The Lakeland Dreadnaughts Boys Basketball team are trying to make it to the state finals without ever having to leave the friendly confines of their beautiful city this season–and they’ve got a great chance to pack the Lakeland Center with black and orange at the end of next month if they keep going in the direction they’re currently headed. There are many team-related reasons the ‘Naughts are 13-1 on the season and rolling along–such as their size in both courts front-and-back, as well as their senior leadership at key positions on the floor. Lakeland entered the Christmas tournament season 5-0 ranked #2 in Class 7A behind rivals Bartow, and with six teams immediately behind them (Blanche Ely, Melbourne, Wharton, St. Petersburg, St. Thomas Aquinas and Sickles) all having big schedules over the break, it was much needed that they posted strong results in order to keep from sliding down the poll when it resurfaces sometime in early January–and strong results are what they posted indeed.
Enter senior combo guard Shaquan McArthur (6-4/185) into the equation. He’s not “new” to the program like his teammate in the backcourt Taye Green–who comes over from Kathleen for his senior season–but McArthur’s level of play this season could take Lakeland to new heights if the trend continues. McArthur is listed at #69 in Florida Hoops’ Top 100 for 2016 and is just a solid basketball prospect that plays under control with the ball in his hands, but is aggressive when attacking the rim and creating space with his dribble to get the shot off. He is a natural scorer and can hit from the perimeter, but is extremely adept at getting penetration creating midrange jump shots that are a higher percentage to make. McArthur’s a smart defender off the ball and has the ability with his length to shut down smaller guards with quick hands on the ball when on defense as well.
It was McArthur’s 30 points against Shaker Heights from Cleveland in the finals of the Nature Coast Tech Christmas Tournament that was the driving force behind the ‘Naughts being able to claim back-to-back titles in the tournament and with a very strong supporting cast around him–that’s not the only tournament that Lakeland is aiming to win this season. It won’t be easy, but coming off a sixteen point victory over Sickles this past weekend before heading into the teeth of their district schedule that will see them play six games against Bartow, Winter Haven and Kathleen in seventeen days–has put folks in these parts on notice–and that notice was written by Mr. McArthur.