G. Trent Dawson, Loudoun Valley
G. Marcus Dockery, O’Connell
G. Josiah Freeman, Paul VI
F. William Wilson, South County
F. Garrett Johnson, Oakton
Landon Hawes, Potomac Falls; Xavier Lipscomb, Saint Stephen’s & St. Agnes; Lance Johnson, Freedom-South Riding; Jared Clawson, Edison; Ethan Wilson, Osbourn Park; Isaiah Folkes, Stonewall Jackson; Daniel Peterson, Hayfield; Daniel Mbangue, Fairfax
On this talented team of guards, we’d be perfectly content to let Trent Dawson of Loudoun Valley set things up for everyone. His value to the Vikings was apparent as his team captured yet another Dulles District regular season title. Very difficult to guard because of his ball-handling ability and constant motion, Dawson got into the lane almost at will in 2018-2019. The Region 4C co-Player of the Year was perfectly content to set up teammates on the drive and kick, but also scored as needed. A good shooter from the line and the arc, Dawson blistered Heritage for 31 points and Park View for 25 in late January.
Or, we could have Dawson play shooting guard with University of Maryland commit Marcus Dockery running the point. Dockery had a strong season for O’Connell. The guard didn’t blow up the stat sheets, scoring around 12 a game on the deep and talented Knights, but his impact on the team was obvious. He excelled at manipulating defenses and setting up shots for others. Dockery could score much more if he wanted to. He’s got a smooth perimeter shot and he is able to reverse directions in an amazingly compact area despite his length. Maryland was indeed fortunate to secure the savvy guard’s commitment early.
South County loses a good senior class this year, but the Stallions will remain a contender next season. One big reason for that is William Wilson. On a team full of offensive weapons Wilson often did the most damage. A small forward, Wilson consistently used his athleticism to attack the rim in a heartbeat from the perimeter. With Wilson’s blend of speed and physical strength, opponents were left with little choice but to foul to slow him down. He also was more than capable of burying the three-pointer and allowed his team to go small if necessary with his ability to crash the boards. The 6’4″ junior was an all-region selection and could be an absolute star next year.
Josiah Freeman of Paul VI is another wing with good size and strength. He’s got a really nice jump shot from three-point range first and foremost–a shot that translates well to the next level. A second team all-WCAC selection, Freeman averaged around 11 points a game for the Panthers. He’s known as a shooter but has gotten much better at all aspects of his game in the past year, to include ball-handling and attacking the rim. If that continues look out. Really, look out regardless. Freeman scored 55 points in back-to-back PVI wins in January and already has offers from schools like Old Dominion and George Mason.
Add Garrett Johnson of Oakton (transferring to Episcopal) to this mix and we would challenge you to find a better shooting starting five almost anywhere. Johnson, a tall wing, can certainly bury the three like he did six times against Langley. He can really do damage by getting to the line, where he converts at a better-than 80% clip. Oakton had a lot of solid talent last year but the Cougars pretty much went as Johnson did. When he scored 17 or points or more the Cougars were 11-2. When he didn’t they were 2-8. A hard worker, Johnson is a Division I prospect because of his size and willingness to work hard in the offseason.
On the “bench” is a ridiculous stable of guards capable of starting virtually anywhere in NOVA. One is Xavier Lipscomb of SSSA. Don’t get hung up that we’re not “starting” Xavier–Saints coach Mike Jones considers him one of the best guards in the area regardless of class. We agree. The all-VISAA and IAC selection is a pure point, keenly aware of when it’s time to distribute and when it’s time to take over. He attacks the rim well, whether it’s with no hesitation or a delayed Euro and he is good with either hand. His ball-handling and defense is excellent. American University recently offered Lipscomb and we expect lots more schools to be in on him shortly. He’s great, and with SSSA losing an outstanding senior class expect Lipscomb to dominate more next year.
We had Landon Hawes of Potomac Falls next to Dawson in the starting lineup until we remembered Dockery isn’t graduating yet. The two play AAU with one another and are both coaches’ sons. Hawes, a shooting guard with great size, was a huge factor in the Falls’ undefeated regular season. He averaged around 17 points a game, extremely impressive on a Panthers team with a lot of talent. When he was on from outside, such as when he buried seven threes against Champe, he was a nightmare to guard. When he wasn’t on from outside, he used his intelligence and athleticism to attack the hoop and get to the line. With a good senior class including brother Hayden gone this year, opponents will have to concentrate on stopping Landon first and foremost next year. Easier said than done.
Lance Johnson of Freedom would be a great fit on this team. The rugged 6’6″ forward was a first team all-Region selection and a major factor in his team’s run to the Class Five state title game. We love him because he really does everything pretty well. He can shoot, bang inside, play defense at multiple positions–you name it. He’s content to do the dirty work in the background but can also take over a game as necessary, such as when he went for 25 points and 13 boards against Stone Bridge. A fantastic athlete who can change the momentum of a game with a dunk or block, Johnson really needs to only improve a smidgen from the free throw line and the arc to put up absurd offensive numbers. He’s clearly a guy that cares about his team winning more than numbers, though.
Jared Clawson of Edison quietly went about his business just being awesome this season. He of the deadly cross-over dribble often made opponents look foolish with that move and others, creating space between him and his defender seemingly effortlessly. With both the ability to attack the rim and a nice jumper with range, Clawson had some big scoring games for the Eagles. The most notable one was when he scored 36 in the Virginia Preps Classic in January, hitting seven three-pointers. If you have a young guard learning the game, Clawson would be a good guy for him to watch. He’s another one of NOVA’s under-the-radar gems.
