What lies ahead for the Raiders if they should win Tuesday will be a tough matchup with Montverde Academy, which is ranked No. 2 in the nation by USA Today.

Montverde has Florida-bound point guard Kasey Hill and 6-foot-8 Devin Williams, a West Virginia commit. Aquinas will counter with 6-6 senior and Central Florida commit Steve Haney.

Other top talent at the City of Palms includes Long Beach Poly (Calif.), with 6-5 senior Roschon Prince (USC) and 6-7 senior Jordan Bell (Oregon); and Memphis Southwind's 6-8 senior Johnathan Williams III (Missouri). Huntington Prep (W.Va.) has four starters committed to Division I schools.

Among local players in these two tournaments with eyes on a Division I future are 6-10 forward Malik Prince Martin (Northeast), 6-7 forward Jason Wilkinson (St. Thomas), 6-6 forward Justin Satchell (Pembroke Pines Charter) and 6-2 guard Ryan Anion (Cardinal Gibbons). Heritage has juniors Kobe Eubanks (6-5) and Drake LaMont (6-10).

The expansion of AAU teams and summer league play are reasons cited for the development of high school talent. The rise of Kenny Boynton Jr. (American Heritage and Florida) and Brandon Knight (Pine Crest, Kentucky and Detroit Pistons) helped put the microscope on South Florida.

"AAU has allowed the kids to play year-around," Strand said. "They get to play more games and with better high school coaches."

American Heritage coach Charles Stephenson sides with Strand's assessment.

"It has a lot to do with AAU and coaches haven gotten better," Stephenson said. "Every weekend there are tournaments in South Florida and that has helped the game."

Maybe South Florida will see the day such as in 1976 when three big-time centers went to Division I schools. There was 6-9 Al Beal (Deerfield Beach) to Oklahoma, 7-0 Rick Mattick (Northeast) to LSU and 6-11 Tom Schmalzried (Cardinal Gibbons) to Stanford.