Boys' basketball: skillsBy CAREY FREEMAN and FRANK PASTOR
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 13, 2002
Can a big man get some love?
Well, maybe a little.
The Times asked Gulf Coast Athletic Conference coaches for their picks in each of 16 skill categories, and guards came up tops in nine.
Hernando's Jerrell Graham was singled out in four. Citrus' Jamaal Galloway won or tied for three. Lecanto's Kyle Hamilton won or tied for two.
Big men Josh Scott of Central and Dalton Meyers of Lecanto were noted for their ability to block shots and set picks.
For the most part, though, it was the area's guards who carried the day. Here are the results:
BEST CLUTCH SHOOTER
Graham sometimes struggles with his accuracy, but he scores in bunches. He overcame early foul trouble to produce 25 points and spark the Leopards to a 48-43 win over Springstead. The Eagles weren't his only victim. "He's hurt us," Central coach John Sedlack said.
OTHERS MENTIONED: Jamaal Galloway, Citrus; Kyle Hamilton, Lecanto.
BEST FREE-THROW SHOOTER
Galloway may be the best pure shooter in the area and leads his team with a calm and cool 85 percent from the charity stripe.
OTHERS MENTIONED: Dalton Meyers, Lecanto; Jerrell Graham, Hernando; Josh Scott, Central.
BEST 3-POINT SHOOTER
Galloway leads the area with 22 3-pointers and connects on over 40 percent of his shots from behind the arc. "I think he just concentrates on it well," Hurricanes coach Jimmy Thomas said.
OTHERS MENTIONED: Chris Vihrachoff, Citrus.
This one is easy. "It's Emory, hands down," Eagles coach Scott Bennett said. Before leaving to visit family for the holidays, the 6-foot-4 transfer from the Bahamas averaged a Hernando County-best 12.7 rebounds -- 31/2 more than his closest pursuer. "He's pretty raw but pretty tough around the basket," Sedlack said.
OTHERS MENTIONED: Dalton Meyers, Lecanto.
Each coach had his favorite.
"(Central's) Willie Winslett, for as big a kid as he is, has got good feet," Hernando coach Jeff Laing said. Citrus' Greg Covino is "a super defensive player," Thomas said. One coach still is looking. "I haven't seen one," Sedlack said.
THOSE MENTIONED: Willie Winslett, Central; Jamaal Galloway, Citrus; Kyle Hamilton, Lecanto; Greg Covino, Citrus.
BEST SHOT BLOCKER
Citrus' Thomas didn't know Scott's name, but he remembered his number: 50. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Scott blocked 17 shots in his first 10 games. "I haven't seen anybody on any opponent blocking that many shots," Sedlack said.
OTHERS MENTIONED: Jeff Hill, Springstead; Emory Strachan, Springstead; Bruce Emberley, Lecanto.
Laing gave most of Graham's ball-handling responsibilities to Brian Hoogewind this season, freeing Graham to score. But when the Leopards' press break breaks down, he's the one they want with the ball. "He can break the press with the dribble," Laing said. "He's one of the few who can do that."
OTHERS MENTIONED: Landon Baise, Lecanto; Chris Vihrachoff, Citrus; Jamaal Galloway, Citrus.
Baise leads the Panthers with 48 assists, averaging four. "He's got a really good feel for where the ball needs to be passed with different players. He gives you the ball where you need it, when you need it," Lecanto coach Chris Nichols said.
OTHERS MENTIONED: Jerrell Graham, Hernando; Chris Vihrachoff, Citrus; Andy Sedlack, Central; Jeremy Balogh, Hernando.
BEST AT CREATING SHOT
Central tried a box-and-one, and Graham scorched the Bears for 26 points in one game last season. Others have tried double or triple-teaming him, also to no avail. "If he wants to shoot the ball, he'll get it up," Bennett said. "He'll find a way."
OTHERS MENTIONED: Jamaal Galloway, Citrus.
Yearwood's quickness was noted by several coaches and makes the senior a force to deal with on offense and defense. "Defensively, he causes a lot of problems with his quickness," Nichols said. "He can be out of position after going for a steal and still is able to recover."
OTHERS MENTIONED: Greg Covino, Citrus; Jamaal Galloway, Citrus.
BEST AT MOVING WITHOUT BALL
Miller has set himself apart with his unselfish nature and ability to get open for teammates. This translates to the defensive side, where he is a force in the Hurricanes' zone defense.
OTHERS MENTIONED: Josh Scott, Central.
ALWAYS IN POSITION
Hamilton seems to be in the right place -- especially on the fast break, where he routinely beats the defense for the finishing shot. He leads the Panthers in steals (3.2 per game) and is a force on the press.
OTHERS MENTIONED: Jamaal Galloway, Citrus; Emory Strachan, Springstead.
BEST BENCH PLAYER
Bass, who averages over eight points and two steals, is more of a sixth starter than a bench player. "He's quick, and he has the ability to get in and find ways to score and play good defense," Thomas said. "He's contributed a lot to our team with his efforts off the bench."
OTHERS MENTIONED: Dalton Meyers, Lecanto; Joel Hoogewind, Hernando; Kyle Keene, Central.
Meyers was a unanimous choice among Citrus County coaches. "At 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, he better be able to set a good screen," Nichols said. "And he does."
OTHERS MENTIONED: Paul Bates, Hernando; Willie Winslett, Central.
BEST CONDITIONED PLAYER
Vihrachoff, a three-year starter, is the best-conditioned player on what may be the area's best-conditioned team. He is a tireless worker in practice and games. "He loves conditioning, and he knows that being in shape is an important part of the game," Thomas said.
OTHERS MENTIONED: Jeff Hill, Springstead; Jeremy Balogh, Hernando; Jeff Yearwood, Lecanto.
BEST ON-COURT LEADER
Him again? Yes, him. Turns out, the Leopards' scoring and steals leader tops the team in another category: Leadership. When Hernando needs a big shot late in a game or a basket to stop an opponent's run, Graham's the player they look to.
OTHERS MENTIONED: Andy Sedlack, Central; Jamaal Galloway, Citrus.
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111