Going places: The Post-Gazette's top boys high school basketball players
April 10, 2012 4:22 PM
From left, Micah Mason (Highlands), Geno Thorpe (Shaler), Sheldon Jeter (Beaver Falls), Nolan Cressler (Plum) and Nate Snodgrass (Butler) are packed and ready to head off to Division I college programs.
Player of the year: Sheldon Jeter
Beaver Falls senior
Fab 5 Player of the Year: Sheldon Jeter, Beaver Falls
Mike White interviews Sheldon Jeter of Beaver Falls, the Post-Gazette's boys basketball player of the year and a member of the Fab 5. (Video by Andrew Rush; 4/8/2012)
The scoop: A versatile player who led Beaver Falls to the WPIAL Class AA championship and a spot in the PIAA championship game. He could score on the inside but also step outside and make 3-pointers. He averaged 21.8 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks a game. A three-year starter, Jeter finished his career with 1,489 points.
College talk: Jeter has not made a college decision but has scholarship offers from big-time schools. He has visited Wisconsin, Kansas State and South Carolina. He also is seriously considering Penn State and might take a visit to Florida State. Pitt had been showing interest before and is starting to recruit him again.
Most memorable moment this season: Standing in the tunnel at Penn State before the state championship game.
In basketball, you'd like to improve ... ? My ballhandling.
Favorite school subject? Chemistry.
Something you wish you could do over? Nothing, really. I believe everything happens for a reason.
Movie you could watch anytime? "Pulp Fiction."
People might be surprised to know ... I listen to Adele.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? In the NBA.
The scoop: One of the greatest shooters in the history of the WPIAL. Mason, the 2011 PG Player of the Year, finished his career with 2,272 points, 12th-best in WPIAL history. He also set a WPIAL record for 3-pointers with 346 and was the first player in at least 30 years to lead the WPIAL in scoring in consecutive seasons. This season, he averaged 28.7 points, had 88 3-pointers and shot 88 percent from the free-throw line. As a junior, Mason scored 64 points in one game, second-most in WPIAL history.
College talk: In April of his junior season, Mason decided to attend Drake of the Missouri Valley Conference. He signed this past November.
Most memorable moment this season: Beating the 3-point record and winning on senior night. That happened the same night.
In basketball, you'd like to improve ... ? Defense.
Favorite school subject? Math now. I was horrible at it, but now I have a 97 average, so I'm pretty happy.
Something you wish you could do over? Traveling around again in AAU basketball. That was fun.
Movie you could watch anytime? "Space Jam."
People might be surprised to know ... I have three tattoos now. They're not visible and they're mostly just scripture stuff.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Probably having my own business and maybe having my own gym to train young kids.
The scoop: A four-year starter who blossomed into one of the best guards in the WPIAL as a senior. He averaged 20 points a game, more than double his scoring average from his junior year. He also averaged 5 assists and 3 rebounds, shot 90 percent from the free-throw line and 40 percent from 3-point range. Scored 33 and 34 points in two WPIAL playoff games in helping the Golden Tornado reach the Class AAAA semifinals. Had 42 points in one game and finished his career with 1,132 points.
College talk: Snodgrass committed to Navy in early March.
Most memorable moment this season: The second half of the North Allegheny playoff game whenever I had 32 points in the half and had two buzzer beaters at the end of regulation and in overtime.
In basketball, you'd like to improve ... ? My 3-point shooting range.
Favorite school subject? Math.
Something you wish you could do over? Maybe practice a little harder on my defense throughout my career.
Movie you could watch any time? "Coach Carter."
People might be surprised to know ... I'm a big fan of [TV show] "One Tree Hill."
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I'll be getting out of the Navy, so I see myself trying to get a job somewhere in the economics field and hopefully being successful.
The scoop: Cressler scored in a variety of ways. He played point guard and shooting guard and was the second-leading scorer in the WPIAL with a 25.8 ppg average. He shot 58 percent from the field, 42 percent from 3-point range and 81 percent from the free-throw line. He also averaged 8.8 rebounds in helping Plum reach the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals. He finished as Plum's all-time leading scorer with 1,565 points.
College talk: Cressler will play at Cornell of the Ivy League.
Most memorable moment this season: When I made my college decision and when we had some pretty impressive wins during a winning streak.
In basketball, you'd like to improve ... ? Mostly my on-the-ball defense.
Favorite school subject? Psychology.
Something you wish you could do over? Our [WPIAL] quarterfinal game against Shaler. I just felt like we could've won that game.
Movie you could watch anytime? "Dumb and Dumber." There are so many great quotes in that movie.
People might be surprised to know ... I'm climbing a mountain in August. It's somewhere in the Rocky Mountains with my uncle. It's a graduation present type of thing.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Hopefully having a great job in the business world and starting my life outside of basketball.
The scoop: A quick guard who is a great leaper. Thorpe averaged 21.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists. He shot 55 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3-point range as Shaler won its second consecutive section title, made it to the WPIAL semifinals and the PIAA quarterfinals for the first time in school history. He attended Shady Side Academy as a freshman but has more than 1,000 points in his two seasons at Shaler.
College talk: Although he is only a junior, Thorpe already has decided to play at Penn State. He chose the Nittany Lions over Wisconsin and Pitt but also had scholarship offers from Seton Hall, Kansas State and Rutgers, among others.
Most memorable moment this season: Probably playing Gateway at the Palumbo Center [in the PIAA playoffs] and beating them.
In basketball, you'd like to improve ... ? Defense and getting stronger.
Favorite school subject? English.
Something you wish you could do over? I'd probably do my seventh grade year over again. It was just my most memorable year and the most fun I ever had at school.
Movie you could watch anytime? "Glory Road."
People might be surprised to know that ... I like to read. My favorite book is "The Great Gatsby."
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? A young guy in the NBA.