Posted: 1:10 pm Tuesday, March 24th, 2009
By Jason Lieser
One player and three coaches from Palm Beach County finished in the top three of their classification for the 2009 Florida Dairy Farmers Player of the Year and Coach of the Year awards for boys basketball.
Grandview Prep senior Altavious Carter and his coach, Joe Dawson, each finished second in Class 1A. Carter averaged 18.8 points and 13.2 rebounds per game, and shot 56 percent from the floor. Dawson guided the Pride to a 28-1 season before losing to Orlando Christian Prep, 46-43, in the state championships.
In the semifinal win over Bradenton Christian, Carter scored 22 points, blocked 11 shots and grabbed nine rebounds.
Orlando Christian Prep’s Keith Clanton beat Carter 127-78 in the voting, which is done by in-state high school basketball coaches and media members.
Summit Christian coach Murray Smith took a team with no seniors to the Class 2A championship, where the Saints were smoked by Jacksonville-Arlington Country Day. Murray finished second in Coach of the Year voting to Arlington Country Day’s Rex Morgan, who captured his fifth straight state title. Morgan edged Smith 78-75 in the voting.
Santaluces coach Willie Gibson finished third in the Class 6A voting after leading the Chiefs to their first final four appearance since 1986. Gibson did so after losing eight seniors from the previous season. State champion coach Gaston Rodriguez from Miami-Coral Reef was the runaway winner in 6A with 125 points in the voting.
Here are the Players of the Year in each classification, which are also the six candidates for the 2009 Mr. Basketball award:
6A: Charles Hankerson Jr., Miami Coral Reef, junior
Hankerson averaged 21.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 78 percent from the free throw line in leading his team to a 28‐4 record and the Class 6A state title.
5A: Greg Gantt, Gainesville, senior
Gantt averaged 16.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game while shooting 56 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the free throw line in leading his team to a 29-3 record and the Class 5A state championship. He has signed a letter of intent to play for Florida Atlantic University.
4A: Rakeem Buckles, Monsignor Pace, senior
Buckles averaged 22.8 points, 13.1 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game while leading his team to a 26-7 record and the Class 4A regional final. He has signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Louisville.
3A: Brandon Knight, Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest, junior
Knight averaged 31.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game while shooting 81 percent from the free throw line in leading his team to a 28-4 record and the Class 3A state title. In his four years on the varsity, he holds school records for most points in a season and career (968/2,589), three-pointers in a season and career (127/259) and career assists (594).
Wally Judge, Jacksonville Arlington Country Day, senior
Judge averaged 20.1 points, 17.8 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game while shooting 65 percent from the floor in leading his team to a 25-7 record and the Class 2A state title. He was chosen as a McDonald’s All-American and has signed a letter of intent to play for Kansas State University.
Keith Clanton, Orlando Christian Prep, senior
Clanton averaged 18.5 points, 12.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.9 blocks per game while shooting 56 percent from the floor and 66 percent from the free throw line in leading his team to a 30-2 record and the Class 1A state title. He has signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Central Florida.
The six winners for Coach of the Year are:
1A: Reggie Kohn, Orlando Christian Prep
In his first year, Kohn led Orlando Christian Prep to a 30-2 record and the Class 1A state championship. He has a career record of 140-24.
2A: Rex Morgan, Jacksonville Arlington Country Day
Country Day had a 25-7 record, and won the Class 2A state championship. Morgan’s teams have won 10 district titles, made eight Final Four appearances, had two state runner-up finishes and have won five consecutive state titles (2005-09). He has a career record of 351-59.
3A: David Beckerman, Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest
Pine Crest had a 30-2 record and won the Class 3A state championship. In his five years at Pine Crest, Beckerman’s teams have won three district titles, made three final four appearances and won back-to-back state titles (2008, 2009). He has a record of 117-22 at Pine Crest and a career record of 374-81.
4A: James Rowe, Cocoa
Cocoa finished 30-3 and won the Class 4A state championship. Rowe’s teams have won four district titles and one state title (2009). He has a career record of 293-90.
5A: Kelly Beckham, Gainesville
In his first year, Beckham led Gainesville to a 29-3 record and the Class 5A state championship. He has a career record of 559-234.
6A: Gaston Rodriguez, Miami Coral Reef
Coral Reef had a 28-4 record and won the Class 6A state championship. In his two years at Coral Reef, Rodriguez’ teams have won one district title, made one final four appearance and one state title (2009). He has a record of 44-14 at Coral Reef and a career record of 209-71.