Boys Basketball

The Ruden Report All-FCIAC Boys Basketball Team

In a season with few stars and a number of players with comparable abilities, this is the easiest time I’ve had picking my All-FCIAC teams — except for Coach of the Year.

Two areas where I always disagree with most coaches: past success does not translate into the present. Some players follow up great years with good ones. Second, I don’t buy deferring to seniors because it is their last chance to win awards, when a junior or underclassman had a better season.

And, of course, I go with five-player teams and not the watered-down eight of the FCIAC.

My teams are quite different from the coaches’. How Matt Knachel of Ridgefield didn’t make first team ranks with as big an oversight as any I can remember. He is my runner-up for Player of the Year. I’m not sure what the video equivalent of photoshop is, but he must have been videoshopped out of games when coaches were scouting.

Second, I think Josh White of Wilton was one of the five best players in the league (I narrowed my final list from six candidates), and was also a second-team coaches selection. He did the heavy offensive lifting every time I covered the Warriors.

Knachel, Staples’ Derek Sale and St. Joseph’s Jason James were the FCIAC’s three best players over the second half of the season. In the end I think if you took James away from the Cadets it would have had more impact than removing any other player from his team.

As far as Coach of the Year, first I think the coaches of four of the top five teams all deserved consideration. New Canaan’s Danny Melzer and Staples’ Colin Devine might have been my choice in any other year.

In the end, I can’t decide between Wilton’s Joel Geriak and Ridgefield’s Andrew McClellan. After starting two weeks later than almost every other team because of quarantine, the Warriors played their 15 games over 27 days and went 11-3, with a 10-game winning streak. It is too bad Wilton and New Canaan had to meet in the quarterfinals. Geriak got the most out of his players.

Coaches of top teams sometimes do not get their due, but McClellan took a team that lost eight seniors and had just three and led it to a three-peat and fourth FCIAC title in five years. Sure, the younger players were quite talented, but I still think if both teams were healthy and played on a neutral court, there was very little separating Ridgefield and New Canaan.

A tip of the hat to the Tigers for playing a great fourth quarter in the semifinals and then finishing the job, and to McClellan for making masterful use of personnel.

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First Team

  • Jason James, St. Joseph
  • Matt Knachel, Ridgefield
  • Leo Magnus, New Canaan
  • Derek Sale, Staples
  • Josh White, Wilton

Second Team

  • Miles Drake, Darien
  • Amos Grey, Ridgefield
  • JeySon Slade, Westhill
  • Isiah Sullivan, Bassick
  • Kevin Vidmar, Danbury

Third Team

  • Lucas Basich, Staples
  • Mileeq Green, Trumbull
  • Christian Sweeney, New Canaan
  • Sergio Thermidor, McMahon
  • Dylan Veillette, Ridgefield

Player Of The Year

Jason James, St. Joseph

Coach Of The Year

Joel Geriak, Wilton; Andrew McClellan, Ridgefield