Player of the Year

Collin Kuhl – Senior – Holly Springs

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Kuhl ran away with this award. The senior big averaged 20.2p, 11r, 1.9a, and 1.5s while shooting 70% from the floor on the best team in the conference. He’s highly technical with great footwork, patience, and touch around the rim. He produces as much as anyone in the county and doesn’t eat up touches, time, or dribbles. It’s rare to see a star impact winning in the way that he’s done this season. This season he stepped up and really improved his consistency. He’s virtually unguardable and if Holly Springs fed him every play he could probably go for video game numbers.

HM: Micah Jones – Senior – Holly Springs

Defensive Player of the Year

Houston Wills – Senior – Holly Springs

Wills is one of the most versatile defenders in the county, creating havoc and snuffing out advantages in all of the (many) roles that Coach Hepp and his staff play him in. He can guard on the perimeter, in the post, in passing lanes, and as a weakside ‘free safety’. That versatility alone is enough for him to make the conference all-defense team but his production and importance to his team win him this award.

HM: Sam Martin – Senior – Apex

6th Man of the Year

Liam O’Donnell – Senior – Green Level

O’Donnell impacts winning as much as anyone on the young Gator roster. His senior leadership (along with his brother Braden’s) is truly some of the best in the county. That combined with his production, 5.4p, 5.2r, and 1.8a per game in five conference games, make him a great candidate for this award. He would start for probably 20+ teams in Wake County and his impact and high floor would help each and every program. Injuries and missed time hurt his chances of winning this award, but he still came away with it in the end.

HM: Jake Cackovic – Sophomore – Holly Springs

Newcomer of the Year

Amari Richardson – Senior – Panther Creek

Richardson was a great plug-and-play transfer that filled the hole left in the Catamounts backcourt after they lost guards to graduation and injury. He averaged 7.7p, 2.4r, 3.6a, and 2.3s per game in conference play. Richardson filled up the stat sheet and acted as the primary on-ball defender for Panther Creek. He struggled with shooting consistency but his defensive and playmaking impact is enough to win him this award.

HM: Jadon Green – Freshman – Apex Friendship

Freshman of the Year

Jadon Green – Freshman – Apex Friendship

There are a lot of talented freshmen in this conference, on both JV and varsity teams this season. Green produced more than any other freshman, so this award goes to him. He’s a small and athletic guard that can finish around the rim as well as anyone. What stands out to me about his game is his strength and his passing ability, he’s arguably the best passer in the 2025 or 2026 class in the county. Apex Friendship is going to be a young team next season and Green has a great chance to lead them on a run as a sophomore.

HM: Chase Cleveland – Freshman – Cary, Garrett Midkiff – Freshman – Green Level

Breakout Player of the Year

Israel “Izzy” Eatman – Sophomore – Green Level

If you had asked back in October who we thought Green Level’s top 3 options would be this year, I’m pretty confident Eatman’s name wouldn’t have come up. Last season he played in just three varsity games, scoring a total of four points and eight(!!) returners scored more than him. This season, he averaged 11.5p, 4.4r, 2.0a, and 1.2s in conference play. Outside of the Gator program, I don’t think anyone would’ve guessed Izzy to have this type of production. His efficiency in his first full varsity season is a positive sign for future development and his role will only increase inside this young Green Level program. His teammate, Tye Cain was another great candidate for this award.

HM: Brishawn Haywood – Senior – Cary, Tye Cain – Junior – Green Level

Coach of the Year

John Green – Green Level

This award usually goes to the coach of the program that exceeds expectations the most, which makes Coach Walton (Cary) and Coach Shaffer (Middle Creek) great candidates for this award. Despite that, it isn’t often that a coach leads a team to their best season in program history and that should be rewarded. Green Level went 19-9 and won 7 more games than last season’s campaign. Coach Green led them to this mark with just two seniors in the rotation and with multiple breakout players throughout the roster. Green Level will be the early SWAC favorites next season and Coach Green will have much to do with it.

HM: LJ Hepp – Holly Springs, Scott Walton – Cary, Kevin Shaffer – Middle Creek

All-SWAC First Team

Micah Jones – Senior – Holly Springs

Jones is an elite-level point guard who averaged just under 16p and 6a per game. He’s probably the quickest player in the county and gets to the paint at absolute will. He’s really improved as a defender this year and has turned that side of the ball into one of the strongest parts of his game. Between his ability to finish through contact and pass out of the paint, Jones was runner-up for SWAC Player of the Year, an award he lost only to his superstar big man, Collin Kuhl.

