Winning awards is nothing new to Gonzaga Prep’s Anton Watson, but “Mr. Basketball” has a nice ring to it.
Watson, who guided the Bullpups to a second consecutive State 4A title on Saturday, was named the all-classifications state player of the year by the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association (WIBCA), announced Thursday.
It’s another honor for the Gonzaga-bound Watson as he closes his stellar high school playing career. G-Prep went 102-6 in games with Watson over the past four seasons, including two state titles and two third-place finishes. He averaged 18.7 points over his four-year varsity career.
“This is a well-deserved award for Anton,” said G-Prep coach Matty McIntyre, who was recognized as the Wayne Gilman Coaches Award winner for 4A.
“People around the state recognize Anton as the dominant player he is – not just in scoring but for making his teammates better. In the end, winning speaks volumes and no one’s been better in that than Anton.”
Watson was a unanimous selection as the State 4A tournament MVP over the weekend and was named MVP of the Greater Spokane League in February as he guided the Bullpups to another undefeated league season.
Watson was selected by the Associated Press as 4A state player of the year as a junior last season.
For all Watson’s accolades, McIntyre said the team titles mean more to his star.
“This award is special, but I wouldn’t say it’s the pinnacle of his career,” McIntyre said. “I don’t want to speak for him, but individual recognition is not where his motivation lies. It’s with his teammates and helping them and the program win.”
Asked about his legacy after the state title win on Saturday, Watson was succinct.
“I think my legacy is with my teammates,” Watson said. “(The state titles) are things I’ll never forget.”
Kittitas’ Brock Ravet, a Gonzaga signee who is the state’s all-time leading scorer and who led the Coyotes to a third consecutive state title, was named the 2B player of the year.
Maquire Isaak of Almira/Coulee-Hartline, who led the Warriors to a fifth-place finish at state, was named the 1B player of the year.
Federal Way’s Jaden McDaniels, a McDonald’s All-American, was named the 4A state player of the year. Kelso’s Shaw Anderson, who set a State 3A tournament record for scoring last week in leading the Highlanders to a fifth-place finish, was named the 3A state player of the year.
Lynden’s Clayton Whitman, who guided the Lions to the State 2A title last week, was named the 2A player of the year. Lynden Christian’s Cole Bajema, a Michigan signee, was named the 1A player of the year.
The other coaches to receive honors were state title winners Jason Kerr (3A – O’Dea), Brian Roeper (2A – Lynden), Mario Mengarelli (1A – Zillah), Tim Ravet (2B – Kittitas) and Dean Wagenaar (1B – Sunnyside Christian).