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Rodney Pierce
Hutch-Tech 6-0 senior guard
PPG: 25.7 RPG: 6.0 APG: 5.0 SPG: 6.0
All-around talent can score by smoothly slithering inside or draining jumpers of any distance, but he is equally as dangerous creating for teammates and is a determined defender. Finished with 1,903 points -- 17th on the all-time WNY list -- after a career that took him from Park to Turner-Carroll before his last two seasons at Tech. Pierce, who has signed with Rider, scored a career-high 51 points against Bennett and hit 78 percent of his free throws. Nearly led the overmatched Engineers to victory over Riverside, scoring 24 points in a 68-65 AA-2 semifinal loss in which he guarded Mike Williams and was guarded by just about the entire Frontiers team. "I've always said the kid is a better passer than he is a scorer," said Hutch-Tech seven-year coach Dave Rappl. "Everyone looks at his scoring, but he's a much better playmaker, the best I've ever coached."
Ray Blackburn
Lackawanna 5-10 senior guard
PPG: 29.3 RPG: 5.6 APG: 4.8 SPG: 3.9
Just the 12th player in Western New York to reach 2,000 points, finishing 10th on the all-time list with 2,039 by nailing three pointers and making tough, hanging fadeaway jumpers look easy. Excellent dribbler moves upcourt in a burst, either finishing off drives or dishing off for layups. Always encouraging his teammates, especially on defense, where he could lock down top scorers. An All-Western New York guard put up 20 points in the first half of a game, but Blackburn responded with an amazing display of man-to-man defense in which he hardly let his man touch the ball. "He's one of the all-time greats at Lackawanna," said coach Tim Foley. Owns 20 records at one of Western New York's most vaunted programs, including points in a career, season (733 this year) and game (52 vs. Alden this year) as well as career assists (413) and steals (313).
Paul Harris
Niagara Falls 6-4 senior forward
PPG: 19.7 RPG: 12.6 APG: 5.0
From the rebounds that turned into fast-break assists in a matter of seconds, to the killer crossovers, to the plays-of-the-week slam dunks, Harris is simply one of the greatest to play in Western New York. He's the first to earn back-to-back Player of the Year honors since LaSalle's Tim Winn and Traditional's Jason Rowe shared the award in 1995 and 1996. He leaves Falls as the school's all-time leading scorer (1,116) and rebounder (670) after just two seasons. How's this for all-around talent? This season he set records at the 5-year-old school for points (570), rebounds (366) and assists (146), breaking the previous record of point guard Demondi Johnson (135). Hit 40.6 percent from three-point range (39 of 96). Next stop is prep school, after which he will likely be off to one of the country's top college basketball programs (Syracuse and Pittsburgh are in the running).
Greg Gamble
Niagara Falls 6-3 senior forward
PPG: 12.2 RPG: 5.7 APG: 2.5
Gamble earned rave reviews from opposing coaches all season for his superior all-around game, which will graduate to the University at Buffalo this fall. Was most often the defender who guarded the opposition's best player and, along with Harris, was quick to raise his voice on defense. His refined offensive game features three-point range, great passes and finishing ability that can be eye-popping. In the state Federation final, he leaped for a put-back of a missed shot, banking it in while having his legs taken out from under him; the three-point play to start the fourth quarter erased what would be Xaverian's last lead of the game. Think that was tough? Gamble was knocked unconscious after a hard face-first crash to the floor during the state public school final against New Rochelle, but returned to the game a few minutes later. Coaches love the way he relishes the little things and isn't afraid to do the dirty work.
Robert Garrison
Niagara Falls 6-1 senior guard
PPG: 13.6 APG: 3.6 3FG%: 48.5
Capped a take-charge year by doing just that in Falls' final game, scoring 20 points including a floating one-hander in the lane in the final seconds that gave Falls a 68-65 win over Brooklyn's Xaverian for the Federation title. He can break down defenders to get to the basket for slick finishes or savvy dishes, drills three-pointers (a team-high 49 of 101) and his quick hands and anticipation contributed to the Wolverines' trademark defense. Even had leaping blocks in crucial postseason fourth quarters against East (regionals) and Xaverian. Falls' second-leading scorer had 20 or more points four times and equaled Harris for the most points in a game this year (28). Excellent student turned down offers from low-level Division I schools during the early signing period and is now considering a year at prep school to nurture his game; St. Bonaventure and Marshall are interested for 2006-07.
Chris Gadley
Amherst 6-8 senior center
PPG: 26.1 RPG: 17.2 BPG: 7.2
Headed to Hofstra after using many monster games to help Amherst to its first sectional title since 1962. The McDonald's All-American nominee (along with Harris, Gamble and Blackburn) racked up a school-record 50 points and 31 rebounds against Pioneer in the regular season. Finished with 1,259 career points, third on the school's all-time list, and 913 rebounds. "He helped our defense by blocking shots or changing them just by his presence," said coach Mike Chatelle. "On offense it was obviously tough to match up with him."
