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April 2, 2014

VaPreps 2A 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 2A All-State Basketball Teams for the 2013-14 campaign with bios on each player. . .

2A First Team:
Caleb Tanner - Floyd County - Sr.
Marcus Carter - Bruton - Sr.
Tremaine Edmunds - Dan River - Jr.
Lonnie Swinton - Bruton - Sr.
Devonnte Holland - Martinsville - Soph.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Caleb Tanner (Floyd County)
COACH OF THE YEAR: Kenny Murphy (Dan River)

2A Second Team:
Terrell Edmunds - Dan River - Sr.
Israel Stith - Brunswick - Sr.
Dylan Jenkins - Gate City - Sr.
Chance Sheffey - Robert E. Lee - Jr.
Josh Hayden - Goochland - Sr.
Noah Walker - Virginia - Sr.
John Shelor - Giles - Sr.

VirginiaPreps.com 2A First Team All-State:

Caleb Tanner, Floyd County, Sr. (Player of the Year)

This 6-foot-2 guard for the Buffaloes went from a hometown hero to a player everyone around the state learned about, even some across the country as he made it on SportsCenter in December for an achievement with his foul shooting. Tanner took home the trifecta of VHSCA State Player of the Year, 2A-West Region Player of the Year and River Run Conference 38 Player of the Year as Floyd County went 17-7 overall before running into undefeated Dan River in the regional quarterfinals.

Four times in the first six games, Tanner scored 50-plus with 59 in each of the first two contests in early December. He set VHSL career records for points with 2770 and three-pointers made with 366. In addition, he set a national prep record when he converted all 33 of his free-throw attempts in a season-opening victory over Christiansburg.

Tanner averaged 36.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, one assists and 2.2 steals per game while shooting 48% from the field (271-of-562), 36% beyond the arc (88-for-243) and a ridiculous 92% at the charity stripe (248-of-269).

Marcus Carter, Bruton, Sr.

A well-rounded 6-foot-2 guard, Carter became the first Bruton player to score 1000 points in a career since his father Brenner Carter accomplished the feat back in 1978. Coincidentally, Marcus led the way for the Panthers as they won their first regional title in 36 years when dad's squad did it, and this Bruton spent most of the year ranked #1 in the state in Group 2A in finishing with a record of 26-2 overall.

Selected to participate in the VHSCA All-Star Game in Lynchburg in July, Carter averaged 18.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 45% from beyond the arc. The First Team All-State pick by the VHSCA and All-Region First Team selection in 2A-East tallied 39 points, 15 rebounds, four blocks and four steals while making 13-of-16 free-throw attempts during the State Tournament, the school's second trip there in as many seasons and first to the title game since 2000.

Tremaine Edmunds, Dan River, Jr.

Holding football offers from such schools as Cincinnati, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Old Dominion, USC, Virginia and Virginia Tech among others, Edmunds showed off that athletic ability time and time again throughout the course of Dan River's undefeated State Championship winning season on the hardwood.

Tremaine comes from an athletic background; dad Ferrell played in the NFL, older brother Trey is a running back at Virginia Tech and his other older brother, Terrell, signed with the Hokies for football as well. Tremaine consistently hit the backboards for the Wildcats, snagging 21 boards in a win over GW-Danville and averaged over 12 a contest. Edmunds, who averaged 9.6 points per game, earned a spot on First Team All-State by the VHSCA as well as All-Region First Team in 2A-West and All-Courthouse Conference.

Lonnie Swinton, Bruton, Sr.

Bruton was the second highest scoring team in the state at the 2A level at 75.2 points per game and Swinton gave them their swagger. On the year, the 5-foot-9 guard had a flair for the dramatic, such as hitting a crucial step-back three-pointer against Grafton, their Bay Rivers District rival who they swept this season en rout to 26 victories and first appearance in the State Championship since 2000.

Committed to play at the Division III level for Roanoke College, Swinton averaged 17.9 points and 3.5 steals per game as he supplied the team with a weapon from the perimeter on offense and someone that played a major role in their harassing, high-pressure defense. He earned First Team All-State honors by the VHSCA as well as All-Region First Team in 2A-East. In the State Playoffs, Swinton had 39 points, eight three-pointers, made 11-of-13 at the foul line, 11 rebounds and four steals.

Devonnte Holland, Martinsville, Soph.

The 6-foot-6 sophomore center protected the paint for the Bulldogs, who went 20-8 overall and made their VHSL-record 24th trip to the State Tournament Final Four. Using good hands, solid timing and better than average body control, Holland was unstoppable at times for Martinsville as he averaged 24.1 points, 16.5 rebounds and 5.1 blocks per game in only his second year on the varsity level.

Anchoring their 2-3 zone on defense, Holland was simply outstanding in the playoffs when he averaged 23 points per game in regionals. That included 26 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks vs. Gate City, not long after he erupted for 36 points against Floyd County. He was the lone sophomore in 2A to be chosen both First Team All-State by the VHSCA and All-Region First Team.

