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Boys First Team: Crumpton to be a Griff; Taplin a repeat pick

Marcus Morris

McKinley: 6-3 senior forward

PPG: 16.0. Reb: 8.0. Assists: 5.7.

McKinley won its first state championship with a complete team effort, but when the Macks needed a big basket, they put the ball in Morris’ capable hands. That exact scenario played out in the overall Class A final, in which Morris hit the game-winning jumper in the final seconds during a 28-point game vs. Amherst. He followed with 16 points and four threes against Aquinas, 21 and five threes in the state semifinals and 16 in the title game. His killer combination of shooting, driving ability, passing, defense (3.0 steals per game) and leadership stood out as the Macks recorded a second straight undefeated Yale Cup season. He has received some Division I interest and may spend a year in prep school.

Jermaine Crumpton

Niagara Falls: 6-5 senior forward

PPG: 20.0. Reb: 12.0. Blocks: 3.0.

Like Adam Weir, Crumpton was a finalist for Mr. Basketball who will play at Canisius College next year, and he will take with him a terrific all-around game. He played big inside but also moved the ball very well (3.0 assists per game) and perhaps his most impressive attribute is a shooting touch that is near-automatic from the foul line and the elbows while he can also hit it from three-point range. A second teamer last year, he upgraded his game with a fearlessness and aggressiveness in attacking the basket, notably against top opponents like eventual Class AA state champion Bishop Kearney. First recruited by former Griffs coach Tom Parrotta, Crumpton had to re-earn his scholarship from Jim Baron, and did so.

Wil Bathurst

Olean: 6-3 junior forward

PPG: 18.4. Rebounds: 8.0. Assts: 3.3.

You name it, Bathurst does it for the Huskies, who went wire-to-wire atop The News’ small school poll. He can score from outside, beat defenders one-on-one, take the ball to the basket and finish, or rack up assists with dishes or well-placed deliveries to his talented teammates. Equally as impressive is how he elevates to pursue defensive rebounds as well as blocked shots (1.9 per game). A third-team pick last year who has been a part of two straight Section VI Class B championship teams, the very accomplished golfer (he participated in the state tournament last year) says he would like to play basketball in college.

Sterling Taplin

Williamsville North: 6-1 jr. guard

PPG: 21.8. Rebounds: 5.7. Assts: 4.2.

Several Division I programs have already offered scholarships to the two-time first teamer and ECIC Player of the Year, which puts him in rare company as an underclassman. Will Regan of Nichols (and now the University at Buffalo) was the last player to earn first-team honors as a sophomore and junior; prior to him, Jason Rowe and Tim Winn did it in 1994 and 1995. Excellent all-around game includes the ability to knock down threes if given just a step by a defender. Sets up teammates splendidly (41 assists away from North’s all-time mark) and averages 2.9 steals. This year raised his game another level, particularly in how he attacked the rim. Already North’s all-time leading scorer with 1,425 points. Plays AAU ball with the premier Albany City Rocks program.

Photos by Mark Mulville/Buffalo News