2009 All-Rowan County Basketball: The boys team
By Mike London
Every Rowan County hoops fan knows Darius Moose is Carson’s best player, but people who don’t see the Cougars regularly have no clue how good Moose really is.
Mention that Moose, a 6-foot-3 junior, holds every school record for scoring and rebounding ó in a game, in a week, in a month, in a year, in a career, in a practice ó and the reaction is usually, ‘Well, it’s Carson.’ ”
The point is that, while Carson’s only been around three seasons, Moose measures up against the most prolific scorers in county history. Did you know that in three seasons Moose has scored 1,229 points?
And that’s with Carson playing in only four NPC tournament games and one playoff game. Carson’s seasons so far have been 24, 24 and 27 games. Salisbury’s girls played 32 this season.
There are a lot of points in those extra games.
Still, Moose already has scored more points than anyone in South Rowan history, and South’s been around since the 1961-62 season.
Assuming Moose keeps plugging as a senior and averages his usual 18 points a game, he’ll end up with more than 1,700 for his career. That would elevate him into select company. In the Rowan record book, only West’s Scooter Sherrill (2,469) and Donte Minter (2,087) and Salisbury’s Bobby Phillips (1,849) have surpassed 1,700.
Moose could pass East’s all-time leader Justin Vanderford (1,684) and North’s leader James Henderson (1,654). Those schools have a half-century of history.
Moose was called up to the varsity for the third game his freshman season. Since then, he’s scored in double figures 63 times ó even with every coach gameplanning to stop him.
West Rowan, with Mike Gurley coaching and K.J. Sherrill roaming the paint, has twice limited Moose to two points. No one else has had much luck.
Every summer there have been rumors Moose is leaving Carson for a program where there’s more help, more wins and more respect, but every fall he’s put on the orange and blue.
Carson’s growth chart is moving in the right direction ó 3-21, 6-18, 12-15. A winning season may be on deck, and that would lift Moose into the Player of the Year discussion.
That’s where he belongs.
Moose, South’s Hunter Morrison and Salisbury’s Brandon Abel are repeat all-county picks. Sherrill, the Player of the Year, is on the team for the third time.
K.J. Sherrill, West, Sr.Nosed out for the top honor by East’s Vanderford in 2008 but an overwhelming choice this time.
The 6-7 Charlotte signee averaged 19.1 points a game, blocked shots, provided double-digit rebounds nightly and was NPC Player of the Year.
He had 28 points and physically dominated a strong Lake Norman team at home. He also had a 33-point effort in a monster playoff road game at powerful Ragsdale.
He scored 1,596 points, third in school history.
Hunter Morrison, South, Sr.Morrison was a magician with the ball and made South fun to watch, win or lose.
The 5-9 point guard steered the Raiders to only their second winning season in 13 years with a county-leading 19.2 points a game. When he wasn’t scoring, he found teammates for layups or open 3s.
Morrison scored 30 or more points five times and finished third in South history with 863 career points.
Most enemy gyms he walked into, people were prepared to hate him. They usually wound up cheering.
Darius Moose, Carson, Jr.
Moose was Moose. He averaged 18.0 points a game, scored 20 or more 12 times and poured in 36 against Northwest Cabarrus to break the school record.
It was his own.
Darien Rankin, Salisbury, So.
Not yet as consistent as Sherrill or Moose, but a jaw-dropping talent.
Only 6-1 but with a body built for the NFL, Rankin was the county’s most emotional and athletic player. When he made up his mind to attack, the Moir Christmas Classic MVP scored or got fouled.
He averaged a team-high 15.9 points, fourth in the county. He topped 20 seven times and was runner-up for CCC Player of the Year.
Brandon Abel, Salisbury, Sr.
The rugged 6-5 post man formed a powerful 1-2 punch with Rankin as the Hornets won 28 straight. His scoring average (13.6) was deceiving as he went down with knee injuries in a couple of abbreviated outings.
He scored 29 points in a pivotal overtime battle with Providence Grove that keyed a CCC title run, and he had a career-high 31 in a playoff win against Wilkes Central.
Scored 1,182 points, eighth in school history.
Daniel Plummer, East, Sr.
It’s a shame East fell far and fast because Plummer’s season was overlooked.
He shot 50 percent, averaged 13.6 points with 6.0 rebounds and took 27 charges, including five in a game against Northwest.
He’s 6-3 with good skills and athleticism, so it’s not a stretch to see Plummer contributing at a Division II program.
Thaddeus Williams, SHS, Sr.Forget his scoring average (5.7), the 5-11 Williams was the consummate passer, ballhandler, defender and floor general. He was as responsible for Salisbury’s super season as Rankin or Abel.
When he left the floor, the Hornets just weren’t the same team.
Reid Shaver, South, Sr.A terrific athlete, the hard-nosed 6-1 redhead dunked often, scored consistently (11.1 points per game), banged fearlessly and accepted more charges than J.C. Penney’s.
Kaleb Kimber, West, Sr.A streaky deep shooter and a freak athlete, the 5-11 Kimber overcame back woes to become the No. 2 scorer on a very good club.
Cooled a bit at the end, but he still averaged 10.7 points a game. He scored 28 in an early statement game at Northwest Cabarrus.
Lamonte Bell, North, Sr.Bell, a 6-2 post man, got the nod over teammates D.J. Hipps and Javon Hargrave with his powerful finish.
Bell averaged a team-high 10.8 points per game for the season and checked in at 15.4 in North’s last nine.
Josh Doby, Carson, Sr.Doby, a 6-4, long-armed 3-point bomber, scored in flurries. He was in double figures 16 times and averaged 10.2 points a game
Carson won 12 games and earned a representative in addition to Moose. Doby or sophomore Nick Houston?
Tie goes to the senior.
Keshun Sherrill, West, Fr.Believe it or not, Keshun’s big brother, K.J., didn’t make all-county as a freshman, so Keshun has major bragging rights at the supper table.
West won 25 games and deserved three all-county players, but the scoring was really scattered after K.J.
Keshun or fellow freshman Jordan Kimber, who was All-NPC? Jordan is a talent, but Keshun finished stronger. He averaged 11.7 points in six postseason games.