By Chris McCarthy/Editor
Literally and figuratively, two players stood head and shoulders above the competition in local boys high school basketball this past season.
Westbrook Christian’s Colin Edwards and Hokes Bluff’s Isaac Haas shot, scored, dunked, rebounded and blocked their way to being named co-Players of the Year of the 2013-14 All-Messenger team.
A 6’5” senior forward and the 2011-12 and 2012-13 All-Messenger Player of the Year, Edwards averaged 18.5 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.6 blocks while helping the Warriors go 24-5, win the area championship and make it to the Northeast Regional Tournament finals for the first time in program history.
“I’ve never coached a player that can do as many things for a team as Colin does for us,” said Westbrook boys basketball coach Seth Ford. “There’s not a role we had that he didn’t do for us, from scoring to rebounding to playing point guard when we needed him to do that. Colin also was our biggest game-changer on defense with his shot blocking ability. We definitely were a different team out there without him on defense because he protected the rim so well. Colin is one of those kids that has as good character as anyone you’ll find. He’s extremely unselfish kid who thinks of others first.”
A 7-2 senior center, Haas led the Eagles to a 27-6 record, the county and area tournament titles and a berth in the regional tournament for the first time in school history. Along the way, Haas recorded 20.5 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.4 blocks per game. He signed a scholarship with Purdue University in November and recently participated in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game at Jackson State.
“I think everyone who saw him in the 7th grade knew Isaac was going to be a tall kid, but what surprised me is how much he’s developed his skills,” said Hokes Bluff boys basketball coach Greg Watkins. “That goes back to his hard work. You can be a 7-footer and just collect dust, but Isaac’s worked to the point where his feet and his hands are really good. I give [assistant coach] Jeff Noah a ton of credit for that. He worked with Isaac for four years as a post coach, and he’s helped developed Isaac a great deal.”
“Joining Edwards and Haas on The Messenger’s All-Area first team are Gadsden City senior center Chris Turk, Etowah senior forward Jordon Powell and Southside junior forward Saige Benson.
As the man in the middle for the Titans this season, the 6’4” Turk set school records with 18.9 points and 11.1 rebounds per game while helping GCHS go 20-6 and make it to the subregional round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
Powell was a key part of the 2013-14 Blue Devils, averaging just shy of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds per game. The Attalla squad went 22-4 while winning the area championship and qualifying for the regional tournament for the first time in eight years.
Benson tallied 14.2 points and 13.4 rebounds for a Panther squad that posted an 18-6 record and made it to the Class 5A subregional round. SHS head coach Chad Holderfield noted that Benson might have broken the school record for rebounds in a single season.
The All-Messenger second team features Gadsden City senior guard Tevin Wise (10 points, 6.5 assists, 5.6 rebounds per game), Gadsden City senior guard Chris Dudley (13.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists per game), Hokes Bluff senior guard Brack Shields (8.2 points, 3.4 assists, 77 percent free throw percentage), Etowah senior guard Trey Brown (12 points, six rebounds per game) and Gaston junior guard Albert Douglas (12.7 points, 90 percent free throw average).
Honorable mention selections were Etowah senor forward Jay Whiteside, Hokes Bluff sophomore guard Kaden Moore, Westbrook sophomore guard Kyle Leonard, Sardis senior guard Will Scott and Southside senior forward Drew Mullinax.
Editor’s note: The All-Messenger team is comprised of players whose schools submitted 2013-14 season statistics.