Quentin Millora-Brown, South County–It’s nice that we get to sing this guy’s praises one more time. If we did a NOVA MVP regardless of class Millora-Brown would probably be it. The center impressed not just with his ability to dominate the paint, but also with his cerebral approach to the game. He racked up points, rebounds, blocks, steals and perhaps most impressively, assists, on his way to leading South County to its first state title. In the win over Western Branch in Richmond, Millora-Brown stunned that school’s supporters with his dominance, scoring 13 points, ripping down 17 rebounds, and registering eight assists. Will attend Rice in the Fall.
Jordan Miller, Loudoun Valley–Miller didn’t score as much as last year but the George Mason commit clearly improved his senior season. He developed more shooting range and was more efficient from the free throw line, still averaging almost 20 a game for the Vikings. He excelled at drawing defensive coverage to him and finding one of his hot-shooting teammates open on the perimeter or elsewhere. Played some good defense as well, both down low and on the perimeter. We’re so excited at Miller staying local to play at GMU next year–he will bring a likable personality and a strong work ethic to Fairfax.
Brandon Slater, Paul VI–Ended up missing a lot of February with a broken hand but returned late to help Paul VI win a state title. Kind of played a similar role to Miller on another guard-oriented team–asked to do dirty work down low as well as pull more traditional shooting guard roles. Averaged almost 15 points a game on the year, again scoring inside and out and thriving in the Panthers’ up-tempo attack. Long guard uses his length and reach to get in passing lanes and attack the rim like no one in the area can. Silky-smooth and versatile with a high motor, Slater will play for National Champion Villanova next year.
Zyan Collins, Freedom-South Riding–Explosive guard was Potomac District POY. The school’s all-time scoring leader, Collins contributed in a lot of ways on the court for the Eagles. First and foremost he could score, averaging around 18 points a game. He was strong on the boards and could contribute double-digit rebounds when his team needed it most, such as when talented center Hunter Oakford was hurt. He also often was a presence on defense, simply taking the ball from opponents who weren’t prepared for his deceptive strength. Can shoot from the arc and did so pretty well but probably was most dangerous attacking the paint.
Xavier Johnson, O’Connell–Guard was WCAC Player of the Year, which tells you something about this guy’s 2017-2018 level of play. A lightning-quick point guard, Johnson can attack small gaps in the defense before the opposition even realizes they’re there. Can hit the three-pointer but makes his living attacking the rim and either dishing to a shooter or finishing himself. Has the foot speed to be a very good or elite defender at the next level. Shoots over 80% from the line. De-committed from Nebraska when the guy who recruited him there left for UConn, but will make a decision soon on his DI destination.
Ike Onwuka, Patriot–The POY in a district that was stacked with impressive seniors through and through, Onwuka seemed to get better and the year wore on. A star running back on the football team, Onwuka’s athleticism was hard for anyone to come close to, let alone match. The strong and explosive guard led Patriot to a regular season Cedar Run title, scoring over 20 points in huge games with talented Osbourn and Battlefield. Kid’s athleticism and ball-handling stand out on the highlight reels, but Onwuka also has a pretty nice jump shot and good range on it. Fellow seniors and teammates Jay Villani and Drake Marshall merit a mention here–both are deserving of making one of these teams.
Jordan Gibson, Stonewall Jackson–6’5″ shooting guard finished out his high school career with a flourish, tallying 30 points in each of his team’s last three games. He’s a scorer with great size who can be almost impossible to guard at the HS level. Smooth in transition and an excellent shooter, Gibson flourishes on offense in both the half-court and on the break. His length is a great asset defensively. Presbyterian commit can do a lot of things well but let’s face it, his beautiful jump shot is what makes this kid special.
Braeden Johnson, Oakton–It’s been fun watching this guy’s evolution. Another guy who didn’t score really any more than he did last year, Johnson’s overall game nonetheless took a step forward in 2017-2018. It wasn’t a coincidence Oakton basketball did too. Johnson remains a deadly shooter from the arc with great size, but he’s also clearly improved the other facets of his game since he first made his varsity mark as an underclassman. He got a better feel of how to get his talented teammates involved on offense, and his increased foot speed and physical strength helped him to achieve more on defense and on the boards this season. Will play at Johns Hopkins next year.
