Jim Myers, who led the Barneveld boys basketball team to a WIAA Division 5 state boys basketball championship last month, has been named the Wisconsin Boys Basketball All-State Coach of the Year by The Associated Press.
A statewide panel of sports reporters made the selection, and also unanimously chose La Crosse Central senior Kobe King, a 6-foot, 4-inch guard and University of Wisconsin recruit, as the Wisconsin All-State Player of the Year. King also was a unanimous choice for the first team.
Madison Memorial senior forward Chris Knight and Waunakee junior guard Mitch Listau made the all-state second team. Middleton senior forward Tyree Eady was a third-team pick and Madison Edgewood senior forward Alex Arians was named to the fourth team.
Myers moved over to coach the Barneveld boys two seasons ago after 38 years of coaching the Golden Eagles girls program. He earned six state titles as the girls coach.
The shift gave Myers an opportunity to coach his son, Matthew. A senior this season, Matthew Myers scored 20 points in the Golden Eagles’ 58-28 victory over Shullsburg in the Division 5 final on March 18.
“The opportunity to coach the boys came at a really good time for me ... especially with Matthew,” Myers said. “It was an opportunity that I couldn’t let go. It worked.”
At Barneveld, Myers had already won 699 games as coach of the girls program. This season, an already tight-knit boys team grew closer after sophomore Malcolm Reed’s mother died before the state tournament.
Myers said he never had to deal with such a situation in four decades of coaching.
“We pulled back and we put the situation first and not the basketball,” Myers said. “They were all there for one another, that was the biggest thing, and they knew they had the community behind them.”
King capped his career by scoring 28 points on March 18 to help Central win its first state championship in 92 years, taking a 55-53 victory over Cedarburg in the Division 2 final at the Kohl Center — where King will be playing next season for the Badgers.
King averaged 28 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game this season, shooting 61 percent overall and 45 percent from 3-point range.
“He was always a good shooter, and we wanted him to become a great perimeter shooter,” Red Raiders coach Todd Fergot said. “Anything you challenge him with, he just rises up and continues to grow.”
Fergot and Appleton Xavier's Matt Klarner also were finalists for the coach of the year award.
Also making the all-state first team were Joey Hauser, a 6-8 junior forward from three-time Division 1 state champion Stevens Point; Terrence Lewis, a 6-6 senior forward from Milwaukee Riverside; John Diener, a 6-4 junior guard from Cedarburg; and Jordan McCabe, a 6-foot junior guard from Kaukauna.
Knight led Madison Memorial to the semifinals of the Division 1 state tournament, scoring 16 points as the Spartans fell to Stevens Point. The Dartmouth recruit averaged 15.2 points and 8.3 rebounds and shot 57.3 percent from the field.
Listau averaged 22.4 points per game in leading Waunakee (24-3) to a repeat Division 2 state tournament appearance. The Warriors lost to La Crosse Central in a semifinal. Listau shot 52 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free throw line.
Eady led the Big Eight Conference in scoring for a second consecutive year, averaging 21.8 ppg and 5.1 rpg. The North Dakota State recruit holds Middleton school records for scoring (1,349 points) and steals (178).
Arians, a South Dakota State recruit, averaged 18.8 ppg and 5.8 rpg for the Crusaders, shooting 52 percent from the field and earning Badger South Conference Player of the Year honors.
Players from area teams who earned all-state honorable mention were: Brennen Banks, sr., Evansville; Mandela Deang, jr., Madison Edgewood; Keshawn Justice, jr., Madison East; Storm Murphy, sr., Middleton; Matthew Myers, sr., Barneveld; Alex Ranney, sr., Lake Mills; Marlon Ruffin, jr., Sun Prairie; Jake Schroeckenthaler, jr., Monona Grove; and Brady Wagner, sr., Lake Mills.