Speaking of big scoring games, guard Ethan Wilson of Osbourn Park delivered a few of those this year, to say the least. We were aware of him before the season, but he made everyone fully aware of him when he dropped 76 points in two consecutive games at the Governor’s Challenge after Christmas. After that to say he got attention from opposing defenses would be a tremendous understatement. Wilson handled it well. With an electric first step and long range, he is another guy who will do what it takes to win. This AAU season he’s getting more experience running the point. By refining those skills, Wilson will continue to get offers to play at the next level.
We probably shouldn’t have saved so many ultra-talented combo guards for the “bench” but this class is loaded with them. Isaiah Folkes of Stonewall Jackson is yet another. He’s made a significant impact at the varsity level for three straight years now. This season he made a ridiculous impact, averaging around 20 points a game and plaguing opponents in a variety of ways. He can really do a little of everything, and does. If he doesn’t pick your pockets he’ll grab a defensive board and go coast-to-coast. Never afraid of the moment he delivers in the clutch more often than naught, such as when he hit a 37-foot game winner against Osbourn. Much taller now than when he was a freshman, Folkes should draw legitimate Division I interest shortly, if he hasn’t already.
We need more height on this team, so thank goodness for Daniel Peterson of Hayfield. The tall forward displayed an impressive inside-outside game for the Hawks this season. Peterson did damage inside in the post, but also was a weapon from outside. With three-point range, he scored from the arc both in half-court sets and as the trailer in transition. It says something that with a roster loaded with talent we saw the Hawks make a concerted effort to get the ball to Peterson late, in close-game situations. Very intelligent and a good passer, the Hawks can run their half-court sets through Peterson next year if they so choose. Even if they don’t, they have a double-double guy in Peterson regardless.
If it seems like we honor somebody from the Fairfax Rebels every year in the Class of 2020 All-NOVA space, it’s because we do. Two years ago we honored Chase Ackerman, last year Josh Abtew, this year Daniel Mbangue. We love Mbangue for many reasons, but were especially impressed with Mbangue’s defensive versatility this season. The tall guard defended at least three or four positions for the smallish Rebels and did a really good job of it. We saw him get five steals on at least two occasions this year–picking the pockets of both talented point guards and post players. The team MVP of the 18-win Rebels, Mbangue did it all and provided several big scoring performances. He’s one to watch in 2019-2020, as really are all the Rebels soon-to-be seniors.
Again, we’re embarrassed by not writing up some of the Honorable Mention talent that can match up just fine with some of guys above. Anthony Reyes of Washington-Lee could start for this team. Guards DJ Slaughter and Coretez Lewis of JPTG put up some good numbers this year and will put up ridiculous ones next year. There’s a decent amount of Division I private school talent (Jamel Melvin, Andre Screen, Tymu Chenery etc.) in Honorable Mention as well. Congrats to all!
Jared Cross (St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes), Lamumba Howard (St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes), Anthony Reyes (Washington-Lee), Max Geiseman (Washington-Lee), Marino Dias (Washington-Lee), Tymu Chenery (Episcopal), Jack Fitzpatrick (Episcopal), DJ Slaughter (John Paul the Great), Coretez Lewis (John Paul the Great), Latief Mustafaa (John Paul the Great), Chase Ackerman (Fairfax), Josh Abtew (Fairfax), Ricky Peters (Fairfax), Anthony Daniels (Mount Vernon), Ricardo Ross (T.C. Williams), Jack Fricka (West Potomac), Ethan Payne (West Potomac), Joseph Dagbe (South Lakes), Jerome Scott (South Lakes), Jalen Coker (Potomac Falls), Aaron Queen (Wakefield), Tanner LaPlante (Robinson), Cody Kellem (South County), Xa’Vian Myles (South County), Jaden Ignacio (Edison), Aidan Stroup (Yorktown), Jordan Radford (Battlefield), Yusuf Salih (Patriot), Declan McCarthy (Stonewall Jackson), Tre Vasiliadis (Langley), Quentin Hart (Herndon), Lysander Rehnstrom (Herndon), Max Wilson (Oakton), Chris Miers (Chantilly), James Pogorelc (Chantilly), Lance Douglas (Centreville), Caron Forde (Freedom-Woodbridge), Vershon Lee (Freedom-Woodbridge), Kevin Johnson (Forest Park), Aidan Clark (Briar Woods), Will Shin (Briar Woods), Holden Phillips (Briar Woods), Isaiah Rhodes (Stone Bridge), Robbie Kemmerer (Freedom-South Riding), Angelo Easter (Freedom-South Riding), Tyler Savage (Champe), Caleb Whitaker (Lee), Alex Yu (Jefferson), Caleb Botts (Falls Church), Matt Anderson (Loudoun County), Beau Everett (Riverside), Simon Weeren (Riverside), Brock Redman (Woodgrove), Tyler Blizzard (Woodgrove), Sam Shelton (Dominion), Adam Thomas (Dominion), Will Paige (Paul VI), Sese Mobutu (Bishop Ireton), Dowar Jioklow (Flint Hill), Justice Ellison (Flint Hill), Noel Brown (Flint Hill), Jamel Melvin (Potomac School), Andre Screen (St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes), Cam Hatcher (Virginia Academy), Jahvon John (Virginia Academy), Amir Nesbitt (Virginia Academy), Theodore Gadsden (O’Connell), Jahmal Banks (O’Connell), Clyde Volker (Loudoun Valley)