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Graves named 2024 Mr. Basketball

By Christopher Dabe

 

Written for the LSWA

 

Ponchatoula 6-foot-10 standout Allen Graves capped his high school career as a leading player on a state championship team for a second year in a row, and for that has been selected as Mr. Basketball by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

 

Graves, twice selected as the outstanding player in the LHSAA Division I nonselect state final, averaged 20.8 points and 12 rebounds with 2.8 assists, 2.4 blocks and 1.5 steals as a senior. The Santa Clara signee nearly posted a triple double as Ponchatoula defeated Natchitoches Central 75-60 in the more recent of the two state finals with 19 points, 20 rebounds and eight blocked shots.

 

Ponchatoula posted a 30-4 overall record against several other top programs from across the state.

 

“This season was definitely amazing," Graves said. “We had a whole bunch of ups and downs, and I’m glad to be part of this team we had this year. We definitely had a lot of pressure on us coming into the season, trying to go back-to-back.”

 

Ponchatoula won the final 10 games of the regular season after a mid-January loss to Newman and scored more than 90 points in the two postseason games before the state tournament.

 

Ponchatoula won a semifinal against a New Iberia team that was intent on slowing the pace to keep Ponchatoula from scoring a runaway victory. Graves scored nine points in the 34-26 victory and found several other ways to impact the game with 13 rebounds, three steals, two blocked shots and two assists.

 

In a quarterfinal against Slidell, Graves made four 3-pointers and scored 37 points. He made 50 3-pointers for the season on nearly 40% shooting from beyond the arc.

 

“A lot of times, this is a trust thing,” Ponchatoula coach Tom Taylor said. “You got a 6-foot-10 guy, most coaches will put him in a box, down low, a rebounder and shot-blocker. With him, this happened in the Natchitoches Central game and throughout the season, he’d get the rebound and try to get an outlet. Or it’s, ‘OK, I’ll initiate it and bring the ball up.’ Even at 6-10, he has tremendous ball-handling skills.”

 

Graves is a younger brother to former LSU men’s basketball player Marshall Graves and to current Auburn women’s player Amoura Graves.

 

Graves joins Chris Lockett from Newman (2023) and Solomon Washington from Carver (2022) as recent Mr. Basketball selections from the New Orleans metro area.

 

 

La. Farm Bureau Insurance/LSWA Mr. Basketball winners


1996: Lester Earl, Glen Oaks


1997: Marcus Fizer, Arcadia


1998: Stromile Swift, Fair Park


1999: Bernard King, Gibsland Coleman


2000: Chris Duhon, Salmen


2001: Donald Perry, McCall


2002: Darrel Mitchell Jr., St. Martinville


2003: Paul Millsap, Grambling


2004: Glen Davis, University


2005: Tasmin Mitchell, Denham Springs


2006: Demond Carter, Reserve Christian


2007: Greg Monroe, Helen Cox


2008: Greg Monroe, Helen Cox


2009: Joevoskie Mitchell, Zwolle


2010: Markel Brown, Peabody


2011: Ricardo Gathers, Riverside


2012: Dee Wagner, Peabody


2013: Jarell Martin, Madison Prep


2014: Reginal Johnson Jr., Richwood


2015: Brandon Sampson, Madison Prep


2016: Javonte Smart, Scotlandville


2017: Javonte Smart, Scotlandville


2018: Javonte Smart, Scotlandville


2019: Jalen Cook, Walker


2020: Reece Beekman, Scotlandville


2021: Carlos Stewart, The Dunham School


2022: Solomon Washington, Carver


2023: Chris Lockett, Newman


2024: Allen Graves, Ponchatoula

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