21 Mar 2023


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.


C.J. Ingram, Hawthorne: Just a sophomore, the 6’5 Ingram is a dominant presence in the state’s smallest athletic classification.  For the year he averaged just over 21 points and 8 rebounds a contest. He had 26 of Hawthorne’s 46 points in a three-point loss in the state semifinals.  Ingram can and will play any position on the court, usually in the same possession.  He handles the ball well, has good court vision, gets the ball to teammates for good shots and can score at the rim or from the perimeter.  Ingram is just as versatile on the defensive end as well.  Many think he will have a choice to make as far as basketball or football at the collegiate level, but we can see him doing both.


Kris Parker, Quincy Crossroad Academy: A 6’7 senior and University of Alabama signee, Parker has been one of the better players in his class these past four years.  While we are a bit hesitant to accept his season stats of nearly 25 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists per contest as accurate, we certainly believe that Parker has the skills and talent to put up that line.  Crossroad played the toughest schedule of any team in 2A not located in a “Metro” market, so Parker was key in leading the team into the region semifinals.  His athleticism, high skill level, and versatility is an ideal fit for the Crimson Tide’s style of play.


Karter Knox, Tampa Catholic: Class 3A has some of the best talent in the state, so it was a very difficult choice to make.  We chose Knox as the 6’5 junior was consistently a top performer in each game we saw him play this season.  He had 22 points vs nationally-ranked Georgia Wheeler in the City of Palms and 17 points in a one-point loss in the state semifinals.  For the season, he averaged just under 20 points and 10 rebounds a game.  Knox is a natural and instinctive scorer that finds creative ways to put the ball in the basket.  His athleticism and length allow him to be disruptive on the defensive end.


Sam Walters, The Villages Charter: The 6’9 senior is another player out of the Sunshine State to sign with Alabama.  Walters began his high school career at Montverde Academy but elected to move over to The Villages and it worked out extremely well.  The lefty was productive all season at both ends of the floor.  On offense, he proved adept at scoring inside and out as he has a very accurate perimeter shot that extends past the three-point line.  Walters often took advantage of double-teams and found teammates for easy shots.  He also was very active and effective in his pursuit of offensive rebounds.  Defensively, he challenged shots and grabbed rebounds in and out of his area.  He finished his senior season with an average of 23 points and 10 rebounds a contest.


Ian Smikle, Riviera Beach Suncoast: A 6’8 junior, Smikle has made great strides in his game over the last year and with the FHSAA’s reclassification, he is arguably the highest recruitable player in 5A.  Strong and mobile, he led the Chargers in scoring with just over fifteen points a contest and grabbed just over twelve rebounds a game.  Smikle changes ends quickly and has become a much more effective rim protector thanks to shedding some pounds in the off-season.  Suncoast lost a one-point heartbreaker in the regional semi-finals but with several players returning, led by Smikle, the Chargers are looking to 2024 to take care of some unfinished business.


Koree Cotton, Miami Southridge: The 6’6 senior and VMI signee averaged just short of 22 points and 8 rebounds a game this past season, guiding Southridge to the region semifinals.  The lefty had to wear a lot of different hats for the team.  As the tallest starter, he often found himself defending on the interior.  Cotton was also one of the better ball-handlers and passers and often initiated the half-court offense.  He operated best when the team got out in transition and when he could find ways to attack the basket against a set defense.  When Southridge was able to get the tempo to their liking, Cotton could often be found roaming the extended defense looking for and getting his hands on a lot of wayward basketballs.


Edgerrin James, Orlando Olympia: The 6’2 senior and Cincinnati signee had an absolutely stellar senior season.  While Olympia was upset in the region semifinals, the Titans did garner the district championship in 7A’s “District of Death” which also included the #5 and #6 teams in the class.  Olympia was ranked #2 in the classification and a top five team regardless of class nearly the entire season as James averaged nearly 23 points and 5 rebounds a contest.  He set a school scoring record of 46 points in a win on the road at #5 Oak Ridge during the regular season.  James improved his outside shooting to the point where he was nearly unguardable.  His strength allows him to get to the rim and score, he has a dynamite mid-range game, and has no problem dunking over bigger foes at the rim.


Derrick Queen, Montverde Academy: The Eagles are so deep and talented that choosing one of their players for this award was extremely difficult.  To some’s surprise, we are going with Queen, a 6’9 junior.  We were impressed with his play at the Montverde Academy Invitational at the end of January as well as several appearances on ESPN.  He has great hands, catches everything thrown to him in the post, good footwork inside and is an ambidextrous scorer around the rim.  He rebounds well at both ends and though not a great athlete at this time, he is good enough.  Queen plays with a high basketball IQ and communicates well on both ends of the floor.






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