With just a week remaining in the regular season, it’s time to take a look ahead to some MocoSportsFan Award nominees. Sure we still have the playoffs to contemplate, but the body of work across the three-month regular season is where players prove themselves for the awards.
Each of the categories features five candidates, which will get whittled down to one after the end of the season. Why five? Why not? Of course, in some cases many more candidates are most likely worthy, but admittedly, MocoSportsFan cannot possibly see every team, and every player, during the course of the season. Candidates are players I’ve either seen in person, or those who other coaches mention as worthy.
Here we go:
Player of the Year:
Demetric Austin, Springbrook: Is anyone in the county more able to dominate the lane on both ends of the court than Austin? Austin’s 14.6 ppg are not eye-popping, but he is constantly double teamed, and team player enough to kick the ball out to his teammates. Defensively, Austin rules the paint on the boards. He is Springbrook’s indispensible man.
Scott Bolen, Sherwood: Explosive, smooth, and a great shooter, Bolen’s 21.5 ppg are built on his ability to score in bunches from distance and on the drive, and an 87% free throw percentage. What all this means, is that you want the ball in his hands at the end of every game. He can create shots, make shots, and drain the free throws when you have to have them.
Sam Edens, Churchill: Perhaps nobody is as consistent and efficient as Edens, who drops in a steady 14.7 ppg, seemingly in his sleep. A solid three-point shooter, Edens seems to make them when his team needs them the most. He is a solid defender, and an underrated rebounder who can grab the rebound and drive the ball up the court with the best of them. Edens is a very quiet leader, who masks a competitive drive behind a calm on court demeanor.
Marcus Murray, Kennedy: Murray is a stone-cold scoring machine, what Blake coach Marcus Wiggins called “the scariest guy with the ball in his hands in the county.” Murray barely squeaks by at 5’8” tall, but can get his shot off against anyone. His quickness to the basket is unmatched, and his ability to squeeze off a reverse layup in traffic is gasp inducing. Defensively, Murray makes life miserable for opposing point guards, and he drops down to dig on post players like a gnat in the summer: you can’t just swat him away.
Nick Griffin, Magruder: A 40- point night with 10 three-point shots was perhaps the culmination night for Griffin’s all around talent. You get the feeling Griffin, along with another teammate, is holding back for the sake of team, and give him credit if that is the case. Griffin is a deadeye shooter, can drive on any defender, and is an excellent passer on the move. Griffin may be the best all-around player in the county.
Offensive Player of the Year:
Garland Owens, Magruder: Like Griffin, sometimes it feels as if Owens holds back for the sake of team. Very few players in the county have the athleticism and skill set of Owens. He EXPLODES to the rim on the drive, and when he pulls up off the dribble, nobody can affect his shot. Owens averages a mere 15.8 ppg, but can easily get whatever he needs on a given night. He may be the best athlete in the county.
Ghedalia Gold Pastor, B-CC: I need to know where Gold Pastor came from, as he has just exploded on the county. A great shooter, and perhaps underrated slasher, God Pastor has led the B-CC resurgence this season while ringing up 18.4 ppg. Gold Pastor does not mind sharing the ball, but can take over on many nights when it isn’t working for his teammates.
Tyvon Grant, Watkins Mill: Grant is shifty, quick, and a solid scoring option on every possession for the Wolverines. Grant puts up 17.1 ppg in a leading role.
Jake Fakler, Northwest: Fakler does not get nearly the press he deserves, mainly because his team has trouble in general scoring. But Fakler is the real deal, scoring 40 points against Clarksburg one night, and 25 against Springbrook early in the season.
Avery Ugba, Blake: Ugba is a force near the basket, with a very nice inside game and touch inside 15 feet. Ugba averages 16.4 ppg, and is the go-to guy for the Bengals late in games.
Sixth Man Award: This is not meant as a strictly best off the bench, because not every player is the actual sixth man. Instead, think of it as a “contributor” award:
Cameron Royster, Magruder: Coach Dan Harwood believes Royster is the energy guy his team needs sometimes after a slow start. Royster could start for almost every team in the county.
Louis Rothstein, Churchill: Energy, enthusiasm, and hustle follow Rothstein from the bench to the floor every time he comes in.
Thomas Hardy, Clarksburg: Solid, steady and a calming influence on his team.
Brandon Loiacono, Sherwood: An underrated ball handler and scorer.
Defensive Player of the Year:
JJ Epps, Magruder: Epps makes opposing point guards miserable on every possession with his speed, quickness, and strength on the ball.
Magnus Richards, Blake: Richardson patrols the paint looking for opportunities to disrupt any teams’ inside game, and he does it very well with a lithe 6’7” height, and seemingly endless wingspan. What he does not block, he alters.
Dominique Williams, Churchill: Williams is coach Matt Miller’s glue man, the guy who will shadow and follow the opposing team’s best shooter or scorer. He is very quick, very strong, and a fierce competitor. The end result? He is hard to score on.
Timmy Christian, Springbrook: Christian is built like Scottie Pippen: long and lean. He is very quick, and has great instincts for the ball. Like Pippen, he makes the team defense work.
Mamadou Doukare, Gaithersburg: Doukare is one of the best rebounders in the county, and like his big-man contemporaries, patrols the middle looking for blocks and alters. Doukdare has a great upside.
Batman and Robin Award:
Scott Bolen/ Charlie Rogers, Sherwood
Nick Griffin/Garland Owens, Magruder
Magnus Richards/Avery Ubga, Blake
Joshua Hardy/Dennis Singleton III, Clarksburg
Tyvon Grant/Jeff Adarkwa, Watkins Mill
Coach of the Year:
Larry Hurd, Jr. Clarksburg
Dan Harwood, Magruder
Matt Miller, Churchill
Jason Tringone, Watkins Mill
Usman Jamil, Northwest
The final award, along with All MocoSportsFan, will come after the MPSSSA playoffs in early March.