By Alex Byington and Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
Over the past several years, Jaleel Williams has moved back and forth between Texas and Washington.
As a sophomore, he helped lead Federal Way (Wash.) to its fifth 4A boys state championship.
As a junior, the 6-foot-5 wing came home, helping Ellison to the Region II-5A area round in its 16th straight postseason appearance.
"It felt good to reunite with the team that I first started playing with. ... It made it a lot easier because the chemistry was already there," Williams said.
For his effort with Ellison, Williams was named the District 12-5A Newcomer of the Year, which is voted on by the district coaches.
"It means a lot that the coaches believe that I'm really the top newcomer this year," Williams said. "But I still feel like there are areas that I can improve on and I'm looking forward to doing that this offseason and coming back stronger for my senior year.
"I don't feel like I dominated like I know I could (have) this year."
Williams averaged around 15 points and seven rebounds per game for the Eagles.
"I thought his numbers qualified him for (the honor), I thought he had pretty good numbers for a first-year varsity player," said Ellison coach Alberto Jones. "He has a lot of God-given ability."
Temple's Erik Valdez was named the 12-5A Player of the Year, while Coach of the Year went to Temple head coach Tim Thomas. The duo led the Wildcats to the Region II final, where they fell a game shy of the program's first state tournament appearance since 1932. Temple fell to Garland Lakeview Centennial on Saturday, two weeks after the Patriots knocked out Ellison.
Bryan senior Roc Martin was named the district's top defender.
The first team had a postseason feel, with three of the district's four playoff teams each having two representatives – A&M Consolidated (seniors Justin Campbell and Kevin Jefferson), Bryan (sophomore J-Mychal Reese and senior Terrance Tucker) and Ellison (junior Devonte Brown and senior Cameron Gunter). Shoemaker, despite missing the playoffs, had a pair of first teamers in senior Jade Allen and junior Anthony Gonzales.
"He had some huge scoring games for us in district," Shoemaker coach Marc Minatrea said of Gonzales. "I told him, 'Congratulations, you made first team. Just keeping getting better defensively and rebounding, and you can be even better.'"
Other first-teamers were Belton junior Jacob Whitman and Temple senior Donovan Shumpert.
ALL-DISTRICT 12-5A BOYS TEAM
Player of the year – Erik Valdez, Temple
Newcomer of the year – Jaleel Williams, Ellison
Defensive player of the year – Roc Martin, Bryan
Coach of the year – Tim Thomas, Temple
Justin Campbell, A&M Consolidated; Kevin Jefferson, A&M Consolidated; Jacob Whitman, Belton; J-Mychal Reese, Bryan; Terrance Tucker, Bryan; Devonte Brown, Ellison; Cameron Gunter, Ellison; Jade Allen, Shoemaker; Anthony Gonzales, Shoemaker; Donovan Shumpert, Temple.
Alex Caruso, A&M Consolidated; Eric Braeuer, Belton; Dontreal Bazy, Bryan; Antonio Clemons, Copperas Cove; Ricardo Artis, Copperas Cove; Brandon Bullock, Harker Heights; A.J. McDonald, Shoemaker; Avery Polchinski, Temple; Christopher Randle, Temple; Donald Robinson, Temple.
Jimmie Gilbert A&M Consolidated; Quinton White, A&M Consolidated; Sean Voss, Belton; Darrius White, Belton; Christopher Johnson, Bryan; Wesley Shimek, Bryan; Kevin Coley, Copperas Cove; Romando Garcia, Copperas Cove; Robert King, Copperas Cove; David Cobb, Ellison; Douglas McDaniels, Ellison; Daevon Brown, Harker Heights; Thomas Cherry, Harker Heights; Royce O'Neale, Harker Heights; Micah Rainey, Harker Heights; Jared Bowser, Shoemaker.