Fresh off a successful spring and summer with the Oakland Soldiers 17u, Taeshon Cherry served notice that he was different player than the season before when he was perhaps the most dominant player in TWO age groups at the 2016 Creme of the County.
Cherry proved that the opening salvo would not be his last, as he put together one of the most dominant seasons by a junior in recent memory, averaging 22 points and 11 rebounds and leading the St. Augustine Saints to the CIF Open Division Title.
He caught the attention of top scouts, including Scout.com recruiting service, which elevated him to a five-star prospect during the season.
Cherry saved his best for last, outplaying fellow junior Marvin Bagley of Sierra Canyon, arguably the top prospect in the country (27 points, 6 threes), in the Saints shocking upset of the team that at one point was ranked the No. 1 team in the country.
It is for these reasons that Taeshon Cherry is the clear and convincing choice for Full-Time Hoop's Junior of the Year, besting a bumper crop of juniors in the process.
All Junior Team
Taurus Samuels, 6-0 170 PG, Vista - Samuels led the Panthers in scoring (17.1 ppg) and assists (6 apg) en route to a CIF Open Division Semifinal appearance and the team's first state playoff win in recent program history. Samuels was named Player of the Year in the Avo East Conference.
Miles Norris, 6-9 200 F, Helix - Norris' entrance into the lineup for Helix in January following his transfer from Mater Dei Catholic coincided with the Highlanders 21-game winning streak in which they captured the CIF D2 title and the CIF Division 4 State Regional Title. An all-league first team selection.
Warren Washington, 6-10 205 F, Mission Hills - Washington, who sat out the first month of the season after transferring from Escondido, provided the interior punch that pushed the Grizzlies into the Open Division playoffs and a State regional quarterfinals berth. Selected to the All Avo-East First Team.
Isaiah Morris, 5-11 165 PG, Vista - Perhaps the most improved guard in the class, Morris averaged 17 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists per game and paired with Samuels to give the Panthers one of the top back court duos in Southern California.
Jalen Flanagan, 6-3 180 G, El Camino - Flanagan, an All Avo East League first-team selection, shouldered the scoring load for the Wildcats, scoring 23.5 points per game, the highest among San Diego juniors. Also, one of the better on-ball defenders in the county.
Trey Anderson, 6-7 190 F, Mater Dei Catholic - Emerged as the leader of the Crusaders after the departure of Miles Norris and led the team in scoring at 18.9 points per contest, winning Metro Mesa POY in the process.
Zach Reiter, 6-3 200 W, Poway - The high-scoring, physical wing led the Titans in scoring and propelled them to a Division 1 quarterfinals appearance and an All Palomar League First Team selection.
Christian Choice, 6-5 180 W, Patrick Henry - The Eastern League POY led the upstart Patriots in scoring and was the area's top newcomer after transferring from Tennessee last summer.
Thomas Marcus, 6-4 170 G, Horizon - Teamed with DJ Wilson to create a potent scoring duo for the undermanned Panthers, averaging 19.1 points and 3.7 steals per game. Named to the All Coastal South League first team.
Damien Miller, 5-9 150 PG, Orange Glen - An All Coastal North second team selection, the junior is regarded as one of the top on-ball defenders in Southern California, and his impact often belies his 9 ppg average. Averaged 7 rebounds per game.
Jordan Cooke-Harper, 6-8 210 PF, Poway - All League First team selection.
Kody Clouet- 6-3 180 SG, San Marcos- Knights' leading scorer and all-league second team selection.
Nashom Carter, 5-10 160 PG, Christian- All Central League First teamer averaged 21 points per game.
Isaiah Williams, 6-3 200 PF, Olympian- Metro South Bay POY led the Eagles to a Division 4 finals appearance.
Phillip Willis, 6-3 170 PG, Maranatha Christian- Former Horizon guard averaged a team-high 17.6 points per game.
Amari Green, 6-0 190 PG, Helix- Junior starter was the defensive anchor of the Division 2 champs. All Grossmont Valley second team.
JC Canahuate, 6-1 170 G, Army Navy- The "Robin" to Richard Polanco's "Batman" averaged 15.3 points for the Warriors.
Matt Stevenson, 6-4 200 F, Santa Fe Christian- Do-it-all forward's numbers won't wow you, but was integral to the Eagles Division 1 title run.
Tyler Elsom, 6-2 160 G, Canyon Crest Academy- Defensive stopper and second-leading scorer on the Ravens team that earned the top seed in the Division 2 playoffs.
Charlie Gal, 6-6 200 PF, La Jolla- Shouldered the load for the Vikings after Reed Farley's injury, averaging 13.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest.
TJ Lowery, 6-6 180 PF, Foothills Christian - Prior to a broken foot that cut his season short, Lowery was the second best player on a tough Knights team.
Alex Cho, 6-1 190 G, La Jolla Country Day
Gage Sanders, 6-0 150 PG, Steele Canyon
Knox Winkler, 6-3 180 G, Rancho Bernardo
Finn Sullivan, 6-3 170 G, Torrey Pines
Kobe Gatti, 6-0 180 PG, Westview
Chris Olave, 6-2 180 G, Mission Hills
Jaylen Hinson, 6-2 170 G, Helix
Adrian Lee, 6-8 190 F, Castle Park
Myles Manning, 6-3 180 G, Coronado
Timmy Crawford, 5-11 170 PG, Montgomery
Nate Middleton, 5-9 160 PG, Mt. Carmel
Deondre McHayle, 6-0 180 G, Monte Vista
Cameron Barry, 6-0 165 PG, West Hills
Anthony Mendoza, 6-2 180 G, Bonita Vista
Jonathan Zarate, 5-9 160 G, Brawley
Kyle Johnson, 6-5 180 F, Point Loma
Donovan Laie, 6-6 260 F, Oceanside
Emmanuel Grandison, 6-3 200 F, Oceanside
Demitri Washington, 6-6 220 F, Santa Fe Christian
Jayden Holloway, 6-0 180 G, Patrick Henry
Neil-Ryan Pangilinan, 5-2 110 PG, Sweetwater
Eivan Villagracia, 5-5 130 PG, Sweetwater
Chris Modica, 6-0 180 PG, Hoover
James Malveaux, 6-6 260 PF, Hoover
Honorable mention to be added later