Watch News High School Sport Today - HIGHSCORE


High school baseball: Dylan Lesko, Drake Varnado headline list of HIGHSCORE National Player of the Year candidates - HIGHSCORE
High school baseball: Dylan Lesko, Drake Varnado headline list of MaxPreps National Player of the Year candidates
The high school baseball season is in full swing in some parts of the country while others are just getting underway. States like Florida, Georgia and Louisiana jump into the postseason this week.

That makes identifying candidates for MaxPreps National Player of the Year honors a little bit of a tricky exercise but some standouts have emerged, including pitcher Dylan Lesko of No. 1-ranked Buford (Ga.).

Read on for a look at 10 of the top contenders for high school baseball's highest honor.

Past MaxPreps National Players of the Year
2020 — No award (Pandemic)
2019 — Bobby Witt Jr., Colleyville Heritage (Colleyville, Texas)
2018 — Nolan Gorman, O'Connor (Phoenix)
2017 — Jordan Adell, Ballard (Louisville, Ky.)
2016 — Kyle Muller, Dallas Jesuit (Dallas)
2015 — Joe DeMers, College Park (Pleasant Hill, Calif.)
2014 — Jack Flaherty, Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.)
2013 — Jack Flaherty, Harvard-Westlake
2012 — Joey Gallo, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
2011 — Dylan Bundy, Owasso (Okla.)
2010 — Stetson Allie, St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio)
2009 — Matt Hobgood, Norco (Calif.)
2008 — Jake Odorizzi, Highland (Ill.)
Drake Varnado, IMG Academy
Photo by Robbie Rakestraw
Drake Varnado, IMG Academy
Baseball Player of the Year Watch List

Chris Arroyo, Stoneman Douglas (Parkland, Fla.)
The ace of the Eagles staff is 9-0 on the season with a 0.97 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 43.1 innings pitched for the team that's reached No. 4 in the nation at one point this season. He threw six, no-hit innings with 13 strikeouts against Monsignor Pace and he threw a two-hitter with 11 strikeouts against Coral Springs.

Dominic Castellano, Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.)
The Tigers' ace is 7-1 with a 1.40 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 45 innings pitched as the Florida squad has been among the best teams all season. He also threw a no-hitter and was one of three pitchers to combine for a second no-hitter. He threw a seven-inning no-hitter against Sarasota, winning 3-0 with  eight strikeouts.

Jake Dresselhouse, St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.)
The Eaglets' lead-off batter has been a heavy hitter this year. He's bashed seven home runs, including three grand slams, while leading St. Mary Prep to 21 straight wins to begin the season, and 41 in a row dating back to the 2019 season. He's batting .422 with 40 runs scored and 34 RBI.

Jackson Ferris, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
He opened the season with a no-hitter against Palmetto and followed that up with a perfect game against Flower Mound (Texas). He had double-digit strikeout totals in his first five games and didn't allow an earned run until his sixth outing. He's 8-0 record with a 0.55 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 50.2 innings pitched.

Cooper Kinney, Baylor (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
The Red Raiders picked up a big win last week, 5-2 over Farragut. Kinney had a double, a home run and three RBI in the win, a performance that has become typical for the Baylor infielder. Kinney is batting .468 with 26 runs, 37 RBI, 16 doubles and seven home runs.

Dylan Lesko, Buford (Ga.)
Lesko has been a force on the mound and at the plate for the No. 1 ranked Wolves. Ranked as the No. 2 junior in the nation by Perfect Game, Lesko is 10-0 on the mound with a 0.26 ERA and 102 strikeouts and 12 walks. His best outings include an 18 strikeout game and he's thrown one no-hitter. On offense, Lesko is batting .412 (35 for 85) with 16 runs, 25 RBI, 7 doubles, a triple and 3 home runs.

Braden Montgomery, Madison Central (Madison, Miss.)
The Jaguars got off to a 24-0 start to the season and rose all the way to No. 3 in the national rankings before falling back following a loss. Montgomery has been key in the Jags' success, batting .459 with 39 RBI, four doubles, five triples and five home runs. He has also been stellar on the mound with a 6-1 record, a 0.39 ERA, and 71 strikeouts. His best outing came against Warren Central when he pitched six, no-hit innings with 16 strikeouts.

Sal Stewart, Westminster Christian (Miami)
After hitting four homers as a freshman and no home runs in a shortened 2020 season, Stewart leads the nation in home runs with 16. A total of 29 of his 42 base hits have gone for extra bases with a 11 doubles and two triples. He's batting .560 with 35 RBI and 39 runs. He came up big in Westminster Christian's win over nationally-ranked Stoneman Douglas with a home run and a pair of RBI.

Drake Varnado, IMG Academy
On a team loaded with potential first-round MLB draft picks, Varnado has been the consistent threat for the Ascenders. He leads IMG starters in batting average (.434), runs (33), hits (36), and home runs (7). He had two home runs in wins over Florence and Montverde Academy.

