Western Michigan Christian’s Bernard Smith was a first-team all-state selection. The 6-5 senior averaged 20.7 points and 13 rebounds per game for the Warriors, shooting an astounding 70.7 percent from the floor.
“Barnard’s been a dominant player for us the last couple years, and he’s put up some impressive stats,” said coach Kyle Mastenbrook. “What stood out the most is that he’s shooting over 70 percent and still scoring that much. He got a lot of his points from in close on offensive rebounds. He was a great rebounder, and he also had some unselfish teammates who recognized that getting Bernard the ball was a good thing.”
Smith scored a season-high 45 points — on 21-of-25 shooting — against Grand River Prep. He’s considering playing basketball at either Alma or Olivet next year, according to his coach.
“I’m glad he’s staying somewhat in the area so I can see some games, because I really enjoyed coaching and getting to know him,” Mastenbrook said.
JACKSON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
It's no surprise that Josh Jackson of Detroit Consortium was named Associated Press Class C basketball Player of the Year this season.
Jackson, a 6-foot-6 sophomore, is thought by many, if not most, to be the state's top player regardless of class.
Jackson was a first-team AP All-State pick last season and was the lone unanimous selection this season.
"He's surpassed expectations, at least by my estimation," Consortium coach Tobias Tuomi said. "He's more of a leader. Whereas he deferred to his teammates last year, Josh has taken more of an ownership of this team.
"He's gotten stronger over the course of the season and become an absolutely dominant rebounder. He's very unselfish and a great passer. We've seen all kinds of junk defenses, and he's figured it all out."
Jackson is averaging 28 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, four steals and four blocks.
He's being recruited by all of the top schools, including Michigan and Michigan State. On a Saturday in mid-February, both Michigan coach John Beilein and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo were in Detroit at Consortium's game against Saginaw Arthur Hill — Beilein at one end of the court, Izzo at the other.
Tyler Jandron of Negaunee received 10 out of a possible 11 first-place votes, and Noah Bacchus, a 5-10 senior point guard from East Jordan, had nine, and both join Jackson on the 11-player first-team list for Class C.
Seven other seniors were selected to the first team, including Colin Lake of Whiteford, Amariontez Ivory of Flint Beecher, Malik Taylor of Montrose, Eddie Tornes of Muskegon Heights Academy, Nick Spitzley of Pewamo-Westphalia and Luke Meyer of Addison.
The other underclassman to be selected is freshman Jermaine Jackson Jr., a coach's son who plays point guard for Mount Clemens.
Del Stewart of Muskegon Heights Academy was selected Class C Coach of the Year. In his second season as head coach, Stewart guided his team to the semifinals. Not blessed with much height, Muskegon Heights is a team that excels in transition.
The Associated Press contributed to this report