The All-FCIAC boys basketball teams were announced today, and there were a lot of messages sent via email and social media.
I thought I would briefly offer some thoughts here in way of a response. Before beginning, one important point: I am not going to discuss whether particular players deserved or were undeserving of their status.
One person on Twitter considered a vague response on a player a cop-out. I just believe you cover high school sports differently than you do the colleges and pros. To say someone who didn’t make the first team didn’t deserve to is a public criticism. That’s not my style.
So if you want to say that’s a cop-out, fine. I can live with that.
Also keep in mind, All-Star teams at any level are highly subjective. They are based in large part on opinion. There will always be debates.
Though there were questions about some of today’s selections, there were very few, for good reason: I think the boys basketball coaches did an excellent job. If you look at the first team, and the selections of Central’s Tyler Ancrum as Player of the Year and Greenwich’s Bill Brehm as Coach of the Year, I can’t give you one argument against any of the choices.
There is not one player on the All-FCIAC team that doesn’t deserve to be there. I think there were one or two players also deserving of consideration. As with teams this season, if you ranked the players, the difference between the sixth- and 10th-best is marginal at best. If you replaced one or two players on the second team with one or two on the first, I wouldn’t argue either.
Whenever you have a list with a cutoff point, there is always going to be a debate. Watch in two Sundays when the draw to the NCAA Tournament is unveiled, and a few bubble teams don’t get bids.
As for the Coach of the Year, I have no problem being more specific, though my thoughts are similar to the players. Bill Brehm took a team that did not get an overwhelming amount of preseason hype, in what turned out to be a very competitive league, and lost just two games during the regular season. One was to Central.
The Cardinals talent-wise are not THAT much better than a number of teams that finished below them. They just happen to play with more cohesion that most of them. That’s good coaching.
Danny Melzer led Stamford to the biggest turnaround in the league this season, an eight-game jump from last year. If he had been named Coach of the Year, I would be defending that pick here as well. Same with Ridgefield’s Andrew McClellan. Wilton’s Joel Geriak took a team nobody was talking about back to the FCIAC Tournament.
The fact is there were more good coaching jobs this winter than in an average season. All the coaches discussed here took their teams farther than expected. Unfortunately, only one of them could be honored. That does not detract from the accomplishments of the others.
There was also some discussion about the All-Defensive team. I think this is a very hard team to select, especially when many coaches see most opponents just once. Good scorers stand out much more than good defenders. There are one or two players I think were omitted, but given the nature of the award that is to be expected.
I will give the league one piece of constructive criticism: for the first time it created a list of “Players to be Watched.” There are 29 players on it.
I think this is the case of doing the wrong thing for the right reason. The idea is to give recognition to talented players that did not receive any All-League honors.
However, this ends up being an unintended knock on players not mentioned. If I am coming back next year, and either was a starter or valued role player and didn’t make the list, I feel slighted.
The awards are just fine without this category.
Overall, a very nice job by the league coaches with their selections.
Agree? Disagree? Comment away.