Posted: 5:37 pm Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Boys’ Hoops: The midseason Player of the Year candidates 

By Jeff Greer

We’re starting to get into the meat of the 2011 district schedule for boys’ basketball, so what better time to talk about some of the top candidates for the Palm Beach Post Player of the Year awards?

As you know, we separate our Player of the Year awards by large schools (4A-6A) and small schools (1A-3A). So that’s how we’ll break up the conversation here. And remember, this is just a speculative list. Players can be added or subtracted from my list before the end of the season. And if you think I forgot someone, give that guy a shoutout in the comments section below.

Large Schools Player of the Year candidates

All stats through Monday, Jan. 17

Greg Louis (Dwyer): 13.1 ppg. Right now, Louis is my frontrunner. I’ve seen him play three times, and each game he was the best player on the floor. The 6-foot-7 forward operates everywhere. He can hit the 3, nail an elbow jumper in the middle of a zone defense or he can crash the glass and scrounge for garbage points. He does it all.

Jacoby Brissett (Dwyer): 18.4 ppg, 8.9 rpg. The star quarterback joined his team late, but that didn’t matter. He made an instant impact at the City of Palms Classic. His team has so much talent, Brissett doesn’t even start yet. In time he probably will. He has to do more in district play and in the playoffs to surpass Louis, who has been superb in district play.

Jeff Romeus (Santaluces): 21.5 ppg. Santaluces’ shooting guard can light it up from anywhere. At times he’s been the leading scorer in the area. His play is a major reason why the Chiefs are 6-1 in a tough District 9-6A.

Will Sparkman (John I. Leonard): 20.2 ppg, 5.1 apg. His unorthodox shot and lanky figure draws plenty of doubts before he steps on the court. But once the Lancers get going, it’s clear that Sparkman, along with point guard Chris Hall, is one of the top players in the area. He plays at full speed and is the focal point of Leonard’s break-neck, frenetic style of play.

Chris Hall (John I. Leonard): 17.5 ppg, 6.1 apg. He’s the smooth counterpart to Sparkman’s herky-jerky style. They work extremely well together, and Hall handles the point as well as anyone in the area. At 6-2, he has a height advantage over most local point guards. And he has the range and penetrating ability to keep defenders guessing.

Richardson Myrthil (Atlantic): 10.7 ppg, 10.1 rpg. Myrthil reminds me of an old classmate of mine in college named DeJuan Blair. The Atlantic big fella doesn’t have Blair’s size, but he has a nose for the ball and plays with passion on every possession. He doesn’t give up on rebounds and scores a bunch of points off putbacks and muscle-ups.

Josh Schattie (Jupiter): 15.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 3.0 apg. He’s not an intimidating presence. He won’t wow you with speed or even creativity. But Schattie simply knows how to play. You can tell from his stat line that he does a little bit of everything for Jupiter. The senior gets a lot of help from junior wing Bobby Hain (14.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and currently injured center Grant Pelchen (9.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg).

Reggie Love (Spanish River): 12.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 4.1 apg. Love rates among the area leaders in all three stat categories that we keep. His teammate Dante Scholl (13.7 ppg, 5.7 apg) has put together a solid season, too, leading the area in 3-pointers with 42.

Rigueson Desorvil (Lake Worth): 19.5 ppg. Lake Worth’s star put on quite the show Tuesday night against John I. Leonard. He scored 17 fourth-quarter points as part of his 38-point outburst. He proved that he can score from anywhere, inside and out, and has the handle, speed and power to take on the 1 through 4.

Scott Witkowski (Wellington): 14.5 ppg. The Wolverines’ floor general is dangerous with the ball. He won’t excite you with his ball handling, but his decision making is sound and, at 6-4, he can get to the basket in just a few strides. He’s helped Wellington move into position to fight with John I. Leonard for second place in a very, very good District 15-5A.

Robert Lockhart (West Boca Raton): 20.6 ppg. He forms a fantastic trio of guards with Anthony Anderson and Tommy Sirkin. Anderson has the most potential as a Division I player, but Lockhart does all kinds of grunt work for the Bulls. He can score inside and out, rebounds well and does a nice job defensively. His sheer athleticism makes him a hand full.

Others in the running: Vic Adams (Dwyer), Nelson Presendieu (Lake Worth), Serge Auguste (Santaluces), Edert Geffrard (Palm Beach Gardens), Anthony Anderson (West Boca Raton), Tommy Sirkin (West Boca Raton).

Small Schools Player of the Year candidates

All stats through Monday, Jan. 17

Ismaila Dauda (Grandview Prep): 20.6 ppg, 14.7 rpg. The 6-foot-9 senior has asserted himself even more this year. He dunks almost everything around the basket, and has shown up in big games for Grandview. All of that is huge considering how much teams key in on the big fella. It helps that guards Eric Mance, Daniel Garga and Kamil Williams have emerged as scoring threats from the wing. Dauda is currently the leader for POY honors.

Farad Cobb (Summit Christian): 22.4 ppg, 5.2 apg. Another junior, Cobb leads all schools big and small in both scoring and 3-pointers. He’s formed a fantastic trio with two other POY candidates, Jean Prophete and Brandon Williams.

Jean Prophete (Summit Christian): 18.3 ppg, 12.3 rpg. Last year’s Small Schools Player of the Year has put up better numbers so far this year. At 6-5, 265, he’s an absolute beast on the low block. It’s a shame Grandview and Summit won’t play this season unless they meet in the state playoffs.

Eric Mance (Grandview Prep): 15.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 3.3 apg. When I first watched Grandview play, Mance caught my eye. He’s a bit of a gunner and will pull it from anywhere, but he does the dirty work, too. His stat line, like that of Daniel Garga, just shows how valuable he is to his team. He can lock you up defensively, too.

Daniel Garga (Grandview Prep): 13.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 5.2 apg. Garga rates in the top 10 in rebounding and assists among small-schools players. I hate the phrase, but I have to use it here: He’s the ultimate glue guy.

Corey Pedowitz (Donna Klein Academy): 18.7 ppg, 15.8 rpg. Pedowitz is fourth in small-schools scoring and leads the area (and Prophete and Dauda) in rebounding. He’s gotta be doing something right.

Brandon Williams (Summit Christian): 10.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg. Hard to ignore the numbers that the 6-6 junior has put up so far. He’s going to be the next Prophete once the big fella graduates, and for now, it looks like Williams is ready for that role.

Zach Whitehead (Wellington Christian): 19.6 ppg, 5.7 apg. Third in scoring behind Cobb and Dauda and third in assists among small schools.

Paul Jones (Lake Worth Christian): 15.0 ppg, 7.9 rpg. Formerly of West Boca Raton, the 6-6 forward has made quite an impact at Lake Worth Christian. He rates in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding.

Others in the running: Gary Gladden (St. Andrew’s), Ra’Vin Lee (Clewiston), Ray Jones (Jupiter Christian), Juan Smith (Village Academy), Nick Potenza (Wellington Christian), Hunter Burnette (Cardinal Newman).

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