Across all sports, postseason awards so often go to offensive stars.
Sportswriters, and even coaches, become enamored with the players that put points on the board, but can ignore the other half of the game. We won’t make that mistake.
That’s why Sacred Heart Cathedral senior Herman Pratt, the best defensive high school boys’ basketball player in San Francisco, is The San Francisco Examiner City Player of the Year.
With tall and athletic forwards Taylor Johns and Joshua Fox behind him last season, Pratt was a standout perimeter defender for the Irish. But when the star forwards graduated, he became something more.
Without a prominent frontcourt defender and only one player taller than 6-foot-2 on the Irish roster, the 6-foot Pratt was almost always tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best player, regardless of position and size.
Against West Catholic Athletic League foe Mitty, he guarded 6-foot-8 All-American forward Aaron Gordon, who recently committed to Arizona. Against rival St. Ignatius, he guarded shifty point guard Trevor Dunbar. Against Riordan, he bounced around, defending a number of the Crusaders’ offensive threats.
But he wasn’t just a one-dimensional defensive stopper.
He also was second on the balanced Irish team in scoring (9.1 points per game) and always seemed to make a big play — an offensive rebound, a block, a contested basket — in a crucial moment.
In his final high school game, an overtime loss to St. Augustine in the CIF Division III state championship game, he scored all of his team-high 17 points in the second half and overtime, all while locking down UC Davis-bound guard Brynton Lemar on the defensive end.
“Sometimes people miss the boat with Herman,” SHC coach Darrell Barbour said after the title game. “With how hard he plays and how he defends, he’s also a skilled offensive player. ... When you get a player playing like that, he’s just beautiful to watch.”
Barbour also earned Coach of the Year honors on our All-City team for taking the Irish to back-to-back state title games.
The Irish also have second-team selection DeOndre Otis (led the team with 10 points per game), third-team selection Khalil James, along with honorable mentions Liam O’Reilly and David Parsons, but the first team is a cross section of city basketball.
The Bay Counties League West representatives were all dynamic as they were skilled.
Urban senior Nate Cohen garnered consideration for Player of the Year by doing almost everything for the Blues, averaging 16.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.8 steals. University forward Harold Getz performed similarly, leading the balanced Red Devils offense in scoring (11.9 points), while also taking in 5.8 rebounds and doling out 4.2 assists. Lick-Wilmerding forward Matthew Bergland led the Tigers in nearly every statistical category — 13.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.8 steals (all team-highs) — and became one of the few highlight-reel dunkers in The City.
Trevor Dunbar, St. Ignatius’ junior point guard who transitioned from facilitator to scorer, led all city WCAL players in scoring (13.6 points). Mission senior guard Antoine Porter also fell into a scoring role and put up 20 points per game to lead the Bears to an unlikely Academic Athletic Association championship after starting the season 1-11.
Because they essentially played half of the season, all of the talented Riordan transfers were limited to honorable mentions, but the Crusaders are still represented well on the second team with shooting guard Bobby Arenas (11 points, 5.2 rebounds) and point guard Geru Mabrey (9.9 points, 3.3 assists). Forwards Julian Marcu (St. Ignatius) and Da’Vion Telfor (Lincoln) round out the second team.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Herman Pratt Senior Guard SHC
COACH OF THE YEAR
Darrell Barbour, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Player Class Pos. School
Matthew Bergland Senior F Lick-Wilmerding
Nate Cohen Senior G Urban
Trevor Dunbar Junior G St. Ignatius
Harold Getz Senior F University
Antoine Porter Senior G Mission
Player Class Pos. School
Bobby Arenas Junior G Riordan
Geru Mabrey Senior G Riordan
Julian Marcu Junior F St. Ignatius
DeOndre Otis Junior G SHC
Da’Vion Telfor Junior F Lincoln
Player Class Pos. School
Albert Collins Senior F Marshall
Armani Collins Soph. F Stuart Hall
Khalil James Senior G SHC
Jason Smith Junior G Marshall
Seth Snoddy Junior C Lincoln
Lamar Anderson, junior, forward, Balboa; Kenechi Anibogu, senior, center, Gateway; Matt Brown, senior, guard, St. Ignatius; Will Carroll, senior, forward, University; Liam Dwyer, junior, forward, Waldorf; Frankie Ferrari, junior, guard, Riordan; Jack Gale, junior, forward, University; Brion Gregerson, senior, guard, Galileo; Anthony Gumberg, senior, forward, Jewish Community; James Gurr, senior, guard, Lincoln; Aumen Holliday, senior, guard, Marshall; Lucas Knorr, senior, guard, Bay; Jonathan Li, senior, guard, Lowell; Chris Mah, senior, guard, University; Zach Masoli, junior, forward, Riordan; David Medoff, senior, guard, University; Matt Monges, senior, guard, Urban; Kevin Murray, senior, guard, Mission; Liam O’Reilly, junior, forward, SHC Mizell Parker, junior, guard, Marshall; David Parsons, sophomore, guard, SHC; Andreas Peritos, senior, center, Stuart Hall; Raymond Porter, senior, forward, Gateway; Andrew Rauch, senior, forward, Lick-Wilmerding; Benjamin Schneider, senior, forward, Lick-Wilmerding; Alex Seutin, junior, forward, International; Jiday Ugbaja, junior, guard, Riordan; Chiefy Ugbaja, junior, forward, Riordan; Albert Waters, senior, guard, St. Ignatius