The All-Neuse News boys' basketball Team
Greene Central’s Imajae Dodd received a slew of honors throughout the year, including the inaugural Neuse News Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year, helping the Rams reach the 2A Eastern Regional Finals for the third straight year. Photo by William ‘Bud’ Hardy / Neuse News
Breaks aren’t usually found when it comes to boys’ basketball.
This is the fourth All-Area team I’ve constructed in Lenoir County (first for Neuse News), and I’ve never really had a definitive Player of the Year. It always took some time to construct the lists, and this year is no exception — in fact, it was the toughest. After quite a few sleepless nights, deliberation, guidance and courage, I think this is the list to go with for the area. If I’m wrong, feel free to share an opinion.
Let’s get into this:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Imajae Dodd, Greene Central
Stats: 14.9 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 5.1 bpg
In my four years of putting together lists in prep sports, this was the toughest decision I’ve had to make. I changed my opinion between Dodd and Kinston’s Dontrez Styles so much, I nearly copped out and went with a co-Player of the Year. Both meant the world to their teams, both are tremendous talents and both were great guests on The Flourish Hill Podcast. Greene Central took its third straight Eastern Carolina 2A regular season crown and regional appearance, Kinston won two of three against the Rams and a third straight ECC tournament title. Both teams fell to Farmville Central in the playoffs — look, this was not easy.
Ultimately, Dodd got the nod for his work on the defensive end. Although he sent shockwaves with his “best player in N.C.” tweet months ago, he was arguably the best interior defender in the state. Teams had to gameplan well on both sides of the ball and the blocks are certainly head and shoulders above anyone else in conference play. Styles would’ve been POY in just about any other season, but after hours of deliberation, Dodd gets the honor.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Perry Tyndall, Kinston
This decision was a little bit easier, although Greene Central coach Blue Edwards deserves plenty of credit for continuing the best stretch in Rams basketball history. Charles Harris left big shoes to fill, but Edwards (in his first year, no less) has done a tremendous job with the team as players expanded their roles. There were at least three players on Greene Central’s roster who took their games to even higher levels in the 2018-19 campaign.
That being said, Tyndall turned in one of his best coaching efforts this season with a team highly doubted midseason, when the Vikings started 11-5. Tyndall lost his leading scorer to transfer and several other stars to graduation. The Vikings made it to the third round of the state playoffs with a 13-1 record over the last half of the season, a pair of big wins over Greene Central and had Styles not gotten into foul trouble against Farmville Central, there’s no telling if this was a state championship team. The Vikings came together as one and showed why the program is the standard everyone continues to chase in Eastern North Carolina.
Without further ado, here is the All-Neuse News boys’ basketball team (in alphabetical order)
Jordan Atkinson, Ayden-Grifton
Stats: 18.0 ppg, 3.2 apg, 1.5 spg
The senior scored in bunches for the Chargers, finishing second in the area in points per game. His best performance essentially clinched a playoff birth for Ayden-Grifton, with 16 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Chargers to a first-round ECC tournament win over North Lenoir.
Donte Johnson, Greene Central
Stats: 9.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg
The senior was one of the rare post players in the area that wreaked havoc and forced defenses to not just focus on Dodd, even carrying the load scoring-wise when needed. Johnson did a lot of dirty work, but got his shine in on occasion and was a big reason for the team's success.
De’Shaun Kee, North Lenoir
Stats: 15.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.1 apg, 2.3 spg
The senior was one of the most revered shooters in the Eastern Carolina Conference, but it wasn't the only element of his game. Kee could drive and dish, but also attacked passing lanes in getting steals — overall, he was a key contributor in North Lenoir's playoff birth.
Isaac Parson, Kinston
Stats: 10.8 ppg, 6.1 apg, 3.1 rpg, 1.9 spg
The junior point guard was one of the most exciting in the area and should be in Kinston's historic list of floor generals by career's end. Parson had arguably the best court vision of any player in the ECC, but also knew when to take over scoring responsibilities if needed.
Dontrez Styles, Kinston
Stats: 17.4 pts, 11.6 rebs, 2.1 assists, 1.8 blocks
At this current trajectory, the sophomore will be the next high-profile player out of Kinston. Styles has refined his game since last year, improving his handle and perimeter shot while also defending just about every position. Don't be surprised if Styles locks down Player of the Year the next two seasons.