Jack Walker, Barbe (Lake Charles, La.)
After sitting out his junior season with an arm injury, Walker has returned to form this year leading Barbe to a 35-2 record. He is 12-0 with a 0.44 ERA. In 63.2 innings pitched, has 97 strikeouts. Walker has thrown two no-hitters on the season, including one in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
Georgia high school girls basketball star Raven Johnson to play against the boys at Allen Iverson Roundball Classic - HIGHSCORE
Georgia high school girls basketball star Raven Johnson to play against the boys at Allen Iverson Roundball Classic
While other high school basketball all-star games have gone by the wayside this spring due to the ongoing pandemic, the Allen Iverson Roundball Classic is moving forward. The contest will be played May 8 at Bartlett High School just outside of Memphis, Tenn., with former NBA standouts Matt Barnes, Stephen Jackson, Rasheed Wallace and Bonzi Wells serving as coaches.

Among the storylines will be Atlanta girls basketball star Raven Johnson stepping on the floor to compete with the best boys players in the country. The 5-foot-8 point guard has led Westlake to back-to-back unbeaten state championship seasons and is headed to South Carolina to play for head coach Dawn Staley next year.

MaxPreps National Player of the Year candidates TyTy Washington and Chet Holmgren are among the other headliners expected to compete.

Complete rosters are included below. For more information and tickets, visit IversonClassic.com.

Team Loyalty
Paolo Banchero, F, O'Dea (Seattle, Wash.) – Headed to Duke
Matthew Cleveland, F, Pace Academy (Atlanta, Ga.) – Florida State
Jerddarian Davison, G, Calhoun (Letohatchee, Ala.) – Alabama
A.J. Griffin, F, Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.) – Duke
Tyrese Hunter, G, St. Catherine's (Racine, Wis.) – Iowa State
Raven Johnson, G, Westlake (Atlanta, Ga.) – South Carolina
Johnathan Lawson, F, Houston (Germantown, Tenn.) – Oregon
Bryce McGowens, G, Legacy Early College (Greenville, S.C.) – Nebraska
Hunter Sallis, G, Millard North (Omaha, Neb.) – Gonzaga
Terquavion Smith, G, Farmville Central (Farmville, N.C.) – North Carolina State
TyTy Washington, G, AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) – Undecided
Peyton Watson, F, Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) – UCLA
Benny WilIiams, F, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) – Syracuse

Team Honor
Jaden Akins, G, Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) – Headed to Michigan State
Trey Alexander, G, Heritage Hall (Oklahoma City, Okla.) – Auburn
Kendall Brown, F, Sunrise Christian Academy – Baylor
Ahamed Bynum, G, Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) – DePaul
Kennedy Chandler, G, Sunrise Christian Academy – Tennessee
Daimion Collins, F, Atlanta (Texas) – Kentucky
Michael Foster Jr., F, Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) – Undecided
Nolan Hickman, G, Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) – Kentucky
Chet Holmgren, C, Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.) – Undecided
Jordan Longino, G/F, Germantown Academy (Fort Washington, Pa.) – Villanova
Joshua Minott, F, Saint Andrew's (Boca Raton, Fla.) – Memphis
Kowacie Reeves Jr., G, Westside (Macon, Ga.) – Florida
Daeshun Ruffin, G, Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) – Mississippi
Daeshun Ruffin named 2020-21 HIGHSCORE Mississippi High School Basketball Player of the Year - HIGHSCORE
Daeshun Ruffin named 2020-21 MaxPreps Mississippi High School Basketball Player of the Year
Each year since 2006, MaxPreps has recognized outstanding performers in high school basketball. America's source for high school sports continues the tradition to close out the 2020-21 season by naming the top player in each state. Selections are based on team success and individual excellence, in addition to local and state accolades.

Daeshun Ruffin of Callaway (Jackson) is the 2020-21 Mississippi High School Basketball Player of the Year. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound senior led the Chargers to a 10-1 record and the Class 5A state quarterfinals.

Ruffin averaged 33.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 steals per contest this season, including a season-high 39 points in Callaway's double-overtime state quarterfinal loss to Lake Cormorant.

Ruffin tallied 2,337 career points over his four-year career, carrying a career average of 25.4 points per contest.

A Mississippi signee, Ruffin is regarded as the No. 47 prospect in the Class of 2021 overall according to 247Sports. He chose the Rebels over offers from SEC rivals Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State among others. He earned a spot on the McDonald's All American Game roster last month, though the showcase will not be played this year due to the pandemic.

Each state's MaxPreps Player of the Year will be considered for inclusion in the MaxPreps All-America Team.
2020-21 HIGHSCORE Freshman All-America Team: Derik Queen headlines high school basketball's best from the Class of 2024 - HIGHSCORE
2020-21 MaxPreps Freshman All-America Team: Derik Queen headlines high school basketball's best from the Class of 2024
Our look at high school basketball's best from the 2020-21 season continues with the MaxPreps Freshman All-America Team, highlighted by National Freshman of the Year Derik Queen of St. Frances Academy (Baltimore.).

Queen, a 6-foot-8 forward regarded as one of the top prospects in the Class of 2024, averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game. He pumped in a season-high 56 points in a 99-55 victory over Annapolis Area Christian.

