For the second consecutive year, Lake Highland Prep's Joel Berry has been named the state's Mr. Basketball by the Florida Dairy Farmers' Association.
The North Carolina commit (184 points) finished just ahead of Chris Walker of Holmes County. The McDonald's All-American and Florida signee was second with 174 points in one of the closest finishes ever.
Class 8A POY RaShawn Powell, a senior guard and Memphis signee from Orlando Dr. Phillips, was third with 115 points, while junior guard Grayson Allen, the Class 3A POY from state champion Jacksonville Providence, was fourth with 102 points.
Rounding out the voting were Bartow senior Chris Perry, a USF signee and Class 7A POY (69 points), senior Erik Thomas from Wesley Chapel, the Class 5A POY (67), senior Ivan Canete, the Class 2A POY from state champ Boca Raton Grandview Prep (56), and Class 6A POY Zachary Johnson, a junior from state champ Miami Norland (37).
Berry becomes the fifth player to win the award twice, joining Chris Corchiani of Hialeah Miami Lakes (1986-87), Steve Edwards of Miami Senior (1991-92), Nick Calathes of Winter Park Lake Howell (2006-07) and Brandon Knight of Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest (2009-10).
Last year, Berry became the first sophomore to win the award. No one has ever won the award three times.
"I am just blessed to be able to win this award again," Berry told the Orlando Sentinel. "It will have quite an impact on me in the long run."
The 4A Player of the Year led the Highlanders (24-5) to their first state title this season after losing in the state title game the previous season.
"With the kind of person I am, I don't get complacent when I win awards," he added. "That would be the worst thing I could do. It will make me just want to get out there and push hard and keep on working hard."
This past season, Berry averaged 25.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.1 steals per game despite missing the first eight games due to a knee injury. Lake Highland Prep was undefeated (21-0) with Berry in the line-up.
"He has such a high basketball IQ and plays with great poise and confidence," noted Jeff Turner, who stepped down as Berry's coach last month to become the school's associate athletic director. "The numbers speak for themselves."
Turner, the 4A Coach of the Year, finished fifth in the Coach of the Year balloting.
Following back-to-back Class 7A state titles, and classification Coach of the Year honors, Pompano Beach Blanche Ely's Melvin Randall was recognized as the Florida Dairy Farmers Boys' Basketball Coach of the Year. He finished just ahead (141-132) of Neal Goldman of Tampa Jesuit, who guided the Tigers to their first state title since 1984.
Josh Kohn of Oviedo Hagerty, the Class 8A COY who led the Huskies to their first state championship, finished third with 115 points. He just edged two-time Class 6A COY Lawton Williams III of Miami Norland, who was fourth with 113 points. Williams led the Vikings to their second straight state title as well as their fourth crown in the last eight years (2006, 2008).
Rounding out the voting were Jeff Turner (96 points), Class 3A COY Jim Martin of Jacksonville Providence (84), who guided the Stallions to their second state title (2A, 2010), Class 2A COY Joe Dawson of Boca Raton Grandview Prep (79), who led the Pride to their first state title, and Class 1A COY Poe White of Holmes County (40), who led the Blue Devils to their first state crown.
The Florida Dairy Farmers High School Sports Awards program exemplifies Florida Dairy Farmers' commitment to the state's youth. This is the 21st year of these unique awards, and we are honoring the state's top athletes and coaches in all 30 sanctioned and recognized FHSAA sports. The program also emphasizes to young people the importance of keeping dairy products a primary part of their diet in their overall nutrition plan.