Monday, March 5, 2018

MIAA Boys' Basketball Player of the Year Watchlist: 3/5/18

Needham's Thomas Shaughnessy finishes at the rim against Arlington.   Photo by Eamon Convey.
 By SuiteSports Staff 

As the MIAA Basketball State Tournament begins to heat up, a number of the premiere players in Massachusetts have started to leave their mark on the hardwood.

Across the state, a bevy of players have turned in dominant performances, single-handedly willing their teams to victory.

Only a handful, however, have done it consistently from the season's beginning to where the season stands today.

With that said, SuiteSports is excited to introduce our updated "MIAA Boys Basketball Player of the Year Watchlist" for the 2017-18 season. These six players have proven to be the best in Massachusetts all season long, carrying their teams to the verge of a sectional championship, and the ability to contend for a state championship.

As the tournament goes on, more names may emerge as contenders for this year's award.

Here is SuiteSports' current watchlist:

Thomas Shaughnessy, Sr., G, Needham

Come crunch time, there is no one better with the ball in their hands than Needham's Thomas Shaughnessy. Shaughnessy has a habit of rising to the occasion either with a deep, back-breaking three-pointer or with a strong drive to the basket. When not looking to score, Shaughnessy is a dangerous facilitator, driving through the lane before kicking out to three-point marksmen like Brandon Monehiemer and Will Dorion.

Defensively, Shaughnessy is the Rockets' vocal leader providing energy and helping to fuel Needham's 1-3-1 zone defense. For the second consecutive season, Shaughnessy has led the Rockets to the Division 1 South Sectional Semi-Finals. On the year, Shaughnessy is averaging 22 points, six assists, and four rebounds per game.

Ethan Wright, Sr., G, Newton North

Every time Ethan Wright appears to have done it all, he tops goes one step further. Whether it be a step back three-pointer or a thunderous one-handed slam, Wright continues to prove that he is one of the top players in all of Massachusetts, regardless of the level. Using his athleticism, Wright is able to elevate above opposing defenders both for offensive put backs and for his jump shot.

The Tigers lost Chris Matthews at the start of the season, putting more pressure on Wright to lead the offense. Wright has proven to be more than up to the challenge. In the waning moments of Newton North's sectional quarterfinal matchup with Bridgewater-Raynham, Wright converted a four-point play to push the Tigers lead up to five and seal the win. Wright is averaging over 25 points per game and has guided the Tigers to another appearance in the Division 1 South sectional semifinals.

Alex Rivera, Sr., G, Lowell

When it comes to pure scorers, Alex Rivera is at the top of the list in Massachusetts. Rivera has Lowell back on the map as one of the premiere contenders in Division 1 North making the Red Raiders an immediate state wide contender as soon as he takes the floor. What makes Rivera so dynamic is his ability to shoot of the dribble, both pulling up from beyond the arc and for a step back mid range jumper.

Rivera has had multiple highlight reel performances this season, including 42 points against Lynn English to send Lowell to the Division 1 North Sectional Semi-Finals.

Chris Doherty, Sr., F, Marlboro

While most of the top talents in Massachusetts can be found at the guard position, Marlboro's Chris Doherty has emerged as one of the areas most notable forwards and big men. A Notre Dame commit, Doherty has improved not only his ability to dominate opponents in the paint, but his midrange game as well.

On the season, Doherty is averaging 19.7 points per game, which includes a 33-point showing in a 60-59 overtime win for the Panthers over Wachusett on February 9th.

Hason Ward, Jr., F/C, Springfield Central

A breakout star this season, Hason Ward has sent Springfield Central to the top of the list among Division 1 contenders. Standing at six-foot-nine, Ward overpowers opposing defenders in the post while providing to be a intimidating presence on the defensive end of the floor. Arguably the best rim protector in the state, Ward has had games of double digit blocks on multiple occasions this year, including a 22-block performance against Weaver (Conn.) earlier this season.

Offensively, meanwhile, Ward is averaging 11 points per game. His top scoring performances are an 18-point showing in a win over Newton North on January 15th, and a 17-point output against Amherst to close out a perfect regular season for Springfield Central.

Luis Reynoso, Jr., G, Lawrence 

When it comes to getting out in transition Lawrence's Luis Reynoso is as dangerous as they come. Reynoso has an ability to score going to the basket, off the catch, and off the dribble. He wears opponents down with his length, quickness, and athleticism, blowing by opposing guards for easy baskets around the rim.

Down low, Reynoso uses his strength to bully himself into the lane. At the other of the floor Reynoso has proved capable of guarding all five positions on the floor. In Lawrence's biggest game of the year to date against St. John's Prep, Reynoso showed off his wide array of talents going for 33 points and 10 rebounds.

1 comment :

indianhoop said...

I'd add McCoy from Mansfield.