Brayden Gault, Battlefield–Battlefield is flush with talent, but when it’s time to win big games against very good teams it was almost always Gault who led the way for the Bobcats. 6’4″ guard-forward can certainly hit the three-pointer but was also proficient at getting clutch buckets inside. Scored 32 points against Hylton and 29 against Wakefield in the Warriors’ Holiday Tourney. Came up big in playoff wins over Marshall and Hayfield, and scored 24 in a loss to state champ South County in the state semi-final. Will play for Belmont Abbey next year.
Devon Flowers, The Potomac School–The Potomac big man was extremely impressive in his final high school season. The 6’9″ forward scored in double figures every game he played in, getting to the line on average around eight to nine times a game. He showed increased range on his jumper as a senior, which helped open up his deceptively quick moves to the basket from the high post and beyond. A good athlete, Flowers recently de-committed from Loyola (MD) and will play Division I elsewhere. He’s getting significant CAA, Patriot and some A-10 interest.
Brian Cobbs, Hayfield–The football superstar will play that sport at the University of Maryland next year. Tons of respect to Cobbs for treating us to a show on the hardwood in the meantime. The guard-forward led the regional runner-up Hawks in scoring at around 18 a game, also making an impact on the boards and on defense. Obviously a good athlete, Cobbs was a natural fit in the Hawks’ up-tempo attack and also good for a couple steals a game. It is absolutely scary to think how good this guy might have been if he concentrated on basketball year-round. But we can’t blame him one iota–he’s simply awesome on the football field.
A’Mari Cooper, Wakefield–We’re so used to Cooper’s amazing dunks that when teammate Jared Watkins had an incredible one in the state final, we initially Tweeted out it was Cooper purely through habit. The forward’s athleticism is obviously his bread and butter, but the senior’s game progressed in many other facets this year. He got to the line a ton more and was able to finish through contact much better with his increased strength. He continued to improve his shooting and range and impressively knew when it was appropriate to concentrate on defense and let talented teammates like Chris Warner, Ben Horsford and Robert Starkey handle the scoring.
Marquis Washington, Edison–We’re going to miss a lot of kids around here next year though maybe none more than Washington. This guard plays the game the right way. Averaged 20 a game but upped his output considerably for the regional and state tournaments, where he averaged 26 ppg in five contests. Can hit the occasional three-pointer and did, but Washington is revered around the area for his ability to control the boards and hang with way bigger players on defense down low. Somebody needs to sign this kid to their team to play basketball.
Marcus Stephens, Hylton–Guard quietly went about his business, averaging 20 points a game and leading the Bulldogs to a nice season. Scored a career-high 34 points in a win over Patriot where he got to the line 17 times. Was one of the area’s better three-point shooters, averaging close to three made treys a game. Not afraid to shoot the mid-range jumper when appropriate and take it to the rack. Knows how to get his hands in passing lanes–careless passes around this kid are a big mistake. Stephens will play for St. Thomas Aquinas next season.
Darius Hines, Bishop Ireton–Another NOVA under-appreciated gem. Point guard excelled against some of the toughest competition in the country, averaging around 15 points a game. Kid has great footwork and extremely strong fundamentals. Knows how to use the pump and head fake to get defenders in the air and then bury the long or mid-range jump shot. Great passer and defender who is well aware how to get teammates involved. Used to getting the ball up the court against tough, athletic pressure (and with a shot clock). Come get ’em, colleges!
Greg Rowson, Robinson–He’s not a flashy player, he’s just a really, really good one. Small forward averaged almost 20 a game, scoring inside and out for the Rams. A good shooter and an excellent free throw shooter, Rowson also surprises opponents with his solid athleticism. Perfectly willing to do the dirty work inside and fight and work hard on defense. One of the hardest workers around, Rowson will continue his basketball career at Mary Washington.
Alex Bailey, Tuscarora–The school’s all-time leading scorer, Bailey averaged almost 17 points a game for the Huskies, all the while piling up assists to his able teammates. A scoring point guard, Bailey was known around the region for his heady play and converting floater after floater in the lane. A threat from long range, Bailey hit five three-pointers in back-to-back games in December.
Matt Urbach, Woodson–JMU signee had a very good senior year for the Cavs, averaging around 15 a game. A fantastic athlete who can attack the rim with ease, Urbach was adept at creating something out of nothing on offense when Woodson needed it most. Despite being an off-guard he’s good at creating off the dribble and a good shooter to boot. Game might translate even better to the next level than in high school. Always a threat to pick one’s pockets and go coast-to-coast.
