The 2022-23 All-Observer boys basketball team: Who are the player and coach of the year?

It’s probably no surprise that North Mecklenburg’s Isaiah Evans is The Charlotte Observer’s boys high school player of the year and headlines the 2022-23 All-Observer all-star team.

Evans, a 6-foot-7 forward, has already captured North Carolina’s top high school honor, Mr. Basketball, and he’s also been named the MaxPreps state player of the year. Evans averaged 26 points per game and scored more than 40, including a 62-point performance against Chambers in the N.C. 4A state quarterfinals, in multiple games.

The coach of the year is Central Cabarrus’ James Baker, who led his team to 32-0 record, a national ranking and an N.C. 3A state championship, the school’s first state title since 2000. Baker’s team is 62-1 in the past two seasons and became the first public school boys team from Cabarrus County to finish the season with an unbeaten record.

In all, 25 players made the All-Observer teams. And, for the first time, The Observer is adding a sixth man of the year award, as well as most improved player and all-defensive and all-freshman teams. Teams were selected by The Observer’s high school sports staff along with Talking Preps co-hosts Randall Clark and Rick Lewis. All high schools were asked to nominate players for possible inclusion.

All-Observer boys basketball


Jaeden Mustaf, Carmel Christian, 6-6, Jr., G: The all-state pick and top-35 national recruit led his team to the NCISAA 4A state finals, averaging 18 points per game, six rebounds per game and five asists per game.

Carmel Christan’s Jaeden Mustaf
Carmel Christan’s Jaeden Mustaf

Austin Swartz, Cannon, 6-5, Jr., G: The CISAA conference player of the year and all-state pick averaged 23 points, seven assists and five rebounds per game.

Cannon School’s Austin Swartz
Cannon School’s Austin Swartz

Jaiden Thompson, Central Cabarrus, 6-0, Sr., G: Thompson led his team to an unbeaten record and the N.C. 3A state title. He averaged 20.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.3 spg and 4.0 apg.

Central Cabarrus’ Jaiden Thompson
Central Cabarrus’ Jaiden Thompson

Elijah Strong, Myers Park, 6-8, Sr., F: The Division I recruit averaged 15.4 points, 5.4 rebounds per game. He was a three-time all-conference pick, a two-time first-team all-district pick and was named second-team all-state by the N.C. Basketball Coaches Association.

Myers Park’s Elijah Strong
Myers Park’s Elijah Strong

Isaiah Evans, North Meck, 6-7, Jr., F: The reigning Mr. NC Basketball averaged 26 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Evans is ranked in the top 10 nationally and highest in North Carolina.

North Meck’s Isaiah Evans
North Meck’s Isaiah Evans


Paul McNeil, Richmond Senior, 6-5, Jr., G

Mikey Wilkins, R-S Central, 6-8, Soph., F

Juke Harris, Salisbury, 6-6, Jr., G

Bishop Boswell, Myers Park, 6-3, Jr., PG

Randall Pettus, Bessemer City, 6-2, Sr., G


Nick Dorn, Chambers, 6-7, Sr., G/F

Sir Mohammed, Myers Park, 6-6, Jr., G

Riley Allenspach, Providence Day, 6-10, Sr., F/C

Dallas Gardner, Charlotte Country Day, 6-3, Sr., G

Bryce Cash, Carmel Christian, 6-6, Sr., F


Langston Boyd, Cox Mill, 6-4, Jr., G

Jordon Nevill, East Mecklenburg, 6-0, Sr., G

Sean Birmingham, Cannon, 6-8, Jr., F

Jonah Lawrence, East Meck, 6-4, Soph., G

John Lash, Charlotte Christian, 6-5, Soph., F

Quay Watson, Hopewell, 5-10, Jr., G

Chad Traylor, West Charlotte, 6-3, Soph., G

Kameron Taylor, Olympic, 6-5, Jr., F

Ned Hull, Charlotte Latin, 6-3, Sr., G

Maurio Hanson, Chambers, 6-7, Jr., C

All-defensive team

Bryce Cash, Carmel Christian, 6-6, Sr., F: He had 75 deflections, 52 steals, 12 blocks and drew 21 charges for a N.C. 4A private school state finalist. The all-state pick scored his 1,500 point this season, too.

Bishop Boswell, Myers Park, 6-3, Jr., G: He guarded the opposing team’s best player most games while running the Mustangs’ offense. State finals MP averaged 12 ppg, 5.0 apg and 4.5 rpg.

