While the Most Valuable Player award hinges on the player’s ability to push his team to great playoff success, our definition of the Most Outstanding Player is different. The MOP to us is the best player, period.
Kaleb Wilson, Malone: The 6’3 senior led Class 1A in scoring at just over 23 ppg and led the Tigers to the state semi-finals. A well-built athlete, Wilson impresses with his ability to slash to the hoop and score in a crowd. He will change speeds and/or direction as often as necessary to get where he needs to go. Wilson has good form on his shot from the foul line and his perimeter shot is reliable inside the arc. Hopefully, he will get a fair chance to play at the collegiate level.
Ven-Allen Lubin, Orlando Christian Prep: The 6’7 senior and Notre Dame signee could probably double his 14 ppg scoring average if he didn’t play for such a balanced squad as the Warriors. Lubin finished his junior year outside of most top 150 rankings but by the end of the summer he was firmly ensconced in the top 75. He is consistently productive, gives max effort on the floor, and doesn’t let his emotions dictate his play. When the talking heads on ESPN go out of their way in a game you aren’t playing in to mention how much you will help the Fighting Irish in 2022 and beyond, you must be doing something right. Lubin does a lot of things right.
Tre Donaldson, Tallahassee Florida State University School: The 6’3 senior and two-sport stud is heading to Auburn and is expected to be an impact performer on both the football field and the hoops hardwood. Donaldson is highly effective at either guard spot. He possesses good size, strength, and court vision to play the point and can score from different levels when playing off the ball. Donaldson does a good job of helping out in the rebounding department and defensively his football instincts kick in and he can physically dominant an opponent. When his buddy Jaylen Martin left for Overtime Elite, Donaldson did whatever it took to get his squad to Lakeland and the winners’ podium.
Brice Sensabaugh, Orlando Lake Highland Prep: After missing all but one playoff game his junior season due to a knee injury, Sensabaugh came into his senior season looking to make up for lost time. A 39-point outburst in the first game of the season in a one-point win over nationally-ranked Dr. Phillips set the tone and there was no looking back. Sensabaugh had several other 30+ point performances on his way to averaging over 24.6 points a contest. One of the best deep shooters in the state, Sensabaugh also showed he can dribble and wiggle his way to the rim to get points. He led his squad to the state semi-finals and nearly knocked off nationally-ranked Calvary Christian in that game. The 6’5 senior is headed to Ohio State. The Big Ten has been warned.
Tony LIvingston, Tampa King: The 6’7 senior and University of Florida football signee dropped SEVENTY pounds since the end of his junior year, not just changing his frame but his game as well. Livingston became a matchup nightmare: too big for smaller players to guard inside and too swift and agile for bigger players to try and keep up with him in the perimeter. His effective shooting range extends past the three point line and he’s proven to be a good passer, whether located in the post or on the perimeter. Livingston averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds this season and in 30 games he had 25 double-doubles in leading King to the regional finals.
Kolby King, Pembroke Pines Charter: The 6’2 senior is a St. John’s signee and plays with a Big East mentality…the OLD Big East of the Ewing, Mullin, and Carmelo Anthony era. Blessed with excellent speed, quickness, and athleticism, King knows how to effectively use his physical gifts at both ends of the floor. He is tough to contain off the dribble, makes good decisions with the ball on the move, and can score from a variety of locations on the floor. Defensively he loves to pick up the dribbler full-court and make it difficult for the opponent to start the offense.
Ernest Udeh, Orlando Dr. Phillips: The 6’10 senior and future Kansas Jayhawk is the only McDonald’s All-American from Florida NOT at either Montverde or IMG. Playing on a balanced team that features a pair of high-major D-I guards, Udeh’s season averages of 13 points and 10 rebounds aren’t astonishing but his ability to impact the game with his rebounding, both offensive and defensive, as well as his skills as a shot blocker and rim protector, can not be overlooked. Udeh greatly improved his offensive skills over the summer and became effective as a post scorer and more reliable from the foul line. Probably as hard a playing big as there is at the high school level this past season, Udeh’s energy and effort will be very welcome in Lawrence, Kansas.
Dariq Whitehead, Montverde Academy: The 6’6 senior wing and Duke University recruit is a rare breed that has been at Montverde since the eighth grade. That means he’s taken a lot of “coaching” and not shied away from the challenge off being in a program with the lofty expectations of the Eagles. It has been fascinating to watch Whitehead go from a predominantly straight-line, bully-ball driver to a guy with a reliable perimeter jumper that can score from all three levels. His strength and athleticism make him a good rebounder and versatile defender. Whitehead has worked long and hard to get to the top of the 2022 Class.