The Associated Press all-state boys basketball team is filled with outstanding players, but it's rather amazing that some of the 16 media members who voted on the squad don't believe Raleigh Word of God's John Wall, Ravenscroft's Ryan Kelly, and Arden Christ School's Mason Plumlee are among the five best high school players in the state.
National recruiting rankings don't mean a lot, I know, and I cheer for the right of each voter to pick his own team. But those three are incredible players.
Wall is ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the country among seniors by most national recruiting services. Kelly is in the top dozen in most rankings, and Plumlee is in the top 20 neighborhood and perhaps should be higher.
There were reasons to not vote for them, of course.
All three play at private schools, and maybe a voter somewhere didn't want to vote for a private school player.
Wall is a fifth-year player, and that probably hurt him with some voters (it kept him out of the McDonald's All-American game), and maybe some people were offended by the outspoken comments of people surrounding him.
Plumlee is a boarding student. I believe that landed him on the second team instead of the first. I know I wouldn't want an all-state team filled with players from boarding schools.
Reggie Bullock of Kinston is a great player and led the balloting. He deserves to be on the first team.
But for some voters to leave Wall, Kelly and Plumlee off the first team is an indicator to me that factors other than playing basketball were involved. That's great. Every voter needs to evaluate what "all-state" should mean.
I pick The N&O's athletes of the year each spring. Sometimes the winner is obvious, but often it is not. Regardless of how close the athletes are in your mind, you have to make a choice.
I'm sure some people have been amazed, and disappointed, by my selections.
2008-2009 AP All-State basketball
2008-09 AP All-State prep basketball teams for NC
By The Associated Press
The 2008-09 Associated Press All-State prep basketball teams for North Carolina, as selected by 16 sports writers across the state. With school, number of points in parentheses, height, position and class:
Reggie Bullock, Kinston (30), 6-7, G, Jr.
C.J. Harris, Winston-Salem Mt. Tabor (28), 6-3, G, Sr.
John Wall, Raleigh Word of God (24), 6-4, PG, Sr.
Ryan Kelly, Raleigh Ravenscroft (20), 6-10, F, Sr.
J.T. Terrell, Burlington Cummings (20), 6-3, G, Jr.
Ian Miller, Charlotte United Faith (18), 6-3, G, Jr.
Eric Mayo, Shelby (12), 6-4, F, Sr.
Mason Plumlee, Arden Christ School (11), 6-11, F, Sr.
Aaron Toomey, Kernersville McGuinness (8), 6-1, PG, Jr.
Akeem Richmond, Southern Lee (7), 6-2, G, Sr.
Christal Caldwell, West Charlotte (28), 5-11, G, Sr.
Keyrra Gillespie, Statesville (25), 5-6, PG, Sr.
Asia Williams, Durham Hillside (25), 5-11, G/F, Sr.
Erinn Thompson, Kernersville McGuinness (22), 6-3, C, Sr.
Shannon Smith, Gastonia Forestview (21), 5-7, G, Jr.
Anna Freeman, East Davidson (20), 6-1, F, Sr.
Katie Paschal, Williamston (11), 5-7, G, Jr.
Krista Gross, Concord Cannon (11), 6-1, G, Sr.
Eleisha Hairston, Reidsville (11), 6-1, F, Sr.
Nikki Burton, West Charlotte (10), 5-10, F, Sr.