Record-setting freshman wants to stay on pace in conference play
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
The conversation that coach Mark White had with his incoming Tallahassee Community College freshmen basketball players was pretty straightforward – play well on defense and they’ll get carte blanche privileges when it comes to shooting the ball.
Perhaps no one has taken heed like Tre Todd, obvious by what he’s been doing on defensive rebounding and just defense in general. But what he’s done on offense is even more remarkable.
Playing in just 17 games on the college level, Todd has already rewritten three school records in one game.
“I had to get focused,” Todd said. “That’s all it really came down to. At the end of the day, you just have to keep putting up shots and if it’s going to fall it will fall.”
He ended the night with 42 points against the Red Devils, getting 27 of them from behind the arc for another school record. His total 30 field goal attempts also was another record.
The 42-point mark had stood the longest since Marvis “Bootsy” Thornton set it in 1997. He actually reached the 3-point milestone with a minute remaining in the game, surpassing Rashad Lewis’ eight set just a year earlier.
Todd’s final three-pointer was his last long-range attempt which gave him 23 tries to surpass another mark that was set in ’97 by Mike DeGruy, who had 17 tries from long distance.
But White insisted that the record might have eluded Todd if he wasn’t following through on defense.
“Tre just falls in line with that, trying to be a great defender and trying to play tough,” White said. “For that, he deserves to have the offensive freedom to take shots.”
Going into their Panhandle Conference opener Saturday at Pensacola, Todd knows that he will be a marked man. Understandably, he is approaching his first game in one of the nation’s toughest junior college conferences with confidence.
“I’ve been ready for this moment for a minute,” Todd said. “I’m ready to go out there and really prove what I can do on the court. I see it playing out pretty good. When I lock in to get focused, I’m known to get the ball up pretty good and knock down shots.”
While the Eagles have raced to a 16-1 non-conference record with a roster that includes nine freshmen, sophomore David Simmons said he is expecting the newcomers to continue showing the confidence they have so far. Their effort has helped establish a chemistry that they’ll need through the 12-game conference schedule, Simmons said.
“Just winning brings us together,” he said. “All of us are very, very competitive. We always want to win. We always want the best for each other and try to get the job done so all this competitiveness keeps us together.”