Stan Wier, who helped lead East Aurora to the Section VI Class A championship after a season in which he displayed devastating scoring ability as part of an excellent all-around game, is the winner of this year's Allen Wilson Player of the Year Award.
Imagine what he could have done with two healthy knees.
Just days after East Aurora's season ended in the Far West Regionals, Wier underwent surgery to repair tendonitis in both of his knees.
Prior to the season, Wier knew of his condition -- as did the staff at the University at Buffalo, where Wier verbally committed to last summer and signed with last fall. All knew there would be an operation at the end of the season.
"I was just trying to play through pain," said Wier, who arrived at the All-Western New York first-team photo shoot walking with the use of crutches. "I really wanted to finish out my senior year. We were thinking about stopping halfway through the year, because there are bigger and better things waiting at UB, but I couldn't do it. I wanted to finish up in the playoffs."
After the operation, doctors said the tendon in his left knee was 40 percent detached from the bone.
"We hadn't realized how bad it was," he said. "The doctor didn't realize how bad it had gotten, and he had to do some extra work once they opened me up."
Despite that, Wier says doctors have told him he should be 100 percent in the normal recovery time of four months. He said doctors told him that the injury was caused by overuse. Wier has played varsity basketball since the eighth grade and has been known to shoot hundreds of shots during his own workouts. His body was over-stressed, he said, by the pounding of muscular, 210-pound frame.
"It is just part of the deal," Wier said. "I have no regrets. It was just too much work."
Wier said his first step was all but taken away due to the injury. He did not even attempt to dunk because "I knew if I tried I'd be sore the rest of the game." He hardly practiced, especially in the second half of the season.
"We held a team meeting before the first practice and let [the team] know the situation," Wier said. "I wouldn't do suicides [sprints] but I didn't want the team to think I was dogging it during practice, so I'd be doing push-ups or sit-ups on the sidelines."
Wier certainly still produced. He finished with 1,703 points after an highly-accomplished -- and well-traveled -- career.
He played varsity at East Aurora as an eighth-grader (221 points) and a freshman (281) before transferring to Nichols, where he scored 512 points and earned second-team All-WNY honors for helping the Vikings to the Class A Federation state championship.
For his junior year, he transferred to Indiana private school La Lumiere, where he played with and against many Division I recruits, scoring 106 points before injury ended his season.
This past season, he had a total of 583 points, averaging 25.3 per game. The second half of the season included a torrid run in which he went five games with 30-plus points -- then he added three more games with 26 or more.
The last of that run was a 27-point game in a A-2 semifinal victory over Riverside, and while his overall scoring dipped in the next two games (17 in each), he continued to hit huge baskets as the surprising wins kept coming. Many times Wier passed off as the Blue Devils, unranked in the large school poll all season, scored wins over ECIC III rival -- and league champion -- Amherst in the A-2 final and then No. 3-ranked McKinley on the way to the A title.
This is the first year that The News' Player of the Year award has been renamed in honor of the late Allen Wilson. Wilson, a News Sports Reporter for 20 years and an ardent supporter of high school boys basketball, died in Dec. 2011 after a battle with leukemia.