Posted On: 11/21/18 11:52 AM

Preseason classics are underway and the regular season officially begins on November 26.

We will bring you previews on all nine classes in the state of Florida and the independent conferences.

ICYMI: 

The SIAA Preview

Class 1A Preview

Class 2A Preview

Class 3A Preview

Class 4A Preview

Class 5A Preview: Part 1Part 2

Class 6A Preview: Part 1, Part 2

Here is a look at Class 7A and a preview of districts 1-8.

2017-18 state champion: Doral

2017-18 state runner-up: Choctawhatchee

Class 7A-District 1 

2017-18 winner: Pensacola beat a Milton squad that went 8-19 on the year, but managed to get to the district title game. Both teams would end up falling in the regional quarterfinals by double-digit margins.

Teams to watch: Milton, Pensacola, Pine Forest, Booker T. Washington

Other teams in the district: Escambia, Pace

Predicted district champion: Booker T. Washington

– Booker T. Washington went a district-best 22-4 last season before being surprised by Milton with a one-point loss. Two of their best scorers have been lost to graduation, but something tells me that every single person on that roster, coaches included, will be on a revenge tour, this season. Look out for the younger ones to step up, and the new seniors to lead.

Written by Jerome Reed

Class 7A-District 2 

2017-18 winner: Choctawhatchee went 27-3 on the year and captured a district crown by beating Crestview by 12. The two would meet again in the regional semis, and Choctaw won again—this time by 15. They advanced to the state title game where they lost by five to Doral Academy.

Teams to watch: Choctawhatchee, Crestview

Other teams in the district: Fort Walton Beach

Predicted district champion: Crestview

– Crestview went 23-6 last year and has their top-three scorers from last year ready for their senior seasons. D’Marcus Purcell averaged 20 points a game last year, and should definitely make his case for one of the best players in the area, this season. Choctaw lost a lot of main guys to graduation. This is the time where Crestview should make a push.

Written by Jerome Reed

Class 7A-District 3 

2017-18 winner: Englewood notched a 24-5 record last year, beating St. Augustine by 15 in the district title game, along the way. Both teams would fall to Gainesville in the regional playoffs—St. Augustine by 38 in the quarters, Englewood 14 in the semis.

Teams to watch: Englewood, Nease, St. Augustine

Other teams in the district: Ed White, Middleburg

Predicted district champion: Englewood

– Englewood has lost some key players, but it’s hard to bet against the team that was the only one above .500 in their district, last year. Dale Green Jr. is now in his senior campaign, and led his team in assists with 5.6 per game, in 2017. He was also second in team scoring, averaging 10.4 PPG. If the supplemental pieces can rise up, and if Dale can become more of a leader, they’ll be tough to dethrone.

Written by Jerome Reed

Class 7A-District 4 

2017-18 winner: Gainesville went 24-6, a perfect 8-0 in their district, and beat Columbia by 30 to win the district championship. While Columbia lost by just six points in the regional quarters to Englewood, Gainesville lost a regional final heartbreaker to Choctaw, 54-52, on their home floor.

Teams to watch: Forest, Gainesville, Columbia, Vanguard

Other teams in the district: Lake Weir

Predicted district champion: Vanguard

– Vanguard is going to shock some people, this year. While G J’len Wilson will be a force for Gainesville, they have lost some of their core—as well as one of their bigs in Jeremiah Tisme to Wildwood. Vanguard was young, last year. With a revitalized coaching staff, another year of chemistry under their belt, and dynamic Dantwan Grimes leading the charge at guard don’t be surprised if they make their run.

Written by Jerome Reed

Class 7A-District 5

2017-18 winner: Deltona (20-8) edged Mainland 59-56 in the district championship. But it was Mainland who made a run, beating Auburndale, Lake Gibson and then falling to Hillsborough 53-49 in a back and forth region final.

Teams to watch: Mainland, Atlantic, Deltona, Father Lopez

Other teams in the district: Seabreeze, New Smyrna Beach, Pine Ridge

Predicted district champion: Mainland

– This is a very deep district. I see Mainland pulling away behind 2019 6’3″ guard Rodney Rhoden (Long Beach State signee), 2019 6’8″ forward Johnny Brown, 2020 5’10” guard Jordan Sears and 2020 5’9″ guard Taron Keith. Atlantic will be a tough competitor with the 2019 trio of guard Deandre Harvey,  forward Dewarren Bolden and guard Kenny Weatherspoon. Deltona has 2019 guards Marlon Bradley and Evan Busby. Father Lopez will feature 2019 guard AJ Jackson.

Written by Jake Perper

Class 7A-District 6

2017-18 winner: Auburndale (22-7) took down Lake Gibson 68-44 in the district championship before losing to Mainland in the region quarterfinal.

Teams to watch: Auburndale, Lake Gibson

Other teams in the district: Lake Region, South Lake

Predicted district champion: Auburndale

-Auburndale is a different looking squad, but the Bloodhounds have endless size and speed with 2019 forward Isaiah Turner (FIU, Little Rock, FGCU and Georgia Tech offers), 2019 6’6″ forward Raheem Empty and 2019 6’6″ forward Nathan Beymer. 2020 5’10” guard Dorian Allen is as scrappy as they come. Lake Gibson has speedy guards 2019 Malique Calixte and 2020 Malachi McNealy.

Written by Jake Perper

Class 7A-District 7

2017-18 winner: Hillsborough (25-6) beat King in the district final 80-54 and advanced to the state semifinal to Choctawhatchee 88-52. 

Teams to watch: Hillsborough, Armwood, Chamberlain, Blake

Other teams in the district: King, Brandon

Predicted district champion: Hillsborough

– Hillsborough made a tough run to the state tournament beating Land O’ Lakes, Springstead and Mainland along the way before falling to state runner-up Choctawhatchee. The Terriers return 2019 guard Christian DeLeon (11.9 PPG), 2020 forward Tyriq James (10.4 PPG), Warren Mclymont (9.8 PPG) and Michael Austin (5.1 PPG). 2019 forward Qadiir Wajd and 2021 guard Jaylen Harris are also players to watch. This is a very team oriented squad who get athletes to buy in and play unselfish ball.

Written by Jake Perper

Class 7A-District 8

2017-18 winner: Springstead eeked out a 68-67 win over Land O’ Lakes in the district championship. The Eagles beat King before losing to Hillsborough 61-46 in the region semifinal.

Teams to watch: Land O’ Lakes, Springstead

Other teams in the district: Mitchell, Sunlake

Predicted district champion: Springstead

-I expect this district to come down to Springstead and Land O’ Lakes once again. The Eagles should find themselves on top behind the Torain brothers, Sincere, a 2019 6’1″ guard (15.8 PPG) and 2021 6’4″ guard/forward Unique. Land O’ Lakes has a pair of 2020 guards in 6’0″ guard Mekhi Perry (17.0 PPG) and 6’3″ guard Chase Farmer (15.2 PPG)

A predicted state champion will be announced in Part 2