Amber Campbell and Dantez Bennamon have much in common.
BOYSFirst teamDantez BennamonGoose CreekGuard6-0, JuniorAbout Bennamon: He led the Gators to a berth in the Class AAAA state championship. The two-time all-region selection averaged 20.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.8 steals per game. K.J. JamesPorter-GaudForward6-6, JuniorAbout James: He helped lead Porter-Gaud to the SCISA Class AAA Final Four. The all-state selection averaged 19.7 points, 10.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists for the Cyclones.Brandon WilkersonSummervilleForward6-4, SeniorAbout Wilkerson: He had numerous postseason honors, including Region 8-AAAA player of the year and all-state. He averaged 18.2 points and 9.0 rebounds. He was selected to play in the North-South all-star game.Seth McKelveyStallForward6-7, SeniorAbout McKelvey: A three-time all-region selection, he helped Stall reach the playoffs for the first time in nearly two decades. He averaged 12.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 5.0 blocks.Khalil DavisCharleston CollegiateGuard6-1, SeniorAbout Davis: He led the Sun Devils to the SCISA Class AA Final Four for the second straight season. He averaged 17.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 3.0 steals, earning region co-player of the year and all-state honors.Second TeamName, Team Year PositionJohn Jenkins, Summerville Junior GuardTyre Moore, Academic Magnet Junior GuardDemetre Rivers, Stratford Junior ForwardTy Solomon, Charleston Collegiate Junior GuardBaptiste Staggers, Fort Dorchester Senior Forward/GuardHonorable mention: TeAndre Hansley, Stratford; Sergio Smith, Woodland; Scott Hollins, Military Magnet; Stepehn Archie, Military Magnet; Juadon Chandler, Woodland; Michael Wamer, Woodland. Yuneek Crittenden, Battery Creek; Reed Radabaugh, Pinewood Prep; DeVontae Wilson, Battery Creek, Adonis Williams, Battery Creek; Terrance Frazier, Ridgeland-Hardeeville; Michael Preddy, Porter-Gaud; Charles Mitchell, Ridgeland-Hardeeville; B.J. Grevey, Bishop England; Jacob Vecchiolla, Bishop England; Derrick Smith, Garrett Tech; Devon Smith, Burke; Josh Gantt, North Charleston; Sterling Smalls, Porter-Gaud; Christian Kalacanic, Summerville; Chris McKinnon, Summerville; C.J. Frazier, Bluffton; B.J. Hill, Bluffton, Demetrius Smalls, Bluffton; Eric Hayward, Fort Dorchester; Kendrick Colvin, Beaufort; Michael Julian, Hilton Head; Thomas Parker, Beaufort; Romelo Doctor, Ashley Ridge; Fred Weeks, Ashley Ridge; Rasheed Hodges, Colleton County; Chris Singleton, Goose Creek; Terrell Green, Hanahan; DeShawn Evans, Goose Creek; Daquan Glenn, West Ashley; Michael Byrd, Porter-Gaud; Avery Zorn, West Ashley; Richie Alston, Wando; Trey Price, Wando; Jiquan Howard, Cane Bay; Raekwon Rivers, Cane Bay; Ryan Felder, Pinewood Prep; Braford Allen, First Baptist; Mike Lewis, St. John’s Christian; Josh Nelson, Faith Christian; Daniel Fralix, Dorchester Academy; Gabe Hognan, Palmetto Christian; Joe Siegwald, Palmetto Christian; Stokes Brownlee, Dorchester Academy; Raequann Gregg, Coastal Christian; J.T. Waters, Palmetto Christian; Tanner Crosby, Colleton Prep; Bobby Winters, St. John’s Christian; Drew Murray, Cathedral Academy; Greg Gamble, St. John’s Christian; Therron Reddy, Faith Christian; TayVaughn Major, Northwood Academy; Douglas Dwight, Northwood Academy; John Eck, Hilton Head Prep; Randy Young, Hilton Head Prep; Ryan Felder, Pinewood Prep; Brady Shuck, James Island.GIRLSFirst teamAmber CampbellNorthwood AcademyGuard5-8, JuniorAbout Campbell: She will be one of the top recruits in the Southeast next season. The two-time All-Lowcountry player averaged 31.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 5.4 steals, 1.7 blocks per game.Dekeyia CohenWest AshleyJuniorCenter/Forward6-0, JuniorAbout Cohen: She was all-region for the fourth straight year and selected all-state after averaging 26.7 points, 13.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.5 shots blocked per game. She is one of the most coveted recruits in the state.Ashley FieldsGoose CreekGuard, Forward5-11, SeniorAbout Fields: A four-year all-region selection, she was considered one of the top five seniors in the state. She averaged 11.9 points, 3.3 assists and 4.5 steals per game to earn all-state honors.Michele BoykinBishop EnglandGuard5-10, JuniorAbout Boykin: She was a team leader on a team that has gone 51-4 over the past two years. She led the Bishops with 16.4 points per game. She also excels in track and cross country.Raygon HendrixPinewood PrepGuard5-6, SeniorAbout Hendrix: She was a key player for Pinewood Prep, which won three consecutive SCISA state championships. She averaged 9.0 points, 5.1 assists and 4.3 steals. She will play basketball for the Air Force Academy.Second TeamName, School Year PositionDeyja Brown, Colleton County Junior Guard/ ForwardShelby Daly, Ashley Ridge Junior GuardMary Harriet Moore, Bishop England Junior CenterKwanza Murray, Summerville Junior ForwardJennifer Rhodes, Pinewood Prep Senior ForwardHonorable mention: Keosha Hardaway, West Ashley; Jhanice Stokes, West Ashley; Jalun Jones, Goose Creek; Rachel Torlay, Wando; Kearsten Duvernay, Wando; Makayla