All-state basketball honors for six San Juan and Monticello high school student athletes
San Juan County is well represented on All-state basketball teams for the 2020-21 season, including two First Team honorees.
The Deseret News released its annual list of the top Utah high school girls and boys basketball players on March 26 and April 2 based on coaches’ votes.
Six players in total were chosen from San Juan and Monticello high schools. A well-deserved congratulations to all. Here is a look at each of the honorees:
Boys 3A First Team
San Juan 5-9 Junior Guard – 15.7 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game
Head Coach Travis Black: “Ladd has been overlooked on the basketball floor his entire life. When he was younger and we were playing club ball, other teams would even snicker and laugh at his size.
“But it didn’t last long, as minutes later he would drain a three-pointer in their face or sneak past them and find a little daylight for a layup.
“Ladd’s teammates know to look for him, and when he’s open he usually knocks it down. Other teams had to really focus on him at times and not leave him open, which allowed other players like Jayden Black and Jace Palmer to knock down some big shots for us.
“Ladd isn’t just a shooter. His strength, quickness, and low center of gravity help him get steals and rebounds and completely make up for what he might lack in height.”
Boys 2A First Team
Monticello 6-3 Senior Guard – 17.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.2 steals per game
Head Coach Josh Keyes: “The first move we made as a staff when the season began was setting up multiple sets that would put the ball in Cedar’s hands.
“We knew he was our best offensive weapon and that he had spent the offseason working on his craft, greatly improving his three-point shot and ability to slash to the rim.
“All season long he found ways to score and impact the game. Teams would choose to face guard him to limit his offensive contributions, which allowed his teammates opportunities to work in open space.
“Cedar accepted this challenge and found other ways to contribute, like cleaning up around the glass as one of our top rebounders.
“It is an honor for Cedar to be selected to the 2A First Team coming from the smallest school in 2A, to be recognized by the other coaches and players that he competed against night in and night out.
“But I would be selling him short if I didn’t mention his work ethic and desire to improve. He spent countless hours in the gym shooting, constantly looking for ways to get into the school to practice.
“Cedar proved the theory that the product is worth the effort. I am proud of his accomplishments and how he represented Monticello Basketball.
Boys 3A Second Team
San Juan 6-6 Senior Center – 13.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.5 blocks per game
Head Coach Travis Black: “Nate put in a lot of time in the offseason really preparing to anchor our defense in the middle. With his height and length he did just that, but on both ends of the floor.
“Nate’s numbers were very consistent and steady. We knew each night what we were going to get from him. I have coached him since he was in fourth grade.
“Nate, and most all of the boys on the team, are like second sons to me. He loves his family, loves San Juan County, and loves basketball. He was an easy kid to coach and he will be missed by all next year for sure.”
Boys 3A Honorable Mention
San Juan 6-1 Junior Guard – 10.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Head Coach Travis Black: “Jensen is a gamer. He is willing to do whatever it takes to win. He recognizes when he needs to take the lead on the floor or step back and support his teammates.
“Jensen’s strength and aggressiveness on defense can shut down an opponent’s leading scorer. I have asked him to do this for two years now, and he loves it and is always up to the challenge.
“When needed, Jensen can take over a game and score ten points very quickly, which he did several times this year to keep us in games.”
San Juan 6-4 Junior Guard – 9.3 ppg, 3.4 assists per game
Head Coach Travis Black: “Cooper knows his role and does his job well. His main priority when he is running the point is to push the ball down the floor and find open shooters and guys cutting to the basket.
“Cooper has great vision and basketball IQ which is something hard to teach. That helped him lead our team in assists this year. He has a great first step and burst of speed and when he sees a lane can get to the rim quickly.
“Cooper’s height and length really disrupts an opponent’s offense and when he and his teammates go into a trap, they can cause turnovers in a hurry.”
Girls 3A Honorable Mention
San Juan 5-7 Senior Guard – 10.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.1 apg
Head Coach Laura Stearns: “Quiana was one of our lead scorers this year as our team’s point guard. She was also a strong rebounder and assisted on many baskets.
“But her contributions were just part of how she helped lead her team this year. Quiana did so well this year playing her hardest no matter the score.
“At times when her team was down she could have put her head down, but she didn’t and worked hard to help her team get back in it. Quiana plans on playing now in college.
In addition to the San Juan boys who made All-state, three were named to the Deseret News 3A All-tournament team which is selected by Deseret News writers: Nate Grover, Jace Palmer, and Jensen Grover.