When it came to making big plays and making teammates around them better all season, nobody did it better than this year’s five Deseret News boys basketball MVPs.
All five MVPs were among the leading scorers in their respective classifications, and all five were instrumental in leading their teams to state championships.
Here’s a summary of this year’s MVPs as picked by the Deseret News. The first-, second- and third-team selections as well as honorable mentions, were voted on by the coaches.
T.J. Haws, Lone Peak
The only underclassman on Lone Peak’s No. 1 basketball team, this junior BYU commit is without a doubt the flashiest of them all.
Haws made such an impression with his trickery at the City of Palms Classic in Florida last December, someone created a YouTube video dedicated to Haws’ impressive theatrics.
“He is a crafty, crafty guy. You would see his moves in the 40-year-old league in rec ball,” joked Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis.
At the end of the day though, few players were as efficient as Haws. He averaged 17.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.9 steals in leading the Knights to their third-straight 5A state championship.
“He is pretty smart on the floor in how he gets his shots and how he gets to places on the floor,” said Lewis. “He’s got a really good feel. He has an understanding of when a guy is a little off balance, and when is the time to pull up and when is the time to go all the way to the basket.”
He has tremendous range, which he demonstrated by knocking down 64 3-pointers this season, and he’s a great finisher at the basket, which he demonstrated with a flashy reverse lay-up under the arms of Alta’s Landon Albrecht in the 5A championship game.
On a team with four seniors, Haws had the luxury of sitting back and letting his teammates lead the way. Next year he’ll be the focal point for Lone Peak, and Lewis said Haws has the work ethic to be successful nonetheless. He learned that from his older brother Tyler Haws, a two-time Mr. Basketball winner.
Tyler Haws was the hardest-working player Lewis ever coached, and he passed that work ethic down to his little brother.
“One of the greatest things Tyler gave him is how hard you have to work,” said Lewis.
Jalen Moore, Sky View
Heading into this year’s 4A state tournament, most people figured Sky View would be a one-and-done team. Oops.
Led by Utah State commit Jalen Moore, who raised his game both offensively and defensively in the playoffs, Sky View stunned everybody to claim the unlikely 4A state championship.
Whether it was leading Sky View’s press, raining down half-courters featured on ESPN or dominating the glass, Moore did whatever it took to lead his team — big hair and all.
“Say what you want about his hair, but his hair is pretty intimidating as well,” said Sky View coach Kirk Hillyard.
Moore finished third in 4A in scoring at 21.6 ppg and among the top 10 in rebounding at 7.0 per game.
His defensive intensity with Roy’s full-court press kick-started Sky View’s unlikely run to the title.
“It’s one thing to have a press, but when you have a press and you put a 6-foot-8 guy up front that’s pretty long and athletic, that’s pretty intimidating,” said Hillyard.
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