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April 1, 2014

VaPreps 4A All-State Hoops Teams

VirginiaPreps.com is proud to release our sixth annual All-State Basketball Teams. Unlike the past years when we chose four teams of First, Second, Third and Honorable Mention Team in Group AAA, we are now choosing a First Team and Second Team for all six of the classification in the first year of the new VHSL realignment.

A total of five players are picked on First Team with a Player of the Year and Coach of the Year. After all, a regular basketball starts five, and so does ours. And just like most teams, we go with seven guys on the bench to make up the Second Team, although not one member on any of the six squads was a reserve.

So what are the factors that go into the choices that are made? All are made by me with no consultation of the coaches simply because that's what the VHSCA Teams are designed for in my opinion. However, we try to study individual statistics (some supplied by coaches upon request) as well as factor into the equation team success and overall impact. Once everything is weighed, we try to blend it all together and make the best choices possible, even though there's no perfect team or right and wrong picks.

It's never an easy process because there are always many deserving players who don't get recognized on First or Second Team. A lot of difficult picks had to be made yet again with some back-and-forth on a few of the final spots as usual.

Without further ado, here's the VirginiaPreps.com 4A All-State Basketball Teams for the 2013-14 campaign with bios on each player. . .

4A First Team:
Troy Locke - Norcom - Sr.
Cameron Jackson - Handley - Sr.
Grayson Midulla - Glen Allen - Jr.
JaMarcus Hairston - GW-Danville - Sr.
Devon Oakley - Nansemond River - Sr.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Troy Locke (Norcom)
COACH OF THE YEAR: Leon Goolsby (Norcom)

4A Second Team:
Joey Miller - Grafton - Sr.
Marcellis Perkins - Deep Creek - Sr.
Romello Anderson - Heritage - Jr.
Leon Straus - Charlottesville - Sr.
Anthony Howard - King George - Sr.
Antonio Parker - Norcom - Sr.
Solomon Finley - Handley - Sr.

VirginiaPreps.com 4A First Team All-State:

Troy Locke, Norcom, Sr. (Player of the Year)

For the third time in five seasons, the Norcom Greyhounds won the State Championship and much of their success centered around the playmaking of Locke. The 6-foot-2 guard shined throughout the postseason run for Norcom , which won five straight playoff games by five points or less, including a 48-45 victory over Grafton in the regional semifinals on the road where he had 20 points and a season-high six three-pointers.

Named the 4A-South Region Player of the Year and Conference 17 Player of the Year as well as First Team All-State by the VHSCA, Locke twice hit for 32 points in the first month of the season. Confident with a deadly mid-range game, he averaged 20.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, four assists and four steals per game on the season. In July, Locke will play in the VHSCA All-Star Game in Lynchburg.

Cameron Jackson, Handley, Sr.

Signed to play his College Basketball at Wofford, the 6-foot-8 power forward for the Judges received both State Player of the Year by the VHSCA and 4A-North Region Player of the Year honors in leading his team to the best winning percentage among all Group 4A schools at .875 (21-3 overall record). In the 66-59 win over GW-Danville in the 4A-North Region Championship, the guy that goes by the nickname of 'Bam-Bam,' nearly posted a triple-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocks.

On the year, Jackson averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game and didn't disappoint in big games. Using his strength, size and effective touch in the paint, he was able to post a game-high 20 points as well as eight rebounds in the team's 59-52 loss to Norcom, where the Judges appeared in their first State Championship game since 1962.

Grayson Midulla, Glen Allen, Jr.

Leading a Glen Allen school that has only been opened since 2011 to their first ever State Final Four appearance, Midulla enjoyed a breakout season with the Jaguars that saw him garner plenty of attention and individual accolades. He was chosen First Team All-State by the VHSCA, All-Region First Team in 4A-South and the Conference 20 Player of the Year.

Midulla averaged 19.9 points, 11 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game with one of his marquee performances coming in a 71-44 rout of Hanover when he had 32 points and 12 rebounds to win the Conference 20 Tournament as a #3 seed. The 6-foot-4 swingman displayed both savvy and skill in leading Glen Allen to a school-record 17 wins, one of them including their first ever win over perennial Richmond-area contender Highland Springs.

JaMarcus Hariston, GW-Danville, Sr.

The 6-foot-7 forward last season was more of a complementary offensive option on the offensive end to D-1 guards Jarod Williams (Detroit) and Ahmad Thomas, but this season he flourished on his way to bagging Conference 24 Player of the Year honors. There's no denying that Hairston's presence in the front-court and talent meant a great deal in the Eagles going 24-5 overall and reaching the State Final Four for the first time since 2007.

Hairston averaged 15.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in his first and only season under new Head Coach Ron Parson, adjusting to his system without much of a hiccup. He garnered First Team All-State recognition by the VHSCA and was a unanimous choice for All-Region First Team in 4A-North, often proving to be a mismatch for GW-Danville's opponents.

Devon Oakley, Nansemond River, Sr.

