Player of the Year
Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, Sr., King
To truly understand where Fitzpatrick took the Lions this season — King made its first trip to the state final four — you need to know where King came from.
King didn't make it out of districts last season and was forced to forfeit its first four wins this season for using an ineligible player, yet still managed to win 21 straight on the way to the Class 5A state semifinals. The Lions had never won a region game before this year.
Fitzpatrick, who will play for Georgia Southern, not only put the Lions on his back — "by any means necessary," as he put it in one game — but he made the players around him better. If he wasn't dropping eight assists (did it twice), he was blocking eight shots (did it twice), hauling in a school-record 25 rebounds or recording a triple double (18 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists), as he did in King's 41-point region final win.
Coach of the Year
Pat Kelly, Springstead
In only his second season with the Eagles, Kelly led his ultra-quick, undersized team to the best season in Hernando County history. With an old-school emphasis on defense and creating points off turnovers, Kelly guided Springstead (31-1) to the Class 4A state title game.
G Dante Valentine, Springstead, Sr.: The brazen catalyst of the Eagles' run to the Class 4A state final, Valentine (18.7 ppg, 4.7 assists, 4.3 steals) was his team's best player in the postseason.
F Okaro White, Clearwater, Jr.: The Florida State recruit averaged 20.3 points and led the Tornadoes to the Class 5A state title game.
C John Henson, Sickles, Sr.: McDonald's All-American is area's top talent (17.6 ppg, 12.2 rpg, 6.1 bpg) and a likely future star at North Carolina.
C Lukas Poderis, Ridgewood, Sr.: East Tennessee State signee nearly averaged a double double (17.9 points, 9.9 rebounds) for a 26-3 team.
G/F Sheldon Cooley, Plant, Sr.: Do-it-all wing took the reins of a young Panthers team with 20.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 4.2 apg and 2.9 spg.
G Regan O'Rourke, Clearwater, Sr.
F Isaiah Mason, Springstead, Sr.
G Jarrod Branco, Hudson, Sr.
G/F Johnathan Gray, Berkeley Prep, Sr.
G Chris Perez, Oldsmar Christian, Sr.
Berkeley Prep: Austin Suarez
Blake: Andre Smith
Boca Ciega: Myron Dempsey
Central: Darryn Frazier
Chamberlain: Matt Kendrick
Clearwater: Julien Sargent
Countryside: Tucker Pollard
East Lake: Kendall O'Neill, Walter Smith
Hillsborough: Juan Washington
Lakewood: Dominic Lane, Justin Minnis
Land O'Lakes: Kevin Burnell
Newsome: Samal Shepherd
Palm Harbor University: Tyler Stevenson
Ridgewood: Bryan Jones, Alvin Satram
Sickles: Jordan Davis
Tampa Prep: Jay Bowie
Wiregrass Ranch: Eric Williams