Player of the year: Devontae Morgan, Sr., Tampa Prep
Why we chose him: The leading scorer (15.4 ppg) and No. 2 rebounder (5.9 rpg) for the Terrapins’ state championship team, Morgan’s contributions are impossible to quantify solely on a stat sheet. The defensive catalyst on a squad that surrendered 60 or more points only twice, Morgan averaged a team-best 3.2 steals as a two-guard. Add the steals he created for others via deflections or general disruption, and that average doubles. So, too, do his scoring numbers, if the Terrapins hadn’t been so dominant and Morgan hadn’t been so selfless (3.3 assists per game). Nineteen of their 32 games ended with a running clock — instituted when a team’s lead hits 35 points — and Morgan on the bench. “He didn’t play at all in two games,” Terps coach Joe Fenlon said, “because I just didn’t think it was fair to the opponent or to him.”
Proudest accomplishment: Naturally, it’s winning Tampa Prep’s first state title. But when pressed, Morgan — whose shy exterior can be tough to crack — points to the fact he became the first Hillsborough County player to compete in four state tournaments. His bashfulness also precludes him from mentioning he recently was named Class 3A Player of the Year in a balloting of statewide coaches and media representatives, and was MVP of the City of Tampa Championship in late December.
Future plans: Morgan committed to 2010 and 2011 NCAA Tournament runnerup Butler more than 14 months ago, spurning offers from the likes of UCF (the first to offer), Colorado and Clemson. “Once they offered me I was really happy and over time I got comfortable with the coaching staff,” said Morgan, who signed with the Bulldogs last fall. “I did some research; I think it would be a great place for me academically and athletically.”
Did you know? When he was born prematurely on Nov. 24, 1992, Devontae Denzell Morgan weighed less than 2 pounds and nearly didn’t survive. His family “reminds me of that all the time,” said Morgan, now 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds. …Morgan is the first player in Pierce Middle School history to have his jersey — then No. 23 — retired. At Tampa Prep, he wore No. 24, for no specific reason.
F Tre Leonard, Sr., Robinson: Averaged double double (18.0 ppg, 10.7 rpg) for Class 5A region semifinalist.
F Justin Gray, So., Berkeley Prep: Led final four team in scoring (19.6 ppg), rebounding (7.2 rpg), blocks (1.4 bpg).
G Josh Heath, Jr., Tampa Prep: State tourney MVP (36 points, 16 assists, 14 rebounds) for Class 3A titlists.
G Jack Fleming, Jr., Jesuit: Tigers’ top scorer set Jesuit’s single-season record for 3-pointers (88).
G Reginald Hart, Jr., Chamberlain: Averaged nearly 28 points, 9.2 rebounds for 7A playoff team.
G Nelson Agholor, Sr., Berkeley Prep
G Brandon Channer, Sr., Strawberry Crest
G Dario Duque, Sr., East Bay
G C.J. McGill, Jr., Wharton
F Travis Johnson, Jr., Jesuit
Alonso: Malachi Christopher, Greg Robinson; Armwood: Marcus Hill, Zarko Stojakovic; Berkeley Prep: Craig Bowman; Blake: Clarence Peterson; Bloomingdale: Ryan Bethoney; Brandon: Roderick Davis; Cambridge Christian: Brandon Park; Carrollwood Day: Adonis Welch; Durant: Kyle White; East Bay: Justin Green, Jonathan Jean; Gaither: Malcolm Carney; Jesuit: Joey Galvis, Devin Harris; Lennard: Caelen Watts; Newsome: Dylan Bridges; Plant: Anthony Haynes, Kieffer Jordan; Plant City: Teshey Thompson; Riverview: Jamal Evans; Seffner Christian: Kent Hegarty, Barrett Swartz; Sickles: Eric Floyd, Dan Harris; Steinbrenner: Joey Maloney; Tampa Bay Tech: Elgrin Wilson; Tampa Catholic: Chivarsky Corbett, Jio Molina, Isiah Thomas; Tampa Prep: Marshall Holmes, Adonis Rwabigwi; Wharton: Troy Holston, Sir Patrick Reynolds
Coach of the Year
Joe Fenlon, Tampa Prep
The easiest pick on this entire team. In his 29th season and eighth final four appearance, Fenlon finally made his inaugural ascension to the gold-medal stand. The Terrapins’ 58-50 triumph against Weston Sagemont in the Class 3A title game capped a 31-1 season, which also featured Fenlon’s 600th career victory in January.