Derrick Hopkins, Woodbridge–The tall small forward had a fantastic season for the Vikings, averaging around 19 points a game. Has a back-to-the-basket arsenal but seemed much more comfortable operating as a big guard, attacking the rim on pick and rolls and from the perimeter. Could absolutely dominate on the boards on occasion, achieving double figures in rebounds far more often than not. Scored 37 points and ripped down 17 boards in a game versus Green Run and had 29 in a regional victory over West Potomac. Will play at Washington Adventist next year.
Jaylen Williams, Potomac–A fringe rotation player as a junior, Williams had a memorable season for the Panthers which culminated in co-district POY honors with Stephens. Williams led the team in scoring at around 15 a game and filled up the stat sheet in other areas as well. The point guard dished out assists and was a strong contributor on the glass, yanking down rebounds and getting his team in transition immediately. A very tough defender as well, Williams did just about everything necessary for a Potomac team beset by injuries.
HONORABLE MENTION–Emmanuel Aghayere, South Lakes, Chris Ozgo (Washington-Lee), Nick Pullum (Potomac), Aaron Darab (Madison), Gabe Kier (West Springfield), Ben Kling (Stone Bridge), Joseph Lampman (Marshall), Matt Becht (O’Connell), Isaiah Moore (Flint Hill), Mike Grimes (Potomac School), Dom Bailey (SSSA), Ryan Wheatley (John Paul the Great), Jordan White (Christ Chapel), Drake Marshall (Patriot), Nate Spurlock (Woodson), Connor Withers (Osbourn), Donovan Breeding (Osbourn), Damon Johnson (South Lakes), Andrew Powers (South Lakes), Chase Beckett (Langley), Colter Carton (Langley), KC Colbert (Fairfax), Sean Senft (McLean), Matt Deily (Washington-Lee), Matt Coulam (Yorktown), Davis Patterson (Yorktown), Corey Myers (Herndon), Joel Varone (Herndon), Jake Digby (Oakton), Johnny Hecht (Madison), Damon Koskovich (Madison), Jon Tammaro (Chantilly), Caleb Emeogo (Centreville), DJ Gregory (Westfield), Aaron Opoku (Westfield), Jay Villani (Patriot), Antonio Warner (Stonewall), Dashad Mason (Stonewall), Nathan Waddy (Stonewall), Will Bounds (Battlefield), Grant Yates (Battlefield), Julian Washington (Battlefield), Grant Esteridge (Battlefield), Ahdonis Turay (Osbourn Park), Jordan Rogers (Hylton), John Muange (Woodbridge), Shaheed Muhammad (Woodbridge), Rodney Graves (Colgan), Kaeleb Carter (Colgan), Christian White (Gar-Field), Ed Jones (Freedom-Woodbridge), Kobi Johnson (Forest Park), Stanley Adjei (West Potomac), Elisha Amoako (Mount Vernon), Jason Lewis (Mount Vernon), Jonathan Hollingsworth (Mount Vernon), Luke Jones (Hayfield), Cameron Campbell (TC Williams), Matt McKiver (Annandale), Seth Dunn (South County), Branden Powe (South County), Noah Dunn (Lake Braddock), Anthony Douglas (Robinson), Hunter Oakford (FSR), Cleo Green (FSR), Jeremy Cofield (FSR), Henry Okoye (Tuscarora), James Diluigi (Stone Bridge), Sterling Anthony (Potomac Falls), Willie Jordan (Broad Run), Stephen Payne (Broad Run), Andrew Arbore (Champe), Keshav Bhakta (Rock Ridge), Ryan Robinson (Marshall), Dmitri Gamble (Marshall), Ben Horsford (Wakefield), Shurland Williams (Edison), Alex Hussein (Stuart), Noah Barnes (Jefferson), Jalen Williams (Loudoun Valley), Dom Peterson (Loudoun Valley), Owen Fuller (Woodgrove), Zach Cunningham (Woodgrove), Cameron Corbett (Loudoun County), Jason Odom (Riverside), Matt O’Flavahan (Dominion), Anish Chatterjee (George Mason), Miles Latimer (PVI), Zach Pfaffenberger (Episcopal), Connor Withers (Osbourn), Donovan Breeding (Osbourn), Brad Harner (Brentsville), Matthew Maribojoc (Jefferson)