By Joseph Staszewski
The playoffs weren’t as favorable to Queens’ boys’ basketball squads as might have been expected, after some tremendous regular seasons from its power programs.
Archbishop Molloy returns to the ranks of the elite behind a talented mix of youth and experience. The Stanners won the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens regular-season title, reached the diocesan championship game and earned an intersectional semifinals berth for the first time in 14 years. Christ the King’s quest for a fourth straight city championship was ended by Bishop Loughlin in the semifinals.
The Royals weren’t the only team denied history. An upset loss to George Westhinghouse in the quarterfinals denied Benjamin Cardozo’s Rashond Salnave, Tareq Coburn and Amir Tutt the chance to become the school’s first players to win two city titles in their careers. However, Judges coach Ron Naclerio did move past Chuck Granby (Campus Magnet/Andrew Jackson) for first place on the all-time PSAL wins list.
Here are the players who made our list as the borough’s best:
All-Queens Player of the Year: Jose Alvarado, Christ the King
Like his team, the junior point guard kept getting better as the season went on. Alvarado improved his play, leadership and ability to make his teammates better, pushing Christ the King to six straight league wins to close the season, and gain a berth in the CHSAA Intersectional semifinals. The highly sought-after recruit averaged 18.1 points and six assists per game.
All-Queens Coach of the Year: Mike McCleary, Archbishop Molloy
Meshing young stars with established veterans is not always an easy task for a coach, but McCleary made it look easy at times. He kept star freshman Cole Anthony grounded, nurtured sophomore Khalid Moore and leaned on senior Isaac Grant. It resulted in the Stanners’ best season in more than a decade. Molloy went 22-6 and reached the diocesan final and intersectional semifinals.
All-Queens First Team
G Cole Anthony, Archbishop Molloy
The freshman lived up to the hype of being the son of an NBA player, and was a leader despite his age. His late heroics orchestrated a number of tight Stanners wins. Anthony led Molloy with 16.9 points and 6.9 assists per game, while making his teammates better as well.
C Isaac Grant, Archbishop Molloy
Grant’s nickname is “Breeze,” but he was more like “Beast” for his senior season. He was the rock for the Stanners on both sides of the ball. Grant was a dependable scorer and a furious defender. The 1,000-point scorer averaged 16.2 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
G Jared Rivers, Christ the King
Rivers built off a strong junior season and was Christ the King’s second-leading scorer, to the tune of 14.4 points per game and he dropped in 20 or more six times. The Royals were a much tougher team to beat with the senior raining down threes, opening up the lane for his teammates.
G Rashond Salnave, Benjamin Cardozo
The Monmouth-bound guard was one of the best overall players in the city, after an up-and-down junior year. He sacrificed some scoring for the betterment of his team. Salnave averaged 17.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists per contest for a Dozo team that won a Queens title.
G Aaron Walker, Benjamin Cardozo
Walker was the definition of a clutch player for the Judges. The Manhattan-bound guard won two games at the buzzer for Cardozo and was masterful en route to a second straight SNY Invitation title. Walker averaged 19 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per contest and is a superb defender.
All-Queens Second Team
F Tareq Coburn, Benjamin Cardozo
Coburn lived up to the early-season expectations and talk of improved play. The St. Bonaventure commit proved he could score inside and out, and his added strength made him a better rebounder. He averaged 20.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per contest for the Judges.
F Tyrone Cohen, Christ the King
The Holy Cross-bound senior was the ultimate glue guy for the Royals. Cohen did a bit of everything—rebound, score inside, hit the three and defend the opponent’s best player. He averaged 10.8 points per game, filling his role better as the year went on.
F Christopher Kelly, Queens HS of Teaching
Kelly had a breakout junior season that propelled Queens HS of Teaching to a third-place finish and a spot in the PSAL “AA” quarterfinals. He averaged 17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists per contest. Kelly was instrumental in an early win over Jefferson.
G Wesley Nelson, Construction
The smooth-shooting senior was one of the borough’s best all-around scorers. Nelson averaged 13.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists a contest to help the Red Hawks to a second-place finish in the division and trip to the quarterfinals.
G Chaz Platt, Holy Cross
The senior wing picked up right where he left off. Platt was Holy Cross’ unquestioned leader and it top scorer at 11.7 points per game. His athleticism and aggressive nature helped power the Knights to the CHSAA Intersectional quarterfinals.
F Hegel Augustin, Springfield Gardens
G Kyle Beeson, St. Francis Prep
G Daniel Desol-Lowry. Queens HS of Teaching
G Jamel Horton. Holy Cross
G Errol James, John Adams
F Jamel Kearney, Campus Magnet
G Stephan McLeish, John Bowne
F Khalid Moore, Archbishop Molloy
F Alonzo Ortiz-Traylor, Monsignor McClancy
G Marcus St. Furcy, Construction