Posted On: 11/22/18 10:52 AM
Taking a note from fellow contributor Adam Ayalew’s “All-Met Candidate” series, we’re going to take a look at 11 guys across the state of Virginia who should compete for the coveted Gatorade State Player of the Year. While taking everything into consideration, we’re going to be looking at three categories in particular: individual production, team performance and the competition level that the programs play. We will release each candidate in alphabetical order over the next few weeks.
To get it started, we look at Norfolk Academy junior and nationally ranked big man Mark Williams.
This is the biggest thing that Williams will need to do for him to be considered for this award, and it’s a little difficult because some of the biggest impacts he makes are on the defensive end. However, he isn’t going to face many people that can matchup with him at 6’11” with a 7’4” reach, he can literally go over people to dunk the basketball. He has a solid skill set that includes a midrange jumper and the ability to put it on the floor in transition. He’s very unselfish, but he’s going to need to put up big numbers for NA this season.
Last year, Norfolk Academy had one of their best years in a long time. According to MaxPreps, they went 20-6, and while Walsingham won the TCIS regular season, Norfolk Academy won the conference tournament and Williams was named MVP. They won their first game of the state tournament against Woodberry Forest before losing to Richmond powerhouse Trinity Episcopal in the second round. This season will be crucial to see if Williams can be the guy who helps lead them back to the same kind of season they had last year. If he doesn’t produce it likely won’t happen.
While the TCIS has been down the last couple of years, they seem like they’re on the way back up. Norfolk Collegiate and Cape Henry have both benefited from big transfers at young ages who are going to be really good this year. Bishop Sullivan is back in the mix as well after a couple years out of the TCIS, and the addition of Steward School a couple of years ago boosts the conference as they have a talented young team, and Walsingham returns a big core of their team that won the conference last year. Outside of the conference, they have stellar matchups at Collegiate, at St. Chris and against a lot of local competition. It isn’t the toughest schedule, but it’s no slouch either.