Breaks changed makeup of all-county team
By Mike London
In a perfect world, everyone stays healthy and eligible, and nobody’s jumper stops falling.
In a perfect world, the 2008 all-county team might look a lot different than the one you’re staring at.
That’s not to take anything away from the guys who are on there. They earned it. At the same time, some of the county’s most talented guys aren’t in the photo because they didn’t play close to a full season.
North Rowan’s 6-foot-3 sophomore Winslow Cherry, a sophomore who was getting 14 points a night when he lost eligibility, would have been a no-brainer.
East junior Kevin Hubbard, a dunking machine who gained eligibility in late January, was a sure thing if he’d played a bigger chunk of the schedule. He averaged 12.5 points in 11 outings, including games of 21, 22 and 27.
If West junior Kaleb Kimber’s back had been right, he would be all-county. Kimber was limited to 13 games, including a few cameos, but at the end, he was burying 3s and dunks with equal ease. He scored 33 points in three playoff games.
This time last year, Carson’s Brandon Ferguson and West’s K.P. Parks were all-county locks for life, but basketballs bounce funny.
Parks, a sophomore, was slowed by an ankle injury, missed the first five games and never got in sync. His scoring dropped from 12.5 per game to 5.8.
Still, the quickness and strength that make Parks an unstoppable running back, also make it impossible to guard him man-to-man. If he stays healthy, he could rush for 8,000 yards and score 1,000 points. That’s a unique double-double that may never be matched.
Ferguson attracted more defensive attention as a junior than when he shocked everyone as a sophomore. There were also nights when good shots just wouldn’t go down for him. While his scoring dipped from a team-high 15.3 to 10.6, look for Ferguson to reclaim an all-county spot next season and reach 1,000 points.
This year’s team included only three repeaters from 2007 ó East’s Justin Vanderford and Kenan McKenzie and West’s K.J. Sherrill. A tie put 13 on the team this year, instead of the usual 12.
The 2008 team:Justin Vanderford, East, Sr.Four-time all-county players are rare, but this guy is special. The Rowan County Player of the Year was one of the finest in East history and one of the best 5-9 players in county history.
East’s all-time points leader, Vanderford led the county in scoring (20.9) as expected, and he performed with flair in his new dual role of floor general.
K.J. Sherrill, West, Jr.As terrific as Vanderford usually was, and even though East whipped West twice, you can argue for the 6-6 Sherrill as player of the year. If you had a dollar for every time an NPC coach called him a “beast” or a “monster,” you could retire.
He dominated the paint with points (18.4 per game), blocks and boards, and he had as solid a stroke from 18 feet as anyone on the team.
Has a very high ceiling and seemed to add something to his game each time he took the floor.
Darius Moose, Carson, So.The 6-3 scrapper was Carson’s inside game, and he proved a handful despite double-teams.
Moose, who is equally comfortable shooting 3s or stickbacks, averaged 19.3 points, including outbursts of 34, 33 and 32 twice. Those are the four highest-scoring games in Cougar history.
Brandon Abel, Salisbury, Jr.The 6-5 junior averaged 14.1 points and double-digit boards and keyed a strong season that included Moir tournament and CCC tournament championships.
Just about unstoppable in the CCC and shared player of the year honors. With 775 points, he already ranks No. 17 in school history.
Kenan McKenzie, East, Sr.The county’s best shooter ó by a lot ó and a three-time all-county pick. The 6-2 bomber rained 3s, except when he was bitten by the flu bug in February.
Averaged 13.7 points. Finished as East’s No. 5 all-time scorer with 1,161 points.
Shawn Eagle, East, Sr.A strong, quick athlete who plays bigger than his listed 6-1. Averaged 13.5 points, topped 20 four times and racked up 663 points in two years at East.
Likely to play football in college.
Bryson Gaymon, North, Sr.North finished 10-15, but it could have gotten ugly if the 5-9 Gaymon hadn’t kept plugging and inspired teammates to do the same.
Starting with a 71-70 upset of Lexington on Jan. 22, Gaymon added scoring to his list of duties. In a 10-game stretch, he scored like K.J., pumping in 18.3 points a game.
Terrell Allison, Salisbury, Sr.
The county’s most improved, producing 11.4 points a game after scoring 36 his entire junior year.
Scored 46 points in a breakout Christmas tournament. Always upbeat and positive and appeared to be an ideal senior. Scored in double digits 17 times.
Hunter Morrison, South, Jr.If Allison wasn’t the most improved, it was the 5-10 Morrison, a point guard who led his team in scoring with 11.6 points a game, after getting 1.8 as a sophomore.
Some ups and downs, but he had phenomenal games when he was on ó 27 points against Statesville, 25 in an upset of West Rowan, and 34 (six shy of the school record) against West Iredell.
Ibn Ali, Salisbury, Sr.
Appears a bit shorter than his listed 6 feet, but blessed with wicked athletic ability.
The speed and defense have always been there, and this year he drilled clutch outside shots. Averaged 10.5 points and had games of 22 and 21 down the stretch.
Derek Davis, South, Sr.Finished among South’s top-10 all-time scorers with 704 points, just 75 fewer than his father, South coach John Davis, who was a CPC Player of the Year.
Averaged 10.0 points a game, while dealing with assorted injuries, and usually led South in rebounding.
Justin Basinger, Carson, Sr.He has to listen to smack because Carson is his third school, but he kept his head, led his team, made 3s, ran the offense, averaged 10.7 points ó and never let up.
Clay Browning, West, Sr.West won 21 games, so it deserved two on all-county. The more coach Mike Gurley pointed at this 5-10 hustler the more sense it made.
Browning averaged 3.9 points, but he understood his role perfectly. He never hurt, usually helped, and he produced some clutch plays such as his memorable tip-in at T.C. Roberson.
Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or firstname.lastname@example.org.