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All-Area Boys Basketball Player of the Year: O'Maundre Harris, E.C. Glass

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O'Maundre Harris

SCHOOL: E.C. Glass

POSITION: Point Guard

YEAR: Junior

ALL-STAR STUFF: Despite the fact that he averaged better than 17 points per game as a sophomore, O'Maundre Harris wasn't happy with the way he shot overall in 2020-21. So he spent months and months in the gym, working on his mid-range jumper, on ball handling skills, on defense, free throws and all aspects of his game. He dedicated himself to basketball, and the result was a breakout junior year in which he led E.C. Glass to its second state tournament in a five-year period. Glass' leading scorer routinely burned the opposition with his jumper, his quick, silky moves to the basket, and with his swarming defense in the Hilltoppers' relentless press. He was named the Seminole District and Region 4D player of the year and received an all-state first team honor in Class 4 for his efforts. He averaged 20.6 points, 6.6 assists, 5.8 rebounds and nearly three steals per game, and shot 61% from the floor on 2-point attempts (56% from the field overall). He led all scorers with 18 points in the Region 4D semifinals, a victory that put Glass in the state tournament. But his most impressive outing occurred Feb. 2, when, at a packed McCue Gymnasium in midtown, Harris led Glass, which had trailed by double digits, to a 10-point victory over LCA. He scored 31 points that night and added nine rebounds, four assists and two steals. He played almost every second of the game and turned in one of the most brilliant performances in recent years in the Glass gym. 

To view the All-Area team, scroll to the bottom of the interview with Harris. 


Q: Let’s talk about the season. Were you happy with it overall?

A: I think we did really good during the season, except the last game. Some parts of the game we just fell apart. But we made it to states, and I’m looking forward next year to just going further.

Q: When did you start playing basketball and why? What attracted you to basketball?

A: I started playing when I was like 5. I just liked basketball better than any other sport. That’s the only thing I really know, for real, is basketball.

Q: How much do you think you’ve worked to improve your game since you’ve gotten to the varsity level? How has your game changed?

A: I think it’s changed a lot — shot-making, better passing, and the ability to work with my teammates way better than I used to.

Q: Was there anything specifically that you focused on ahead of your junior year?

A: Yes. This offseason I mainly focused on shooting, because me personally, I didn’t think I shot well [during my sophomore season]. So I worked to become a way better shooter and a way better ball handler. Oh also, free throws.

Q: Was this team special to you, and if so what made it special?

A: Yes, our team was very special because we had all the pieces we need, we just fell short some games.

Q: Let’s talk about your 31-point game (which included nine rebounds, four assists and two steals). It was a monster performance for you. What was that night like for you?

A: We played LCA that night. I came out hot in the first quarter, then second quarter I started slow, and I had a little break. Third quarter, everything was just falling for us. My teammates were getting me involved and helping me get started.

Q: You were all over the floor that game, chasing down loose balls and driving to the lane. Was it the kind of night where something felt different?

A: I don’t really know. I was just scoring, and it just happened. I really didn’t know how many points I had.

Q: Did you have a favorite moment from the season?

A: Some practices were very funny. But then some were bad, so we had to run step-downs. A lot. But favorite moment was probably the LCA game, the first time.

Q: What are you working on right now?

A: Being a student.

Q: What are your thoughts about next year?

A: I think we’re gonna go further than we did. This summer, we’re all playing good together, and it’s making us closer as a team.

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?

A: Texas Roadhouse.

Q: What’s your favorite subject and teacher at Glass?

A: Favorite subject is probably science. And my favorite teacher is Ms. [Emily] Simmons.

Q: Talk about Coach Best, too, because he went through a lot this past year, and it seemed to inspire you guys.

A: Honestly, he’s a great coach. He pushes us through everything and tells us to work hard. And with all the stuff he’s been through, that helped us a lot during the season. We wanted him to get strong first before he came back.

Q: You want to play college basketball. That’s the goal. Anywhere specifically you’d like to play?

A: I wouldn’t say a specific place, but anywhere that I can play college basketball.

Q: Is there a player you admire or someone who has influenced you?

A: Devin Booker (of the Phoenix Suns) or Jayson Tatum (of the Boston Celtics). Devin Booker, I just like his mid-range jumper a lot, and that’s all I mainly like to shoot, is midrange, so I just want to perfect my mid-range.

Q: Who is the person who has most influenced your life?

A: [Points across the room] Coach DJ, because he influences me to be a better person and a better man, off and on the floor.

Q: Is there any advice you’d give to younger players, because there are kids who come out to watch you guys play every night? And they see you dashing into the lane, shooting, getting assists, and they look up to you guys.

A: Be a leader on and off the floor. Encourage your teammates to do the right things.


All-Area Boys Basketball Teams

FIRST TEAM

O'Maundre Harris

POSITION: Point guard

Stuart Hunt

SCHOOL: Altavista

POSITION: Forward

YEAR: Junior

ALL-STAR STUFF: Averaged 19-plus points and eight rebounds per game to help the Colonels reach the Class 1 state quarterfinals and get into the state tournament for the second year under third-year coach Casey Johnson. ... Also added 4.5 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. ... Surpassed the 1,000-point career plateau March 4 in the state quarterfinal matchup against Washington & Lee. ... Was named the Region 1B player of the year and a member of the Class 1 all-state first team. ... Also selected to the Virginia High School Coaches Association's all-state first team. 

