By Austin Zmolek and Chloe Drescher
Managing Editor of Promotions and Staff Writer
Photo by Christian Charles
“It was my senior season this year. I wanted to leave this school notorious,” said Jamesville-DeWitt High School senior Dajuan Coleman. Adding to Coleman’s notoriety is being named Mr. New York Basketball by the Basketball Coaches Association. “The Mr. New York Basketball award is widely viewed as the top award that a high school basketball player in NYS can receive,” says Dave Archer, the executive director of the Basketball Coaches Association of New York. “The most important award I got this year was being named NY’s player of the year,” said Coleman. “I’m really excited to be named on the list with many of the other top athletes,” said Coleman.
“Dajuan Coleman was chosen to be awarded Mr. New York Basketball of this year because he was the best male high school player in the state, along with satisfactory academics and citizenship,” said Archer. According to Archer, the process of selection started with Coleman being nominated by the coaches. “Votes of BCANY members (was the second step). The final vote was made by the BCANY Mr. New York Basketball committee.” According to Mr. Archer, Coleman has had numerous accomplishments and honors over the years both in tournaments, the leagues and the state. “Hard work has brought Coleman success,” Archer added.
What is the criteria to be considered before being crowned?
1. Basketball skills and accomplishments
2. Academic standing
3. Must be a senior
4. Community service
Senior Tyler Cavanaugh, who is attending Wake Forest in the fall, was also a finalist for the Mr. Basketball of NY award. However, he still believes Coleman deserved it, “since he was a McDonalds All-American,” said Cavanaugh. Other students believe that Coleman is a worthy winner of this award. Through his achievements and honors, Coleman has displayed a very solid image to his peers. “Dajuan deserved the award and I think it’s really good for him,” says senior and teammate Casey Williams. “(Over the years,) we have maintained a group of athletes with great excellence and individual skill,” says Williams. Sophomore and teammate Jafar Kinsey said that he is happy that Coleman was awarded “Mister Basketball of NY” because “he worked hard everyday, day in and day out.”
Coleman agrees with his teammates about being worthy of the award. “I was basically a (main) team player over the years. I led the team to three state champs,” said Coleman. Coleman earned MVP in two out of the three championship games that J-DHS won.
This year would have been a five-peat for the J-DHS boys basketball team; however, they lost in the semi-finals. “To me, this season was kind of pointless,” said Kinsey. “Losing in semis was not how it was supposed to be,” he said. Having Coleman win the award takes the sting out of not being state champs. “I feel great about the season, I wouldn’t trade it in for anything,” said Coleman. Senior Stephen Vallery who is a fan said that they had a good season, “You can’t win them all,” he added. Senior Sequoia Kemp feels that even though they lost in semis, they still had a good season. “The great thing is that most of the seniors leaving have already been state champs, so they have experienced it,” said Kemp. “We did all right, but we definitely should have won states, it’s sad how we ended it.” said senior Petey Drescher. “It was a disappointing season,” said Cavanaugh.
With all of the seniors leaving, the team will have to step up next year. As Coleman sees it, the team will be in a good place because of the returning athletes. “With (sophomore) Rasheed (Baker), Jafar and if (junior) Jordan Evans comes back, they will be good, especially with how fast they all are,” said Coleman. In Coleman’s eyes, height doesn’t matter; the team still has a chance. “Honestly, I think we will be okay next year, but with a lot of the talent leaving, we probably won’t be as good,” said Kinsey. Many students believe with the right talent, next year will be just fine. “Next year somebody needs to rise and lead the team,” said Kemp. “Will they make it to state champs? I don’t know, but they have a chance to do well,” she added. Cavanaugh thinks it will definitely be different next year. “Next year they are definitely going to be league champions,” said Schunk.
Previous Mr. New York Basketball winners from this area include the following: Greg Paulus of Christian Brothers Academy (2005) and Brandon Triche of J-DHS (2009).