All-County Boys Basketball Profiles
The Palatka High School junior really came into his own this winter. The 6-foot-3 1/2 junior who has played forward, guard and center averaged 11.8 points a game, while grabbing 6.6 rebounds and handing out 1.2 assists per matchup and blocking nearly one shot a game. He buried 24 3-point field goals and shot 57 percent from the floor. In the postseason, Roberts took his game up a notch by averaging 12.8 points in five games, including a 19-point effort in the Panthers’ 58-47 District 5-6A championship win over Clay.
“He’s definitely the most athletic guy on our team,” Panthers coach Bryant Oxendine said. “Wesley’s upside is just crazy. He’s athletic and he can shoot the ball. He’s long (arm-wise). He brings a lot to the table. By blocking shots, he makes opposing teams think. He led us in blocked shots. Wesley is also very explosive. He’ll be one of our leaders coming back next year as a senior. I’m looking forward to it.”
Last year’s Daily News Player of the Year, McKinnon put up strong numbers for his senior season. He finished the year with 14.7 points and 9.6 rebounds a game. The 6-5 three-time All-County Palatka standout center shot 72 percent from the field. In four postseason games, McKinnon averaged 13.3 points a game, all of it coming off the bench, including 15 points in 25-5 Palatka’s Region 2-6A semifinal win against Gainesville Eastside and recorded 14 points and 14 rebounds in his last career game against Brooksville Nature Coast in a 60-53 loss.
“He did a great job and had a very, very good career for us,” Oxendine said. “He helped us tremendously on the block and I was proud of what Mitch did with his inside presence. I think with the right setting and right team, he most definitely can succeed in college.”
For the season, Smith averaged 9.6 points and two rebounds per contest, while handing out 2.9 assists on an unselfish Palatka team that had many players looking for the open man. The 5-11 senior nailed 46 3-point field goals, seven coming during the postseason for which he averaged 10.4 points in the five games. But it’s an assist he will be remembered for – the pass he threw to teammate Malik Beauford in the final seconds against host Gainesville Eastside that gave the Panthers a 61-59 lead. They held on for the 61-60 victory.
“Y’dontae can play either the 1 (point guard) or the 2 (shooting guard) position,” Oxendine said. “He made great positions at the point, first stepping into that role when we me missed Chamar (2017 PDN Player of the Year Dumas) for the first seven games last year. He played great last year and he was great in that win over Eastside defensively, also communicating with the other guys. He did what a point guard leader should do.”
Playing some his sophomore year, the shooting guard came into his own this junior season as a standout defensive player. Shaw averaged 8.9 points and two rebounds per game, but buried 35 3-point field goals. He averaged just five points a game, hitting a pair of 3-pointers along the way. The 6-foot Shaw’s best game came at Crescent City right after Christmas break when he stepped up and delivered 30 points in an 83-71 win, going 10-of-12 from the field, including 6-of-7 from 3-point range.
“He came over to us during our (FHSAA 6A) Final Four run as a sophomore,” Oxendine said. “He fit in great and worked hard in the offseason during the summer. He started off the bench this year, but his defensive effort stood out and he became of our best defensive players. And with that, his confidence started soaring and he became an intregal part of what we were doing. He hurt his foot near the end of the season and missed a couple of weeks, but he came back to us and he was just what we needed in the (postseason).”
The 6-5 Crescent City High senior center wasn’t afraid to mix it up during a 10-15 season in which the Raiders were down to seven varsity players by the end. And Eckman wasn’t afraid to put it up from the outside either, nailing 13 3-point field goals. Eckman finished the year averaging 13.2 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest. Eckman put up 20 or more points in three games, including a season-high 27 points in a loss to Hilliard and recording 24 points, 13 rebounds and five steals in a 71-57 District 6-1A tournament opening-round win over Union County in his final home game.
“After he realized I wasn’t going to let him miss practices, he had to run a few times and I told him I was holding him accountable for what he did,” Raiders coach Al Carter said. “He worked hard once he got the understanding and he did a really good job for us. We wouldn’t have gotten rebounds or defeneded as well as we did without him. He did a lot of good things on the court.”
– Mark Blumenthal