The promising Baltimore post player joins a list of past winners that includes Marvin Bagley III, LaMelo Ball and Onyeka Okongwu. See the full list of past MaxPreps Freshmen of the Year below.

Selections are based on team success, individual production and local, regional and state honors from the recently completed season. Potential at the college or professional level is not a primary consideration. Players in post-graduate or non-scholastic programs are not eligible for inclusion.
Second team selection Jahseem Felton has already received a handful of college offers, including Florida and Tennessee.
Photo by Tom Masters
Second team selection Jahseem Felton has already received a handful of college offers, including Florida and Tennessee.
First Team

6-foot-2 | Guard
Big North Conference All-United Division first team selection averaged 11.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists contest.

6-6 | Forward
District 3-A first team selection averaged 16.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per contest to help the Blue Devils to a 22-5 mark.

6-6 | Wing
Highly-touted prospect averaged 12 points, 9 rebounds, two assists and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 62 percent from the field.

6-0 | Guard
Philadelphia native averaged 11.8 points, 5.1 assists and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 54 percent from the field, 42 percent from the 3-point range and 92 percent from the line to help the Mustangs to their first state championship.

MAXPREPS NATIONAL FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
6-8 | Forward
Georgetown, LSU, Maryland and Virginia Tech have already extended offers to our pick as the nation's top frosh.

Second Team

6-6 | Wing
Key cog in Class 5A state quarterfinal run averaged 12.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game while shooting 50 percent from the field.

6-6 | Wing
All-Skyland Conference honorable mention selection averaged 14.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest to help lead the Knights to a 7-4 mark.

6-4 | Guard
Elite guard prospect averaged 12 points and 3.5 assists to help the Knights advance to the NCISAA quarterfinals.

6-5 | Guard
Mid-Penn Commonwealth Conference first team selection averaged 12.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists as the Rams advanced to the District III Class 6A semifinals.

6-5 | Forward
All-Shore Conference second team selection averaged 13.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

Third Team

6-8 | Center
Elite post prospect averaged 10 points and eight rebounds per contest while shooting 60 percent from the field.

Curtis Givens, Memphis University
6-0 | Guard
Difference-making guard averaged nine points, four assists and three rebounds to help the Owls advance to the District II-AA state quarterfinals.

Dink Pate, Pinkston (Dallas)
6-6 | Guard
Dallas Morning News Newcomer of the Year averaged 17.7 points per contest.

6-2 | Guard
After making his varsity debut as a seventh-grader, already has 2,199 career points after averaging 27.1 points per game this season.

6-7 | Forward
Highly-regarded forward prospect was key in championship game run.

Past MaxPreps Freshmen of the Year
2020 — Mikey Williams, San Ysidro (San Diego)
2019 — Emoni Bates, Lincoln (Ypsilanti, Mich.)
2018 — Zion Harmon, Adair County (Columbia, Ky.)
2017 — Kyree Walker, Moreau Catholic (Hayward, Calif.)
2016 — LaMelo Ball/Onyeka Okongwu, Chino Hills (Calif.)
2015 — Marvin Bagley III, Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.)
2014 — Cody Riley, Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)
2013 — Harry Giles, Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.)
2012 — Malik Newman, Callaway (Jackson, Miss.)
2011 — Trey Lyles, Arsenal Tech (Indianapolis)
2010 — Aquille Carr, Patterson (Baltimore)
High school football: Valdosta parts ways with controversial head coach Rush Propst - HIGHSCORE
High school football: Valdosta parts ways with controversial head coach Rush Propst
The Valdosta Daily Times was among those reporting Thursday that controversial high school football coach Rush Propst will not return to Valdosta (Ga.) next season. In February, he was the subject of a lengthy deposition that alleged he was involved in recruiting, mishandling money and even interfering in the hiring process that brought him to the program to begin with.

The deposition is part of a lawsuit brought on the City of Valdosta Board of Education by plaintiff Leah Rodemaker, wife of former Valdosta football coach Alan Rodemaker, who was let go after the 2019 season.

Propst owns a career record of 299-92 – including 7-5 in his lone season at Valdosta – and has won seven state titles during a high-profile, 30-year career. He garnered national attention while at Hoover (Ala.), which was featured on MTV's popular "Two-A-Days" reality show. He resigned there in 2007 mired in controversy over numerous in-house allegations, including grade-tampering and an admitted extra-marital affair.

He was dismissed at Colquitt County (Norman Park, Ga.) in 2019 after being charged with lack of compliance, improper conduct with students, dishonesty and misuse of public funds and property. Reports indicate he gave pills to students "on more than one occasion" and owed nearly $450,000 in delinquent federal and state taxes.

Michael Nelson, who has been involved with the Valdosta Touchdown Club booster organization for many years, said in his sworn deposition that Propst, among other things, paid for housing for two transfers, facilitated recruiting of players with the help of college coaches, asked for a "funny money" slush fund and meddled in his own hiring process.
Rush Propst looks on during a loss to rival Lowndes in October.
Photo by Gary McCullough
Rush Propst looks on during a loss to rival Lowndes in October.