Nick Kney
Canisius 6-1 senior guard
PPG: 16.8 RPG: 5.5 APG: 3.4 SPG: 4.3
Earned the MVP of the Manhattan Cup with a performance that perfectly captured him: equal parts slick scorer, down-and-dirty defender, and gutsy floor leader who lives to take the big shot. Had 20 points, four three-pointers, six steals and six rebounds while limiting St. Joe's leading scorer Joe Davis to just two points in Canisius' 58-47 victory. "I've never seen a player anticipate steals the way he did," said coach Kyle Husband. Fifth on Canisius all-time scoring list (1,135). Will try to walk on at Saint Joseph's of the Atlantic 10.
Jonathan Flynn
Niagara Falls 5-10 sophomore guard
PPG: 12.2 APG: 3.4 3FG%: 34.0
The Wolverines weren't one of the best high school teams in the country due to their three senior starters alone. Flynn can do it all, often times spectacularly, which is why he has already attracted Division I interest and is the first sophomore on the second team since Blackburn in 2002. He scored the same amount of points as Gamble (354) in the regular season, the same amount as Garrison (104) in the playoffs, and was no underclassman against first-class opponents from Florida's City of Palms Classic to Glens Falls' state championships.
Mike Williams
Riverside 6-2 junior forward
PPG: 19.6 RPG: 10.0 APG: 5.0
Triple-double threat helped lead Frontiers to a double-double by winning both the Harvard Cup (football) and Yale Cup titles. A prospective college player in both sports, he ensured the basketball title with brilliant games against Seneca (scoring 16 of his 19 in the second half, including a steal that led to a lead-claiming three-point play in the final minute) and Hutch-Tech (25 points, five three-pointers, 11 rebounds). Can do everything on the court and is an excellent passer. "A warrior," said Ron Killinger, coach of the AA-2 champs.
Joe Stinson
Seneca 5-10 senior guard
PPG: 25.3 3-pointers: 78 (3.4 PG)
Quick on defense, quick to find an open teammate in transition, and while entire gyms have been quick to wonder "where is he shooting that from?" Stinson is deadliest knocking down longer-than-long-range three-pointers. To find a calmer shooter of NBA-range threes, you'd have to go to the NBA. Averaged 3.4 threes per game and was perhaps the area's smoothest fast-break finisher. Amassed 1,541 career points while being poster boy for the unselfish Indians. "Joe has been a special player," said coach Scott Kirsch.
Jairo Hernandez
Grover Cleveland 5-6 senior guard
PPG: 16.5 APG: 11.3 Career assists: 720
Must-see point guard is a whirling wonder who accounted for 61 percent of the Presidents' scoring via points or assists. His career-high 32 points led Grover to an upset at top-seeded Sweet Home in the AA-1 quarterfinals and on to the final. "He always gave you everything," said coach Earl Schunk. "He showed the team what heart's all about."
Nathan Regdos
Iroquois 6-1 senior forward
PPG: 26.7 RPG: 17.8 FG%: 54.0
Possibly the hardest worker in Western New York hoops, he collected 1,372 career points and 1,067 career rebounds. Was the ECIC II Player of the Year despite none of his young teammates earning any kind of all-league honors. Owns nine individual school records, including points in a game (49). "Nathan never stops," said coach Archie O'Bryan. "He's one in a million."
Garrett Kensy
Maryvale 6-2 junior guard
PPG: 18.3 RPG: 6.6 APG: 3.9 SPG: 3.2
ECIC III Player of the Year is an all-around threat who had his biggest games when the Flyers needed them, particularly a 30-point, 10-rebound game in the Class A final over Amherst in which he nailed six three-pointers. Shoots 81.6 at the line. "He handles the point, can post up, shoots very well and plays very good defense," said Mark Kensy, Garrett's dad and coach.
D'Mario Caesar
Riverside 5-8 senior guard
PPG: 19.0 APG: 4.5 Three-pointers: 77
Buffalo fans will be talking about his second half against Falls in the Class AA final (18 points, four threes) for a very long time. A trademark quick-release three handed Falls what would be its largest and latest fourth-quarter deficit (50-47 with 4:50 left in their 63-55 win) during its historic postseason. Perfectly described by coach Ron Killinger as "fearless."
Joe Davis
St. Joe's 6-4 senior forward
PPG: 19.5 RPG: 8.0 3FG%: 42.0
Awesome scorer finished third on the storied program's all-time points list (1,206). Hit 52 percent on two-pointers all three varsity years. All-WNY academic honoree and outstanding musician will attend Vassar College. "An outstanding young man with a great, natural ability to score points," said coach Mark Simon. "He was our go-to guy all year long."