Marcus Brown, Chambers, 6-4, Sr., W: He helped slow down some of the area’s top scorers while averaging 7.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.7 spg.

Trent Steinour, Lake Norman, 6-9, Soph., C: The Greater Metro 4A defensive player of the year led his team to a league title. He averaged 10.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.5 bpg.

Chase Daniel, Central Cabarrus, 6-1, Jr., G: A tremendous on-ball defender for the NCHSAA 3A state champs. Daniel averaged 13.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.7 apg and 3.6 spg.

Most improved

Kameron Taylor, Olympic, 6-5, Jr., F: Taylor played his first year of varsity basketball and averaged 17.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and three assists. He was named SoMECK 4A conference player of the year.

Sixth man of the year

Desmond Kent, Central Cabarrus, 6-5, Jr., F: The MVP of the NCHSAA 3A state finals averaged 12.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.2 blocks per game for the unbeaten state champs.

All-freshman team

Cameron Newman, Gaston Christian, 5-11, PG: The Observer’s freshman of the year averaged 15.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game for the N.C. 3A private school state semifinalist.

Markus Kerr, West Charlotte, 6-5, W: The 14-year-old averaged 12 points, six rebounds, two steals and two assists for an N.C. 3A public school semifinalist.

Bradley Floyd, Kings Mountain, 6-5, G: He had five 20-point games and five double-doubles plus set a freshman school record for points (394). Floyd averaged 15.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.8 spg.

Ashton Pierce, North Mecklenburg, 6-3, G: He holds multiple Division I offers and often guarded the other team’s best player. Pierce averaged 9.0 ppg, 4.0 apg, 4.0 rpg for a N.C. 4A state semifinalist.

Rassell Young, Mallard Creek, 6-1, PG: Young averaged 10.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg and 1.1 apg while playing in the Queen City 3A/4A, the state’s toughest league that produced 4A and 3A state semifinals teams.

Note: The Observer changed its coverage area beginning with spring sports coverage. After the winter sports All-Observer teams are named, only athletes in the new coverage zone will be considered for inclusion for future teams. The revised coverage area includes schools in counties that touch Mecklenburg: Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln and Union.

Past winners: Player of year, coach of year

2021-22: Cade Tyson (Carmel Christian); Gary Ellington (Weddington)

2020-21: Robert Dillingham (Combine); Jeff McInnis (Combine)

2019-20: Jaden Bradley (Cannon); Duane Lewis (North Mecklenburg)

2018-19: Wendell Moore (Cox Mill); Joe Badgett (Carmel Christian)

2017-18: Wendell Moore (Cox Mill); Preston Davis (Independence)

2016-17: Jairus Hamilton (Cannon); Jody Barbee (Cox Mill)

2015-16: Grant Williams (Providence Day); Brian Field (Providence Day), Mike King (Charlotte Catholic)

2014-15: Steven Santa Ana (Ardrey Kell), Grant Williams (Providence Day); Mike Craft (Ardrey Kell)

2013-14: Gabe DeVoe (Shelby); Byron Dinkins (Northside Christian)

2012-13: Kennedy Meeks (West Charlotte); Ty Baumgardner (Olympic)

2011-12: Braxton Ogbueze (United Faith); Baronton Terry (West Charlotte)

2010-11: Terry Whisnant (Cherryville); Ron Bray (Hunter Huss)

2009-10: Ian Miller (United Faith); Johnny Sowell (Monroe)

2008-09: Ian Miller (United Faith); Aubrey Hollifield (Shelby)

2007-08: Malik Stith (East Meck); Jason Grube (East Meck)

2006-07: Dee Bost (Concord); Andy Poplin (Concord)

2005-06: Jeremy Goode (Providence Day); Duane Lewis (North Meck)

2004-05: Jamie Skeen (North Meck); Gosnell White (W. Charlotte)

2003-04: Anthony Morrow (Char. Latin); John Smith (Great Falls, S.C.)

2002-03: Anthony Morrow (Char. Latin); Kurt Wessler (Vance)

2001-02: Donte Minter (W. Rowan); Mike Gurley (W. Rowan)

2000-01: Curtis Withers (W. Charlotte); Larry Dixon (Garinger)

1999-00: Scooter Sherrill (W. Rowan); Scott Brewer (Central Cabarrus)

1998-99: Jason Parker (W. Charlotte); Gosnell White (W. Charlotte)

1997-98: Jason Parker (W. Charlotte); Terry Rogers (Freedom)

PHOTOS: Boys All-Observer team