SBLive’s leading candidates for 2021-22 Florida high school boys basketball player of the year

With the 2021-22 Florida high school boys basketball season past the midway point, SBLive is taking a look at the best players across the state.

Here’s a look at our candidates for state player of the year in each of Florida’s seven classifications.

CLASS 1A POY CANDIDATES

Jayden Florence, Guard (Sr.)- Taylor County

Florence is averaging 26.6 points and 10.5 rebounds per game through 15 games this season and is shooting 63% from the field.

Javier McClendon, Small Forward (Sr.)- Malone

McClendon is averaging 10.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.1 steals per game this season for the Tigers. The Tigers currently sit at a 14-4 record overall and are ranked No. 3 in Class 1A

Jeremiah Stephens, Guard (Sr.)- Franklin County

Stephens is averaging 13.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2.5 steals per game for the Seahawks this season.

Head Coach Ray Bailey, on Stephens: “Jeremiah has been a leader on the court for us all year long, whether it’s his scoring or his playmaking.”

DJ Slater, Guard (Jr.)- Hawthorne

Slater is averaging 12.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3 assists and 5.1 steals per game this season for the Hornets.

CLASS 2A POY CANDIDATES

Drew Knuppel, Guard (Sr.)- Faith Christian

Knuppel is averaging 23.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.6 assists per game this season.

Knuppel has had two 30+ point performances this season, which came on December 7 vs Circle Christian (34 points) and on December 10 vs St. Joseph Academy (32 points)

Brian Hershberger, Forward (Sr.)- Sarasota Christian

Hershberger has recorded five double doubles this season for the Blazers, as is currently averaging 13.6 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.

Asa Rogosich, Guard (Fr.)- Southwest Florida Christian

Rogosich, isn’t known for his scoring capabilities but the freshman guard is currently 2nd in the state in free throw percentage (89%) on the season.

Jay White, Guard (Sr.)- Southwest Florida Christian

The 6’1 guard is having himself quite a season for the Kings, as he is averaging 12.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game this season in 15 games played.

CLASS 3A POY CANDIDATES

Matthew Webster, Forward (Sr.)- Carrollwood Day

Webster transferred from Bishop McLaughlin Catholic, who finished as the Class 3A runner-up in 2021 to Carrollwood Day this past offseason. Webster is also committed and signed with Florida A&M University.

Webster is averaging 21.6 points, 14.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game this season for the Patriots, who currently sit at a 6-9 record.

Anthaurio Fredrick, Guard (Sr.)- Miami Edison

Fredrick has played just six games so far this season for the Raiders, but when he is on the floor look out. He is averaging 33.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 steals per game in his limited action.

David Portu, Forward (Sr.)- Bishop Verot

Portu is averaging 11.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per game this season for the Vikings. On December 30, Portu picked up a season-high 18 rebounds in a 54-51 win over Seabreeze.

Trey Lane, Guard (Sr.)- Santa Fe Catholic

The future Saint Leo Lion is having quite a stellar season so far, as Lane is averaging 17 points, 5.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 3.1 steals per game for the Hawks.

Daniel MacGregor, Guard (So.)- Calvary Christian (Clearwater)

MacGregor is averaging 20 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game this season for the Warriors.

Karter Knox, Forward (So.)- Tampa Catholic

Knox, the younger brother of Atlanta Hawks forward Kevin Knox II is putting up quite stellar numbers this season for the Crusaders. Knox is averaging 19.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.4 steals per game in 15 games played.

CLASS 4A POY CANDIDATES

Sam Walters, Forward (Jr.)- The Villages Charter

Walters has already received offers from Florida, Georgetown, LSU, Ole Miss, Radford and South Florida. The 6’9 forward is averaging 27.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game this season for The Buffalo.

James Robinson, Forward (Jr.)- Pensacola

The junior forward is going to get a lot of attention this summer from college coaches, as he’s having a great season for the Tigers. The junior is averaging 10 rebounds per game, including a season-high 15 rebound performance back on December 17 against Escambia.

