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Student Sports All-American First Team

Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones join Stanley Johnson as two-time Student Sports First Team All-Americans. Photo: Scott Kurtz

Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones join Stanley Johnson as two-time Student Sports First Team All-Americans. Photo: Scott Kurtz

Mr. Basketball USA Cliff Alexander, Jahlil Okafor, Stanley Johnson and Emmanuel Mudiay highlight 20th annual Student Sports All-American team. Elite honor squad includes 20-man first team and 30-man second team.

The 2013-14 Student Sports All-American elite team includes 42 of the nation’s best seniors, led by Mr. Basketball USA Cliff Alexander of Curie (Chicago).

Seventeen seniors and three talented juniors, including National Junior of the Year Ben Simmons of Student Sports FAB 50 No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) headline the 20-player overall first team.

A 30-player second team, which includes three additional juniors and two special sophomores, has been chosen. In the 20 years of publishing our annual Student Sports All-American team (we have retroactive teams dating back to the 1954-55 season), no freshman has ever made the elite team.

The class player of the year among tenth-graders is small forward Josh Jackson of Consortium College Prep (Detroit), a second team All-American. The National Freshman of the Year is point guard Jalek Felton of Mullins (Mullins S.C.).

Editor Ronnie Flores selected this performance-based squad with input from Mr. Basketball USA panelists.

2013-14 Student Sports All-American First Team

First Five
G — Emmanuel Mudiay, Prime Prep Academy (Dallas, Texas) 6-4 Sr.
Physically dominant point guard might be, along with Cliff Alexander, the nation’s most dominant player at his position. The SMU-bound Mudiay averaged 16.5 points, six rebounds and four assists for a club that finished No. 34 in the Student Sports FAB 50. A Congolese refugee, Mudiay scored a game-high 20 points for the World team at the Nike Hoop Summit. He also had 15 points and six assists in the McDonald’s All-American Game. In this year’s Mr. Basketball USA Tracker, Mudiay was the most consistent candidate, appearing on every ballot all season long.

G — Stanley Johnson, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 6-7 Sr.
High school basketball’s ultimate winner, Johnson led the Monarchs to a 135-7 record in his four year career and to four CIF state titles in the highest classification. This season, he expanded his game to handle point guard duties and facilitate and played above expectations, leading Mater Dei to a 35-0 mark and No. 2 FAB 50 ranking. Johnson averaged 25.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists per game and is the greatest player ever don a Mater Dei uniform.

F — Ben Simmons, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 6-9 Jr.
Led the Eagles during the early portion of their murderous schedule while third five selection D’Angelo Russell recovered from injury and was named co-MVP of the prestigious City of Palms Classic. Montverde won its second consecutive title as Simmons averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds over four games. When Russell came back Simmons was still on point, earning MVP honors at Dick’s Nationals with averages of 20.3 points and 10.7 rebounds as the Eagles captured mythical national title. This year’s Student Sports National Junior of the Year averaged 22.7 points and 9.5 rebounds during the regular season and has already pledged for LSU.

F — Cliff Alexander, Curie (Chicago) 6-9 Sr.
This year’s Mr. Basketball USA joins Kevin Garnett (Farragut), Mark Aguirre (Westinghouse) and Cazzie Russell (Carver) as players from Chicago Public League schools to earn the nation’s highest individual honor. Alexander, who didn’t play organized basketball until the eighth grade, was the nation’s most intimidating presence in the interior with regards to rebounding and shot blocking. The Kansas recruit averaged 24 points, 15 rebounds and six blocked shots per game for a Curie team that won the CPL title on the court but later had all if its wins forfeited for the use of academically ineligible players.

C — Jahlil Okafor, Whitney Young (Chicago) 6-11 Sr.
No player in the country garnered more awards than this repeat first five selection. Okafor was named national player of the year by McDonald’s, Parade and USA Today and won his first Class 4A state title this past season. Bound for Duke, Okafor averaged 24.1 points and 11.3 rebounds for a Whitney Young club that finished 27-6 on the court and ranked No. 7 in the FAB 50. As an underclassmen, Okafor was tourney MVP for Team USA in its gold-medal winning performance at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship. In 2013, he was named Student Sports National Junior of the Year after leading Whitney Young to the Chicago Public League title over Jabari Parker and his team at Simeon while earning all-tourney honors at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship.

Second Five
G — Tyus Jones, Apple Valley (Minn.) 6-1 Sr.
He’ll join first five selection Jahlil Okafor at Duke following one of the most decorated prep careers in Minnesota history. A repeat second five selection, Jones is also a three-time Gatorade State Player of the Year. Even though his team fell short of a Class AAAA state title this season, Jones averaged 25.6 points, 8.1 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.7 steals for a 27-2 club that finished ranked No. 44 in the FAB 50. The nation’s best perimeter passer and true lead guard, Jones can step up his offensive game or facilitate depending on the team’s need, as he averaged 20.9 points and 3.1 steals for last season’s 30-1 club. Jones had 10 assists in the McDonald’s All-American Game, six in the Nike Hoop Summit and 12 in the Jordan Brand Classic.

