Each year, with input from area coaches, The News Tribune selects its All-Area boys basketball team. This year, nine local schools are represented with players and coaches selected to the first and second teams. The 12 spots, broken down by leagues are 4A North Puget Sound League (two), 4A South Puget Sound League (one), 3A Pierce County League (five), 3A South Sound Conference (three), 2A South Puget Sound League (one).
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Enumclaw High school
Forward, 6-foot-7, sr.
Bio: Can step out and hit 3s, but does most of his damage in the paint. Led Enumclaw to back-to-back trips to the Tacoma Dome, averaging 20.3 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. But in state? He stepped that up to 24.3 points, 13.7 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in leading the Hornets to a fourth-place trophy. He said playing football the past two years helped shape him into a tougher basketball player, with Anderson earning co-MVP of the 4A NPSL Olympic division this year.
What coach Terry Johnson says: “With Kaden it’s his mentality. He played with so much toughness and effort consistently this year. He didn’t take a game off and it was a pretty physical year. But he was so committed. He knew that’s what we needed for this team to be successful.”
Federal Way High School
Guard/forward, 6-foot-9, jr.
Bio: Maybe no one in this All-Area team has as much upside as McDaniels. And that’s saying a lot because this is a talented class. There’s nothing the junior, who averaged 21 points, 10 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.3 blocks, can’t do on a basketball court. Just ask Union coach Blake Conley, who had to face him twice: “In my nine years I haven’t seen anybody with that length and skill set.” So you can understand how he led the Eagles to the 4A title game and already has offers from Arizona, UW, San Diego State and others.
What coach Jerome Collins says: “He’s transitioned into a nightmare matchup. He’s unique. He’s 6-foot-9, can play five positions, can put the ball on the floor and beat you off the bounce left or right and he can stick it (make a jumper) when you play off him.”
Spanaway Lake High School
Guard, 6-foot-2, sr.
Bio: What’s not to love about this physical, yet smooth point guard with exceptional ball-handling skills? He led Spanaway Lake to the state tournament for just the second time in school history and first in 32 years. Moffitt averaged 19 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists this season, with the Sentinels finishing one win short of another state trip, but his imprint on the program will last a long time. He also had three triple-doubles this year and was an assist away from another.
What coach Dominic Batten says: “Divante the basketball player filled up the stat sheets and achieved a lot of success during his four years. As a friend, Divante is one of the most easy-going people to be around. Worked hard, didn’t complain, competitive and driven. Basketball will take him far, but his character will take him even further.”
Timberline High School
Guard, 6-foot-5, sr.
Bio: His four years at Timberline were remarkable. The Wichita State signee scored 1,861 career points and this season averaged 24.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in leading the Blazers to a fourth-place finish in state. He went from a shooter to all-around threat because he said he gained 20 pounds in the offseason to prepare his body for more physical play. But he certainly didn’t lose any of his electric athleticism.
What coach Allen Thomas says: “He’s the type of kid that you don’t want to challenge. Because he’ll usually rise to the occasion. He has a chip on his shoulder when he plays and that’s kind of what makes him great. The day that he doesn’t have that chip on his shoulder is the day he stops developing.”
WILLIE THOMAS III
Lincoln High School
Forward, 6-foot-6, sr.
Bio: Nobody was as dominant defensively in the South Sound the past two seasons, nor seemed to play with as much emotion and energy. Thomas is a two-time 3A Pierce County League defensive player of the year and led the Abes to back-to-back trips to the 3A state semifinals. Thomas averaged 13 points, six rebounds three blocks per game and earned the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic MVP during Lincoln’s four wins in California, culminating with a title win over St. Petersburg (Florida).
What coach Aubrey Shelton says: “I don’t think I’ve ever had a player play so hard and with such enthusiasm. He just does everything. He’s just so excited, borderline hyper, to be playing – so much joy.”
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
EMMITT MATTHEWS JR.
Wilson High School
Guard/Forward, 6-foot-7, sr.
Bio: Can play all five positions, dunk over you and shoot over you – but then he’ll be the first to help an opposing player who dove into the stands. He played everywhere for Wilson and he might do much of the same at UConn – even point guard. But for a player who’d much rather get his teammate a shot than himself, he still scored 1,614 career points with 744 rebounds, averaging 22.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.3 blocks per game this season. His length and all-around play is why Tacoma coaches have a hard time finding his comparisons.
What coach Dave Alwert says: “Emmitt makes everybody around him better. He would rather see everybody shine than just himself, but he loves competition. Don’t get that twisted. He’s a fierce competitor. Emmitt would be at the dinner table and he will be the one picking up the dishes. He’ll set the table, clean it up and eat.”
COACH OF THE YEAR
Lincoln High School
Bio: Lincoln has won at least a share of a league title in six consecutive seasons, including back-to-back trips to the 3A state semifinals. No team in the South Sound has been as successful the past two years, with the Abes going 52-4. But it’s also the way Lincoln has played – unselfish, team-first basketball with every player contributing. Just ask rival coach Dave Alwert at Wilson: “The hard part is I want to dislike all of Lincoln, but I really respect their whole program. I do. And what I loved is how much respect both of these teams had at the end of the day.”
G Demetrius Crosby, Foss, sr.
21 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists
G/F Clay Christian, North Thurston, sr.
20.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists
G Emmett Linton III, Lincoln, sr.
17 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists
G/F Zack Paulsen, Curtis, jr.
16.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists
G Jeremy Spencer, North Thurston, sr.
21.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.9 steals, 1.3 assists (55 3-pointers)
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677