KALAMAZOO, MI – Michigan’s 2021 boys high school basketball season was an unforgettable campaign, but unfortunately some of the things that stand out the most are not the most pleasant memories.
The preseason uncertainty, delayed start, canceled games and team quarantines amid the COVID-19 pandemic made for a challenging few months, and overcoming that adversity to take the court should make every athlete proud.
There were some that not only showed up, but excelled under the tough circumstances, and those players were recognized for their efforts by being named to the Associated Press 2021 All-State teams.
Sixteen players from the Kalamazoo area made the cut, ranging from first team to honorable mention for Divisions 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Selections are made by a voting panel of sports writers from across the state.
Follow along to see the full rundown of Kalamazoo-area athletes that received first team, second team or honorable mention honors from the AP.
Division 1: Thomas Kurowski, Sturgis
After garnering MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette Player of the Year honors, the 6-foot-4 guard earned first team all-state accolades by averaging 30 points, 5.1 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game during his senior season. The future University of Chicago Maroon scored at least 30 points in seven of his team’s 11 games, and set a Sturgis single-game record by scoring 44 points in a win over Dowagiac.
Division 1: Caleb Taylor, Richland Gull Lake
The 5-foot-9 point guard earned honorable mention all-state honors after leading Gull Lake to a 12-5 record against one of the state’s toughest schedules by averaging 20.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.0 steals per game. A three-year starter and two-time all-state pick, Taylor’s best games came against top competition, including a 28-point performance against Benton Harbor.
Division 1: Thomas Dillard IV, Kalamazoo Central
The 6-foot-4 junior wing earned honorable mention all-state recognition after averaging a team-best 15 points and 7.0 rebounds per game for the 10-3 Maroon Giants. His impact was apparent in K-Central’s 49-47 loss to Portage Northern in the district semifinals, as Dillard was one of three Maroon Giants to miss the game.
Division 1: Myles Johnson, Portage Northern
The 6-foot-4 senior guard had a breakout senior season in his first extended varsity action after suffering a gruesome leg injury last year, and he was re
warded for his work with an honorable mention all-state nod. Johnson averaged 15.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game, all of which were team highs for Northern.
Division 1: Mekhi Bloodworth, Kalamazoo Loy Norrix
The 6-foot-5 senior wing earned honorable mention all-state accolades after averaging 17.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.5 blocks per game, despite facing double and even triple teams on a nightly basis. Against rival Kalamazoo Central, Bloodworth tallied 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Division 2: Finlay Tate, Paw Paw
The 5-foot-11 senior guard battled ankle injuries all season, but his toughness paid off with honorable mention all-state recognition. Tate averaged 16.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.3 assists per game, while shooting 78 percent from the foul line, including a pair of clutch performances at the stripe to seal wins over Otsego and Vicksburg.
Division 2: Isaiah Moore, Three Rivers
The 6-foot-4 senior forward set a school record with 29 rebounds in a game last season, and his dominance on the boards and in the paint earned him an honorable mention all-state nod in 2021. Moore averaged 16.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.3 steals per game, while shooting 76.4 percent at the foul line and 51.2 percent from the field.
Division 3: Gavin Etter, Marcellus
The 6-foot-3 senior guard was voted the Southwest 10 MVP and received another big-time accolade in the form of first team all-state honors from the associated press. Etter averaged 23.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists and became Marcellus’ career scoring leader during the 2021 season. He’ll continue his education and basketball career at Division II Hiram College.
Division 3: Bryce VanderWiere, Schoolcraft
The 6-foot-7 senior forward capped his high school career with first team all-state honors after leading state semifinalist Schoolcraft in points (14.8) and rebounds (9.2) per game. VanderWiere shot 67 percent from the field and 55 percent from the foul line to help the Eagles compile a 19-2 record. He’ll continue his education and basketball career at the Coast Guard Academy.
Division 3: Kaden Johnson, Hartford
The 6-foot-8 junior was expected to provide a bigger post presence this season, but after starting guard Aaron Sinclair sustained a season-ending injury early on, Johnson took on point guard duties and still wound up collecting honorable mention all-state accolades. He averaged 15 points, 14 rebounds, 5.0 blocks, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game, including a triple-double against White Pigeon, in which he tallied 21 points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocks.
Division 3: Israel Patterson, Comstock
The 6-foot-3 junoir forward earned an honorable mention all-state nod after averaging 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, which helped Comstock finish 10-4 to mark its first winning season in more than a decade.
Division 3: Tyler DeGroote, Schoolcraft
The 6-foot-7 junior wing was an honorable mention all-state pick after averaging 14.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game for the 19-2 Eagles, and his production took of come playoff time, when he averaged more than 20 points per game, including a 33-point, 12-rebound effort in the district semifinals against Decatur and a 27-point, 18-board outing against Niles Brandywine in the district finals.
Division 3: Tyler Swanwick, Centreville
The 6-foot-3 junior guard didn’t play in a ton of fourth quarters due to lopsided wins, but he still averaged 18.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.0 steals, 3.0 assists and 1.3 blocks per game for the 12-3 Bulldogs, which added up to honorable mention all-state recognition.
Division 4: Jason Jergens, Marcellus Howardsville Christian
The 5-foot-11 senior guard earned first team all-state honors after averaging 24.5 points, 3.6 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game, while shooting 42.7 percent from the field, 39.8 percent from 3-point range and 83 percent from the free-throw line. Among Jergens’ best games during his senior year were 42-point performances against Marcellus and Lawrence.
Division 4: Collin Coburn, Martin
The 6-foot senior was primarily a guard, but played all five positions for Martin this season, and was rewarded for his versatility with an appearance on the honorable mention all-state list. Coburn averaged 17 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game and will play at Kalamazoo Valley Community College next season.
Division 4: Jackson Lawrence, Climax-Scotts
The 5-foot-9 junior guard earned honorable mention all-state recognition after averaging 15 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.8 steals per game for the 12-3 Panthers, who captured a share of the SCAA West Division championship for the first time since 2015-16.
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