The 6-foot-4 shooting guard was the primary option at the offensive end of the floor for a Warriors team that went 19-4 overall, was ranked as high as #1 in the state in Group 4A during a 13-0 start and won the Ironclad Conference regular season title. Oakley took home Suffolk Player of the Year honors along with being chosen First Team All-State by the VHSCA, All-Region First Team in 4A-South and All-Ironclad Conference First Team.

Also selected to participate in the VHSCA All-Star Game in July, Oakley scored exactly 400 points on the season to average 18.1 points per game along with 5.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, one blocked shot and three steals per game. He shot 46% from the field and strengthened the consistency on his outside jumper, connecting on 42% of his three-point tries.

Coach of the Year: Leon Goolsby, Norcom

Through eight seasons as the Head Coach of the Greyhounds, Goolsby is 168-48 overall, including 23-5 this past season with a 9-1 mark in Conference 17 play. His Norcom team won its third state title in five seasons with this one being perhaps the most improbable as their starting sophomore point guard Travis Fields missed nearly a dozen games with an injury late in the season, plus they had to rally from 16 points down in the fourth quarter in beating Handley in the 4A State Championship game.

In close games, Goolsby's gang thrived. They were 9-0 in contests decided by six points or less, winning six in a row during the month of February by five points or fewer to show their Championship mettle on the way to claiming conference, regional and State Tournament trophies.

VirginiaPreps.com 4A Second Team All-State:

Joey Miller, Grafton, Sr.

Some wondered how good Grafton would be after graduating its star player Elijah Moore (now at Virginia State) from a squad that was coming off consecutive appearances in the State Championship game at the AA level, but the Clippers were just fine and made a dent in Group 4A with a number of talented teams from the Tidewater area in part because of Miller's savvy and poise in the backcourt. The Conference 19 Player of the Year guided Grafton to a 22-4 overall record and spot in the regional semifinals, earning First Team All-Region honors in 4A-South in the process. He put up 22.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game.

Marcellis Perkins, Deep Creek, Sr.

Helping Deep Creek achieve their first winning record since 2007-08 as the Hornets finished 15-8 overall, Perkins was selected both First Team All-Region in 4A-South and All-Conference First Team. In addition, he was chosen Second Team All-State by the VHSCA with averages of 16 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals per game. The patient and skilled 6-foot-4 wing overcame a mid-season injury to help Deep Creek hand eventual State Champion Norcom its last loss of the season, plus did an outstanding job in the classroom with a 3.74 GPA in honors and AP classes.

Romello Anderson, Heritage, Jr.

After averaging 14.7 points per game as a sophomore for the Hurricanes, the athletic and instinctive 6-foot-3 wing upped his numbers to 16.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.7 steals a contest as a junior. His explosive tendencies and slashing to the hoop played a big part in Heritage going 16-6 overall - - their best record since 2003-04 - - and spending much of the season ranked #1 in the state in Group 4A. For his play, Anderson was rewarded by being named the Ironclad Conference Player of the Year by the coaches as well as First Team All-State VHSCA and All-Region First Team in 4A-South.

Leon Straus, Charlottesville, Sr.

A two-sport standout that excels in football as well, Straus transferred in to Charlottesville from Blue Ridge and consistently performed at a high level for the Black Knights on his way to being named Player of the Year in the Jefferson District. At one point, Charlottesville won 15 games in a row en route to posting a 20-5 mark with Straus being their headliner at about 20 points per contest. He was also selected First Team All-Region in 4A-North and First Team All-Conference 23.

Anthony Howard, King George, Sr.

Named the co-Player of the Year along with Josh James of Chancellor in Conference 22, Howard scored over 1000 points in his prolific career at King George, also earning First Team All-Region honors in 4A-North and Second Team All-State by the VHSCA. In 24 games, the 6-foot-3 Howard averaged 18 points, 11 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.2 blocks, 2.8 steals per game and registered 14 double-doubles for the Foxes. From the field, he shot 47% and converted 85-of-113 free-throws (75.2%).

Antonio Parker, Norcom, Sr.

The fourth offensive option a season ago for Norcom, the 6-foot-4 lefty grew into a bigger role this season en route to being tabbed First Team All-Conference 17 and All-Region First Team in 4A-South. When teammate Travis Fields went out due to injury, Parker took over ball-handling responsibilities and the Greyhounds were able to win conference and regional titles. As Norcom won its third state title in five seasons and finished with a record of 23-5 overall, Parker averaged 13.1 points, six rebounds, five assists and 2.5 steals per game.

Solomon Finley, Handley, Sr.

This 6-foot-1 shooting guard wasn't exactly a household name going into the season, but Finley left a strong impression by earning First Team All-Region honors in 4A-North as well as First Team All-Conference for a Judges team that got to the State Championship game for the first time in 52 years. He averaged 13.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for Handley while serving as the most dangerous three-point shooter on a team that finished 21-3 overall. Finley, who also got selected to play in the VHSCA All-Star Game in July, scored a game-high 23 points to go with eight rebounds in the 66-59 victory over GW-Danville in the 4A-North Region Championship.

Matthew Hatfield serves as State Basketball Analyst for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related updates, and you can also read his work in the Suffolk News Herald. To contact Matthew, please e-mail [email protected], and don't forget to listen to him every Saturday at 10AM on ESPN Radio 94.1, plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.

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