Everyone in Western New York knows Canisius’ Stafford Trueheart and Middle Early College’s Gary Foster are special talents. Those around the state have taken notice, too.
The two All-Western New York first team selections were named Players of the Year in their respective class by the New York State Sportswriters Association.
Trueheart shares state Class A co-Player of the Year honors with Albany Academy junior Hameir Wright. The 6-foot-7 Trueheart helped the Crusaders win a second straight New York State Catholic High School Athletic Association championship en route to winning a program-record 26 games. Trueheart, a two-time All-WNY first team pick, averaged 20.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.5 blocks per contest in leading Canisius to a second straight Manhattan Cup championship and second straight season in which it went unbeaten against teams in Western New York.
"It's a great honor to be given this award," Trueheart said. "I know there are a lot of great players in Class A and I'm honored to be named co-Player of the Year."
Trueheart is the second straight Canisius basketball player to be honored as state player of the year. LaTerrance Reed earned the honor last year after helping the Crusaders win the state Class A Federation title.
Foster captured Player of the Year honors in Class C to cap a season in which he earned state tournament MVP honors for leading the Kats (20-7) to their first state title since 2010. The 6-6 Foster averaged a double-double for the season (19.5 ppg, 15 rpg, 4.2 blocks) and put on a show during the state final four in Glens Falls. He 23 points and 17 rebounds in Middle College's 82-40 rout of Haldane in the title game.
A total of 57 players from Western New York earned spots on the five all-state teams, including former St. Mary's player Takal Molson.
Besides the players of the year, first team selections included: Class A - Dominick Welch (Cheektowaga). Class B - Elijah Ramadhan (Olean), Takal Molson (St. Mary's). Class C- JoJo Staton (Middle Early College). Class D - Elliot Bowen (Ellicottville).
Only seven players from Class AA schools in the area made the list. Jamestown's James Rojas earned a spot on the third team. Williamsville North's Maceo Jack, who shared ECIC I Player of the Year honors with Rojas, was named to the fourth team. Jack will attend St. Thomas More, a prep school in Oakdale, Conn., next season.
Division I prospect Jordan Nwora, who announced he will attend Vermont Academy, a prep school, earned a spot on the all-state Class A second team. The Park senior recently received an offer from Connecticut to go along with other major offers he has received.
Sophomore Greg Dolan of Williamsville South earned third team all-state, while Lewiston-Porter's Jernard Jackson and Amherst's TC Brown received fourth and fifth team honors, respectively. Brown announced he will attend Division I junior college Frank Phillips in Texas earlier this week on Twitter.