5th Annual Stef’An Strawder showcase honors slain basketball player

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The Fifth annual Stef’An Strawder Showcase Memorial (CREDIT: Lee County Sheriff’s Office)

Some of Southwest Florida’s most promising basketball players took to the court on Friday night in hopes of catching the eyes of college coaches who could potentially pave a path for their academic and athletic futures.

The Fifth annual Stef’An Strawder Showcase Memorial was held at Gateway High School.

The event, which is open to the public, honors 18-year-old Strawder, a promising athlete who was killed at the Club Blu shooting in Fort Myers.

Stefan Strawder, 18, and Sean Archilles, 14, who died at Club Blu in 2016. Photo via WINK News.

Fourteen-year-old Sean Archilles, also an avid basketball player, died too.

Strawder was a standout at Lehigh Senior High School and had a promising basketball future ahead of him.

The shooting happened on July 25, 2016, during a teen night at Club Blu.

Fourteen others were injured in the shooting.

Kierra Russ was convicted and sentenced to life in June.

Four others are awaiting trial: Tajze Battle, Derrick Church, Don Loggins, and Demetrius O’Neal. The four are scheduled to be in court next week.

The annual showcase was organized by Lt. Sylvester Smalls of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. The showcase helps young players hone their skills and put their names on the radar for coaches eyeing future recruits.

“It’s an opportunity for kids that were overlooked with colleges to get a scholarship and further their education,” Lt. Smalls said. “We have some Division One players, some Division Two players, some NAI players.”

Ryan Rocuant and Stef’An were teammates in the first showcase in 2016. “It was a very competitive game, you know, we’re going back and forth the whole game,” Rocuant said. “And it got to a point where we kind of just looked at him and said, You’ve got to take this thing over, man, we can’t do too much more. And he did his thing. Probably ended up with 30 points, and we ended up going out to win.”

“Unfortunately, we lost Stefan in July,” Lt. Smalls said. “And from that point on, we changed the name in his honor, because that first showcase or which he participated in, he was MVP.”

“It makes me feel very happy. You know, one of my goals is just to make sure he’s not forgotten,” Rocuant said. “You know, he would have made it much further than I did. And you know, I’m just here to kind of keep supporting.”

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