Plant's Flom Continues Family's Hoops Tradition
TAMPA - Since the 1940s, the Flom family has produced some of the best basketball players in Hillsborough County and has carried teams into the state tournament. In 1947, Edward Flom guided the Plant High boys team to the state tournament and was later named an all-state player. His son, Eddie Flom Jr. starred at Jesuit and went on to play for the North Carolina Tar Heels. During the turn of the millennium, a third generation Flom, Taylor, helped the Plant program reach the Class 5A state final four in 2001. Eddie Jr. was the assistant coach. Starting tonight, Plant senior forward Chandler Flom is hoping to become the next in his family to help guide his team deep into the postseason. Plant, ranked No. 7 in the final state poll, hosts Clearwater, ranked No. 9, in the Class 5A region quarterfinals at 7 p.m. For the last two seasons, Chandler has been one of the top forwards in the county.This season, he has averaged 12.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. On Friday in the 5A-District 10 tournament semifinals against Hillsborough, he scored a season-high 26 points. The following night, he scored 22 points against Middleton to help the team capture the district title. Plant coach Mike Phillips said Flom could be the X-factor as to whether or not the Panthers advance to the state tournament. "I think he is because he's got himself in playing shape and he's scoring," Phillips said. At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, however, Flom looks more like a defensive lineman than a basketball player. Over the years, he has learned to use deception as his advantage. "That's my biggest advantage, that and my vision," Flom said. "I definitely have an advantage when opponents see the starting chubby white kid step on the floor." Opponents soon discover that Flom uses his body better than almost any post player in the county. "We work with him on his post moves, but a lot of that comes from his father," Phillips said. "Eddie used to coach with me so Chandler has been a gym rat for the last 12 years." "My dad taught me everything," Flom said. "He's 6-5 and almost 300 pounds, but I still can't beat him." As a youth, Chandler would play basketball with his older brother and his friends at a YMCA. It said it helped increase his basketball IQ. "At 10 or 11, I was playing with the 13- to 16-year-olds," he said. "I was so small and chubby that I had to play point guard." And not once did the idea of playing football creep into his mind. Well, not until last summer. "I went out last summer, but it wasn't my style," Flom said. "I went out for defensive end. When one of those 300-pound linemen put me on my back, I knew it wasn't for me." LAKEWOOD GAME MOVED: The Class 5A-Region 3 quarterfinal between Venice and host Lakewood has been moved to Gibbs' gym.
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