Photo: Ben Queen Photography

Posted On: 03/5/21 2:01 PM

By Dave Morrison

With the season kicking off in most places this weekend, here is a look at the big school’s pre-season all-state teams, based on who is returning where and with the state’s new classification system taking into consideration.


Bailee Coles Bailee Coles 6'3" | CG Greenbrier East | 2021 State WV , Greenbrier East 6-4, Sr. SG-SF

The son of one of the state’s all-time greats, Bimbo Coles, who is also his coach, Coles averaged over 20 points and eight rebounds last year for the Spartans.

He was an honorable mention Class AAA all-stater last year.

Coles and the Spartans open Tuesday night hosting Class A No. 1 Greater Beckley.

Ben Gilliam Ben Gilliam 6'5" | C Woodrow Wilson | 2021 State WV , Woodrow Wilson, 6-6, Sr. C

Coach Ron Kidd called Gilliam one of the state’s top two bigs last year and he did not disappoint, averaging a double-double of 15.7 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

Gilliam scored in double figures in his final 15 games last season and with added bulk this season will be a handful for opponents in the paint.

He was a second-team all-state selection last season.

Woodrow Wilson opens at the Armory hosting Class AAA No. 3 Shady Spring March 5.

Ryan Hurst Ryan Hurst 6'0" | SG Buckhannon - Upshur | 2021 State WV , Buckhannon-Upshur, 5-10, Sr. PG

Hurst was a third-team all-state player after averaging 17 points and four rebounds for the Pirates.

A record-setting soccer goal scorer at the score (106 career goals) he also had 31 3s and knows the value of an assist, dishing out 97 (4.8 per game). He also made 39 of 48 free throws (81-percent.

Buckhannon-Upshur opens the season Saturday March 6 at Lincoln.

Mason Pinkett Mason Pinkett 6'2" | SG George Washington | 2021 State WV , George Washington, 6-2, Sr. SG

Coach Rick Green believes his senior leader is a candidate for state player of the year and it would be hard to argue after a junior season in which Pinkett was named first-team all-state.

He is one of two returning Class AAA first teamers along with Cabell Midland’s Chandler Schmidt Chandler Schmidt 6'1" | CG Cabell Midland | 2022 State WV .

He averaged 17.3 after missing 17 games his sophomore season and had 52 3s.

He was a 12.2 ppg scorer as a freshman when GW captured a state title.

George Washington opens in the Par Mar Stores Classic against Winfield at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 5.

Carson Poffenberger Carson Poffenberger 6'7" | PF Morgantown | 2021 State WV , Morgantown, 6–7, Sr. C

One of the state’s best-kept secrets is this Mohigans big man, but the secret is getting out.

He has next level size and has game is catching up, after averaging 12.9 points, 5.5 rebounds last season and beeing named to the Class AAA second-team all-state unit.

Morgantown opens hosting Washington Friday, March 5.

Chandler Schmidt Chandler Schmidt 6'1" | CG Cabell Midland | 2022 State WV , Cabell Midland, 6-1, Jr. SG

Schmidt is one of two returning players from last season’s Class AAA all-state team.

 The dynamic guard did it all for the Knights, averaging 17.3 points per game and averaging a MSAC-best 18.5 points per game in conference games. He averaged 5.8 rebounds from his guard position.

He had 12 games of 20-plus point games and has led the Knights to 40 wins over the last two seasons and has started every game in his career, twice leading the Knights to the state tournament.

Cabell Midland opens Tuesday, March 9 at Capital.

Will Shively Will Shively 6'1" | SG Jefferson | 2023 State WV , Jefferson, 6-3, So. SF

His coach believes he was one of the best freshmen in the state and the numbers seemed to bear that out.

Shively averaged 15.7 points and 7.8 rebounds and he had 50 3 pointers for Jefferson.

Shively scored in double figures in all but three games, two of those against EP power Martinsburg.

Shively, a third-team all-stater last winter, had eight double-doubles, including three straight starting with his second varsity. He had five games with more than 20 points. He scored 111 points in his first six varsity starts.

Jefferson hosts James Wood Saturday, March 6 at 3:30 p.m.

Amare Smith Amare Smith 6'5" | SF Huntington | 2021 State WV , Huntington, 6-5, Sr. Wing/F

This dynamic wing-forward missed his sophomore season but made up for it in grand fashion, averaging 17 points and 7.8 rebounds and earning second-team all-state honors.

Smith scored in double figures in 20 of the Highlanders 23 games and he topped 20 points eight times. Smith ended the season with 12 straight double figure games,

Huntington opens Tuesday, March 9 at Spring Valley.


