Williams, Bryant named Post and Courier’s basketball players of the year
North Charleston basketball player Anthony Williams says helping the Cougars win their first state championship hasn’t sunk it.
“It won’t until we get our rings,” he said. “We ordered them but haven’t received them. I think there’s a snag.”
That’s about the only thing that didn’t go smoothly for the Cougars, who finished with a 23-6 record and their first state title since 1997. The 6-6 center averaged 16.1 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.5 blocked shots a game to earn Region 6-AA player of the year and all-state honors. He is The Post and Courier’s male player of the year for the 2011-12 season.
Goose Creek’s N’Dea Bryant, who concluded her career as a two-time all-state selection, is the female player of the year. She averaged 12.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.9 steals and 3.3 assists her senior year and signed a scholarship to play for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Williams scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds in North Charleston’s victory over Newberry in the state championship game. But the senior provided more than just points and rebounds this season.
“Anthony is the heart and soul of this team,” said Hall, who led the team to the title in his first year as a head coach and is The Post and Courier’s boys coach of the year. “He’s a very emotional player. He plays with his heart on his sleeve, and the other players feed off of that. They get fired up by everything they see him do. He gets everyone going. He kind of sums up what North Charleston basketball is about. He’s proud to be part of the team and the community.”
Williams was part of the Cougars’ “Fab Four.” Teammate Bernard Samuel was also a member of the quartet and he also is first team All-Lowcountry.
Samuel averaged 16.2 points and 4.2 rebound per game.
Baptist Hill’s Shaquiell Mitchell and Timberland’s Darryl Palmer will be teammates at the next level. Both players signed to play for the South Carolina State Bulldogs.
Goose Creek’s Raemond Robinson will also play at the college level. He’s headed to The Citadel. He was a two-time first-team All-Lowcountry selection in both basketball and football.
While the boys’ first team is stacked with five seniors, the girls’ team has some youth with two sophomores: Amber Campbell of Northwood Academy and Dekeyia Cohen of West Ashley.
Bryant, the female player of the year, was a four-year starter for the Gators and played in two state championship games. She knew early in her career that she wanted to play for UNC. She also knew she had to have good grades.
Bryant played in two straight state championship games, helping the Gators win the Class AAAA title during the 2009-10 season.
“North Carolina has been looking at me since I was a freshman,” Bryant said. “It’s a great honor and a dream come true. Not too many girls from Goose Creek or Charleston get to play major college basketball. Academics are the most important thing for me. You can’t go wrong with a degree from UNC or any ACC school. I knew academics would be important. It’s the first things coaches asked about. They wanted to see my transcripts.”
Bryant concluded an impressive career with more than 1,000 points. She was No. 57 nationally on the ESPN Hoopgurlz Top 100 Players for 2012, and was the No. 9 guard overall.
The sophomores on the first team, Campbell and Cohen, are major college recruits.
Campbell the 26th-ranked overall prospect nationally for the Class of 2014 by ESPN Hoopgurlz, and has already scored 2,152 career points in her three-year varsity career.
Cohen has more than 1,000 points with two years remaining in her prep career.
Tinsley Hallman of Wando and Katelyn Grisillo of Bishop England round out the first team.
Hallman also was an All-Lowcountry volleyball selection and will play that sport in college.
Grisillo helped the Bishops go undefeated and win their first state title in school history. She averaged 9.6 points, 5.9 assists and 4.0 steals per game. Grisillo is a three-time all-state selection and was the Region 6-AA player of the year.
Paul Runey of Bishop England is the girls coach of the year. He led the Bishops to a 28-0 record. They outscored opponents by at least 20 points in 22 games, and 13 times they posted victories of 40 points or more.