Imagine Prep Freshman Named to CAA D-III Squad
By Daniel Dullum
JT Broady, Imagine Prep-Superstition assistant coach and father of the Panthers’ Tavares Broady, told a story about an early glimpse of his son’s work ethic.
“He was probably about 6 years old,” JT recalled. “We were in our apartment complex and one day we lost track of him. We went out to the park, he wasn’t there. Then somebody said, ‘Check out over at the basketball courts.’
“We found him at the basketball court and he was drenched in sweat! So this entire time, he was just out there working, working, working on his shot. I can’t believe how much patience he has had in himself in understanding that it takes hard work to get to where you want to go.
“He has put in the time and the hard work to get this recognition as a freshman.”
When the CAA announced the Division III All-State boys basketball selections on March 12, Tavares Broady was the only freshman listed.
“You know what? I don’t think he even knows about this yet!” JT Broady said. “It’s going to be a huge surprise, and I know he’s going to be very happy! I know he’ll be very ecstatic and ready, not only to come back next year, but to challenge himself to make that step again.”
Voters took note of the 6-foot-3 guard’s freshman season – 344 points (22.9 per game), .511 3-point percentage (45 of 88), 2.9 assists and 8.7 rebounds per game.
“I’m happy, and I’m proud of him,” Panthers Coach Travis Gordon said. “He works hard year-round, and all that hard work paid dividends.
“As a freshman coming in with expectations, he met those expectations, and this is just a reflection of his hard work, coming out there and balling every night.”
Gordon pointed out that Tavares clearly wasn’t playing like a freshman by season’s end, as evidenced by his 48-point performance on Feb. 2 against IP-Surprise, which included 10 3-pointers.
“You know what they say, after a certain amount of games, you take that freshman label off of him,” Gordon said. “You’ve got so much game experience, now it’s a matter of using that basketball I.Q. and seeing what you learned from those early season mistakes.
“Var never really shrunk away from a situation, he was always ready to go. To see our progress from the first shootout tournament we had to the championship game, you could tell those guys were just learning from their mistakes and getting better as the season progressed.”
Gordon said Tavares is the kind of player who will take this recognition and use it as incentive to continue improving.
“That type of reward can boost your confidence, and being as young as he is, he can take his game up to another level, and take everyone else’s game up around him,” Gordon said.
Despite reaching the Division III championship game, Tavares Broady is the only Panther selected to either the All-State team or honorable mention.
“I thought we might get one more, but we’re just fortunate to have one, and that puts us on the map,” Gordon said. “If we keep working hard, maybe we’ll get two next year.”
After the Panthers lost the D-III title game to Phoenix Skyline Prep on Feb. 22, JT Broady said Tavares told him “he definitely wants to get back to that championship game. He said, ‘Dad, we’re going to win it next year.’”
Photo above: Imagine Prep-Superstition freshman Tavares Broady (22) was the only Panther selected to the CAA Division III All-State boys basketball team. (Photo by Daniel Dullum)