Basketball is the quintessential team game. All those players that have been honored as MVPs or MOPs certainly couldn’t win games and amass impressive stats without some help. With that in mind, here are our nods to the Best Supporting Player in each classification.
Vincenta Mitchell, Madison County: The 6’2 senior was stellar in Madison County’s run to a state title this season. After averaging 13 points and 6 rebounds a game during the regular season, he stepped up big time with 20 points and 8 rebounds to lead the team to a two-point OT win in the title game. Not mentioned in the box score is solid defense on the opponent’s top offensive player.
Bryce Street, Orlando Central Florida Christian Academy: With teammate Jordan Preaster’s sizzling 30 point performance in the title game, many have overlooked Street’s solid efforts in both the state semi and state final. The 6’2 senior averaged just over sixteen points a game during the regular season, but went for 18 points with four steals in the semi-final as Preaster battled foul issues then went above and beyond the call of duty in the final, torching NFEI for 25 points, going 4-6 from deep in the process.
Ven Allen-Lubin, Orlando Central Florida Christian: Far more often than not, freshmen do not make a significant contribution on the varsity level. That wasn’t the case for Allen-Lubin this year. The 6’5 freshman provided a significant interior presence for OCP after last year’s front line (all likely NBA players) departed. Rarely the focal point of an offensive possession, he made his impact on the glass at both ends and as a rim protector on defense.
Cornelius Bobo, Seffner Christian: While the stellar sophomore combo of Mike Trigg and Willie Jones scored most of the points and got most the publicity, Bobo went about his business doing the dirty work and whatever else it took to win ball games. The 6’4 senior was solid all season in the rebounding and interior defense departments. In the team’s two games in Lakeland, Bobo produced a 15 point/12 rebound double-double in the semis while in the final game, he tallied 16 points in a heartbreaking loss.
Dante Wilcox, West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy: Oxbridge was shooting for a perfect record until being derailed on the road at St. Andrew’s in Boca Raton in the region semis. Wilcox, a 6’5 Florida International signee, was a big part of that success. While senior guard A.J. Cajuste orchestrated the offense and proved to be a big-time playmaker, Wilcox was the cause of many a sleepless night for opposing coaches with his ability to score from inside the arc, athletic finishes around the rim, and relentless rebounding efforts.
Brian Dugazon, Fort Lauderdale Stranahan: Though the 5’10 senior led Stranahan in scoring in their two games in Lakeland, it was normally the athletic exploits and three point shooting of junior Dave Herard or the interior play of Inady Legiste that got the most mention in the press. Dugazon’s ability to control tempo, harass opposing ball-handlers and make plays when called upon was crucial to Stranahan’s run to the state title.
Josh Williams, Choctawhatchee: Williams was a tremendous complement to TCU recruit Diante Williams all season long. Arguably the 5’10 senior’s most impressive performance came against national #4 IMG Academy where he dropped 21 points against a team loaded with future high D-I recruits. With superior speed, a high skill level, and a massive chip on his shoulder, Williams should get the opportunity to play at the collegiate level.
The Roster, Pompano Beach Ely: Though Ely has had its share of studs in the past, “The Ely Way” doesn’t rely on star power to earn state titles. For example, four different players scored in double figures in at least one game in Lakeland, and two of those didn’t average double-figures for the year in scoring. For Melvin Randall’s Tigers, the total is greater than the sum of its parts, making the entire Tiger team perfect supporting players.
Caleb Coleman, Orlando Oak Ridge: The 6’7 senior was solid all season long as a three-level scorer for the Pioneers. Coleman was the team’s go-to three point shooter but also knew how to take advantage of a size mismatch down low. Yes, C.J. Walker is certainly the team’s top player and Niven Glover has highlight reel potential with the basketball in his hands. However, Coleman was the player to keep the Pioneers on an even keel all season long.
Harlond Beverley, Montverde Academy: The Eagles have a lot of talent, especially in the frontcourt with 6’8 McD AA Precious Achuiwa and 7’0 FSU commit Balsa Kaprovica. Also, 6’7 junior Cade Cunningham was spectacular running the offense. Beverley, a 6’4 senior, was often the one to spark Montverde on a game-changing run, either with a timely outside bucket, a steal and score, or forcing a turnover. Beverley could have stayed in Michigan and been a star, but he chose to mix his talents with others in an opportunity for a national title. That decision has certainly benefitted both Beverley and Montverde.