JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Who were the best boys high school basketball players and coaches of the past 25 years?
We have a good idea.
News4Jax continues its look back at the top high school athletes, with its All-25 high school boys basketball team for the period ranging from 1995 to 2019. The other criteria for the team is that players must have played in the area for two full seasons to be considered.
Before readers claim players were omitted, consider that area heavyweights like James Collins and Andre Cooper and John Knox and Roger Strickland and Ron Anthony fell outside of the time parameters for inclusion. Others, like Arlington Country Day’s Rodney McGruder, only played in the area for one season. With the input of select area coaches — some who are still coaching, others who are retired — News4Jax rolls out its All-25 team.
Last week: All-25 football.
Coming next week: All-25 girls basketball team.
Jim Martin, Providence
He reached the 500-win milestone late in 2019 and has three state championships (2010, ’13, ’15) in his career and a state runner-up finish (2017). Had many epic head-to-head battles with Arlington Country Day in the early- and mid-2000s, which likely cost Providence a few state championships. Has coached a pair of McDonald’s All-Americans (Grayson Allen and Patric Young). Also served as head coach in the McDonald’s All-American Game in 2017.
Rex Morgan, Arlington Country Day
A former star guard at JU, Morgan built the program at ACD from the ground up and won a state record-tying five consecutive championships from 2005-09. He later helped launch the Sunshine Independent Athletic Association. Morgan was 477-83 during his time at ACD and would have probably still been coaching if not for throat cancer that ultimately claimed his life in January 2016. Morgan was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2010 and battled through treatments before being declared cancer-free in early 2014. It returned later that year. Morgan’s teams were 42-6 in the Florida High School Athletic Association state playoffs. Arlington Country Day closed in 2018.
Bernard Wilkes, Ribault
Though he only won one state championship under this criteria, Wilkes remains at the forefront of area basketball coaching history. He died in 2006 at 57 years old following a heart attack. Affable. Fiery. Animated. Iconic, Wilkes was a bit of everything on the court. He was 758-158 during his career and claimed his fourth state championship in 1995. He also led Ribault to four state runner-up finishes. State hall of famer.
SG Grayson Allen
Final season: 2014
Why he’s here: Went 90-10 during a four-year career with the Stallions and won a state title in 2013. Helped lead Stallions to two other appearances in the state semifinals and earned McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand Classic accolades as a senior. He averaged 22.8 ppg and 6.7 rpg as a senior and 19.6/4.8 as a junior. Went on to play four years at Duke and helped lead Blue Devils to national title in 2015. Averaged 14.1 ppg in Duke career and would go on to become first-round pick of the Jazz in 2018. Currently playing with Memphis and averaging 7.4 points per game.
F Myron Anthony
Final season: 1997
Why he’s here: The 6-7 monster could play center or forward. Area’s career scoring leader (2,738) was a public school superstar before the wave of private schools began to take over the First Coast. Averaged 25.1 ppg, 11.9 rpg as a junior, 22.1/12.2 as a sophomore and 28.5/10.6 as a senior. Fourth-team Parade All-American in 1997. One of just three players to earn repeat all-city player of the year honors over the last 25 years. Was on Kentucky’s 1998 national championship team. Transferred to TCU and spent a season there, averaging 10.9 ppg and 5.9 rpg.
C Udoka Azubuike
School: Potter’s House
Final season: 2016
Why he’s here: One of the very few truly dominant 7-footers in the area over the past 25 years. A four-year starter at Potter’s House, he averaged 16.9 ppg and 9.7 rpg as a senior and 17.2 ppg and 9.6 rpg as a junior. Became just the fifth area boy’s player in area history to earn McDonald’s All-American honors. Also, a Jordan Brand Classic All-American. Currently a true senior with the Jayhawks. He’s averaging 12.7 points and a career-best 9.6 rebounds a game this season.
PG T.J. Bannister
School: Arlington Country Day
Final season: 2003
Why he’s here: A two-time first-team all-city selection and area’s top player as a sophomore was one of now-defunct ACD’s first true major national players. Was city player of the year in 2001. Averaged 20.8 ppg as a senior. Signed with Virginia and spent three seasons there (3.6 ppg, 3.1 assists per game) before transferring to Liberty. Played professionally overseas for several seasons following college.
SG Derwin Kitchen
Final season: 2005
College: Florida State
Why he’s here: A four-year player and three-time first-team all-city and three-time first-team all-state selection. He scored 2,046 points in his career, averaging 16.8 ppg. Signed with Florida out of Raines, but test scores wound up sending Kitchen to Florida Prep, then St. John’s University, where he never played. Kitchen then attended Iowa Western Community College, and later, Florida State. Averaged 8.9 ppg in three seasons with the Seminoles and has played professionally overseas since graduating college.
