PREP FOCUS: Desire, not size, characterizes PIL's top five boys, girls
Hard work prevailed for members of the Portland Tribune's seventh annual All-City basketball teams from the Portland Interscholastic League.
The five boys and girls chosen stood above their peers in effort and performance much more so than in height.
The boys picked from PIL 6A and 5A teams average 6-1, and none of the elite team girls stands taller than 5-11.
The boys come from five schools, and all are new to the Tribune squad: Mario Gill of Wilson, Cameron Jackson of Roosevelt, Paul McCoy of Grant, Kevin Reynolds of Lincoln and Ameer Shamsud-din of Benson. Reynolds is a senior; the other four are juniors.
On the girls team, Jefferson landed two players -Janita Badon and Nyesha Sims. They are joined by Kelsey Goodell of Lincoln, Jessica Musgrave of Grant and Shardai Smith of Benson. Musgrave and Smith are seniors; the other three are juniors, and all are making their first appearance on the All-City team.
Point guard McCoy, one of the state's top receivers/defensive backs in football and jumpers in track, averaged 17.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists for the Generals.
'Paul came to play every night. He's one of the best all-around athletes the state has ever seen,' Grant coach Tony Broadous says.
PIL 6A coaches voted McCoy the league's player of the year. The basketball programs at UNLV, Oregon State, Portland and Portland State have shown some interest in him.
Reynolds was a double threat
Reynolds led the PIL in scoring (21.3) and rebounding (11.2) and boosted Lincoln to the PIL 6A title.
'Just flat-out the most dominant all-around player in our league,' coach David Adelman says. 'He saved his biggest moments for the hardest situations.'
Reynolds probably will play at a junior college next season.
Gill averaged 16.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists for Wilson.
'Mario is a diamond in the rough,' Trojan coach Scott Aker says. 'He works hard at improving his game and gets better daily, it seems. He has a work ethic that will allow him great success in life. We asked Mario to do many things for the team, and he always responded in a positive manner.'
Concordia and UP have shown early interest in Gill.
Jackson was the coaches' pick as PIL 5A player of the year. His overall game, which included 3-point range, slashes to the hoop and good transition play, helped lift Roosevelt over rival Jefferson for the league title, and the Roughriders were only getting started. They advanced to the 5A state finals before losing to the state's only undefeated team, tall and formidable North Eugene.
'Cameron made a tremendous turnaround,' Roosevelt coach Robert Key says. 'He put in more work on his shot and got a better feel for the game.'
Shamsud-din and teammate Jamar Johnson, a 6-2 junior, provided a 1-2 punch that put Benson into the state playoffs. Shamsud-din averaged 17 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.8 steals.
'Ameer did everything above and beyond what I asked of him,' coach Troy Berry says. 'He has worked real hard to improve his game, and because he's a gym rat, he'll continue to get better. He is real focused on making those around him better.'
Players took Demos far
Badon and Sims led Jefferson's girls to a 26-2 season and third place in state. Badon averaged 18.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 4.7 steals. Sims had 15.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals.
'Janita was my coach on the floor,' Jefferson coach Michael Bontemps says, 'and I came to trust her game judgments. She is the best point guard in the state.
'Nyesha became an outstanding scorer. Her ability to hit a 3 at a crucial point saved us many times, and she can play all positions on the court.
'Both gave us poise and leadership,' Bontemps says. 'Both have good GPAs and are in student government.'
Goodell gave Lincoln 13.8 points and 11.2 rebounds per game.
'She was definitely our workhorse,' coach Jeff Peeler says. 'She earned her baskets, through loose balls and tough, physical offensive rebounds.'
Musgrave (12.8 points per league game) and Smith (10.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 45.9-percent shooting for the season) also developed into top players on their teams, both of which made the state playoffs.
Mario Gill, Wilson 6-0 junior
Cameron Jackson, Roosevelt 6-0 junior
Paul McCoy, Grant 6-1 junior
Kevin Reynolds, Lincoln 6-3 senior
Ameer Shamsud-din, Benson 6-2 junior
Janita Badon, Jefferson 5-6 junior
Kelsey Goodell, Lincoln 5-11 junior
Jessica Musgrave, Grant 5-8 senior
Nyesha Sims, Jefferson 5-8 junior
Shardai Smith, Benson 5-10 senior