Dudley, Cane Bay, Brookelynn Doctor, Cane Bay; McKenzie, Stratford; Katelyn Powell, Northwood Academy; Allison Skinner, Stratford; Dashona Magwood, Baptist Hill; Kerrigan Simmons, St. John’s; Americal Jenkins, Hilton Head; Bria Brown, Burke; Allysa Kinsey, Hanahan; Iesha Mitchell, St. John’s; Jenna O’Dell, St. John’s Christian; Rebecca Duggan, James Island Christian; Lori Guerard, James island Christian; Taylor Barcomb, Alyssa Kinsey, Hanahan; Dorchester Academy; Katelyn Dambaugh, Pinewood Prep; Bri Boyd, Pinewood Prep; McKala Rhodes, First Baptist; Macee Tamminen, Hilton Head Christian; Ziaira Doe, Hilton Head Christian; Julie Strout, Palmetto Christian; Corey Caulder, Palmetto Christian; Ashlyn Fralix, Dorchester Academy; Laura Reynolds, Colleton Prep; Kendall Jumper, Colleton Prep; Antoinette Davis, Northwood Academy; Ellie James, Bishop England; Mia Kiernan, Bishop England; Daisja Cannon, Battey Creek; Erica Alston, Battery Creek; Breona Kelly, Burke; Tasia Hopkins, Woodland; Choral Linhart, Academic Magnet; Ariel Brown, North Charleston; Rashida Minson, Garrett Tech; Shanyra Libson, Cross; Marchaeya Gilliard, Cross; Zelphair Grant, Cross; Jayla Ravenell, Cross; Jerika Magwood, Baptist Hill; LaQuanta Drayton, Baptist Hill; LeSha Mitchell, St. John’s; Rebekah Jones, St. John’s; Tiffany Holmes, Military Magnet; Niasia McKenzie, Lincoln; and Kiley Bennette, Charleston Charter; Briana Chisolm, Colleton County; Zuri Green, Summerville; Erica Cobbs, Fort Dorchester; Dynasty Mervin, Bluffton; Tinara Brown; Summerville; Jordan Fields, Beaufort; Heather Chapman, Summerville; Ashley Tierney, Ashley Ridge; Courtney Eady, Colleton County; Americal Jenkins, Hilton Head; Caris Grant, Porter-Gaud; Kelsi Pajaro, Home School; Essence Lloyd, Stall.
Both are juniors in high school — Campbell at Northwood Academy and Bennamon at Goose Creek. Both are rated among the top basketball players in the state. Both are always striving to improve their games, playing basketball year-round.
And now, both are The Post and Courier’s high school basketball players of the year.
Campbell, Northwood Academy’s brilliant guard, currently plays for the Georgia Metros, a traveling team based out of Atlanta. She is playing in the prestigious Nike Boo Williams tourney in Virginia this weekend.
This past high school season, she became just the ninth girls basketball player in state history to score 3,000 career points.
Bennamon, Goose Creek’s two-sport star, is spending this weekend in Pittsburgh, refining his skills as a member of the Upward Stars AAU team. He was the quarterback for the Gators’ highly successful football team, but his future might be in basketball. He was all-region as a sophomore and earned all-state honors this season, leading the Gators to the Class AAAA state championship game.
The common denominator for the two athletes is their work ethic.
It’s not unusual to find Campbell alone in the gym at 7 a.m. She’ll practice by herself and head to school. She even works with a shooting coach who helps NBA players refine their jumpers.
“People ask me why I practice,” Campbell said. “I tell them I want to get better. I want to be the best player I could possibly be.”
Campbell has been starting for Northwood Academy since eighth grade. She is seventh on the state’s all-time scoring list with 3,093 career points. A two-time All-Lowcountry selection, she averaged 31.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.4 steals per game this season.
Campbell is joined on the girls team by West Ashley’s Dekeyia Cohen, who repeats as a first-team All-Lowcountry selection after averaging 26.7 points, 13 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.5 shots blocked per game. Cohen, who has 1,803 career points, is Campbell’s teammate on the Georgia Metros.
Also on the first team are Goose Creek’s Ashley Fields, Pinewood Prep’s Raygon Hendrix and Bishop England’s Michele Boykin.
Goose Creek coach Blake Hall said he is amazed by Bennamon’s work habits.
“He’s one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever known,” Hall said. “You will find him at the gym at 6 o’clock in the morning two or three days a week. He works on football and basketball. He never wastes time or energy.”
Bennamon averaged 20.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game for the Gators. But his most impressive number might just be his 3.9 GPA.
“I have to get A’s and B’s,” Bennamon said. “My parents tell me there are no C’s in basketball.”
Joining Bennamon on the first team are Porter-Gaud’s K.J. Middleton, Charleston Collegiate’s Khalil Davis, Stall’s Seth McKelvey and Summerville’s Brandon Wilkerson.
Nancy Beatty, who led Pinewood Prep to its third straight SCISA Class AAA state championship, is the girls coach of the year. She announced her resignation after the season to take the athletic director’s position at Providence Day in Charlotte.
Goose Creek’s Hall repeats as the boys coach of the year after leading the Gators to the Class AAAA state championship game. He was coach of the year last season after leading North Charleston to the Class AA state title.
Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @PandCPhil.