PLAYER OF THE YEAR: There was little the Monmouth-bound guard didn’t do this year. He was named first-team all-league in the CHSAA, scored 1,000 points, and was selected to the Jordan Classic regional game as a final salute to his accomplishments, which include leading Stepinac to the CHSAA Class AA intersectional semifinals, following an upset-win against St. Raymond in the quarterfinals in just the team’s second year in the highest classification.
The 6-1 James put up solid numbers, showing his versatility by going for 17.8 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists a game. He led his team to a number of wins that brought attention to the program and to himself, beating Molloy on the road and topping St. Raymond twice, along with a win against public-school state runner up New Rochelle.
James was also a good teammate on the floor, a good student in the classroom and the team’s top defensive player, qualities that endeared him to his teammates, according to former Stepinac coach Tim Philp, who stepped down earlier this month for personal reasons. “He was the kind of player that whenever he needed to put the team on his back he responded,” Philp said. “He just did whatever he had to help the team win.”
COACH OF THE YEAR: Tim Philp, Stepinac
Philp led the Crusaders to a berth in the CHSAA Class AA semifinals and an overall record of 20-8 a year after finishing 4-10 in the league.
He was named the CHSAA’s coach of the year, an honor he didn’t take lightly.
But Philp stepped down earlier this month for personal reasons, after nine years guiding the varsity team, citing a desire to be with his family.
Fortunately, he left on a high note.
“I put 100% into it and you have to commit all your time and energy into it if you want to be successful,” he said. “I hope to coach again but for now this is the best decision for my family.”
FIRST TEAM: G Khalil Hamer, Manhattan Center, Sr.
Hamer led the Manhattan AA in scoring with 17.27 points a game while also grabbing 5.60 rebounds and dishing out 4.07 assists a game, showing his versatility.
SG Matt Ryan, Iona Prep, SO
One of the best shooters in the league, the 6-6 Ryan was able to stretch defenses while averaging 17 points a game. He has interest from Boston College, West Virginia and Georgetown, among others.
G Naim Thomas, Jr., Stepinac
Thomas was the team’s crafty floor general, who averaged 13 points and five assists a game while rarely turning the ball over and kept defenses honest with a good jumper.
G Brandon Williams, Iona Prep, Sr.
A strong guard who attacked the basket, Williams was the team’s best defender, usually assigned to guard the opposing team’s top player.
SECOND TEAM: F Matt Crockett, Xavier, Sr., F James Decker, Stepinac, Sr., G Isaiah Ice, Iona Prep, Jr., G Ilunga Kadisha, Wadleigh, So., G Nykolas King, Manhattan Center, Sr.