2020 All-Press Pass Sports Boys Basketball Team
Coach of the Year: Taylor Schulte, Nazareth
Taylor Schulte proves year and year out he’s a winner.
In his third year as head coach at Nazareth, Schulte once again took his Swifts back to the UIL Class 1A state tournament for a third consecutive season.
The Press Pass Sports Coach of the Year was able to take a Nazareth team that was seen as a second place finisher in District 3-1A at the beginning of the year, and make yet another impressive run.
But it was never easy. Schulte, 29, and his squad went through highs and lows during the 2019-2020 season, but achieved success through it all.
“The consistency of the program here is special but it is tough,” Schulte said. “It’s different players and different teams, but they all come out to prove it every year.”
The Swifts (27-10 overall) were put to the test it seemed every week including a run of five straight games against top notch opponents from higher classifications.
“Those games set us up for success, Schulte said. “Even though a majority were beatings, we got tougher and we played tougher and that made us all better in the end.”
The Swifts season didn’t end how they wanted as Schulte and his team fell to La Poyner, 63-53. That still doesn’t downplay another fantastic season put together by Nazareth.
Schulte is an impressive 83-26 (.761 winning percentage) through his first three years, and 6-0 in Region I-1A Tournament games.
Player of the Year: Jalin Conyers, Gruver, 6-foot-5, Sr. Forward
The Press Pass Boys Player of the Year needs no introduction.
Gruver’s Jalin Conyers has been the poster boy for hoops across the Texas Panhandle for the past three years.
From his dazzling dunks to his epic performances on a big stage, any fan that saw the 6-foot-5, 230 pounder knew he was a human highlight reel.
As for Conyers career, the numbers don’t lie. The decorated senior totaled an incredible record of 110-15 over four years between West Texas High and Gruver. He amassed an 18-2 postseason record, totaled 2,288 career points, while pulling down eye-opening 1,179 rebounds.
Conyers was a major player on the Comanches 2018 UIL Class 2A state championship team as a sophomore.
Once he moved to Gruver, Conyers helped lead the Greyhounds to back-to-back UIL Class 2A state basketball tournaments.
“High School sports mean everything to me,” said Conyers, who will attend the University of Oklahoma to play football in the fall. “To play in state championships and win a state championships with some great teammates has been a blessing. I don’t know where I’d be without high school sports.
“I’m going to miss it more than anything. I’m going to miss my great teammates that helped me get better. I just want to go to Oklahoma and make everyone proud. I know I wouldn’t be where I am without the people that have supported me.”
Despite seeing his senior year cut short a day before he and his Greyhound teammates played in their second straight state tournament due to COVID-19, it doesn’t take away the season Conyers put together. He ended the year helping Gruver to a 30-5 record, pouring in 20.5 points a a game with 11.7 rebounds a night.
Accomplishments followed, as Conyers was named the District 1-2A MVP on top of being a Texas Association of Basketball Coaches All-State selection.
“Just getting to coach him was special,” Gruver boys coach Brittin East said. “Just getting to know him in general was amazing. He has that reputation as a Division I athlete, but getting to know him he’s just a small town kid. That’s what I think made him so fun to coach. And not many people can do what he does. He has great body control and makes players around him better. He’s a facilitator and the complete package.”
West Texas High head coach Aron Graves, and former Gruver boys coach Andrew Brockman also spoke on what a truly gifted athlete Conyers is.
“I just see a super athlete,” said Graves, who coached Conyers to a state championship in 2018. “He puts in the work to get better. People don’t see it, but he worked so much on his jumper and getting it down, and does everything crazy hard. Jalin was super aggressive on are state team. His defense put him on map, and gave him the chances for those highlight dunks.”
“He just special,” said Brockman, who coached Gruver to the state tournament in 2019. He’s the kind of player a coach gets maybe once or twice in a lifetime. He’s a great teammate, and bought into a first-year coach. You can’t ask for much better guy off the court. He is respectful always, and always shows respect.”
Brendan Hausen, Amarillo High, 6-foot-4, Soph. Guard
The District 2-5A MVP had a breakout year as a sophomore for an Amarillo High Sandies team that finished the season 28-9 overall, and an unblemished 16-0 run through district.
The 6-foot-4 Hausen, who already has Division I offers from Baylor, Texas Tech, Troy and Oklahoma, ended his sensational season averaging 15.2 ppg, shot 47.2 percent from downtown and dished out 3.5 assists per contest.
Chase Landers, Pampa, 6-foot-2, Sr. Guard
Behind the TABC All-State selection, the Harvesters finished 32-6, reaching the regional finals for the first time in nine years. Landers, who’s arguably Pampa’s best player since Rayford Young in 1996, ending his stellar season averaging 24.1 ppg, while eclipsing 2,000 for his career with 2,018 career points.
Jelani Mohamed, Palo Duro, 6-foot, Sr. Guard
The lighting quick senior guard was explosive from the perimeter knocking down 54 percent of his 3-point attempts on the season (100-of-184). The District 2-5A first team selection finished the year for the Dons, leading the team with 17.8 points a game, grabbing 3.2 rebounds and dishing out 2.1 assists.
Zach Barsalou, Dalhart, 6-foot-5, Sr. Forward
The Golden Wolves captain had unbelievable senior season by doing it all. The 6-foot-5 forward put up a double-double through the year, scoring a not so shabby 24.3 points a game to go with 12.1 rebounds and 3.9 steals. mBarsalou was named the District 4-4A Offensive MVP, as well as TABC All-Region selection.
Newcomer of the Year
Jmaury David, Clarendon, 6-foot-2, Fr. Forward
It didn’t take long for 6-foot-2 forward to establish himself in the lineup for coach Clint Conkin. Marshall was a prominent presence for the Broncos, and a key reason why Clarendon went 27-8, and earned a trip to the Class 2A regional qurterfinals. Marshall ended his freshman year averaging 11.4 points with 7.3 rebounds a game. He was named District 2-2A team as an honorable mention for his efforts.
Isaiah Johnson, Tascosa, 6-foot, Sr. Guard
The senior guard was a weapon on both ends of the floor, but specialized as a lock down defender, earning the District 2-6A Defensive Player of the Year. Johnson finished his season averaging 11 points a game with 6 rebounds, and a team-leading three steals a contest.
Grant McCook, Canadian, 6-foot, Sr. Guard
The TABC All-Region selection was an all-around player for the district champs. The District 1-3A MVP finished the season averaging 14.6 points, dishing out 3.9 assists, and snagging 5.1 rebounds to go with 2.3 steals a game.
Carson Kirkland, Vega, 6-foot, Sr. Guard
The senior captain was a big part of Vega’s run to the Region I-2A Tournament for the first time in eight years. In the playoffs alone, the District 3-2A Offensive MVP showed off his scoring ability averaging 28 points per game. On the season, Kirkland poured 16 points a contest, with seven boards and five assists.
Matthew Cochran, Childress, 5-foot-10, Sr. Guard
The Co-MVP of District 8-3A was the catalyst for the Bobcats 10-0 run to a district championship. Cochran could score, averaging 15 points a game knocking down a 39 percent mark from beyond the arc. For his efforts the senior was named TABC first team All-Region.
Nathaneal Van Dijk, Nazareth, 6-foot-3, Sr. Forward
Van Dijk finishes his career with one of his best seasons by earning the District 3-1A MVP, as well as All-State and All-Region nods from TABC. The 6-foot-3 forward was also named Co-Player of the Year by TSMCA. Van Dijk led the Swifts to a third consecutive UIL Class 1A state tournament appearance while averaging 13.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 2.6 assists a game.