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All-News4Jax basketball: As Isaiah Adams grew, so did his game

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Isaiah Adams covered a lot of ground over the last four years.

Adams walked out of middle school a 5-8 guard who was still learning the basketball game.

He will graduate high school at Paxon as a 6-7 wing and a history-making hoops star bound for the University of Central Florida.

Adams, the All-News4Jax basketball player of the year, grew in stature and on the court over his four seasons in high school and solidified his place in area history by the time all was said and done.

When Adams was voted as the state’s Mr. Basketball winner last March, he became just the second local product to bring home that honor. Only James Collins, a 1993 Jackson High graduate, had won that honor in the past.

“When I won it, I was very happy, I didn’t realize how big of a deal it is,” said Adams, who averaged 23.7 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. “Coach Frazier texted me and talked about Mr. Basketball in the state of Florida and the level of respect that comes with winning Mr. Basketball. It’s a really big deal.”

Adams didn’t begin his career as a big deal. Quite the opposite.

Coming out of middle school, Adams said he was undersized at 5-8 before hitting a 6-inch growth spurt by the time his freshman season began. As one of the tallest players on the team, Adams said coaches explained that he couldn’t expect to be a typical post player in the long run at 6-2.

“I can’t be just like a big man on the post if I wanted to be where I am today,” he said.

So, Adams took his post mentality and started working on refining his guard skills. The hope was that Adams could blend the ball handling and shooting and distributing of a guard with the physical presence of a forward. By his junior year, Adams had grown even further.

So, too, had his game.

He helped march the Golden Eagles to Lakeland as a junior, Paxon’s best season since 1965, and was named the Class 6A state player of the year. This season, even with significantly more expectations, Adams and Paxon marched right back to Lakeland for another trip to the state semifinals.

The Mr. Basketball award followed shortly after that. Adams said he was blessed to win the honor and grateful to have a supportive cast around him.

“It’s just a matter of you as yourself understanding what it is you’re trying to do and also the people you have around you,” Adams said. “Lucky for me, I had whole bunch of coaches and my mom, people around me, keeping me grounded, giving me advice.”

The All-News4Jax boys basketball team

FIRST TEAM

Position, Player, School, Classification

F Isaiah Adams, Paxon, Sr.

Notable: News4Jax area player of the year. Just second area player to win state’s Mr. Basketball honor. Led Golden Eagles to Class 4A state semifinals for second straight season. Averaged 23.7 points and 11.1 rebounds per game

G Deebo Coleman, West Nassau, Jr.

Notable: Scored 670 points in 26 games to lead the area in scoring (25.8 ppg) and was lethal behind the 3-point arc (97 for 215, 45%). Has scored 1,797 points in three seasons.

F Jacob Crews, Hilliard, Sr.

Notable: Averaged 22.2 ppg and scored 599 points for the 23-4 Class 1A state runner-up Red Flashes. Was 66 for 181 on 3s (36%). Scored more than 2,000 career points for Hilliard. UNF signee.

F Alex Fudge, Lee, Jr.

Notable: The 6-8 wing developed into one of the area’s best underclassmen with breakout junior season. Averaged 16 ppg and 9.9 rpg for 23-5 Generals.

G Gyasi Powell, Bishop Snyder, Sr.

Notable: Excellent final season for the Cardinals, with averages of 20.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.

F Logan West, Jackson, Sr.

Notable: Team-best averages in points (13.1 ppg) and boards (9 rpg) for 25-4 Tigers, who reached back-to-back state championship games in his tenure.

SECOND TEAM

Position, Player, School, Classification

F Malik Beauford, Palatka, Sr.

Notable: A force for several seasons for the Panthers, he averaged 18.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

G, Bobby Crouch, Bolles, Jr.

Notable: Averaged 18.5 points, 4.9 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. Had a pair of buzzer beaters. Also, a team-best 2.3 steals per game for the 19-9 Bulldogs.

G Jordin Jackson, Impact Christian, Sr.

Notable: A multi-year foundational piece for the Lions, he was a major force for a team that reached two championship games in his career. Averaged 14 points, 5 assists per game.

F Max McQuiddy, Episcopal, Sr.

Notable: Versatile player who had the ability to play guard and lock down an opponent’s best player. Averaged 18.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg for Eagles.

C J. Lee Repass, Providence, Jr.

Notable: Few in the area can match up physically against the 6-10 force in the paint, a Furman commit. He averaged 15.1 ppg and 7.2. rpg for the Stallions.

G/F Zyhir Sims, Fletcher, Jr.

Notable: Averaged 20.5 ppg and flashed big-time scoring potential throughout the year including season-high 36 against Sandalwood.

HONORABLE MENTION

Position, Player, School, Classification

F Markel Allums, Oakleaf, Jr.

G Sebastian Astor, Fleming Island, Sr.

F Moise Balungu, Ridgeview, So.

C Garrett Beagle, Bishop Kenny, Sr.

G Daniel Buckley, Bishop Kenny, Jr.

G Brakhel Burch, St. Augustine, Jr.

G Ross Candelino, Bishop Kenny, So.

F Joe Carter, University Christian, Jr.

G Michael Caswell, Paxon, Sr.

G DeAndre DeVaughn, Lee, Sr.

G Jack Dillard, Providence, Jr.

C Deangelo Elisee, North Florida Educational, Sr.

G Mark Flakus, Episcopal, So.

G Kadin Elmore, Orange Park, Sr.

G Kenney Gaines, Columbia, Sr.

G Isaiah Green, Providence, Sr.

G Tre Griner, Clay, Jr.

G Caleb Hayden, Baker County, Sr.

G Teron Haywood, Lee, Jr.

G Justin Hicks, West Nassau, Jr.

G Diamontaye James, Westside, Sr.

G Calvin Johnson, Impact Christian, Jr.

F Chris Johnson, Ribault, Jr.

C Alijah Kuehl, Bartram Trail, Jr.

G Ben McGraw, Bolles, So.

G Shemar Melton, Hilliard, Sr.

G Veatrice Milton, White, Sr.

F Ergys Muhametaj, Creekside, Sr.

G Desmond Neal, Flagler Palm Coast, Jr.

F Luke Pirris, Ponte Vedra, So.

G Wesley Roberts, Sr., Palatka

G Logan Ryan, Nease, So.

G Tyree Saunders, First Coast, Sr.

G William Spriggs, Mandarin, Sr.

F Bryce Turner, Sandalwood, Jr.

G Simeon Womack, Stanton, Jr.

G Quajon Young, Mandarin, Sr.


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