I am not a huge fan of giving postseason individual awards to my players because I am always afraid awarding one thing, like scoring, but not something else of great importance, like taking charges, sends the wrong message to the players in our program. Similarly, I struggle with giving an award for everything because then we would be conforming to a society where more and more everyone who plays feels they deserve an award.
All that said, this being my first year at Milton and wanting to establish my expectations for exactly what I want our players to be, I decided to give 4 awards. Here they are:
1. Most Valuable Player: Senior Mo Lewis. Mo was our leading scorer at 15.7 ppg, leading rebounder at 7.2 rpg, leader in 3-point goals made at 62, and leader in 3-point field goal percentage at 43%. Maybe mmm ore importantly, Mo was also one of the top defenders in the nation in high school basketball, often sacrificing his own scoring to spend his energy defending top ranked high school players like Jaylen Brown (Wheeler) and Braxton Blackwood (Christ Presbyterian School, Nashville, TN). On the floor, Mo did whatever it took to help us win; and off the court he is a top-notch student and role model for the youth in our community. Our MVP this year is Mo Lewis, who will play basketball on scholarship at the Naval Academy.
2. Most Improved: Senior, Josh Burrow. A great teammate who worked hard every day in practice to make his teammates better. Josh had several games where he was a major contributor to many of our victoeies, most notably in wins over Fort Myers, Bishop Verot at the City of Palms Classic and a 14-0 Walton team the first time we played them. Our Most Improved Player, Josh Burrow, will continue his playing career at a Junior College to be determined.
3. The Milton Way Award: Sophomore, Chris Lewis. This award was given to the player we felt personified everything a Milton Basketball Player is supposed to be: Talent; work ethic, academics, character, and being a great teammate. Our 6’9″ sophomore high-major college prospect has all of those qualities, and then some. The sky is the limit for our “Milton Way” award winner Chris Lewis.
4. Redeem Team Senior Awards: These awards to go to our 4 seniors who led us to a terrific 19-win season with victories over some of the top high school teams in this part of the nation. Basketball is a humbling sport and these four young men had to persevere through many things, including a one-year ban from postseason action due to things completely out of their control, plus 2 coaching changes in 10 months. Lesser young men would have transferred to another school; DaQuain Watts, Shawn O’Connell, Josh Burrow and Mo Lewis stayed and decided to be the reason Milton will remain a great program in years to come.
In years to come, I do not know if I will continue to give the special individual awards, but I will always be able to give senior awards to hard-working, dedicated, unselfish seniors who give their all for their teammates to