St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
6A District 14
Head Coach: Julius Sandi
Last Season Record: 23-4 (According to maxpreps.com)
Drake Sandi (6’2/PG/’26)
Drake is a two-way player who is still young but will carry a huge load for the Raiders. He is a dynamic playmaker who knows how to set the table for his teammates and get them the rock in spots where they often have easy scoring opportunities. Drake can run the pick and roll and has great touch on his passes. He has excellent court awareness, a good feel, and a growing PG IQ. He will be the floor general who will be looked upon to provide on-court leadership despite his youth.
Ayden Ambrose (5’10/PG/’26)
Ayden is a PG for the Raiders who can step up and handle the ball-handling responsibilities. He is reliable and trustworthy and does a good job at orchestrating the offense. He brings scoring from the perimeter to the floor and will need to be efficient from the outside to keep defenses honest. He has a high IQ and a good feel for the game and will be depended on to be a stabilizing force.
Matt Andreopoulos (6’1/G/’24)
Matt is a senior guard who will bring on and off-court leadership. He impacts the game on both ends of the floor and brings toughness to the Raiders’ backcourt play. His presence will be key for the young guys, and Matt can be that piece of the puzzle that keeps the small things on the team running smoothly while the young guys are doing a heavy lift in the scoring column. Matt’s presence will be felt with his perimeter shooting, on-ball defense, and high-end decision-making in the open court.
When asked about two players who will be key pieces of the puzzle for his team this season that were not listed in the top three above, Coach Sandi quickly mentioned the following two players:
Keith Tirico (6’5/SF/’26) will play a significant role, bringing that extra effort defensively and rebounding to the Raiders. Look for Keith to be a high-energy and effort type player.
Zane Elliott (6’6/W/’26) will be a mismatch problem for many teams because of his ability to do it all. He is highly versatile and contributes to winning with ball-handling, passing, rebounding, and knocking down open shots.
Coach Sandi wants to hang his hat on defense, which will be his team’s identity all year. Offensively, with his caliber of guards, he will keep the floor spaced and the ball moving. He wants his guards to play with pace and look to get easy opportunities in transition and in their early offense.
When asked what it would take for his team to make a deep playoff run, make it to the Final Four, or even win the State Championship, Coach told me defending and rebounding because he feels he has enough scoring power to score with anyone.