Kyle Ferguson

SCHOOL: Heritage

POSITION: Guard/forward

YEAR: Senior

ALL-STAR STUFF: Averaged roughly 20 points per game and was Heritage's leader on the floor, guiding the Pioneers to the Region 3C semifinals. ... Scored a career-high 36 points against Charlottesville in a 71-65 victory to open region play, including scoring 16 points in the fourth quarter. ... Struck for 30 points in a Jan. 20 game, a 64-59 win against E.C. Glass. Ferguson also finished with five blocks in that contest and went 14 of 17 from the free-throw line (and hit 10 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter). ... Selected as a first-team all-Seminole District and all-Region 3C member. ... Scored in double figures in every game except his first of the season (nine points). 

Walker Andrews

SCHOOL: Virginia Episcopal

POSITION: Guard

YEAR: Senior

ALL-STAR STUFF: Is the all-time leading scorer in Virginia Episcopal history and led the Bishops in scoring with 21.8 points per game. ... Also led all Virginia Independent Schools Division II athletes in scoring, and finished the season with 741 points. ... Scored 1,191 points in three years at VES. ... Also added three rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game during his senior season. ... Shot 56% from the field, 78% from the free-throw line and 40% from 3-point land. ... Was a first-team all-state member in VISAA Division II. .. Is a Division I recruit who decided to spend a year of post-grad at Northfield Mount Herman in Massachusetts. 

Sully Holmes

SCHOOL: Liberty Christian

POSITION: Guard/Forward

YEAR: Senior

ALL-STAR STUFF: Averaged 15.1 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game while shooting 51.8% from the field. ... Was a threat from outside and around the rim with his dunking ability. ... Was a first-team all-Seminole District and first-team all-Region 3C selection. ... Is also a right-handed pitcher who is headed to play baseball at Liberty University. 

Russell Thompson

SCHOOL: William Campbell

POSITION: Forward

YEAR: Senior

ALL-STAR STUFF: Was an all-Region 1B first-team selection, a second-team all-state selection in Class 1 and averaged double figures in scoring for the Generals. ... Averaged 10 rebounds or more throughout his entire career. ... Was also second-team all-state selection by the Virginia High School Coaches Association. 

SECOND TEAM

Sebastian Akins (LCA, Jr., Guard): Led the Bulldogs with 16.8 points per game and added 3.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game. ... Was invaluable at the point guard position. ... Named a first-team all-Seminole and second-team all-Region 3C honoree. ... Scored 20 points to help LCA win the Seminole District Tournament title over Glass. 

Jaren Purvis (Nelson, Sr., Center): The 6-foot-4 center paced Nelson to an 18-3 season and the Dogwood District crown by averaging around 17 points per game. ... Received an all-state second-team nod in Class 2 and was a first-team all-Region 2C selection. ... Also named Dogwood District player of the year.

Aidan Treacy (E.C. Glass, Jr., Guard): Averaged 11.2 points per game and shot 54% off 2-point field goals for the Hilltoppers. ... Received first-team honors in the Seminole District and Region 4D. 

AJ Jordan (Amherst, Jr., Point Guard): Averaged 12.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.1 steals per game. ... Was a first-team all-Seminole District selection and a second-team all-Region 4D honoree. 

Tanner Thomas (LCA, Sr., Guard): The 5-foot-10 guard was a rebounding machine, hauling in 10.1 rebounds per game. ... Also averaged 7.2 points and 3.2 assists per game and served as a reliable role player throughout his career. ... Is headed to play baseball at Longwood. ... Was a second-team all-Seminole selection and named honorable mention in Region 3C. 

Tayvon Vassal-Crider (Rustburg, Soph., Guard): Averaged 13 points, 2.5 assists and three rebounds per game for the Red Devils. ... Scored a career-high 26 points at William Campbell on Jan. 7. ... Shot 57.8% from the field. ... Was a member of the Seminole District's first team. 

HONORABLE MENTION

Hussain Williams (Heritage), Tayshaun Butler (Brookville), Camp Conner (E.C. Glass), Darius Brown (Heritage), Eli Wood (E.C. Glass), Marquel Dawkins (Altavista), Jack Wimmer (Jefferson Forest), Jayden Boyd (Altavista), Blayz McGarry (Nelson), Micah Crider (Liberty), Justin Burns (Amherst), Bishop Harvey (Brookville), Owen Dunlop (E.C. Glass), Terrell Washington (Heritage), Landon Etzel (LCA). 


Coach of the Year

DJ Best

SCHOOL: E.C. Glass

ALL-STAR STUFF: DJ Best faced his most challenging season as a coach in 2021-22. In his fourth year at the helm, Best led the Hilltoppers to a 21-6 record and a trip to the Class 4 state quarterfinals. He did all that after enduring a difficult summer in which he was diagnosed the Wegener's, a rare autoimmune disease. Best was hospitalized in intensive care and placed on a ventilator during last summer, and after a lengthy recovery, returned to coach on the sidelines in December. His players rallied around him, dedicating the season to their coach, and the Hilltoppers won the Seminole District regular-season title and were the Region 4D runner-ups. They advanced to the state tournament for the first time with Best as a head coach, and for the first time since the 2017-18 season. 

 

 

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