One of the toughest things to do in sports is go back-to-back. That’s true for anything. Winning back-to-back titles (region or state), or repeat as a Player of the Year winner. That’s because once the precedence is set, either the player(s) succumb to the pressures, or others are now aiming to bring that player or team down. Try as they may, no one could keep Carl Cleveland from going back-to-back as the BLITZ Player of the Year.
2019-20 BY THE NUMBERS
- 24.8 PTS
- 12.8 REB
- 4.8 AST
- 1.4 STL
- 0.9 BLK
- 28 Double-Doubles
- 2 Triple-Doubles
- 2,500 career points
- 1,000 career rebounds
FALSE: Carl Cleveland’s numbers were better last year than this year.
TRUE: That became perception around the area, as his 28.1 points per game of last year saw almost a 4-point dip in his senior year. However, his rebounding went from 11.4 to 12.8, his assists from 4.0 to 4.8, his steals slightly up from 1.1 to 1.4, and he recorded 9 more double-doubles. That’s fantastic!
AND…name another player who ever recorded 2,500 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. We don’t know of one that matches that criteria, at least not in our state and in our coverage area. Chances are, we won’t see it again.
- Carl Cleveland – 108 pts (21 1st-place votes)
- Jasper Gibson – 59.5 pts (1)
- Kolby Moss – 37 pts
- Jacob Radaker – 27.5 pts
- Matthew Weidner – 17.5 pts
- Pat Jackson – 14.5 pts
It was just about anonymous, as Jasper Gibson was the only one to steal a 1st-place vote from Cleveland.
Voting included our 22-person panel made up of sports reporters, writers, video producers, former coaches, players, GHSA officials, and sports experts. The voting is Heisman-style, with the following points system:
1st place votes: 5 pts; 2nd: 3 pts; 3rd: 2 pts; 4th: 1 pts; 5th-6th: 0.5 pts
HISTORY OF HOOPS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
2019-20 – Carl Cleveland – Banks Co SR G/F
2018-19 – Carl Cleveland – Banks Co JR G/F & Luke Chism – Banks Co SR F
2017-18 – Dylan Orr – Banks Co SR F
2016-17 – Kahmal Wiley – Banks Co SR G/F
2015-16 – Zez Steeple – Banks Co SR G
2014-15 – Austin Venable – Banks Co SR C & Austin DiNofrio – Rabun Co SR G
2013-14 – Spencer Adams – White Co SR G
2012-13 – Tyler Dominy – Dawson Co SR G/F
2011-12 – Patrick Burns – Habersham Central SR F
2010-11 – Jacob Evans – Dawson Co SR G/F
2009-10 – Luke Crumley – White Co JR C
Cleveland is the very first to win the Player of the Year in back-to-back years, or to repeat in any way for that matter. He split the honors last season with Dawson’s Luke Chism. Banks County has long owned this award, as this marks 6 straight years a Leopard has had at least a share of the honors.
LOOKING AHEAD – THE NEXT FAVORITE
This could be wide open. Of the 6 finalists, gone is Cleveland, Gibson, Weidner, Radaker, and Jackson. That leaves one – Kolby Moss, returning. He’s the first one that comes to mind when thinking of who could win it next season. Still, we also like Mason Barnes (Dawson), anyone from Jefferson, Habersham’s Malachi Dooley, Rabun’s Connor McKay, or even a dark-horse candidate like Brian Cunane (Lumpkin).
11×14 Framed Print – Carl Cleveland POY
11x14 Framed Print - Carl Cleveland POY