Boston High School: ESPN Boston Mr. Basketball

Brighton's James is ESPN Boston Mr. Basketball

March, 19, 2013
PM ET and its high schools section today announce that Malik James, junior point guard of the Brighton High Bengals, is the recipient of its “Mr. Basketball” Award, presented annually to the top high school basketball player in Massachusetts.

The Mr. Basketball award winner was chosen by a panel made up of staff and correspondents. James will be presented with the Mr. Basketball award at a date later this school year. He joins King Philip’s Jake Layman (2012) and St. John’s Prep’s Pat Connaughton (2011) as recipients in’s three-year history.

[+] EnlargeMalik James
Brendan Hall/ Brighton's Malik James averaged 20 points during a state tournament run that culminated with a win over South Hadley in the state final.
“We are honored to present Mr. James with our third annual Mr. Basketball award,” said ESPN Boston high schools editor Brendan Hall, who coordinates the site’s basketball coverage. “It was a wide-open field this year, but nobody elevated his game more in the playoffs than Malik. Plain and simple, Brighton doesn’t win its first state championship this season without Malik’s heroics.”

The 6-foot-1 James was masterful in Brighton’s run to its first-ever MIAA Division 2 state championship in school history. He averaged 20 points per game over a six-game run through the tournament, which culminated with a 59-41 win over South Hadley in Saturday’s state final at Worcester’s DCU Center. Most dramatically, he led the Bengals to a comeback victory over Scituate in the Eastern Mass. final at TD Garden. Brighton trailed by 11 points with four minutes to go, but James sealed the victory with a three-point play with 1.8 seconds to go.

With the win over South Hadley, Brighton became the first Boston City League team to win both a Boston City championship and state championship in a decade, following a 2003 Charlestown squad that current Brighton head coach Hugh Coleman served as an assistant on.

“It’s been remarkable to watch the way Malik has evolved the last two seasons,” Hall said. “He is someone that demonstrated special gifts early in his career, but it took the second half of this season for all of us to realize what a leader he has become for his team. He made all the right decisions on the court these playoffs and was a fun player to watch.”

In 27 games this season for the 21-6 Bengals, James averaged 22 points, 11 assists and 5 rebounds per game. Over the last two seasons, the Bengals have gone 42-10 with two North titles, two state final appearances and the school's first Boston City and state championships.

James is expected to finish his high school career next season at a prep school. In a three-year career at Brighton spanning 73 games, he notched 1,006 points and 608 assists.

KP's Layman is ESPN Boston Mr. Basketball

March, 19, 2012
PM ET and its High School section today announced that Jake Layman, senior forward for the King Philip Warriors, is the recipient of its second annual "Mr. Basketball" award, which is presented annually to the top high school basketball player in Massachusetts.

[+] EnlargeJake Layman
Brendan Hall/ESPNBoston.comKing Philip star Jake Layman (No. 23) will be headed to the University of Maryland to play basketball.
The Mr. Basketball award winner was chosen by a panel of experts made up of staff and correspondents, as well as analysts from Scouts Inc. Layman will be presented with the award at a later date.

“We are honored to present our second annual Mr. Basketball Award to Jake Layman," said ESPN Boston High Schools co-editor Brendan Hall, who coordinates the site’s basketball coverage. "Once again, this was a clear-cut choice. Jake elevated the Warriors to unprecedented heights a year ago, and followed up with a more dominant senior season. He should be proud that he will go down as one of the best individuals to come through MIAA basketball in the last decade."

As a junior in 2010-11, the 6-foot-8 Layman led the Warriors to their first MIAA tournament appearance in 15 seasons, as they made a surprise (and first-ever) run to the Division 2 South Finals and set a school single-season record for wins (17). Layman was named to the “Super Team” of ESPN Boston’s inaugural MIAA All-State Team for his efforts.

After a summer in which he saw his stock explode with the Boston Amateur Basketball Club, which included an AAU National Championship, Layman returned to King Philip and put in an even more dominant senior season. In 21 games he averaged 26.5 points, 16 rebounds, 5.8 blocks, 3.2 assists and three steals, as the Warriors set a new school record for wins (18) before suffering a surprise upset in the quarterfinal round of the Division 2 South tournament. He was also named the Hockomock League’s Most Valuable Player for the second straight season.

Off the court, Layman helped established King Philip’s anti-bullying program, which includes the school district’s three elementary schools. He also assists with the Norfolk Youth Basketball Program during the weekends, and has helped establish KP’s “Points Against Cancer” program, which provides financial support for families who have been affected by cancer within the three towns in the school district.

“Jake’s work ethic and drive has never been in question,” Hall said. “He’s a player that many in the region are going to remember for a long time. There were stretches where he single-handedly took games over, and when he gets going with a full head of steam it’s special. He obviously makes a lot of things happen on the glass and defensive end with his length, but he could really shoot the ball, too.”

Layman leaves King Philip as the school’s all-time leading scorer, male or female, with 1,752 points. He also finishes with 1,098 rebounds and 391 blocks, giving him career averages of 20.6 points, 12.9 rebounds, 4.6 blocks, 2.8 steals and 2.6 assists.

Last September, Layman verbally committed to the University of Maryland over scholarship offers from top programs such as Florida, Syracuse, Louisville, Wake Forest, Notre Dame, Missouri, Boston College, Brigham Young and Gonzaga. He signed with the Terrapins last November, and is part of one of the nation’s top recruiting classes for 2012. He is currently ranked as the No. 62 overall player in the Class of 2012 by ESPNU.