Player of the Year: G Bre Crum, Sr., Sickles
Why we chose her: No player meant more to her team than Crum, who was responsible for 42 percent of Sickles’ scoring. Many teams, including district foe Jefferson, opted to play a box-and-one defense on Crum, but she still averaged 20.9 points, 4.0 assists and 4.8 steals, all team highs. And, as a 5-foot-8 point guard, she was third on the team with 6.1 rebounds per game as well. In Sickles’ 28 games, she was never held below double figures and scored a season-high 31 points in one of the biggest games of the year, a 54-51 loss to Jefferson.
Proudest accomplishment: Crum points to this season. Without All-American Amber Henson, now at Duke, and Crum as the lone senior, the Gryphons didn’t know what to expect. “It was like we were starting all over again,” Crum said. No one, though, would have predicted Sickles would make it all the way to the Class 6A region semifinals. Another highlight was Sickles’ first trip to the final four in Lakeland last season, a goal Henson and Crum shared.
Future plans: Crum signed with North Florida earlier this year. “I didn’t want to have to sit the bench, I wanted to be able to make an impact on the team and take it to where it hasn’t been taken before, just like with Sickles,” she said.
Did you know? Crum is a triplet (Deairra and Diamond are her sisters). While she is definitely the athlete of the bunch, her uncle, Maurice Crum, was an All-American linebacker at the University of Miami. …She enjoys cooking, and shrimp pasta is her specialty.
G Tesha Hanson, Jr., Riverview: While sharing the ball with teammate Faith Woodard, averaged 19 points and almost four steals.
F Kai Jones, Sr., Tampa Catholic: Scored 21 points and grabbed 9.5 rebounds for the Class 4A region finalists.
F Faith Woodard, Jr., Riverview: Her 21.4 points per game were second best in the state for a junior; also averaged 11 rebounds.
F Shayla Wilson, Sr., Jefferson: First player from Jefferson, male or female, to collect both 1,000 points and rebounds in a career, led the team with 14.6 points per game.
C Erica Young, Jr., Tampa Bay Tech: Averaged 20.1 points, sixth best among juniors in the state.
G Sabrina Whiting, So., Seffner Christian
G Micah Kroll, Sr., Tampa Catholic
G Kelly Brennan, Sr., Plant
F Bailey Hooker, Jr., Steinbrenner
F Peyton Walker, Fr., Seffner Christian
Academy of the Holy Names: Victoria Martinez, Amanda McWilliams, Ashley McWilliams; Alonso: Thea Dirani; Armwood: Dejoun Dennard, Kiana King; Blake: Dominique Brown; Brooks-DeBartolo: Vintoria Hopps, Tatiana Manuel, Chelsea White; Chamberlain: Clarice Devine; Durant: Akacia Nelson, Ashley Nelson; East Bay: Jasmine Queen, Stephanie Williams; Freedom: Taylor Emery; Hillsborough: Khoi Wilson; Jefferson: Chantrell Frazier, Shayla Upshaw; King: Arielle Allen; Newsome: Lauren Boerger, K.K. Smith; Plant: Reggine Brown; Plant City: Whitney Sanford; Riverview: Monet Williams; Robinson: Deliah Autry; Seffner Christian: Ally Parimore; Steinbrenner: Rachel Briere, Alexis Wright; Strawberry Crest: Aliyah Gregory; Tampa Bay Tech: Dasha Christopher; Tampa Catholic: Britany Betts; Wharton: Abbey Kaczmarek
Coach of the Year
Nancy Kroll, Tampa Catholic
Few programs have been as consistently successful as Tampa Catholic in its six seasons under Kroll. On the heels of three consecutive final four trips and back-to-back state championships, the Crusaders rebounded from a slow start to finish 20-11 and were an overtime loss in the Class 4A region final from advancing to a fourth straight final four. Kroll, who was not retained for next season, finished with an .816 winning percentage in her time at Tampa Catholic.
Joey Knight and Laura Keeley, Times staff writers