SG Chet Stachitas
Final season: 2002
College: Saint Joseph’s
Why he’s here: A four-year player who ranks No. 2 in area history in scoring (2,505) behind Anthony, he led Nease to the 2002 Class 3A state championship and then went on to four solid years at Saint Joseph’s, where he holds the school record for career games played with 130. Averaged 8.6 ppg in his career with the Hawks.
G/F Gary Anderson, Ribault, 1995
Why he’s here: Played only one season under this criteria, but helped lead Trojans to the Class 4A state championship that year. State tournament MVP that season and runner-up in Mr. Basketball voting after averaging 18.1 ppg and 10.3 rpg. Had 1,853 career points.
G Jamon Gordon, Jackson, 2003
Why he’s here: Multi-year all-city selection for the Tigers and all-state as a junior and senior. Credited with leading the state in steals in his final two seasons. Went on to play four seasons at Virginia Tech and average 10.9 points and 5 rebounds per game.
G Will Holloman, Wolfson, 2002
Why he’s here: Ranks third in area history in scoring with 2,338 career points. Helped lead Wolfpack to the Class 5A state championship game in 1999. Signed with Richmond and later transferred to Stetson, averaging 5.8 ppg in his college stops.
F/C Juwann James, Raines, 2005
Why he’s here: Three-year starter and two-time first-team all-city selection. Averaged 18.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game as a senior. Averaged 16.5/8.5 as a junior. Helped Vikings win back-to-back state championships in 2003-04. Averaged 13.1 ppg in four seasons at James Madison.
G Antonio Lawrence, Jackson, 2002
Why he’s here: There have been few players as talented as Lawrence to have played here over the past 25 years. He averaged more than 20 ppg his first two seasons (Wolfson and Jackson), then missed a chunk of his junior year due to injury. He transferred to a school in California as a senior.
C Patric Young, Providence, 2010
Why he’s here: McDonald’s All-American in his final season after transferring from Paxon, Young helped the Stallions win their first state championship. He averaged 15 rebounds, 13 points and 5 blocks per game. A four-year player at Florida, he averaged 8.7 ppg and 5.7 rpg with the Gators.
Position, Player, School, Final year
F Isaiah Adams, Paxon, 2020
F Beau Beech, Ponte Vedra, 2012
F Danny Bell, Jackson, 2003
G Zack Bryant, Providence, 2017
G Christian Carlyle, Bishop Kenny, 2016
G Jerome Clyburn, Orange Park, 2008
G Deebo Coleman, West Nassau, 2021
G Will Cummings, Providence, 2011
G Ben Fleming, Ribault, 1995
G Isaiah Ford, Trinity Christian, 2014
G Brandone Francis, Arlington Country Day, 2014
F Brian Greene, Ribault, 2002
C Udonis Haslem, Wolfson, 1998^
G David Huertas, Arlington Country Day, 2005
G Shaquille Johnson, Lee, 2008
F Berry Jordan, Arlington Country Day, 2001
C Wally Judge, Arlington Country Day, 2009*
G JP Kuhlman, Providence, 2009
G Devon Lamb, Arlington Country Day, 2007
G Nate Mason, Arlington Country Day, 2014
F Saul McDonald, Arlington Country Day, 2003
G Stacey Poole, Providence, 2010
F Shawn Platts, Parker, 1997
G John Randolph, St. Augustine, 1999
C Larry Richardson, Orange Park, 1995
G Charles Ruise, Baker County, 2014
F Sebastian Singletary, Jackson, 1996
G Josue Soto, Arlington Country Day, 2006
C Collin Smith, Bolles, 2016
F A.J. Stewart, Arlington Country Day, 2007
F Chris Summers, Ribault, 2007
G Brendan Walker, Bishop Kenny, 2006
F Corey Walker, Bishop Snyder, 2020x
F Kenny Walker, Wolfson, 1999
F Calvin Warner, Sandalwood, 1998
G Dwan Youmans, Arlington Country Day, 2003
* Played a season and a half at ACD after transfer from Washington, D.C.’s Bladensburg High.
^ Played his first two seasons at Wolfson before transferring to Miami Senior. Was all-city pick as a sophomore, averaging 20.4 ppg, 10.1 rpg.
x Played his first three seasons in town before transferring out of the area as a senior.