Today’s exam questions is Who is on your All-Star Team?
It’s way too early to start picking All-Met and All-Gazette teams of course, but I believe both publications have started sifting through data to get a head start. The Post runs an All-Met Watch section that, surprisingly, does not include any players from Montgomery County’s twenty-five public schools. Seriously? Not one guy is worthy of an All-Met watch? (By the way, the same can not be said on the girls side, where Montgomery County stand-outs Brene Moseley (Paint Branch), Christine Weithman (Blake), Kelsey Wolfe (Seneca Valley), and Amanda Witmer (Magruder) are all on the Post All-Met Watch). Sorry, I beg to differ. While none of my All-Stars might be able to match the star power scoring levels or, more importantly it seems, the cache of playing in private school leagues (five of the first ten play in the WCAC or IAC) or as an independent (Montrose Christian), I am standing by my picks, at least to this point in the season.
I am going to forego the notion of “First Team” or “Second Team” designations, saving that for the end of season nominations. At this point in the season I have not seen several teams play (a situation I hope to rectify by the end of next week’s play), so I feel unqualified to make a true assessment of what makes someone first or second team. Besides, does it really matter? Not to me, at least not right now. So here goes (and in no particular order):
DeShaunt Walker, Springbrook: I know, he’s not even in the top 10 in scoring. So what? Walker is the only holdover from last year’s 4A State Title team to see any action, and is the leader of what might be another 4A State Title team. That’s good enough for me.
Tim Harwood, Magruder: Harwood is in the top five in scoring at 18.6 ppg, and is the clear leader of a team that starts two freshmen and a sophomore. Magruder is right on Springbrook’s heels, and Harwood is the main reason.
Nick Brown, Richard Montgomery: Brown is the consummate ball-handler and floor general. Watch him during the game: in control, head up all the time looking to deliver the ball in the right place at the right time. Could he score more? Sure he could, but winning is the name of the game, and with that attitude the Rockets will get far in the playoffs.
Willy Lee, Northwest: At one point Lee was on the Post All-Met Watch list as an “On The Bubble” player. His scoring has dropped off, but not what he means to Northwest. Lee is deceptively quick, but obviously strong, with the ball. He rebounds and defends with purpose, and although not a vocal leader on the court, is clearly in charge when he is on it. He can play on my team any night.
Brendan McFall, Poolesville: With him, Poolesville can play with anyone on any night. Without him, not so much, as witnessed by Poolesville’s big loss to Quince Orchard on a night when McFall played 11 minutes. McFall just went over the 1,000-point mark for his career, no meager feat for a guy who plays in a deliberate style -offense.
Angelo Adon, Kennedy: I don’t care what league you play in, 25.9 ppg is impressive enough for me. Adon is what keeps Kennedy in the games.
Brad Bolen, Sherwood: Oh, and 21.6 ppg is almost as impressive. Sherwood is coming on, having just lost to Springbrook, and Bolen is a big reason.
Rycourt MacAuley, Paint Branch: As smooth a-post player as you will find in the county, MacAuley carried Paint Branch early and can carry them again later if necessary. He is a strong rebounder in traffic despite his lithe frame, and is a nice passer when double-teamed. He may be the best pure-post guy in the publics.
Mac Kennedy, Quince Orchard: Kennedy does not show up in any list of top scorers, rebounders, or perhaps assists. Here is what list he will show up on: mine. Kennedy leads his team by example; he plays every minute out on the court like it is his last, leading the QO press on the defensive side, steadying the QO motion offense on the other side of the court. He is a good shooter who never seems to force his offense, sometimes to a fault, and a deadeye free throw shooter at the end of games. In short, Kennedy is one of the best all-around players in the league.
Ryan Frazier, Blake: OK, fess-up time. This one is on reputation and the eyes of others. I’ve been told Frazier might be the best guard of the bunch in all-around skills and ability. Obviously his statistics show a steady 16-ppg scorer, which may be low relative to what he can do, but is enough for what Blake needs him to do. I am going to see Blake at Quince Orchard tomorrow night, so if anything changes my mind, I’ll make sure to post a correction. Or sing his praises.
Since I didn’t succumb to the First Team/Second Team syndrome, I won’t label some other All-Star candidates “Honorable Mention”. Let’s just say I’ve seen them play and think very highly of their talents.
Charlie Waugh, Whitman
Ross Koehn, Whitman
Jake Eskin, Churchill
Ryan Trafton, Wootton
Devin Gallman, Paint Branch
TJ Fitzgerald, Richard Montgomery
Kevin Baker, Poolesville
So there you have my All-Stars. I’m sure I’ve left out some worthy candidates, so feel free to let me know about it. This concludes our exam week period, as it does for the players.
Tomorrow: Blake vs Quince Orchard and Richard Montgomery vs Whitman previews