Mount Saint Joseph's Jalen Smith becomes two-time BCL Player of the Year

Mount Saint Joseph senior forward Jalen Smith has picked up where he left off last year, dominating at both ends of the court and being recognized for his fine play this season.

Another honor came his way Monday when he was named the repeat recipient of the Baltimore Catholic League's Jerry Savage Player of the Year at the annual awards luncheon at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Pikesville.

The Maryland-bound Smith, a McDonald’s All American, is averaging 24 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots in leading No. 2 Mount Saint Joseph to a 27-4 mark through the regular season.

“It’s a great honor. It means a lot that people recognize my game out of all the great players in our league they chose me and it’s pretty much a blessing and I thank God for allowing me to do it,” Smith said.

The Gaels are defending champions in the BCL and Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference, earning the second seed in both leagues. They get the postseason started Tuesday in the MIAA quarterfinals, set to host McDonogh at 7 p.m.

For Smith, who also was last season’s All-Metro Co-Player of the Year, all the individual notice is a product of hard work and helping his team win.

“It’s a lot of hard work,” he said. “My team pushes me, my coaches push me, my parents. I have a big support system behind me and just winning the award again is great. It means I actually worked hard and achieved something I did last year.”

St. Frances’ Nick Myles, who has led the No. 1 Panthers to a 31-4 mark and the league’s top seed in the playoffs, was named the O. Ray Mullis Coach of the Year.

Loyola Blakefield’s senior guard JJ Halaby was named the Cokey Robertson Most Improved Player of the Year. And St. Frances junior guard Rajeir Jones was recognized as the Mark Amatucci Defensive Player of the Year.

Joining Smith on the All-BCL first team was John Carroll's Immanuel Quickley and Montez Mathis, and St. Frances’ Adrian Baldwin and Elijah Epps. The selections were based on voting by league coaches and officials, and selected media members.

Each team selected a player as recipient of the Dave Kropfelder "Never, Never Quit" Award: Mitch White, Archbishop Spalding; Cameron Watts, Calvert Hall; Brandon Craig, John Carroll; Chid Nnake, Loyola Blakefield; Teon Rushing, Mount Carmel; Kendall McMillan, Mount Saint Joseph; Edward Ferguson, St. Frances; and Trey Boothe, St. Maria Goretti.

On Monday, all eight teams took part in providing community services, working in conjunction with the Catholic Charities of Baltimore.

The BCL Tournament opens Feb. 28 with quarterfinal round play at the higher seeds. The remainder of the tournament will take place at Goucher College with the semifinals set for the following Saturday, March 3 (5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.) and the championship game at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 4.

First up for many of the teams is the MIAA A Conference playoffs, which start Tuesday with St. Frances and John Carroll earning the top seeds after winning their respective divisions.

BCL honors

Player of the Year

Jalen Smith, Mount Saint Joseph

Coach of the Year

Nick Myles, St. Frances

Most Improved Player

JJ Halaby, Loyola Blakefield

Defensive Player of the Year

Rajeir Jones, St. Frances

First team

Jalen Smith, Mount Saint Joseph

Immanuel Quickley, John Carroll

Adrian Baldwin, St. Frances

Montez Mathis, John Carroll

Elijah Epps, St. Frances

Second team

Brendan Adams, Calvert Hall

James Bishop, Mount Saint Joseph

R.J. Blakney, St. Maria Goretti

JJ Halaby, Loyola Blakefield

Yavuz Gultekin, John Carroll

Jordon Jones, Mount Carmel

Honorable mention: Logan Curtis, Calvert Hall; Jordan Toles, St. Frances; Cameron Shaw, Loyola Blakefield; Rene Alphozo, Archbishop Spalding; Josh Mack, St. Maria Goretti; Tyree Myers, Mount Saint Joseph

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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