Chris Uwayo – Junior – Panther Creek

Uwayo is so hard to guard. He’s one of the best pure shot makers in the county and has really come on as a creator as well. He averaged 19.2p, 3.2r, 3.5a, and 1.9s per game in conference play. He shot 39% from three on over five attempts per game in that same time. He was the clear star for a deep Panther Creek team and will be on POY watch entering his senior season.

Ryan Crotty – Junior – Holly Springs

Crotty is the best shooter in the conference and there isn’t much of a debate. The 6’5” wing drastically improved as a handler, creator, and defender this season. He averaged 15p, 4r, and 3a on the season. He consistently defended an opposing top option while running the second guard spot next to Micah Jones. His development has been extremely positive and he’ll enter next season as one of the top candidates for county POY.

Sam Martin – Senior – Apex

Martin is the rare first-team all-conference player without team success. He averaged 18.1p, 9.4r, 2.4a, 1.1s, and 3.2b per game in conference play while shooting 61% from inside the arc. He was top five in the county in points and rebounds and was first in blocks by a large margin. He’s one of the absolute best defenders in the county and if they had won 15 games instead of 5 he would have a serious case for SWAC POY and DPOY.

Collin Kuhl – Senior – Holly Springs

See Player of the Year.

All-SWAC Second Team

Tye Cain – Junior – Green Level

Cain stepped into the starting lead guard role at Green Level and proceeded to lead them to their best season in school history. Cain averaged 11p, 3.2r, 3.4a, and 2.5s per game in conference play and shot 57% from two and 34% from three. He ran the show for the Gators and in the only game that he didn’t play, Green Level lost to Cary, a team they had beaten two previous times. His impact on winning is up there with anyone in the conference and that will always be rewarded by us.

Brishawn Haywood – Senior – Cary

Haywood led the conference in scoring while leading Cary to a 4th place finish in the conference. He averaged 20.8p, 3.8r, and 2.1s per game in conference play while shooting 45% from the field and 37% from three. The 6’ off-guard has supreme confidence and the scoring talent to match. Coach Walton let him lead this season and Haywood rewarded him by leading the Imps to their best conference finish since the 2018-19 season when they finished 4th in the Triangle 6 conference.

Will James Jr. – Sophomore – Holly Springs

James is a winner that adapted to multiple different roles for Holly Springs this season. He averaged 9p, 4r, and 3a per game on the season while shooting over 35% from three. He’s a strong finisher that really came on as a spot-up shooting threat this year. When Micah Jones missed a month due to injury, James stepped into the lead guard role with relative ease and kept the Hawks offense rolling during that time. He’s got loads of potential and could develop into a top 3-5 prospect in the county.

Isaac Ericksen – Sophomore – Green Level

Ericksen is the rare second-team player with a realistic case for conference POY, both a testament to his talent and the depth of the conference. He averaged 18.1p, 8r, 2a, and 1.6 stocks per game in conference play. He improved throughout the season and as his efficiency and handle continue to develop he will be one of the top prospects in the state.

Caleb Surgers – Senior – Panther Creek

Surgers is arguably the most unsung hero in the conference, affecting every play in a positive way. He averaged 9p, 7.9r, 1.2s, and 1.4b per game in conference play while shooting 66%(!!) from the field. He’s got great touch around the rim and he’s one of the best interior defenders in the county. There were times when he was overshadowed in the crowded Panther Creek rotation but ask around and everyone will tell you that he’s as tough a matchup as anyone.

All-SWAC Third Team

Israel Eatman – Sophomore – Green Level

See Breakout Player of the Year.

Yasir Hall – Sophomore – Middle Creek

Hall is a tall, long, and gifted scorer that plays a smooth brand of basketball. He averaged 13.5p, 4.1r, 2.4a, and 1.9 stocks per game in conference play. He made almost three times as many threes this year compared to last and over doubled his PPG average. He’s growing as a playmaker and by the time his senior season arrives he has the potential to be one of the top combo guards in the county.

Brandon Ihle – Junior – Middle Creek

Ihle is one of the most consistent players in the county, constantly acting as a scoring threat that has so many different ways to beat you. He’s been a consistent top option for Middle Creek since his first game in his freshman season. He’s averaged double figures each year and his counting stats and efficiency numbers are similar each season. He averaged 12.2p, 3.9r, and 2.7a per game in conference play. He’s a knockdown shooter that uses craft and mature movements to get to his spots. He’s got one year left and is only 155 points from joining the 1,000-point club.

