Jerryd Bayless stood at the end of the Phoenix St. Mary’s bench as the seconds ticked away in the 5A Division I state championship game.
It was the second time Bayless had lost in the state title game in his career, but this time also marked the end of his high school road.
“I was just thinking about all of the four years. It’s over,” Bayless said of his thoughts as he watched Mesa Mountain View finish off his Knights 78-60. “My high school career is over, right then. I tried to look at the positive things and think about them, but it obviously hurt.”
For Bayless, the East Valley Tribune’s boys basketball player of the year for the second straight year, the positives of the past four years pale in comparison to what lies ahead.
The 6-foot-4 point guard played exactly 100 games at St. Mary’s and scored 2,828 points. His 28.2 points per game average is the best career scoring average in Arizona history. If not for a wrist injury that knocked him out of 15 games as a sophomore, Bayless would have likely passed Phoenix Shadow Mountain legend Mike Bibby’s 3,002 points, the most in state history.
“I accomplished a lot,” Bayless said. “We had a great year this year, we had a great fouryear span. ... I don’t want to change anything.”
Bayless will become the third Arizona player to play in the McDonald’s All-American game (joining Bibby and Richard Jefferson), which will be played Wednesday at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky. He’s also the first Arizona player invited to play in the Jordan Brand All-American Classic on April 21 at Madison Square Garden.
For Bayless, playing in those games is a dream come true and a way of putting Arizona high school basketball on the national stage.
“I remember when I was younger watching the McDonald’s games and thinking about why there is never any Arizona players in there,” Bayless said. “I worked really hard for it and it’s always been a goal of mine, so I’m really happy that I get to go there and represent the state.”
After the high school allstar circuit, Bayless will turn his attention to the next step in his basketball journey: the University of Arizona.
“If it wasn’t enjoyable, I wouldn’t be playing it,” Bayless said. “Basketball, obviously, when you get to the college level it becomes a business for most people, but for me, it’s a game that I love to play and it’s going to continue to be that or I’ll stop playing.”
Class 5A All-Tribune first team Player School Yr. Pos. Comment
Jerryd Bayless St. Mary’s Sr. G Avg. 32 ppg in ‘06, 28 ppg for career Kendall Wallace Mtn. View Sr. G Avg. 17.1 ppg, tremendous in postseason Harper Kamp Mtn. View Sr. C Avg. 17.1 ppg for 3-time state champs Mickey McConnell Dobson Sr. G Avg. 19,6 ppg, EVR player of the year Ty Abbott Desert Vista Sr. G Avg. 16.9 ppg, Central Region MVP
Class 5A All-Tribune second team Player School Yr. Pos. Comment
Maurice Jackson Gilbert Sr. G Avg. 16.3 ppg, Fiesta Region player of year Alex English P.V. Sr. F Avg. 16 ppg, 13 rpg; headed to Colgate Garrett Lever Desert Vista Sr. G Avg. 16.2 ppg for 5A-I semifinalists Deonte Roberts Red Mtn. Jr. F Avg. 16.4 ppg, and 13.8 rpg in breakout year Aaron Fuller Mesa Jr. F Avg. 18.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg, Mesa’s go-to guy Player of the Year: Jerryd Bayless, St. Mary’s Coach of the Year: Todd Fazio, Desert Mtn.
