Editor's note: Dennis Semrau covers prep sports for ESPN Madison 100.5 FM.
Madison Memorial senior Chris Knight headlines the ESPN Madison Prep Mania All-Area Boys Basketball team for the 2016-17 season.
The 6-foot-8 Knight will study pre-law and play basketball next season at Dartmouth University, located in Hanover, New Hampshire.
An excellent student who has maintained a 3.9 grade-point-average, he was a force on the court the past two seasons for the Spartans, who earned a share of their 14th consecutive Big Eight Conference title this season.
Knight was named the ESPN Madison Prep Mania’s ‘Gatorade Player of Game’ in victories against Sun Prairie and twice against Madison East -- in Big Eight Conference play and the Division 1 sectional finals.
The Spartans’ leading scorer and a rim protector on defense, Knight anchored a unit that allowed just 42.9 points per game. The backend of Memorial’s suffocating 1-3-1 zone, Knight was a key component of a stingy defensive unit that held 11 teams under 40 points and 19 teams under 50 points.
An athletic combination forward who can score off offensive rebounds and attack the rim from the wing, he averaged a team-best 15.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game and shot 57.3 percent from the floor to help the Spartans (23-4) earn a berth in the WIAA Division 1 state semifinals.
As a sophomore, he earned All-Badger North Conference honorable mention recognition at DeForest. After moving into the Madison Memorial school district the following summer, Knight earned Big Eight Conference first-team honors the past two seasons and was selected as the league’s Player of the Year this season.
“With the zone (Knight is) down on the blocks,” said Madison East coach Matt Miota, who had to game-plan against him three times this season. “You’re not going to get a lot of offensive board chances when he’s down there.”
Knight has come a long way on the court. His older brother and guardian, Roger, acknowledged on signing day that Chris was so uncoordinated in middle school that he couldn’t dribble the basketball let along dunk it.
“He’s come so far in two years,” Memorial coach Steve Collins said. “His best basketball is ahead of him, and he’s a pretty good basketball player right now. But he’s an even better person.”
COACH OF THE YEAR: Barneveld’s Jim Myers, who led the Golden Eagles to the WIAA Division 5 state championship to complete the rare feat of winning both boys’ and girls’ titles, has been selected as the ESPN Madison Prep Mania Girls’ Basketball Coach of the Year. Myers has coached the Barneveld boys’ program the past two seasons – earning the team’s first two state tournament appearances. He previously compiled a 699-138 record in 38 years as head coach of the Barneveld girls’ team, including six state titles.
ESPN ALL-AREA TEAM
Alex Arians, 6-4, senior, Madison Edgewood – A South Dakota State recruit, Arians earned Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 3 first-team and Associated Press fourth-team All-State honors. A unanimous Badger South Conference first-team selection, he was named the league’s Player of the Year. Arians led Edgewood (19-6) to a share of the Badger South Conference title. He averaged 18.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.9 blocked shots per game, shot 52 percent from the field, 82 percent from the free throw line and sank 42 shots from 3-point range. He finished with 1,058 points in his prep career.
Brennan Banks, 6-0, senior, Evansville – A four-year starter for the Blue Devils, Banks earned WBCA Division 3 All-State first-team honors and was an honorable mention selection on the AP All-State team. He led the Blue Devils (19-5) to a share of the Rock Valley North Conference title and averaged 23.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.8 steals per game He was named the Rock Valley North Conference Player of the Year and scored more than 1,700 points in his prep career. He will play basketball at NCAA Division III St. Norbert College.
Tyree Eady, 6-5, senior, Middleton – Eady capped a stellar career, setting school records in points (1,349) and steals and was named to the WBCA Division 1 All-State team as a senior. A North Dakota State recruit, he was named to the AP All-State third-team as a junior and senior and earned All-Big Eight Conference first-team honors for the second straight season. He was a two-time Big Eight Conference scoring champion as a junior and senior. He averaged 21.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game while helping Middleton to a 19-6 record as a senior. A tough matchup inside and outside, he shot 79 percent at free throw line and made 30 3-pointers.
Chris Knight, 6-8, senior, Madison Memorial – A Dartmouth University recruit, he earned WBCA Division 1 All-State first-team and AP second team honors after receiving honorable mention recognition as a junior. The Big Eight Conference Player of the Year, he helped lead Memorial to a share of its 14th straight league title. An athletic, physically strong power forward who can rebound, block shots and defend in the lane, he averaged a team-best 15.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game and shot 57.3 percent from the floor to help the Spartans (23-4) earn a berth in the WIAA Division 1 state semifinals. Although the Spartans fell to eventual state champion Stevens Point, he finished with team-high totals of 16 points, five rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots.
