’s most sought after prospects.
Arias has also made coaching high-level hoops a 12-month commitment of highest order, as he additionally coaches the Dominican national team.
Weaver’s departure is 100 percent amicable.
Arias has long had a tight bond with Weaver, having been instrumental in pushing his development on the AAU scene.
Meanwhile, after Weaver announced he was transferring, Oldsmar picked up a major acquisition in Tampa Bay Tech transfer Tyrese Williams.
Oldsmar boasts in the vicinity of nine Division-I players on its roster.
While the loss of Weaver saps some star power out of the lineup, the team has backcourt depth with mid-major prospect DJ Mitchell. A 6-foot-5 combo guard, Mitchell averaged 21 PPG before enduring a season-ending injury last year.
Programs such as Rhode Island and Cleveland State are currently in pursuit. Akiel Shakoor, a rugged 6-foot guard and two-way threat, brings a wealth of veteran experience.
Beyond Mitchell, Oldsmar has significant role players in IPFW-commit Tionne Rollins, Braxton Bartlett, and Jose Romero.
The vaunted frontcourt features South Florida-bound 6-foot-11 senior Michael Durr, who brings a wealth of experience and multi-dimensional qualities.
Arias envisions a sleeper caliber recruit in Marcus Hopkins, a 6-foot-11 prospect out of Oakland. San Jose State and Alabama A & M have each heaped scholarship offers on the raw and evolving Hopkins.
While the SIAA no longer has high-end recruits such as Weaver and Days, the power in numbers keeps the conference’s hyper-competitive spirit far from dampened.