Jesuit’s 2012-13 state championship basketball team remains an immortal team

TAMPA — Evolution has served these state champions well.

The 2012-13 Jesuit High School basketball team, arguably the greatest boys team in the region, now consists of accountants and lawyers, project managers and even a professional athlete. One is married and the other two are engaged.

But a decade ago, they were a disarmed bunch, with the inherent traits of their age group: big, unkempt, unflappable.

Overall, a juggernaut.

“They were fantastic,” said longtime Robinson High coach Steve Smith, whose teams lost to that club twice. “I mean, they’ve got everything you want in a championship team. Every game we’ve played against them, we’ve tried to stop someone, but the other guy will step up to the challenge.”

On Monday night, 12 of the team’s 13 players — along with the manager and coaching staff — reunited on campus to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a mostly flawless season. The Tigers, which started five seniors, finished with a 31-1 run, giving coach Neil Goldman (still a Tigers coach) his first state in his 26th season. champion.

Members of the Jesuit High School's 2012-13 Class 5A state championship basketball team gathered at Tiger Stadium Monday night for the 10-year reunion.
Members of the Jesuit High School’s 2012-13 Class 5A state championship basketball team gathered at Tiger Stadium Monday night for the 10-year reunion. [ JOEY KNIGHT | Times ]

“Our seniors want to do it for Coach Goldman,” said Travis Johnson, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound frontcourt player who signed with Cincinnati on a football scholarship. “That’s the main thing and we’re sticking to that.”

Their formula stems directly from the “Indians” playbook: The Tigers are experienced, balanced, skilled and unselfish. Their soundtrack is equally old-fashioned: Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” blares from the PA system at every home game, and the raucous student section — Blue Tide — sings in unison.

Four players averaged in double figures, but none averaged more than 16 points per game. As a team, the Tigers shot 44 percent (210 of 479) from beyond the arc. Their only loss — by three points — was a loss to a private school in California in the Maryland State Tournament.

Thirty of their victories are in double digits. None of those romps were more satisfying than Lake Wales’ embarrassing 97-72 in the regional finals. The year before, in the same playoff round, the Highlanders ended the Jesuits’ season with a 41-point loss.

“That’s probably the game I’ve seen us play the most because we wanted revenge,” said 6-foot-4 guard Devin Harris, who is still playing professionally overseas. “It’s probably the most serious I’ve ever seen.”

The championship game that followed was pretty much a formality. After narrowly beating Jacksonville Bishop Kenny by five points in the semifinals, the Tigers scored 42 of the game’s final 62 points, emboldened by about 500 Blue Tide members. 79-58 Plantation American Heritage Rodeo in Lakeland Center.

“If you think the stands are empty, it’s a different experience,” said shooting guard Joey Galvez, who was named tournament MVP after totaling 32 points and eight steals in two games. “Also, a lot of people who sat in the front row … are still our best friends.”

With the win, the Tigers clinched their first state title since 1984 and earned their place in local legend.

Not to mention a season worth celebrating every decade or so.

2012-13 Jesuit Basketball Team

Jesuit head coach Neil Goldman speaks with an official during the Class 5A state championship game.
Jesuit head coach Neil Goldman speaks with an official during the Class 5A state championship game. [ Times (2013) ]

coach: Neil Goldman, Joe Sansonetti, Paolo Sansonetti, Andrew Luthor

PG Stephen Adamchuk Jr.

College: FSU

Lives in: Tampa

Occupation: Employed by Merrill Lynch

PG Akin Adejunmobi, Jr.

University: UCF (studied at Florida School of International Law)

Current residence: Miami

Occupation: Trademark Examiner, USPTO

G Daniel Duster, So.

College: Rhodes College (Memphis)

Lives in: Tampa

Occupation: Accountant

Small Forward Brent Fenlon

College: USF

Lives in: Tampa

Occupation: working in sales

Jesuit guard Jack Fleming bypasses heritage guard Justin Massey during the state final.
Jesuit guard Jack Fleming bypasses heritage guard Justin Massey during the state final. [ Times (2013) ]

SG Jack Fleming, Senior

College: Colgate/Rollins

Lives in: Tampa

Occupation: Project Manager for General Contractors

SG Joey Galvis, senior

College: Rollins

Current residence: New York City

Occupation: Commercial real estate broker

The Tigers won 46-41 in the Class 5A state semifinals, with Jesuit's Devon Harris overtaking Jacksonville Bishop Kenny's Christian Carlisle.
The Tigers won 46-41 in the Class 5A state semifinals, with Jesuit’s Devon Harris overtaking Jacksonville Bishop Kenny’s Christian Carlisle. [ Times (2013) ]

PG/SF Devin Harris, senior

College: East Tennessee/Jacksonville

Current residence: Most recently in Nicaragua

Occupation: Professional Basketball (Overseas)

SF Chad Holtz, So.

Faculty: Notre Dame

Lives now: Winter Park

Occupation: Works for a telehealth company in Orlando

power forward travis johnson

College: Cincinnati

Lives in: Tampa

Occupation: Employed in a developmental disability care facility in Largo

Jesuit forward Travis Johnson scores a layup during the Tigers' win over Jacksonville Bishop Kenny in the state semifinals.
Jesuit forward Travis Johnson scores a layup during the Tigers’ win over Jacksonville Bishop Kenny in the state semifinals. [ Times (2013) ]

SG Kyle Sahlsten, Jr.

College: Florida

Lives in: Tampa

Occupation: Hotel investment sales for a commercial real estate company

PG JJ Weir, Senior

College: Rhodes College (Memphis)

Lives in: Tampa

Occupation: Senior project accountant for a commercial real estate developer in Tampa

SF Parkyant, senior

College: North Carolina State

Lives in: Tampa

Occupation: Completed medical school at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans

(Power forward Isaiah Omoregie, a sprawling junior and key low-post backup, was the only member of the team not part of the reunion.)

worth taking note of

Jesuit High School alumni, from left, Akin Adejunmobi, JJ Weir, Joey Galvis and Chad Holtz hang out in their old locker room before the Tigers' 2012-13 class 5A state champion reunion for 10 years.
Jesuit High School alumni, from left, Akin Adejunmobi, JJ Weir, Joey Galvis and Chad Holtz hang out in their old locker room before the Tigers’ 2012-13 class 5A state champion reunion for 10 years. [ JOEY KNIGHT | Times ]

• Adamchak has probably been the closest to anyone’s program; he serves as the Tigers’ junior varsity assistant.

• Johnson, one of the best two-sport Jesuit players of his generation, signed with Cincinnati on a football scholarship but returned home for family reasons shortly thereafter.

• Harris has played professionally in Finland, Germany, Vietnam, Nicaragua and Colombia.

• The Tigers won the state title on Fenlon’s 17th birthday (March 2). He is also currently the only team member who is married.

• Holtz is the son of former USF football coach Skip Holtz and grandson of College Football Hall of Fame coach Lou Holtz (who played in several Tigers games).

• Darst and Weir (Rhodes) and Galvis and Fleming (Rollins) are also college teammates. As seniors, Galvez and Fleming helped Rollins reach the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in 2016-17.