G — Malik Newman, Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) 6-3 Jr.
Followed up a spectacular sophomore campaign in which he was named Clarion-Ledger Metro Player of the Year and state Mr. Basketball by leading the Chargers to a third consecutive MHSAA Class 5A state title. Along the way, Newman upped his statistical output and was again named Mr. Basketball. Despite defenses specifically geared to slow him down, Newman averaged 29.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists for a 31-1 club that avenged its only loss and finished No. 21 in the FAB 50. MVP of the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship for Team USA, Newman was named class player of the year by Student Sports as a freshman and sophomore and was narrowly edged by Ben Simmons for top honors among juniors.

F — Trey Lyles, Arsenal Tech (Indianapolis, Ind.) 6-9 Sr.
Put together a historic season for a program that won its first-ever state title. Lyles averaged 24.3 points, 12.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.3 blocks for a 27-2 club that finished No. 4 in the FAB 50. Behind Lyles’ exploits, Arsenal Tech became the first Indianapolis public school to win a state championship since Broad Ripple in 1980. Arsenal Tech’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder, Lyles beat out second teamers Trevon Bluiett (Park Tudor) and James Blackmon Jr. (Marion) for Indiana Mr. Basketball honors. He’s the first from an Indianapolis Public School to win the coveted award since 1969 Mr. Basketball USA George McGinnis of Washington.

F — Cheick Diallo, Our Savior New American (Centereach, N.Y.) 6-9 Jr.
A bit under the radar compared to some of the nation’s other elite players because his team doesn’t compete for a traditional state title, Diallo compares favorably with Mr. Basketball USA Cliff Alexander as a rebounder and is arguably the nation’s top shot-blocker. A Mali native, Diallo averaged 18.5 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks for a 28-3 team that played a national schedule. Diallo led Our Savior New American to the National Prep Championships title in the high school division and had two breakout performances versus Prime Prep (Fort Worth, Texas) and Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) at the Tarkanian Classic.

C — Karl Towns, St. Joseph (Metuchen, N.J.) 7-0 Sr.
Honor filled career capped by leading St. Joe’s to the Non-Public A and New Jersey Tournament of Champions titles by averaging 20.9 points, 13.4 rebounds and 6.2 blocks per game. Towns had eight points and 12 rebounds in the 49-47 victory over East Side of Newark to help St. Joe become the first program from Middlesex County to capture the TOC title. He helped St. Joseph finish 30-2 and ranked No. 15 in the FAB 50. A two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year, the Kentucy-bound center was also named that honors program’s National Player of the Year in part because of his academic resume and community service efforts.

Third Five
G — Tyler Ulis, Marian Catholic (Chicago Heights, Ill.) 5-8 Sr.
Under recruited as an underclassman despite earning all-state honors as a junior, Ulis used a spectacular summer and a big senior season to catapault his All-American candidacy. After averaging 23.3 points, 6.8 assists and 2.8 steals for a 28-3 team, Ulis repeated as an all-stater and was named to the Associated Press Class 4A All-State first team along with first five selections Cliff Alexander and Jahlil Okafor along with second team All-American Jalen Brunson. Ulis was named a McDonald’s All-American and lauded for his defensive ability and unselfish play. He’s headed to Kentucky, where he’ll join second five selection Karl Towns, Trey Lyles and second team All-American Devin Booker.

G — D’Angelo Russell, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 6-5 Sr.
On a team with seven D1 bound seniors, Russell was capable of leading the Eagles in scoring and the next game in assists. An on-court leader, Russell can play both guard spots as well as any player in the country, and that became imperative after Montverde lost two of its top lead guards after the season began. Russell is one of the best players in the country at hitting the lead man on the break as he displayed at the McDonald’s All-American Game. Russell averaged 18.5 points and 4.8 assists per game for a club that finished No. 1 in the FAB 50. Russell, headed for Ohio State, was a mainstay for a Montverde Academy program that won back-to-back mythical national titles, the first program to do that in 20 years.

G — Isaiah Whitehead, Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 6-4 Sr.
Co-MVP of the City of Palms Classic along with first teamer Ben Simmons, Whitehead led the PSAL Brooklyn AA with a 23.6 scoring average. He also contributed over eight rebounds and five assists per game for a 26-4 club that faced national competition and was ranked in the FAB 50 for a majority of the season. Although Lincoln didn’t win PSAL or Federation titles this season, Whitehead was the PSAL’s and New York’s top player. He also put his name on the Mt. Rushmore of Railsplitter greats along with Lance Stephenson, Sebastian Telfair and Stephon Marbury when he led Lincoln to the city championship as a junior.

