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Split Decision: Gray, Ingram share Freshman of the Year honors

One of the biggest stories during the 2022-23 season was the impact the freshman class had on the San Diego basketball landscape. Multiple 9th graders started on varsity teams, and several were either their team's best player or a key contributor.

This made the Freshman of the Year award one of the most difficult selections in recent memory.

In the end, we selected two.

6-0 guard Jayden Gray finished one of the most statistically dominant season's we've seen from a freshman, stuffing the stat sheet to the tune of 21.4 points, 4 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3 steals per game, all while guiding the Victory Christian Knights to the Division 3 championship.

Ty Ingram's overall stats don't compare to Gray's, but as a starter on an Open Division semifinalist, Ingram emerged as San Ysidro's No. 3 scoring option down the stretch, averaging 18 points per game during his final 7 games - including a 30-point effort against Saint Augustine in the CIF Open Division semifinals.

To this end, Jayden Gray and Ty Ingram are your Full-Time Hoops co-Freshmen of the Year.

First Team

Jayden Gray, 6-0 G, Victory Christian

Led the Knights to their first CIF championship in nine years while earning All South Bay League first team honors.

Ty Ingram, 6-3 G, San Ysidro

Averaged 11.2 points per game, but emerged as San Ysidro's X-factor down the stretch. Was the lone freshman named to the All Mesa league team.

Juju Lebel, 6-4 W, Foothills Christian

Led the county's freshmen in scoring at 24.8 points per game, while grabbing 10.1 rebounds and contributing 2.6 assists, 2.3 steals and 2.5 blocks per game while leading the Knights to a 4th place Coastal League finish and earning All Coastal League second team honors.

CJ Aldrich, 5-11 G, Rancho Buena Vista

The All-North County Coastal first team selection led Rancho Buena Vista in scoring (19.8 ppg) and assists (4.2 per game) while leading the Longhorns to the Division 3 semifinals.

Alex Williams, 6-1 G, Steele Canyon

The All Grossmont Valley League selection was the Cougars second-leading scorer at 15.8 points per game while contributing 5 rebounds and 4.1 assists as the team's primary ball handler.

Second Team

Jalen Williams, 5-10 PG, San Marcos

The Knights leading scorer (11.4 ppg) also averaged 3 rebounds and 3 assists per game and was an All Palomar League honorable mention selection

Lincoln Grogan, 6-3 SG, Mater Dei Catholic

The Crusaders floor spacer averaged 7.8 points per game while nearly achieving the coveted 50-40-90 shooting distinction in the rugged Mesa League (48% FG, 49% 3FG, 86% FT)

Jaden Bailes, 6-2 G, St. Augustine

Down the stretch, cracked the Saints rotation as the seventh man, including 10 points against Montgomery in the Open title.

Zander Ovies, 6-2 G, Torrey Pines

Averaged 4 points and 2 assists per game as the back up point guard for the Falcons before an injury sidelined him in late January.

Isaiah Owens 6-3 W, Victory Christian

Emerged as a potent third option on the Knights D3 title team, averaging 13.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game en route to All South Bay League first team honors.

Third Team

Adrian Ownbey, 6-2 W, Maranatha Christian

One of two Eagles freshmen to emerge as the team's leaders in the wake of a season-ending injury to senior Joel Schwantner. Ownbey averaged 13.1 points and 5.6 rebounds, earning All Pacific League first-team honors.

Jason Wilson, 6-1 G, El Capitan

A starter from Day 1, Wilson averaged 11.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.2 steals per game as part of a resurgent Vaqueros program that made it to the D4 semifinals.

Runnar "RJ" Miller, 6-3 F, Madison

The bruiser averaged 9 points and 7.8 rebounds for the Warhawks, finishing second among the county's freshmen in rebounding behind Juju Lebel.

Ezekiel Walker, 5-10 SG, Maranatha Christian

The freshman sharpshooter hit 92 threes to lead all freshmen (34 percent clip), while averaging 12.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists as an All Pacific League first-team selection.

Dax Hall, 5-9 PG, Santa Fe Christian

Went from starting on JV to becoming the Eagles' sixth man and a key reserve down the stretch during the team's Open Division run.

Jordan Walker, 5-6 PG, Olympian

The next in a long line of diminutive guards to star for Marty Ellis, Walker averaged 8.4 points and 4.2 assists per game for the Eagles

Giovani Robles, 6-5 F, Imperial

The rugged lefty swingman averaged 10.2 points per game as a Day 1 starter for the Division 4 champion Tigers.

Wyatt Cann, 5-10 G, Oceanside

An All North County Coastal honorable mention selection as a freshman, Cann averaged 8.6 points and 1.7 assists for the Pirates.

Semote Katuwonga, 6-5 F, El Camino

The hefty 6-5 post averaged 5.5 points and 6 rebounds per game for the Wildcats.

Mateo Villanueva, 6-4 F, Coronado

Started every game for the Eastern League champions while averaging 5 points and 5 rebounds per game.

Honorable Mention

Eli Stevens, 5-11 G, Madison

Yanler Ramos, 6-3 W, Army Navy

Clay Grebing, 6-6 F, Mission Bay

Mason Zennedjian, 5-11 G, Victory Christian

Tyler Williams, 6-4 F, High Tech Chula Vista

Shawne Owens, 6-1 G, West Hills

Darius "DK" Montgomery, 6-0 G, Mar Vista

Dash Ekeroth, 5-11 G, Maranatha Christian

Gage Blakemore, 6-1 G, Tri-City Christian

Diego Ortiz, 5-10 G, Mira Mesa

Dre Cleaves, 6-2 W, Tri-City Christian

Brody Chapman, 6-1 G, Classical Academy

Jeramiah Turner, 6-0 G, Tri-City Christian

Jack Silberstein, 6-4 F, San Diego Jewish Academy

Salim Underwood, 6-3 G, Steele Canyon

Chris Crowell, 6-2 G, Orange Glen

Terry Gant, 6-1 G, San Diego

Ethan Fernandez, 6-0 G, Oceanside

Vaughn Young, 5-7 G, Sage Creek

Kayden McMahon, 5-7 G, El Capitan

Lucas Winkler, 6-5 F, Ramona

Josiah McDowell, 6-1 G, Lincoln

Alex Starr, 5-5 PG, Steele Canyon

Lawrence Lam, 6-3 F, Westview

Ty Sagaser, 6-3 W, San Marcos


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