By JACK LeGWINSpecial to ZAGSBLOGLAKELAND, Fla. — Lance Tejada has finally validated his decision.
Tejada, a junior point guard who transferred to Pompano Beach (Fla.) Blanche Ely from Miramar (Fla.), led the Tigers to another Florida 7A state by going for 24 points in a 71-52 win over Bartow and 9 points in a 58-50 win over Evans (Orlando). He hit some clutch free throws down the stretch in the 7A championship game against Evans on Saturday night.
He averaged 16.5 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds per game in the tournament.
“The reason why I decided to come to Ely, was that Coach (Melvin) Randall plays an up-tempo style, which I like,” he said. “I knew I’d have a chance to come back here, (to Lakeland), and win a state title as well.”
A 6-foot-1, 175-pound junior point guard with very good quickness, Tejada has fantastic touch on his passing and improving range on his jumper. He has fielded offers from Miami, Virginia, Central Florida, and South Florida, with interest coming from Tennessee, Marquette, Virginia Tech and Alabama .
He averaged 11.9 points, and 8.0 assists per game this year and has received comparisons to Miami point guard Shane Larkin.
“I hear that quite often to be completely honest with you. I do see that our games are similar, and I do watch him.” Tejada said.
He led a Tiger team with five Division-1 players, Dallas Cameron (American), Kahlil Thomas (Rider), Darrion Allen (unsigned), junior guard Richard Lee (offers from Florida, FSU, Kansas State, and Maryland), and sophomore big man Therrell Gosier (interest from Miami), to a 27-1 record. Their only loss came to St. John Bosco (CA) back in December at the Chick-Fil-A Classic in Columbia, S.C.
“My guards have really stepped up all year, but they did that today, especially with Lance having 24 points today,” Randall said after the win against Bartow.
Tejada knows that he still has to make some improvements.
“I feel like I could polish my game up a bit,” he said. “I need to improve the consistency on my jump shot over the summer, to have the confidence and the swagger, to knock it down every time. But if I work hard, I feel like I could do it. “
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.