2014 MSA Sports Boys Basketball All-Netters
Sunday, March 23, 2014 | 10:35 AM
Two teams that won WPIAL championships this season each have two players on the MSA Sports All-Netters boys basketball all-star team.
New Castle won the WPIAL Class AAAA championship and Lincoln Park the Class A title. They each have a duo on the team, which is picked by the MSA Sports Staff. The All-Netters squad (first- and second-teams) are made up of the top 10 players in the WPIAL, regardless of position.
The teams also includes three juniors and one sophomore. Introducing the 2014 All-Netters team.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
MALIK HOOKER, NEW CASTLE
6-1, Senior, Guard-forward
Hooker has a future in football. He is signed to play football at Ohio State. But he also was one of the most talented basketball players in Western Pennsylvania.
“He’s the best athlete I’ve ever seen at New Castle,” said New Castle basketball coach Ralph Blundo.
Actually, Hooker is one of the best athletes in the state this season. Hooker led New Castle to its third consecutive WPIAL championship. The Red Hurricanes also won every title with an undefeated record, a feat unequaled in the history of WPIAL basketball. Hooker scored 13 points in helping the Red Hurricane cap off the first undefeated boys basketball season in 31 years with a victory over LaSalle College in the PIAA Class AAAA state championship game Saturday night in Hershey.
His tremendous athletic ability allowed Hooker to play on the inside and outside for New Castle. Many thought if he wasn’t playing college football, he would be a low Division I prospect in basketball. Much of the Red Hurricanes’ offense ran through him and coaches voted him the No. 1 player in Class AAAA Section 3. He is averaging 22.3 points a game, but he is also a force on the boards for New Castle and an excellent passer. He was a three-year starter and finished with more than 1,000 points.
RYAN LUTHER, HAMPTON
6-8, Senior, Forward
Luther was the most heavily recruited senior in the WPIAL. He signed with Pitt in November, choosing the Panthers over Dayton and Duquesne.
Luther helped Hampton to great success over the past few years. A varsity player since his freshman year, Luther finished as the leading scorer at the school with over 1,900 points. He and his twin brother, Collin, were a brother combination for the ages. Collin also scored over 1,000 points. In fact, two other older siblings (Bill Jr. and Jodie) also scored over 1,000 points, making the Luthers only the second family in WPIAL history to have four siblings with 1,000 points.
This year, Ryan averaged 21.8 points a game in leading Hampton to a runner-up spot to New Castle in WPIAL Class AAAA for the second year in a row. In Ryan’s sophomore year, Hampton lost to New Castle in the AAA championship. Ryan is tall enough to do damage on the inside, but also possesses the skill to step outside and make 3-pointers.
KASON HARRELL, HEMPFIELD
6-3, Junior, Guard
Many consider Harrell the top college prospect in the WPIAL class of 2015. Some Division I colleges already are interested.
Harrell started as a freshman and averaged 15.5 points a game. He averaged 16.6 as a sophomore, and raised the averaged to 23.4 points a game this season. A strong guard with good athleticism, Harrell helped Hempfield win the Class AAAA Section 1 title for the third year in a row. He scored his 1,000th point in mid-January.
MATT McCONNELL, CHARTIERS VALLEY
6-1, Junior, Guard
The younger brother of University of Arizona guard T.J. McConnell, Matt is making a name for himself. He is a versatile guard who averaged 21.8 points a game for a Chartiers Valley team that made it to the WPIAL Class AAA final for the second year in a row.
Matt did a little of everything for Chartiers Valley and had some gigantic games this year, including one with a quadruple double of 46 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals. He made 11 3-pointers in the game. Matt reached 1,000 points in early February.
DALE CLANCY, SETON-LaSALLE
5-9, Senior, Guard
Clancy moves in three speeds – fast, faster and uncatchable. A senior point guard, he was one of the main reasons Seton-LaSalle won its first WPIAL title since 1989. The Rebels finished as the runner-up in the state tournament after losing by two points in the PIAA Class AA title game Saturday.
Clancy is averaging 15.2 points a game. He has good bloodlines on his side. Former Pitt basketball star and NFL player Sam Clancy is his uncle. Dale has not decided on a college yet.
ANTHONY RICHARDS, NEW CASTLE
5-8, Senior, Guard
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to call Richards one of the best shooters in the WPIAL over the past 25 years. He has 303 career 3-pointers and is only the fourth player in WPIAL history to have 300. The others are Highlands’ Micah Mason, Chartiers Valley’s T.J. McConnell and Chartiers Valley’s Mike Colbert.
Richards has helped New Castle to an undefeated season and the schools first PIAA state championship. He is averaging 12 points game and went over 1,000 late in the regular season. He is a hard-nosed player. New Castle coach Ralph Blundo has called him the toughest kid he has coached. Richards will play next season at West Virginia Wesleyan.
JULIAN BATTS, JEANNETTE
5-11, Junior, Guard
Batts is considered among the top point guards in the WPIAL. Playing for his father, Jeannette coach Adrian Batts, Julian averaged 22.2 points a game while leading Jeannette to a WPIAL Class AA playoff spot. Batts is a good athlete.
Batts is also was Jeannette’s starting quarterback in football. Batts went over 1,000 career points this season.
MAVERICK ROWAN, LINCOLN PARK
6-7, Sophomore, Guard
Rowan had an excellent regular season, but has taken his game to a new level in the postseason. In eight games (WPIAL and PIAA), he is averaging 30 points and has helped Lincoln Park win the PIAA Class A championship game with a game high 37 points in the finals. Overall, Rowan is averaging 26 points.
Although he is only a sophomore, Rowan already has reached 1,000 points. He is believed to reach 1,000 faster than any other player in WPIAL history, with the exception of former Valley star Tom Pipkins, the WPIAL’s all-time leading scorer.
Rowan accepted a scholarship to Pitt before the season started.
ELIJAH MINNIE, LINCOLN PARK
6-8, Senior, Forward
Minnie was full of highlight-reel plays this season. He is an athletic forward who wows people with his dunks. But Minnie is more than that. He averages a double for the WPIAL Class A champion. For the season, Minnie is averaging 16 points a game.
Minnie has not decided on a college yet. A few Division I schools are showing interest.
CAMERON JOHNSON, OUR LADY OF THE SACRED HEART
6-6, Senior, Guard
Johnson led the charge for the Chargers this season. He grew 3-4 inches since last season and his talent grew also. He was one of the leading scorers in the WPIAL at 26.9 points a game. He is a tall, slender point guard with a nice outside shot, but also displayed the ability to drive to the basket. Johnson is the younger brother of former Moon standout, Aaron Johnson.
Johnson has not decided on a college. He had a few Division I scholarship offers.
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