Cameron Brown, Guard (Sr.)- McKeel Academy

Brown is averaging 17.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.8 steals per game this season.

Christian Reid, Forward (So.)- Mater Lakes Academy

In just 14 games played this season, Reid has recorded a double-double in 10 of those games. The sophomore forward is averaging 15.6 points, 11.4 rebounds and nearly two steals per game this season.

Justin Abson, Forward (Sr.)- North Broward Prep

The future Appalachian State Mountaineer is averaging 14.2 points and 9.9 rebounds per game for the Eagles this season. North Broward Prep is currently sitting at 15-0 overall this season and ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, as well as No. 9 in our weekly SBLive poll.

CLASS 5A POY CANDIDATES

Tony Livingston, Forward (Sr.)- King (Tampa)

Livingston is a University of Florida football commit but don’t let that fool you when he’s on the basketball court. The senior forward is averaging 24.5 points per game this season

Jaleel Armstrong, Forward (Sr.)- Raines (Jacksonville)

Armstrong has come through playing in just two games back in 2019-2020 to playing a key role for the Vikings this season. The forward is averaging 7.4 points and nearly 12 rebounds per game in 16 games played this season.

Caleb Williams, Guard (So.)- Ribault (Jacksonville)

Williams is averaging 12.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 3.4 steals per game this season for the Trojans. The sophomore guard is averaging seven more points than he did last year as a freshman.

Eddie Whipple, Forward (Sr.)- Ridgeview

Despite the slow start to the season, Whipple is putting himself together quite a nice season for the Panthers. The senior forward is averaging 10.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.5 blocks per game

CLASS 6A POY CANDIDATES

Isaac Celiscar, Guard (So.)- Winter Haven

Celiscar is a double-double machine, according to his head coach Tyrone Woodside. The sophomore combo guard is averaging 19.8 points and 12.1 rebounds per game this season for the Blue Devils.

Caleb Mackrey, Guard (Sr.)- Olympic Heights

Mackrey is having himself a nice stellar season for the Lions, as he’s averaging 22.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.6 steals per game.

Earlier in the week, Mackrey finished with 45 points (15-21 shooting), 4 rebounds and 6 steals in a 68-66 loss to Atlantic (Port Orange).

Atavious Weaver, Guard (Jr.)- North Fort Myers

In 16 games played this season, Weaver is averaging 13.1 points and 14.1 rebounds per game for the Red Knights.

Weaver currently holds an offer from Indiana on the gridiron. 

Dylan James, Guard (Jr.)- Winter Haven

James, along with his teammate Isaac Celiscar have been the leading catalyst for the Blue Devils this season. He’s averaging 17 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game.

James has reported offers from Alabama, Appalachian State, Creighton, Florida Atlantic, Georgetown, Miami and several others.

Jaylan Coats, Guard (Sr.)- North Miami

Coats is averaging 11 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.3 blocks per game this season for the Pioneers.

CLASS 7A POY CANDIDATES

Justin Kruszewski, Guard (Jr.)- East Lake

Despite being lost for the season back in December, Kruszewski averaged 20.6 points per game and shot 40% from the 3-point line for the Eagles.

Jason Jackson, Guard (Jr.)- Sarasota Riverview

Jackson has had offers from Florida, LSU and Virginia Tech so far. This kid is a highlight reel with his dunking ability. The junior guard is averaging 19.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game this season.

Cameron Boozer, Forward (Fr.)- Columbus (Miami)

The son of former NBA standout Carlos Boozer, Cameron is having a nice start to his high school career with the Explorers. Boozer is averaging 19.2 points, 12.5 rebounds, 3 blocks and 1.9 steals per game this season.

Riley Kugel, Guard (Sr.)- Dr. Phillips

Riley Kugel, Dr. Phillips

The future Mississippi State Bulldog is averaging 18 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists this season for the nationally ranked Panthers.

Jeremy Elyzee, Forward (So.)- Flanagan

The 6’9 sophomore is having himself an outstanding season for the Falcons, as he’s averaging 13.4 points, 13.5 rebounds, 3.8 blocks and 3.1 steals per game this season. 

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