Despite being one of the most important and decorated players in Apex High's history, Weston Murphy will have to earn a walk-on spot to continue playing basketball.
Weston Murphy, Apex (SWakeSports' boys basketball player of the year)
Mike Fogg, Apex
Connor Belicic, Apex
Lindsey Johnson, Cary Christian
Dominique Byrd, Fuquay-Varina
LaCurtis Latimore, Holly Springs
Stephen McAllister, Middle Creek
Rahim Jenkins, Athens Drive
Javonte Rankin, Panther Creek
Isaiah Johnson, Panther Creek
Anthony Shelton, Cary
Ray Hubbard, Panther Creek
Cameron Walton, Cary Academy
Jimmy Joyner, Cary Academy
Quintin Underwood, Holly Springs
Honorable mention: Chris Thomas, Cary Christian; Calvin Winfrey, Cary Christian; Hurley Cannady, Athens Drive; Austin Brannen, Cary; Leon Hargrove, Middle Creek; Karim Sako, Panther Creek
It took a few days for the All-GlaxoSmithKline Invitational teams to come out, so at the time of our Jan. 3 Cary News edition, we didn't know exactly how many Apex players were on the squad.
Weston Murphy, with 69 points in three games, was a lock. We learned on Monday that Connor Belicic (pictured left) with 41 GSK points, joined Murphy on the All-Tournament team for the Summitt Hospitality bracket.
Apex finished third in the bracket with wins over Wilson Greenfield and Flora MacDonald and a four-point loss to Word of God.
As promised, we have preseason basketball predictions and a preseason all-SWakeSports team for the year. One of the things I enjoy about basketball season is that all 10 of our local schools are on equal ground — the basketball court.
As we saw last year, Cary Academy and Cary Christian can defeat 4-A public schools like those in the Tri-Nine Conference. So unlike any other sport, we rank all 10 of those teams every week. We've changed the name to "SWakeSports rankings," which should clear up the confusion caused by last year's moniker "TCN/SWW."
Our boys basketball rankings & team: Apex, Middle Creek and Cary Academy are the only teams that return at least two starters and multiple contributors from a playoff team from last year. Apex has the best player in the area in Weston Murphy (pictured left), and one of the best coaches in David Neal. So Apex will be first to start off the season. Thursday's game at home against Millbrook will be a great one to open the season.
I had the pleasure of attending the 2009 Triangle All-Stars Slam Dunk Challege on April 29 along with my good friend (and TCN correspondent) Langdon Morris. Langdon filmed while I sat back, wrote down the scores, and for once got to enjoy watching the likes of Josh Davis, Earnest Ross and Garrius Adams as a fan and not a reporter.
The contest, which also featured Apex's Weston Murphy, Cary's Parker Stephenson and Leesville Road's Harrison George, was an excellent one and you can watch it in its entirety by clicking here (big thanks to Josh Harrell for editing the film yet again).
A learned a few things from this event. 1- Josh Davis is very creative in his dunks. 2- Earnest Ross can throw it down much, much harder than I saw him this year when he always went for the two-hand flush. 3- Parker Stephenson can flat-out leap for a... you know the rest. 4- Harrison George may be able to throw down great dunks, but he did the same one twice in the first two rounds and that cost him. 5- Garrius Adams had been sick all week, Wednesday was his first day back in school, and it was clear he wasn't 100%. 6- Weston Murphy, while still a great player who has matched the likes of Davis and Melvin Tabb rebound-for-rebound and point-for-point during the year, is simply not cut out for a dunk contest. He missed so many, we cut his "dunk" sessions out of the video.
Before you watch, here's how the scoring evened out.
First Round: George 42, Stephenson 40, Adams 41, Murphy 35, Ross 49, Davis 45
Second Round: George 40, Stephenson 47, Adams 49, Murphy 39, Ross 48, Davis 48
Third Round: Stephenson 50, Adams 44, Ross 45, Davis 45
Fourth Round: Stephenson 0, Ross 50, Davis 50
Final Round: Ross defeated Davis 47-42
I don't have much of a say in who makes the two GSK all-tournament teams
(there's one from each the three brackets; Girls, Holiday Summit Group and Randolph
Foundation Group), but I know those who do. And from all indications, it
appears we'll have four local players on the two teams.