Gavin Barkley Gavin Barkley 6'1" | SG Berkley Springs | 2022 State WV , Berkeley Springs, 6-1, Jr. G

Hidden away high in the Eastern Panhandle is this aptly-named baller, who scored at a 18.9 points per game clip, which led the EP. He was also third in the area in 3s (45), seventh in assists (3.1)and 11th in rebounds (6.1).

It was an overall solid sophomore season for Barkley, who will now try his wares in Class AAA after being a third-team Class AA pick last season.

He was one of the area top free throw shooters, making 72 of 95 attempt (76 percent) and made 45 3s on 122 attempts (37 percent).

He also had 32 steals.

Berkeley Springs opens hosting lower EP rival Keyser Friday, March 5.

Ethan Blackburn, Westside, 6-2, Sr. SG

Blackburn is morphing into a potential D2 prospect, and he bookended his season-high of 25 points (in the opener vs. Princeton and sectional championship game versus Independence) with a stellar junior campaign.

Blackburn has  the ability to get to the rim or score from outside. Blackburn averaged 14.9 points and had 40 3s. He had 17 double figure games and eight games of 20 or more.

He was an honorable mention all-state pick last winter.

Westside opens Friday, March 5 at Princeton.

Braden Chapman Braden Chapman 6'0" | SG Shady Spring | 2023 State WV , Shady Spring, 6-1, So. PG-SG

Not many freshmen could hold their own on a team that had two senior first-team all staters. Braden Chapman Braden Chapman 6'0" | SG Shady Spring | 2023 State WV wasn’t most freshmen.

He averaged 15.2 points per game and had 17 double figure games. On an outstanding 3-point shooting team he had 45 treys. He had a career-best 28 points vs Robert C. Byrd in only his second varsity game and he shot 78.1 percent from the free throw line (57-73).

He was an honorable mention all-stater.

Suffice to say that Chapman is on the short list, a very short list, of the state’s top sophomores.

Shady opens at the Armory against Class AAAA No. 5 Woodrow on Friday, March 5.


Jaelin Johnson Jaelin Johnson 6'5" | SF Fairmont Senior | 2021 State WV , Fairmont Senior, 6-5, Sr. GF


A prolific scorer from his shooting guard position, Johnson averaged 19.5 points per game, shooting 55.8 percent from the field (177-317), He also averaged 6.9 rebounds with 46 assists and 41 steals.

There is little downside to this versatile player, who is chipping his name into the history of one of the state’s traditional powers.

Fairmont battles one of its rivals, Bridgeport,Saturday, March 6 at 1:45 p.m. in the season opener.

Bryson Lucas Bryson Lucas 6'7" | SF Robert C. Byrd | 2021 State WV , Robert C. Byrd, 6-5, Sr, PF

Lucas, a first-team all-state selection, averaged 14.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and three assists per game for one of the state’s best Class AA teams a season ago.

With the wing-span of a much taller player, Lucas is an outstanding defender, who blocks shots (36), makes steals (68, 2.8 per game) and deflections (43).

Lucas had 10 double-doubles for the season and was named the Big X conference player of the year by the conference’s 13 coaches.

Byrd is at Philip Barbour Saturday, March 6 to open the season.

JC Maxwell, Wheeling Central

One of two players in the state to be nominated for the McDonald’s All-America team, Maxwell was a first-team Class A all-stater last year. He will try to help the Maroon Knights, a small school power, navigate through AAA in the newly-reconfigured state classifications.

Offensively Maxwell averaged 14 points, six rebounds and three assists per game, ranking second on the team in scoring and third in the other two categories.

Maxwell shot 58 percent from the field, including 40 percent from 3 and 75 percent from the free throw line.

Central opens against cross-state rival Charleston Catholic in a premier game Friday, March 5.

Koltan Painter, Nitro, 6-0, Jr. G

Painter the prolific was one of the top scorers in the Kanawha Valley last season, averaging 22.2 points per game and he did it being consistent, with 22 double figure games in 23 starts.

Other than a six-point game against Poca, he had at least 15 points in every game. He started the season with three games over 20 points and ended the season with three games over 30 points, including a season-best 36 against Wayne in a sectional championship loss. He had five games of 30-plus points.

Painter was a third-team all-stater last winter.

Nitro opens at home against Ripley Friday, March 5.

Jaidyn West Jaidyn West 6'0" | PG Notre Dame | 2022 State WV , Notre Dame 5-10, Jr. PG


The son of former WU standout and Notre Dame coach Jarrod West, Jaidyn continued his accession in year two as he ended the season as a Class A first-team all-state selection.

The smooth shooter can definitely score, averaging 21.3 points per game but his game was much more that.  Like his brother Jarrod, now at Marshall, he was a force in all facets of the game, averaging six rebounds and six assists per game as well as three steals.

A top point guard prospect in the state’s Class of 2022, the recruiting wars are just heating up for this player.

Notre Dame opens the season Thursday March 11 hosting nearby Grafton.