Each year, with input from local coaches, The News Tribune selects its All-Area boys basketball team.
This year, 10 high schools from the South Sound are represented by players and coaches selected to the first and second teams.
The 12 spots, broken down by leagues, are 4A North Puget Sound League (three), 4A South Puget Sound League (three), 3A Pierce County League (two), 2A South Puget Sound League (three) and 2B Pacific League (one).
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
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Guard/forward, 6-11, senior
McDaniels has perhaps one of the most impressive résumés of any high school basketball player the state has ever produced. He’s a two-time all-state pick by TNT and the Associated Press, a two-time TNT All-Area pick, and the two-time 4A NPSL Olympic MVP. He’s also the 14th boys basketball player in state history to be selected to play in the annual McDonald’s All-American Game, and first from Federal Way. He has won four 4A NPSL titles, two 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict titles, and appeared in the 4A state tournament all four seasons, including winning a championship as a freshman. The Eagles took third this season, with McDaniels named to the all-tournament first team. The consensus No. 5 player in the nation in the 2019 class is considering Kentucky, San Diego State, Texas, UCLA and Washington. He averaged 23.3 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks per game as a senior, and set Federal Way’s single-game scoring record with 51 points in a win over Todd Beamer.
COACH OF THE YEAR
23-5 record this season, 2A SPSL East champions
Barbee has been a coaching staple in the South Sound — at both the high school and college levels — since he piloted the Evergreen State College’s men’s program in 1997 when he was 23 years old. He coached the boys program at Foster, the girls program at Kennedy Catholic and the boys program at River Ridge before arriving at Franklin Pierce. In his second season there, he guided the Cardinals to their first state tournament appearance since 2010. Franklin Pierce opened the season on a 15-game winning streak, and their 19 regular-season wins were a program record. Cardinals forward Claudell Quinland (21 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4 steals per game) was the 2A SPSL East MVP.
Forward, 6-9, junior
After spending his first two seasons at Garfield, and missing out on seeing playing time in the Tacoma Dome, Eason was one of the most productive players in Federal Way’s run to a third-place finish in the 4A state tournament, and earned a first-team all-tournament nod. The 4A NPSL Olympic first-teamer average 19 points, 11 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game for an Eagles team that didn’t lose to an in-state team until the state semifinals. Eason has a Division I offer from Washington State, and interest from several more schools, including Arizona State, Oregon State, USC and Washington.
Forward, 6-8, junior
In his first season playing high school basketball in Washington, after spending his first two in California, the 4A SPSL first-teamer paced Puyallup to its first Tacoma Dome trip since 2011, averaging a team-high 16.3 points and 8.3 rebounds. The Vikings notched a sixth-place finish in the 4A state tournament — their best finish since 1989 — with Munson averaging 12 points and 11 rebounds in four games. His performances inside the Tacoma Dome were enough to earn him second-team all-tournament honors, and a Division I offer from Washington, to pair with the two he already had from Washington State and Montana.
Guard, 6-4, senior
Curtis coach Tim Kelly has referred to Paulsen as a “warrior.” That might be the most accurate description for the Seattle Pacific signee. He played his senior season with a nagging right ankle injury, dinged up his left ankle on the first day in the Tacoma Dome, and still guided the Vikings to a fifth-place finish in the 4A state tournament, and earned a first-team all-tournament nod — despite enduring visible pain on the court. The two-time 4A SPSL MVP averaged 22.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.4 steals per game, while shooting 54 percent from the field with his signature mid-range jumper. True to his relentless approach at both ends of the floor, Paulsen drew 22 charges for the Vikings.
Guard, 6-0, senior
Several local coaches this season asserted that Pollard, a Central Washington signee, was the best high school basketball player in Tacoma. And, the numbers certainly back that up. The 2A SPSL West MVP found the hoop more than any other player in the South Sound this season, averaging 31.2 points. He did everything else for Foss, too, adding 10.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals. Coach Josh Barsh says Pollard has an ability to impact the game in many ways, and did whatever it took to win. Despite playing with a group that had limited varsity experience, Pollard still led the Falcons to a 2A SPSL title. Foss finished one win away from the 2A state regionals.
Forward, 6-5, senior
Simon is headed to the Pac-12 to play football after signing with Colorado in February, but his dominating presence translated plenty well to the basketball court. He was smooth on the offensive end for the Abes, averaging 15 points per game, and a double-double threat every time he stepped on the floor, pulling down 11 rebounds per game. “Jayden is a beast in the post,” Abes coach Ryan Rogers said. “He can’t be stopped by one defender.” Behind Simon, Lincoln won an undefeated 3A PCL title — the Abes have won at least a share of the past seven — and extended its league winning streak to 60 games.
Malachi Afework, Fife, sr.
Jaeden Ingram, Puyallup, sr.
Owen Paznokas, Kentridge, jr.
Noah Robinson, Life Christian, sr.
Daniel Santana, Wilson, sr.