YAIAA boys' basketball player of the year watch
The GameTimePA.com staff will select its YAIAA all-star team at the end of the regular season, which is a contrast from previous seasons. In the past, coaches would submit votes for all-star teams representing each division.
This year, the GameTimePA staff writers will select one team for the entire league. Being just past the midway point, here's a check in on who is contending for YAIAA Player of the Year and the all-star team.
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Josh Bailey, West York (5-8, Jr., G, 13.8 ppg): Bailey is the perimeter spark for a West York team that needed it after the graduation of Kevin Rice from last season. Along with Darian McCauley manning the post, Bailey and the Bulldogs make for a tenacious foe.
Ryan Beck, Dover (5-10, Sr., G, 22.9 ppg): Last season's YAIAA leading scorer is again its top 3-point threat. The Eagles also are contending for league and district tournament spots, which they missed out on last year. The development of juniors Najah Fink and Jerry O'Neal has gone a long way in making that improvement happen.
Eli Brooks, Spring Grove (6-0, So., G, 20.4 ppg): A strength that sets Brooks apart is his ability to get to the free-throw line. More importantly, the Rockets are contending with Brooks and junior Darin Gordon providing a one-two punch.
Kristopher Johnson, William Penn (6-6, Jr., G, 9.0 ppg): Johnson's scoring average is the lowest of among the players on this list, but there are ample reasons for his inclusion. Most notably, Johnson's height while still playing on the perimeter gives him Division I college potential that is rare for the area.
Dylan Krieger, Hanover (6-5, Sr., F, 26.9 ppg): No individual is putting up more impressive scoring numbers than Krieger, the YAIAA's leader. Not once in his first 15 games has Krieger scored less than 20 points. His team also is among the most efficient while dominating Division III.
Montrel Morgan, William Penn (6-2, Jr., G, 10.1 ppg): One of the few players to reach 1,000 points while still a junior, Morgan has adjusted to life at York's Class AAAA school after leading Class A New Hope in his first two seasons of high school.
Broguen Nicholas, Eastern York (5-11, Jr., G, 21.0 ppg): Nicholas is on pace to be a four-year starter at Eastern and has his Golden Knights in the thick of the YAIAA tournament hunt.
Kobi Nwandu, Northeastern (6-5, Jr., G, 15.1 ppg): Nwandu and the Bobcats are standing tall. They are in control of the YAIAA Division II title picture, and Nwandu -- the third Nwandu brother coach Jon Eyster has had in his program as of late -- has been one reason why. In addition to Nwandu, Northeastern sports three-year post Derrick Hoffman, senior guard Michael Coleman, Donovian Maxfield, emerging sophomore DeAireus Brown and super sub Jeffrey Reynolds. "A lot of them could start on other teams," Eyster said recently when surveying just the bench players on his roster. The Bobcats were the only undefeated team left in the YAIAA entering play this week.
Sam Saxton, Central York (6-3, Sr., G, 14.5 ppg): Saxton has come on as of late, including a 28-point game Friday vs. Red Lion, and is guiding the Panthers in the right direction. The defending league tournament champs will be a tough out with Saxton leading a talented perimeter threat and junior Charlie Gingrich in the post.
Jahaire Wilson, William Penn (6-4, Sr., F, 18.6 ppg): The Bearcats have an embarrassment of riches, and now two 1,000-point scorers after Wilson joined Morgan last week. An athletic and versatile forward, Wilson leads the district's second-ranked team in AAAA in points, rebounds (11.6) and blocks (3.4). He's joined in the post by a notable omission to this list: junior Brandon Smallwood, who's averaging 13.9 points and 7.9 boards.
Next five: DeAireus Brown, Northeastern; Marquise Camel, Gettysburg; Darian McCauley, West York; Jason Rebuck, Red Lion; Jared Wagner, Central York.