Content to ride shotgun last season, Pines Charter 6-5 star swingman Haanif Cheatham has put up triple-double box scores worthy of Aloe Blacc’s hit “The Man” being played as his pregame introduction.
Much like “The Man”, Cheatham, a ESPN four-star prospect, has been trending upward and will bring a stat line of 26.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists — highlighted by four triple doubles — when he leads the Class 6A No. 5 Jaguars (16-5) into the District 14-6A championship game on Friday .
“Last year I played a team role with a lot of passing,” Cheatham said. “This year I’ve stepped up more as a leader. I love when the game is on the line. Whenever my team needs me they look at me and say ‘take over.’ It’s a different Haanif this year.”
This Cheatham playing with a chip on his shoulder and closing out games with a wide offensive arsenal, is a stark contrast to the pass-first version whose primary role last season was to set the table for Pines’ talented wing duo of Connecticut 6-4 commit Prince Ali and 6-5 Justin Satchell.
With Satchell. graduating and Ali transferring to Sagemont, Cheatham has emerged as a triple-double threat, making life easier for teammates Peter Buckley, Marcel Denbow and Matthew Johnson.
Cheatham has put up some his best numbers against the top teams in the state, including two-time defending Class 7A state champion Blanche Ely (30 points, 11 rebounds and five assists), Class 7A No. 2 Boyd Anderson (24, 11 and 10) and Class 8A No. 8 McArthur (28, seven and five).
One particular verse in Blacc’s hit —“God made my mold different from the rest. Then he broke that mold so I know I’m blessed” could very well be describing the gifts Cheatham is working with.
Noted ESPN basketball recruiting coordinator Reggie Rankin, who has scouted Cheatham in person, said Cheatham being a lefty adds even more appeal to the ideal length, size, ball-handling ability and court vision of a prototype wing player.
“Haanif’s game warrants being able to put up triple doubles,’’ Rankin said. “When you can play multiple positions and be a jack of all trades, you can get double figure points, rebounds and assists. A guy with that versatility can help a lot of different programs. His game is like choosing from a buffet. You can get a lot of good stuff there.”
The hope around coach Dave Roca’s program is the new and improved Cheatham will help leave a better taste in the Jaguars’ mouth than its Region 4-6A semifinals matchup against Miami Norland last season.
Should the Jaguars advance to face the two-time defending state champion Vikings in the regional round again as projected, Cheatham will be looking to redeem himself after being held to 11 points in last season's 80-59 loss.
“Coming off a tough loss, it’s motivation every time we lose,’’ Cheatham said. “Hopefully we will get to that bump in the road again, get over it and head to Lakeland.”
West Broward High School lacrosse player Kristi Ten officially committed to Asbury University on Wednesday afternoon. Ten is the first girls’ lacrosse player to sign a college scholarship in school history.
Miramar vs. Cooper City (Home), 3:00
Deerfield Beach vs. Coral Glades, 4:00
Coral Springs vs. Flanagan (Home), 4:00
Deerfield Beach vs. Coral Glades, 3:00
Taravella vs. Fort Lauderdale (Home), 3:00
Monarch vs. Nova (Home), 3:00
Blanche Ely vs. Piper, 6:30
Cardinal Gibbons vs. Dillard (Dillard), 4:00
American Heritage at Coconut Creek, 4:00
Flanagan vs. Coral Glades, 4:00
Cypress Bay at Goleman, 6:30
McArthur vs. Fort Lauderdale, 6:30
Miramar vs. Hollywood Hills, 4:00
Taravella vs. Monarch, 6:30
South Broward vs. Northeast, 6:30
Stranahan vs. Plantation, 6:30