Terrance Copper, North Lenoir
Stats: 10.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 5.3 apg, 4.5 spg
The senior did a little bit of everything for the Hawks, leading the team in rebounds, assists and steals. Copper stepped his game up and North Lenoir had the ability to surprise tough opponents for that reason.
B.J. Corbitt, Greene Central
Stats: 11.5 ppg, 2.7 apg, 1.7 spg
There were times where the junior point guard flashed star potential, running the offense and also making daring drives through the lane. Corbitt had big shoes to fill with DonQuez Davis' graduation, but he made a way.
Quan Hamilton, Bethel Christian Academy
Stats: 19.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg
The junior was the highest-scoring player in the area and did a lot of his damage inside. Hamilton was a force throughout the year and a consistent entity as the Trojans advanced to the second round of the NCCSA playoffs.
Judah McBynum, Kinston
Stats: 11.6 pts, 3.7 rebs, 1.7 assists
The Vikings had a lot of great players, but the senior found a way to make his presence felt night in and out. McBynum was second in scoring for the Vikings and he took over on numerous occasions this season.
James Richardson, Ayden-Grifton
Stats: 14.4 ppg, 4.2 apg, 4.0 rpg
The senior played a strong role in helping the Chargers making the postseason in two of the past three years, including 2018-19. Richardson had led the team in assists and finished second in scoring.
Cody Dunk, Bethel Christian Academy
Stats: 11.2 ppg, 4.4 apg
The senior was a first-team NCCSA 2A all-region player for great reason. Dunk was a great floor general for the Trojans and was a steady hand for a team with only one other senior.
Rico Freeman, South Lenoir
Stats: 11.3 ppg, 5.1 apg, 1.4 spg
The junior point guard wasn't afraid of any moment and made his presence known for the Blue Devils every night. Freeman might've been known for his seemingly unlimited range, but he was also a great distributor.
Nick Harrison, Arendell Parrott Academy
Stats: 16.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg
The sophomore was a prolific 3-point shooter and his hot streaks were nothing short of insane. Harrison improved his game dramatically from last year, especially his skills at the point.
Hysaan Hudson, Greene Central
Stats: 10.5 ppg, 1.0 spg
If the senior was on fire, it was serious trouble for the opposition. Teams usually gameplanned for the paint presence of Dodd and Johnson, but Hudson helped make Greene Central a more complete team.
Joshua Richardson, Jones Senior
Stats: 14.5 ppg, 1.7 spg
Not having the junior in a 73-69 loss to Tarboro in the first round of the Coastal Plains Conference tournament due to injury definitely hurt the Trojans. Richardson was the team's leading scorer and got his in a myriad of ways.
Jordan Blow, North Lenoir
The senior was second in scoring for the Hawks (11.4 ppg) and did most of his damage slashing to the rim.
Detorian Brown, Jones Senior
The junior was second on the team in scoring (12.5 ppg), good defensively (1.7 spg) and could truly break out next year.
Jaeden Dixon, South Lenoir
The junior was a good presence for the Blue Devils (9.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg) as the team’s best inside threat.
Jekael Gay, Greene Central
The senior scored 7.7 ppg and was second on the team in 3-pointers, giving the Rams a good option from the perimeter.
Matthew Huntley, Arendell Parrott Academy
The senior was a strong second option offensively for the Patriots, scoring 12 points with three assists each game.
Will London, Kinston
The junior (8.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg) provided a level of toughness Kinston needed this season and his energy in the second semester coincided with the team’s success.
Trey McLawhorn, Arendell Parrott Academy
The junior was a double-double threat each contest, averaging 8 points and rebounds for the Patriots.
Chance Minott, Kinston
The junior looked more confident as the season went on and he finished fourth on the team in scoring at 10.1 ppg.
Damani Raines, South Lenoir
The senior gave his all each game and showcased great versatility (8.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.1 spg, 2.0 apg).
Scott Sanderson, Bethel Christian Academy
The senior had some great games from the perimeter for the Trojans and averaged 8 points per contest.
Kentrell Suggs, Greene Central
The junior scored 8.2 ppg and was a spark plug off the bench for the Rams, scoring in bunches in some big games.
Jeremiah Washington, Bethel Christian Academy
The junior has a world of potential for the Trojans, finishing third in scoring (8.3 ppg) and second in rebounds (6.7 rpg).
Connor Williams, Bethel Christian Academy
The junior’s impact didn’t show on the stat sheet, as much as it did for intensity and effort for the Trojans.