Houston Wills – Senior – Holly Springs

You don’t win DPOY and start on the best team in the county and not make the all-conference team. Wills averaged 7.3p, 4r, 3.6a, and 2.7s per game this season. He’s a LETHAL shooter that can hit 3-4 threes in a matter of possessions. He’s one of the most adaptable players in the state and has played so many different roles over his career. His 3&D floor mixed with experience and his ability to make winning plays makes Houston a shoo-in for this award.

Zack Chavis – Senior – Cary

Chavis was the clear second option on a Cary team that surpassed all expectations. He averaged 13.6p and 5.5r per game in conference play while shooting 33% from three on over six attempts per game. He’s a strong athlete that is naturally gifted and does a bit of everything well on the court. He really came on as a shooter this year and made his money from behind the arc.

All-SWAC Honorable Mentions

Amari Richardson – Senior – Panther Creek

See Newcomer of the Year.

Drew Weschler – Senior – Apex Friendship

Weschler is one of the best pure shooters in the state. He stepped into a bit more of a ball-handler role this year but still maintained his movement shooter persona. He can get hot in a hurry and was one of the more consistent pieces in the SWAC this year. As a prospect, he has a high floor given his feel for the game and shooting ability. Whatever program gets him should feel very lucky.

Zaelyn White – Sophomore – Apex

White is on a spectacular development track and has as good a chance as anyone to make first-team all-conference in his last two seasons. He averaged 13.4p, 4.5r, 2.3a, and 2.5s per game in conference play while shooting 47% from the field. He’s a strong-bodied guard that is one of the best slashers around. His two-way dominance didn’t go unnoticed despite Apex going 3-11 in SWAC play. White will be the guy at Apex and should be in for a big production boom next season.

Noah Toster – Senior – Apex Friendship

Toster really came along this season as a consistent slashing threat that had the confidence and athleticism necessary to get downhill whenever he needed to. He isn’t the traditional Apex Friendship star, as he doesn’t have a knockdown jumper or a knack for assists. But the Patriots desperately needed someone that can attack the basket and defend at a high level and that’s exactly what Toster brought to the team. He has a chance to play both football and basketball at the next level and he would be an asset to most D3 programs in the region.

Bence Koloszar – Senior – Green Hope

Koloszar is one of the more low-maintenance players around, rarely popping up in headlines or putting up outrageous numbers. His consistency and impact earn him his mention as the 6’6” forward who played within his role and played it well. He averaged 10.1p, 7.5r, and 2.3a per game in conference play. There were multiple candidates on the Falcon’s roster for this spot but their senior leader gets the nod.

All-Defensive Team

Zaelyn White – Sophomore – Apex

White is one of the most physical guards in the county, despite only being a sophomore. His strong frame and elite instincts make him a brutal matchup for every guard in the conference. He averaged 2.5 steals per game in conference play and you shouldn’t be surprised if that number grows closer to 4 as he continues to develop.

Amari Richardson – Senior – Panther Creek

Richardson is an agitating and pestering on-ball defender that averaged 2.3 steals per game in conference play. He thrives on getting under his opponent’s skin and making them uncomfortable, both with his words and his defense. He has good instincts and his smaller but strong frame allows him to contain his man. He avoids needing to rely too much on the second line of defense to cover his mistakes.

Houston Wills – Senior – Holly Springs

See Defensive Player of the Year.

Caleb Surgers – Senior – Panther Creek

Surgers has elite instincts around the rim that allows him to alter shots and rack up defensive rebounds. His ability to disrupt angles and force opponents to shoot around him is something that is incredibly underrated and usually goes unseen. You can ask Coach Robinson and his staff or any one of the dozens of schools recruiting Surgers about his defensive impact and they’ll testify about how important his shot-altering ability is. Being a 6’7” forward and averaging the same number of steals as blocks shows his versatility and a possible projection for growth as an inside-out defender.

Sam Martin – Senior – Apex

Martin was the clear runner-up for the DPOY award and had we been around last season he would’ve won it then. He averaged 3.2 blocks per game in conference, something that no one else in the county even came close to. As we talked about Surgers above, Martin is an ELITE shot-changer. Opposing guards and bigs alike have to consistently change their shot angles and find creative ways to use their bodies just to get a clean look off. He rarely falls for fakes and is great at not fouling. Being 6’9”, he gets a lot more fouls called on him than he will in college at Lenoir-Rhyne.