Class 5A honorable mention Basha: Nick Markovich, G, So.; Brophy: Justin Johnson, F, Sr.; Corona del Sol: Brad Carroll, G, Sr., Phil Feinberg, F, Sr.; Desert Mountain: Kelley Bardet, G, Sr.; Steven Jurich, F, Sr.; Kyle Smith, F, Jr.; Colby Wagner, G, Jr.; Desert Vista: Michael Proctor, C, Jr.; Hamilton: Lukas Hambsch, G, Sr.; John Jackson, G, Jr.; Mark Celaya, G, Sr.; Highland: Randy Harris, G, Sr.; Horizon: Alex Miller, F, Sr.; Matt Dietrich, G, Sr.; Marcos de Niza: Waylen Towns, G, Sr.; Mtn. View: Brendan Lavender, G, Jr.; Paradise Valley: Chris Bonham, F, Sr.; Javon Jones, F, Sr.;
Class 1A-4A All-Tribune first Team
Player School Yr. Pos. Comment
Tom Fow Notre Dame Sr. G Avg. 23.3 ppg and 9.7 rpg, led Saints to title
Nick Witherill Saguaro Jr. G Washington State commit avg. almost 24 ppg
Taylor Rhode Pinnacle Jr. F 22 ppg, 9.5 rpg for big man with soft touch
Allen Bunk Ftn. Hills Sr. F 20.6 ppg; lead team to 3rd straight 3A title
Ian Villegas Surrey Garden Sr. C 1A player of year, led Knights to title
Class 1A-4A All-Tribune second Team
Player School Yr. Pos. Comment
Charles Ward Arcadia Jr. G 22.3 ppg, 3rd highest among 4A locals
Matt Rhodes Saguaro Jr. G Athletic slasher nice complement to Witherill
Matt Coakley Notre Dame Sr. G Avg. 14.5 ppg, 6.5 apg; not afraid of big shot Nate Van Weelden Valley Christian Jr. G Floor general led team in steals & assists Shane Johannsen Valley Christian Sr. C Led 34-1 Trojans with 15.2 ppg and 8.4 rpg
Player of the Year: Tom Fow, Notre Dame
Coach of the Year: Andy Acedo, Horizon Honors
Class 1A-4A honorable mention
Apache Junction: Justin Higuera, F, Sr.; Arcadia: Joey Dickinson, F, Sr.; Chaparral: Nick Tooker, G, Sr.; Coolidge: Brad Jackson, Sr., F; Jesse Wheeler, G, Sr.; Coronado: Eddie Trujillo; Cactus Shadows: Phillip Aholt, F, Sr.; Fountain Hills: Pat Keating, G, Sr.; Mason Rauch, C, So.; Higley: Dusty Howard, G, Sr.; Horizon Honors: Jon Davis, F, Sr.; Jeremy Melcher-Post, G, Sr.; McClintock: Darrin Cobb, G, Sr.; Notre Dame: Joe Anglim, F, Sr.; Phoenix Country Day: John Guenther, F, Sr.; Pinnacle: Nuno Muandumba, G, So., Kyle Grant, F, Sr.; Saguaro: Dominick Ruth, G, Sr. Scottsdale Christian: Bo Barnes, G, So.; Houston Friend, G, Jr., G; Seton: Mike Barlow, F, Sr; Surrey Garden: Travis Currier, F, Jr.; Tempe Prep: Manny Sandoval, G, So.; Valley Christian: Bryant Avent, F, Jr.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM THE 2006-07 SEASON
Toros, Toros, Toros: Guard Kendall Wallace and center Harper Kamp seem like they’ve been around forever. That’s probably because their names always popped up in early March the past three years as integral parts of Mesa Mountain View’s three consecutive state titles. The Toros completed the first three-peat in 5A in 45 years with their 78-60 triumph over Phoenix St. Mary’s in the 5A Division I championship game. Wallace has more basketball to play at UNLV; Kamp the same at California.
A Desert Mountain first: Two years ago, Desert Mountain won six games. Last year — Todd Fazio’s first after coming over from Scottsdale Horizon — the Wolves won eight. This year, they broke school records for wins (21), won their first state tournament game, then three more to win their first boys basketball state title with a 65-55 victory over Paradise Valley. The Wolves were deep, disciplined and void of any superstar players, so the whole was better than the sum of its parts.
Notre Dame wins title: Tom Fow and Matt Coakley went through the bad times. They started as freshmen on a Notre Dame squad that had two wins all season. Three years later, the dynamic duo willed the Saints through a postseason run in which they trailed in the fourth quarter of the final three games. Fow, the Tribune’s 4A Player of the Year, scored 34 points in a 66-61 semifinal win over Flagstaff and 25 in the title game against Tucson Santa Rita. Coakley made a last-second layup against Flagstaff to send that game into overtime and keep alive Notre Dame’s season.
Scintillating semifinal: When upstart Coolidge met two-time 3A champion Fountain Hills in the state semifinals, many didn’t give the Bears a chance. But if not for several missed free throws down the stretch, Coolidge would have been playing for the title. As it was, the Falcons, behind 28 points from Alex Bunk, won the doubleovertime game 66-65 and went on to beat Payson the next night for their three-peat.
Close to perfect: Valley Christian coach Greg Haagsma took his team to the Pepsi Invitational hosted by Flagstaff High to play some high-caliber competition. Little did he know that his team’s 61-57 loss to Flagstaff in the finals kept the Trojans from making history. That loss to a team that reached the 4A Division II semifinals was the only thing that stood in the way of the most wins in state history. The Trojans’ 34-1 record tied the 1999 Mountain View team for most wins.
East Valley dominance: Glendale Apollo in 4A Division I was the only team outside of the East Valley to win a boys basketball title. From the small (Gilbert Surrey Garden in 1A) to the big (Mountain View in 5A-I), East Valley teams dominated. In between it was Valley Christian (2A), Fountain Hills (3A), Notre Dame Prep (4A-II) and Desert Mountain (5A-II) claiming state titles.