Coach of the Year: Kenny Murphy, Dan River

In only his second season as the Head Coach at Dan River after taking over for Jacob Gruse, who left to become an assistant coach at Averett University, Murphy did the unthinkable not only guiding the Wildcats to their first ever state title, but a perfect 25-0 record. His Dan River bunch was the lone undefeated boys basketball team in the state, public or private, for 2013-14, and how they did it in dismantling opponents was the most impressive thing.

Of Dan River's 25 wins, 23 of them were by double-figures with their closest calls coming in a 48-47 nail-biter and 44-36 triumph over Altavista, the Group 1A State Champs that repeated. Defensively, this team took it to another level in yielding 38.2 points per game, fewest in the entire state at any level. They won all seven playoff games by at least 17 points, defeating foes by an average of 23.3 points per game during the postseason.

VirginiaPreps.com 2A Second Team All-State:

Terrell Edmunds, Dan River, Sr.

This 6-foot-3 senior signed to play his College Football at Virginia Tech had a significant role in Dan River's first ever state title winning season and going undefeated. Edmunds, who put up 9.6 points per game, was often asked to guard the opponent's top player and did an exceptional job shutting whoever that was down as evidenced by the fact that Dan River never gave up 60 points in a game. Named First Team All-State by the VHSCA as well as All-Region and All-Conference, Terrell recorded 14 points and six rebounds in the 84-58 rout of Bruton in the 2A State Championship.

Israel Stith, Brunswick, Sr.

A money foul shooter down the stretch of games that shot 89.5% there for the season, Stith made it possible for Brunswick to remain competitive through a coaching change and seeing the team's top two scorers from a reigning three-time State Championship team depart. He averaged 21.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.9 steals per game on his way to being chosen VHSCA First Team All-State and All-Region First Team in 2A-East. Behind Stith's steadiness in the backcourt, Brunswick made an unprecedented eighth consecutive State Final Four appearance and won 16 in a row in one stretch in a 23-5 season.

Dylan Jenkins, Gate City, Sr.

Named the Clinch Mountain Conference 40 Player of the Year, Jenkins had a tough act to follow after the Blue Devils made it to the State Championship game during his junior season and he more than held his own against some of the best competition. Gate City went 19-6 overall, won the Clinch Mountain Conference Tournament and reached the regional semifinals behind Jenkins, who scored 34 against Hampton and 32 against Lee as well as 29-point efforts in wins over Abingdon and Union. Whether it was striking from the perimeter or attacking the hoop, he seemed to do it all and to no surprise was tabbed VHSCA First Team All-State.

Chance Sheffey, Robert E. Lee, Jr.

As the Leemen from Staunton won the Conference 36 Tournament, notched 14 victories and reached the regional quarterfinals, Sheffey played a humungous part in their success with 19 games of 20 or more points and four 30-plus point efforts. The 6-foot-1 guard who scored a career-high 37 points in an overtime loss to Turner Ashby set school records for free-throws made in a game (22), attempted in a game (24), attempted in a season (329) and made in a season (242). He averaged 22.8 points, five rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while making 74% from the charity stripe, including 83% in his last 10 games.

Josh Hayden, Goochland, Sr.

The 6-foot-4 senior forward for the Bulldogs scored 24 points in an overtime win over eventual Group 1A State Champion Altavista and finished in double-figures in 19 games, 12 of them being victories. A Second Team All-State pick by the VHSCA and Second Team All-Region in 2A-East, Hayden was selected to play in the VHSCA All-Star Game in Lynchburg this July. He averaged 15.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game while converting 45% of his field goal attempts and making a team-high 22 three-pointers.

Noah Walker, Virginia, Sr.

Dubbed Skywalker by some, the 6-foot-5 transfer from Tazewell brought a different level of leaping ability to the table for a Bearcats team that finished 20-7 overall and made it to the regional semifinals. Walker went over 1000 points in his high-flying career with a number of stellar performances, such as posting 13 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in a 78-62 win over Graham in the regional quarterfinals and a double-double of 26 points and 15 boards in beating Union. He was chosen Second Team All-State by the VHSCA and First Team All-Clinch Mountain Conference.

John Shelor, Giles, Sr.

Setting a single-season scoring average at Giles, Shelor eclipsed 1000 points in his career and was an easy choice for First Team All-Region in 2A-West as well as Second Team All-State by the VHSCA. He was named the Narrows Tournament MVP, pumping in 25 points in a victory over the Green Wave. In an 83-77 win at Glenvar in the regular season finale, Shelor poured in 35 points, one of several noteworthy individual performances he enjoyed on the campaign. His 33 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the foul line, 10 rebounds and five assists in a 69-61 victory over Graham stood out, too.

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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