By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
Tashawn Thomas was as consistent as the clock that ticked away the final seconds of his high school career.
Even in the end - Killeen's 82-77, bi-district playoff loss to Arlington Seguin - Thomas scored 28 points, grabbed 20 rebounds and blocked five shots.
He didn't go away. He didn't disappear. He never quit.
"I just promised my team at the beginning of the year that I was going to show up every game and that's what I tried to do and keep on doing throughout the year," said Thomas, who averaged 21 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks a game. "That was my main goal throughout the year - to come through, every game, for my team."
That's what made him an MVP this season - District 8-4A's and the Daily Herald's.
He was the Daily Herald's MVP and District 25-4A's co-MVP last season, but this year was different, though not the first-round playoff loss, a humbling fact that never got lost on the 6-foot-8, University of Houston-signed senior.
"It means a lot to me, but, again (like last year), not really because we still got knocked out first round," Thomas said of the back-to-back district MVP honors. "But, it shows that I worked hard my whole high school career. It shows that all my work has paid off."
His hard work showed last year - thus his junior-year co-MVP - but this year was different. Instead of being the talent-turned-MVP he was last season, Thomas was always an MVP this season.
Chris Runnels, Newcomer of the year
On a team that featured multiple two- and three-year, letter-winning standouts, Chris Runnels just stood out.
Runnels, who averaged 12 points and nine rebounds a game, wasn't the tallest player on Shoemaker's roster, nor was he the Grey Wolves' leading scorer, he just stood out.
The District 12-5A coaches noticed, giving the 6-foot-2 junior forward the district's newcomer of the year accolade, and the Daily Herald agreed.
What stood out most, Shoemaker coach Marc Minatrea said, was that he was "relentless."
"That was probably his greatest strength was that he would just play hard and was relentless the whole time he was on the floor," Minatrea said.
Devonte Brown (Sr., Ellison) - The Indiana State-signee entered his senior season with a lot of expectations, including seeking Ellison's 17th consecutive playoff appearance. Taking the team on his shoulders at times, the 6-foot-2 Brown displayed the athleticism and pure play-making ability in averaging 19 points and 10.3 rebounds per game in leading the Eagles (23-13) all the way to the Region II-5A quarterfinals.
Brandon Bullock (Sr., Harker Heights) - The athleticism that helped Bullock at both receiver and quarterback on the football field translated well to the hardcourt in his leaping ability, turning the undersized 6-foot-1 post into a rebounding machine. Going one-on-one with posts sometimes 3-5 inches taller, Bullock averaged 13 points and 7.3 rebounds en route to setting the Heights career rebounding record (637).
Sedrick Jennings (Sr., Killeen) - The three-year letterman was the Runnin' Roos second-leading scorer (13 points per game), earned an 8-4A first team selection and, emerging as one of the team's strongest on-court leaders, helped Killeen win a sixth straight district championship.
Royce O'Neale (Sr., Harker Heights) - Ten months removed from breaking his ankle, the Knights' 6-foot-5 sharpshooter returned with a vengeance, sparking the Knights with a career-high 39 points in their second game of the season. Whether it was grabbing rebounds, dishing assists or scoring at will, O'Neale (17 points, 10 rebounds per game) did it all in leading Heights (28-6) to the Region II-5A quarterfinals.
Sean Voss (Sr., Belton) - The Tigers never could put it all together in District 12-5A. But that was never a problem for Voss. The guard continually drove his opponents crazy with his ability to penetrate the lane. He got to the rim so often, he was the area's second leading scorer, averaging 20.2 points per game on 56 percent shooting.
(Sr. Copperas Cove)
(Sr., Harker Heights )