Mitch Listau, 6-4, junior, Waunakee – A three-year starter for the Warriors, he earned unanimous WBCA Division 2 All-State first-team honors and was a second-team selection on the AP team. Listau averaged 22.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.0 steals per game and shot 53 percent from the floor, 81 percent from free-throw line and 39 percent from 3-point range. A unanimous Badger North Conference first-team selection, he was voted the league’s Player of the Year. He helped lead Waunakee to a 24-3 record a berth in the WIAA Division 2 state semifinals after it advanced to the state title game in 2016. A skilled left-handed wing guard, he has NCAA Division I scholarship offers from several schools, including UW-Green Bay and UW-Milwaukee.
Storm Murphy, 5-10, senior, Middleton – A flashy point guard and Wofford recruit, he earned WBCA Division 1 All-State first-team honors after earning honorable mention as a junior. A two-time AP All-State honorable mention selection, he was named to the Big Eight Conference first team as a junior and senior. He averaged 19.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.8 steals per game as a senior for the Cardinals (19-6), who advanced to the sectional semifinals. He shot 43 percent from 3-point range, sinking a school-record 71 3s, and shot 77 percent at the free throw line. He scored 1,049 points in prep career and set a school career record with 280 assists.
Matthew Myers, 6-0, senior, Barneveld – A four-year starter, he earned WBCA Division 5 All-State first-team honors as a junior and senior and is a two-time AP All-State honorable mention selection. He averaged 13.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.4 steals per game as a senior and set the school scoring record with 1,576 points. He helped lead Barneveld to victories over Columbus Catholic and Shullsburg at the WIAA Division 5 State Tournament with his scoring, passing and ball handling as the school won its first boys’ state basketball title. The Golden Eagles (26-3) also repeated as Six Rivers East Conference champions.
Garrett Nelson, 5-11, senior, Beaver Dam – The Golden Beavers all-time leading scorer, Nelson earned WBCA Division 2 All-State first-team and AP honorable mention honors after leading Beaver Dam (23-2) to a school-record for victories and a 13-1 mark in the final season of the Little Ten Conference. Beaver Dam won the league championship for the first time since the late 1990s. He averaged 20.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.
Alex Ranney, 6-1, senior, Lake Mills – A WBCA Division 3 All-State first-team honors and AP honorable mention selection, he helped the L-Cats make their WIAA State Tournament debut by sinking the game-winning 3-pointer in the sectional final victory over Adams-Friendship. He averaged 19.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.1 steals per game, shot 50 percent from the field and 75 percent at the free throw line while also sinking 35 3-pointers. He was named the Capitol North Conference Player of the Year for the league champion L-Cats. He led Lake Mills with 20 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals in a 74-67 loss to Prescott in the Division 3 state semifinals.
Marlon Ruffin, 6-4, junior, Sun Prairie – A versatile shooting guard and point guard, he earned WBCA Division 1 and AP All-State honorable mention honors. A Big Eight Conference first-team selection, he helped lead Sun Prairie to a share of the league title. He averaged 20.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.9 steals per game and shot 30 percent from beyond the arc and 70 percent (117 of 167) at the free throw line.
Cullen Brooks, jr., New Glarus
Terrell Carey, sr., Madison West
Matt Caropreso, sr., Madison Memorial
Mandela Deang, jr., Madison Edgewood
Jordan DiBenedetto, jr., Stoughton
Jake Ferguson, sr., Madison Memorial
Mike Holum, sr., Mount Horeb
Jalen Johnson, fr., Sun Prairie
Keshawn Justice, sr., Madison East
Mitch Kelsey, sr., Monona Grove
Zack Mielke, jr., Evansville
Tyler Ronk, sr., Waunakee
Brodie Runez, sr., DeForest
Jake Schroeckenthaler, jr., Monona Grove
Troy Slaby, sr., Stoughton
Mason Steffen, jr., Waunakee
Alex Tordoff, sr., Monroe
Brady Wagner, sr., Lake Mills
Adam Wehking, sr., Marshall
Steve Wooten, sr., Madison East
Mike Zouski, sr., Barneveld