F— Kelly Oubre Jr., Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 6-7 Sr.
One of the nation’s best rebounding forwards, when Oubre is hitting from the perimeter, he’s simply one of the nation’s best players because of his overall ability. With injuries and defections negatively affecting Findlay Prep’s regular season, the Kansas-bound Oubre led the Pilots in scoring (22.2) and contributed 6.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for a 31-5 team. When the Pilots’ bench got even shorter at Dick’s Nationals, Oubre stepped up again, leading the Pilots to an upset of then FAB 50 No. 2 Rainier Beach and averaging 20.0 points and 12.5 rebounds in two games.

F — Kevon Looney, Hamilton (Milwaukee, Wis.) 6-9 Sr.
Led Hamilton to the city title by putting up monster numbers for a 17-6 team. Looney averaged 27.9 points, 12.7 rebounds, 8.0 blocks and 7.0 assists and was an easy WBCA Mr. Basketball choice. Looney also earned Gatorade State Player of the Year. Bound for UCLA, Looney was selected to the McDonald’s All-Ameircan Game. There, he showed why he’s one of the nation’s top rebounders, tying Mr. Basketball USA Cliff Alexander for a game-high of 11 rebounds.

Fourth Five
G — Joel Berry, Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.) 6-1 Sr.
Simply put, Berry is one of Florida’s most highly-acclaimed preps, ever. This season, he led the Highlanders to their second consecutive Class 4A state title and a final No. 16 ranking in the Southeast Region. Berry not only was selected a McDonald’s All-American, he’s also Florida’s first-ever three-time Mr. Basketball choice and a rare three-time Gatorade State Player of the Year. Berry averaged 24.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.4 steals per game and was noted for his strong physique and steady play during the McDonald’s festivities.

G — T.J. Haws, Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) 6-2 Sr.
After helping a historic team finish No. 4 in the FAB 50 in 2013, Haws flirted with graduating high school early or returning for his senior season. The Lone Peak faithful was glad he returned, as he led the Knights to their fourth consecutive Class 5A state title and a No. 41 finish in this year’s FAB 50. A starter on all four state title-winning clubs, Utah’s Mr. Basketball saved his best for last, netting a school-record 42 points in the state quarterfinals and a career-high eight 3-pointers and 29 points in the state title game to avenge Lone Peak’s only in-state loss. The BYU recruit averaged 25.2 points and 5.2 assists per game.

G — Ja’Quan Newton, Neumann Goretti (Philadelphia) 6-3 Sr.
Led the Saints to the PIAA Class AAA title and played under trying circumstances as his mother Lisa Brown, only 38, succumbed to breast cancer the day before the title game. Newton went out and hit his first six shots and finished with 33 points, including 5-of-9 3-pointers, eight rebounds and two steals to lead Neumann-Goretti to a 64-57 overtime victory. By no means is this a sympathy choice, either, as Newton was named Class AAA and Southeast Pennsylvania Player of the Year for a 27-4 club that finished No. 25 in the FAB 50. Bound for Miami, he averaged 21.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. The Catholic League MVP finished his career with 1,972 points to break the all-time Catholic League scoring record set by Monsignor Bonner’s Jeff Jones.

F — LeRon Black, White Station (Memphis, Tenn.) 6-7 Sr.
Memphis continues to pump out elite talent (last year’s fourth five included Memphis East’s Nick King) and the rugged Black is this year’s top honoree. For most of the season, the Spartans were ranked top five nationally and the Illinois-bound Black led the way for a 30-3 team with averages of 20.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Black, who netted 1,724 career points and over 1,100 rebounds, was a two-time Memphis Commercial Appeal All-Metro First Teamer and a three-time all-region first team choice. The four-year starter was also named this season’s Class AAA Mr. Basketball.

C — Myles Turner, Trinity (Euless, Texas) 6-11 Sr.
Joined first five selection Emmanuel Mudiay as the lone seniors on the Dallas Morning News All-Area team. Ranked as high as the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect, Turner is one of the nation’s top four true center prospects. The District 6-5A MVP, Turner averaged 18.1 points, 12.2 rebounds, 6.8 blocks and 3.5 assists per game. He’ll make his college announcement on April 30.

Note: ESPN selections 2010-2012; EA SPORTS selections 2003-2009; Student Sports selections prior to 2003; Selections are based on high school accomplishment, not future college/pro potential, and are reflective of those that lead their teams to state championships. The editors of StudentSports.com do not knowingly select fifth-year players, and those ineligible due to age or academics, Mr. Basketball USA or to its various All-American teams.

Ronnie Flores is the Publisher and Editor of GrassrootsHoops.net. He can be reached at ronlocc1977@yahoo.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores

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