Hardwood Hardware: Flint Area Edition
Most Valuable Player: Cody Campbell, senior, Swartz Creek: Campbell led the Dragons in scoring, assists and 3-point shooting percentage (44%). He’s the best ballhandler I’ve ever seen in that league and among the best players. Campbell helped turn a .500 team into a league champion. He led the league in scoring at 17.6 points per game and played several games early on with a broken wrist.
Player of the Year: Demarco Sanders, senior, Flint Powers — This award came down to two players on the same team: Sanders and fellow senior Patrick O’Brien. Sanders gets the nod, however, for emerging as one of the state’s top shooting guards after playing second fiddle for the previous two seasons. The southpaw led the Big Nine in scoring at 19.1 ppg and shot nearly 55% from the floor.
‘Four on the floor’ award: Andrew Patrick, senior, Goodrich — Patrick wins this career achievement award for his role in leading Goodrich to relevance on the state scene. Patrick was a varsity player from day one and one of the Flint area’s best and most consistent players for four seasons.
Top team: Flint Powers — The Chargers are poised to make another run at a class B state title. Are they good enough to beat DCD, again?
Top shooter: Patrick Haggin, senior, Grand Blanc — This required no brains, no research and, frankly, not even the common sense God gave a grasshopper. Haggin’s outside shot is similar to the greats that came before him: Travis Bader, Brandon Pokely, and Brad Redford. In short, it’s almost perfect.
Top stopper (backcourt): Joey Jerisk, senior, Burton Bentley — I know what you’re thinking: GAC? Come on. Watching Jerisk play defense on anyone, in any conference, and then come talk to me. He’s tough, he moves his feet and he takes pride in it. What more could you want?
Top stopper (post): Darrell Williams, senior, Flint Northern — Williams is the prototype high school shotblocker. He’s tall (about 6-6) and really lanky. He has impeccable timing and, with some added bulk, could be an impact defender down the road.
Best ballhandler: Patrick Lucas-Perry, junior, Flint Powers — He’s not flashy, just effective. I envision this award going to Jordan Fields (Grand Blanc) in the next two years.
Top coach: Jeremy Trent (right), Swartz Creek — Everyone knows who I think is the best coach in the Flint area. That being said, in 2009-10, Trent deserves the nod. In his first season, he steered his alma mater to its first conference championship in 20 years. Swartz Creek was a .500 team just one season ago.
Top freshman: Monte’ Morris, Buctown — This was probably the most competitive award, but Morris is the most poised and talented guard I’ve seen in the area this season. I’m quite certain there’s not another freshman guard in the state that’s capable of hitting 29 on Saginaw Buena Vista. Morris averaged just short of 15 points per game this season.
Most improved player: Marcus Tucker, senior, Grand Blanc — Here’s a good rule of thumb for an award like this: If I can say “who?” about a player who averaged 15 points per game as a senior, he’s probably come out of nowhere. Tucker was the heart and soul of an overachieving Grand Blanc squad (they have another of the area’s best coaches, Chris Belcher).
Top sleeper: Darryl Dixon (left), senior, Flint Hamady — This is the award for the player who will surprise you at the next level. Dixon comes from a conference, the GAC, that does not have a reputation for sending players to the next level. That being said, Dixon has the tools to be a quality guard at the next level — quickness, shooting ability, length and athleticism.
Top impact transfer: Thomas Lovachis, senior, Holly — Averaged 16 points per game for Holly after becoming eligible. He was also the team’s top defensive guard.
Most skilled big man: (tie) Dominez Burnett, junior, Flint Hamady AND Patrick O’Brien, junior, Flint Powers: Only at the high school level would these two be considered “big men.” At around 6-4, both forwards are skilled with the ball and can shoot from the perimeter.
‘Give him the ball and get out of the way’ award: (tie) Jaylen Magee, junior, Flint Northwestern AND Jojuan Graham, senior, Flint Southwestern — He’s a dog, big time. Magee reminds me of former Flint Southwestern standout Rickey Dent. He can just manufacture buckets going to the basket. He averaged 20.1 points per game this season. Graham was Mr. Everything at SWA this season, but did the bulk of his damage slashing to the rim. He averaged 20.5 points per game.
Top blow-by move: Shaq Smith’s crossover — Shaq’s probably going to win this award next year, too.
Top next-level prospect: JaVontae Hawkins, Flint Powers — He’s a 6-4 wing who’s still a sophomore. Nice bounce and handle. I love his potential. Hawkins and Flint C-A’s Anton Wilson are going to be fun to watch in the next two years.
Top home-court advantage: Goodrich — Small gym, big crowd and crazy student section.
Best-dressed coach: (tie) Lamont Torbert, head coach, Flint Northwestern girls, Jeremy Trent, head coach, Swartz Creek AND Marcellus Miller, assistant coach, Flint Northern — They’ve got game.