The Alabama High School Athletic Association just completed a five-day bonanza of basketball that culminated with the three largest divisions being crowned Saturday. Bob Jones (Madison) coach Danny Petty became the first coach in state history to win boys state basketball championships at three different schools. The Patriots, led by tournament MVP 2011 SG Levi Randolph (Huntsville, Ala./Bob Jones), defeated Homewood 61-45 to claim the Class 6A title.
The Class 5A championship saw Lee-Huntsville handle Carver-Montgomery 62-48 behind Josh Langford's 15-point MVP effort, while Ralph Floyd's 21 points earned him MVP honors in the Class 4A final and helped Ramsay defeat Brewbaker Tech 58-50.
Levi Randolph (6-4, 180, SG)
Randolph consistently displayed why he is considered one of the top players in the state, regardless of class. The gifted shooting guard patiently lets the game come to him, but knows how to take over in crunch time. His ability to play point guard when called upon adds another dimension to his game.
Lonnie Smith, 6-5, 185, SF
2010, Birmingham, Ala./ Ramsey
Smith is a catch-and-shoot player with a high release who can fill it up. In the semifinals, he got an early start making his first three from 3. He has very good range out to 24 feet, and with his size, he can get his shot off against almost anybody. He does not handle the ball real well, however, and he can straight-line drive the ball to the rim.
One to watch
Jeremy Watson (6-7, 190, PF)
2011, Birmingham, Ala./Homewood
He is a developing post who needs to improve his strength, but he showed a willingness to compete in the trenches. He is an active post player who runs the floor, crashes the glass and contests shots. He uses both hands around the basket and also showed the ability to face up. He is a threat to score out to the 3-point line.
• Lee-Huntsville junior power forward Devin Langford will receive a lot of attention next season as he assumes the leadership role on the defending champions.
• Brewbaker Tech's Virginia-bound K.T. Harrell had an outstanding tournament, but struggled in the championship-game loss to Ramsay.
• Phoenix-Central's Darren Daniel, who signed with Stanford in football, showed his basketball prowess as a potential two-sport athlete for the Cardinal.
• Homewood High School, which spent much of the season ranked No. 1 in Class 6A, will have its inside-out tandem of juniors Watson and Marvin Whitt to make another run at a state championship.
• The 1A finals started things off with Edward Bell defeating J.F. Shields in a 66-65 overtime thriller that was followed up by a triple-overtime marathon in the 2A championship that saw Pickens County outlast Houston County 88-86.
Mike LaPlante has spent nearly 20 years coaching college basketball. Most recently, he was the head coach at Jacksonville State University.