2008 District 13 Player of the Year Adam Sollazzo celebrated with family, former high school teammates, former coaches and friends at the ceremony. (Photo courtesy of Dina Langston.)

Armwood High School celebrated former standout basketball player Adam Sollazzo in a number retirement ceremony on January 24. The former 2008 Class 5A Player of the Year is the first Armwood basketball player to have his number retired and hung in the rafters. His number, 20, was officially retired in 2014, but he didn’t have a chance to attend a ceremony until now because he had been playing overseas for the last 11 years.

The former East Tennessee State University star went on to have an outstanding basketball career overseas, winning a championship with his Spanish league club, Rio Breogán, located in Lugo, Spain in 2021, while also being named finals MVP. He played 11 total seasons overseas in Romania, Germany, Italy, Argentina, France and Spain.

The 2008 District 13 Player of the Year celebrated with family, former high school teammates, former coaches and friends in the ceremony. His dad, Paul Sollazzo, who is an assistant coach for Bloomingdale High School, was able to attend because the celebration was scheduled for the Armwood vs. Bloomingdale basketball game.

“I was kind of speechless,” said Adam. “I started my speech off saying that I’ve probably played in front of 50-60,000 people at times, and this is probably one of the more nervous moments of my career, seeing all that hard work pay off. It was definitely life-changing and made me really feel special, and I am forever grateful for Armwood to hold me at such a high honor.”

The 2008 All-Western Conference Player of the Year played at Armwood from 2004-08. He averaged 22 points per game, 6.3 assists per game and 6.1 rebounds per game in his senior season. He also became a 2008 Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star that year.

Adam is now retired from basketball and has his real estate license in the area. The former guard hosts basketball camps once a month at Armwood High School to teach and encourage local youth basketball players.

“I don’t want people to look at that jersey in the rafters and just think about me and how good of a player I was,” said Adam. “I want it to be more of an inspiration and somewhat of a challenge to all the players in the county and all the kids who come to my basketball camps to see that jersey and think, ‘Hey, someone from this area made it to be a professional.’ I just hope that the next time I come in this gym 10 years from now that there are more jerseys hanging up there because someone took mine as a challenge to be better than me.”

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Nick Nahas
Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.