Woodrow's Nabors carries legacy to AAA all-state squad
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Woodrow Wilson's Donte Nabors really couldn't help it.
He was born with a legacy tag, with a name that is basketball royalty in Beckley, a city where hoops is king.
His dad, Gene, was a star for Woodrow Wilson in the early 1990s and went on to play at LSU and Robert Morris. His uncles, Brian and Andre, were also stars for legendary coach Dave Barksdale.
So the expectations were there.
A year ago, Nabors started early in the season but was relegated to the junior varsity team when he struggled with his shot. What a difference a year has made.
Nabors became the first Woodrow player in more than 20 years to average 20 points (20.2) and was leader of the group that came up with the motto "Refuse to Lose,'' which Woodrow Wilson rode to 19 straight wins - after a 4-4 start - all the way to the state championship game, where the Flying Eagles lost to Martinsburg 57-52.
Nabors was the only underclassman on the Class AAA boys basketball all-state first team released Sunday by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association. It was quite a turnaround for the junior.
"I just got off to a really poor start last year, and that made me want to work even harder," Nabors said. "I wouldn't say there was any more pressure because of the name. To me, it's just my dad and my uncles. I know they were great players. I want to be better than they were."
Gene and Andre, both all-staters at Woodrow Wilson, are assistant coaches under Ron Kidd.
"He worked hard, and that was a credit to him," Gene Nabors said. "Being the dad, I kind of stepped away from it and let my brother [Andre] work with him. I am extremely proud of how hard he worked. He never complained, he never missed a workout. We told him this, 'When you aren't working, someone else is.'"
"Donte has the ability to be better than Gene, Brian or I were," Andre Nabors said. "In some ways, he is. His dad was a scorer and Donte can score. Brian was a great defensive player, and that is where he improved the most this season. I was probably somewhere in the middle. If he continues to work hard, he can be better than we were."
Donte Nabors knows what that means.
"They both have state championships," he said. "That is what I want. Honors are nice, but this is Beckley and we play for championships."
One who does have a state championship is the first-team captain, Donte' Grantham of Martinsburg. Grantham, who was also named the Evans Award winner as the state player of the year, captains the all-state first team.
Grantham, who averaged 18.3 points and 9.1 rebounds, had 20 and 17 in the win over Woodrow Wilson.
"It's an honor to be on that list with a lot of great players," Grantham said. "We all kind of know each other through Twitter and stuff. I know a lot of these guys from AAU. It's a pretty huge honor to be picked the captain of that great group of players."
Grantham, a repeat first-teamer in addition to leading his team to a state title, became the first Martinsburg player to finish with 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds.
Nathan Adrian of Morgantown is also a repeat selection. Despite missing 10 games with an ankle injury, Adrian, who has already committed to West Virginia, averaged 20.5 points and 13.7 rebounds.
Chase Connor, a first-team Class AA selection last year, made first-team AAA team this time after Shady Spring was reclassified up one division in the fall. He led AAA players in scoring with a 27.0 average. He also averaged 6.4 assists.
George Washington's Luke Eddy was his team's top option all year and the senior responded with a 26.2 average. He's headed to play at Elon.
Princeton guard Ryan Meadows capped a huge senior season by averaging 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists.
Wes Mitchem, who nearly led Parkersburg South to the Class AAA semifinals before it fell to Washington, also averaged a double-double with 19.4 points and 11 rebounds.
University's Travis Tomer averaged 17.6 points to round out the first team.
Ra'Shaud Kincaid (9.1 points, 8.0 assists) of AAA semifinalist South Charleston is captain of the second team. He is joined by Washington's Dominique Newman (15.7 points, 3.3 assists), Musselman's Trevon Wesco (19.1 points, 13.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists), Woodrow Wilson's Andrew Johnson (13.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists), Huntington's Arick Nicks (17.3 points, 10.2 rebounds), Lewis County's John Riley (25.1 points, 14.2 rebounds), Nitro's Angelo Sirianni (21.0 points) and Greenbrier East's Rondale Watson (21.6 points, 8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 3 steals).
Point Pleasant's Dillon McCarty captains the third team (17.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 3.0 steals) and is joined by Martinsburg's Jalen Lewis (15 points, 5.0 assists), Hedgesville's Juwan Powell (14.8 points), Washington's Kendell Smith (10.9 points, 9.4 rebounds), South Charleston's A.D. Cunningham (13.6 points. 6.0 rebounds), Preston's Jimmy Galusky (19.1, 4.0 rebounds), Capital's Carrington Morris (20.2 points, 10.5 rebounds) and Hurricane's Henry Sorsaia (14.7 points, 8.7 rebounds).