There have been many standout achievements by male sports stars throughout the year, and we’ve narrowed it down to the best of the best. With the school year behind us, let’s take a look at the candidates for the Tribune’s 2010-11 Male Athlete of the Year. To vote, click here. Our selection will be announced June 26:
Jahii Carson, Sr., Mesa basketball
Carson was well-known heading into his senior year after having a standout junior season and committing to Arizona State in August. Despite all the attention from spectators and defenders alike, Carson excelled, averaging 32.2 points and 1.9 steals to lead the Jackrabbits to the state semifinals. His first and only time in the final four was a memorable one, as Carson scored 58 points on 25-of-38 shooting in a loss to Brophy. The 5-foot-10 point guard is the biggest local recruit the Sun Devils have ever nabbed, and he did nothing to discourage the hype thrust upon him. Carson is rated as the No. 7 point guard in the country by scouting service Rivals.com, and his hardwood prowess makes him a candidate for Male Athlete of the Year.
Kevin Cron, Sr., Mountain Pointe baseball
After tying the single-season state home run mark in his last game of the year as a junior, Cron didn’t let the drama build nearly as much this season. The Pride’s powerful catcher smashed the single-season mark of 22 with plenty of time to spare, and ended up with 27 on the year. His career total of 60 is also a state record. It wasn’t all about power for Cron, as he also batted .560 on the season and went 8-1 with a 2.15 ERA on the mound. The Pride won the 5A Division I state championship, and Cron was recently drafted in the third round of the MLB amateur draft. He can decide to either sign with the Seattle Mariners or go play collegiately at Texas Christian.
Teddy Ruben, Sr., Saguaro football
Ruben may not have had colleges fighting for his services like other names on this list, but his high school season was nothing short of incredible. At 5-foor-10 and 160 pounds, Ruben was often one of the smallest players on the field, but he always played big. The senior quarterback finished the season 136-of-191 passing for 2,369 yards with 22 touchdowns and five interceptions. He carried the ball 230 times for 2,513 yards and 34 scores. The Sabercats trailed Canyon del Oro by 14 points at halftime of the 4A Division I state championship game, but Ruben helped engineer a rally as Saguaro claimed its fourth title in five years. Ruben will play for Air Force next season.
Dalton Brady, So., Chandler wrestling
Brady is only halfway through his high school wrestling career and already has enough accolades to fill up a trophy case. Brady dominated the 112-pound division this year, going 41-0 and winning his second straight state title. He only had two close matches this season, and beat a pair of eventual state champions during the season. Brady has lost just once in high school, and he is competing well in national and international competitions. Next up for him is the ASICS/Vaughan Junior National Championships from July 15-23 in Fargo, N.D. Then it’s back to the local wrestling scene, much to the disappointment of opponents who have the unfortunate task of going against him.
Davonte Neal, Jr,., Chaparral football/track
Neal was a jack-of-all trades on the football field, dominating at every turn. He was a big-play wide receiver who caught 37 balls for 907 yards and 11 touchdowns, a lockdown cornerback, and an electric kick returner. He stands alongside Corona del Sol’s Andrus Peat, Saguaro’s D.J. Foster, Hamilton’s Reggie Daniels and teammate Connor Brewer as the elite recruits in Arizona’s 2012 class, and will have his choice of colleges to choose from. Neal quit track before the season ended to focus on football, but not before posting times of 21.48 seconds in the 200-meter dash and 10.80 in the 100. Only two runners were faster than him in the 200 and three in the 100 this year.
Riggs Lennon, Brophy soccer; Alex Lawson, Corona del Sol tennis; Cameron Taylor, Westwood track; Devon Allen, So., Brophy track/football; Chris Pickard, Arcadia swimming.