What if?

It’s a question Mount St. Joseph basketball supporters probably have asked about Amani Hansberry.

In just two seasons, Hansberry became one of the most decorated players in program history. The senior center is the Baltimore Banner/Varsity Sports Network Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

“He’s in the conversation…probably the most impactful and most accomplished player we’ve had,” said Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchey.

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Hansberry averaged 15.3 points and 12 rebounds for the top-ranked Gaels (38-4), who won their second consecutive Baltimore Catholic League Tournament championship. He was the tournament’s MVP for the second straight season.

The 6-foot-7 Hansberry posted 17 points and 21 rebounds in the Gaels’ championship game victory over St. Maria Goretti at Goucher College. The back-to-back MVP effort was the first since St. Frances guard Ace Baldwin (Virginia Commonwealth) won three straight (2018-2020).

Hansberry was the BCL Player of the Year, the first Gael to win since James Bishop (George Washington) in 2019. He’s the first to win regular season and tournament MVP honors since former Mount St. Joseph standout Phil Booth (2014), who starred on two national championship teams at Villanova.

In two seasons, Hansberry guided the Gaels to a 70-11 record with two BCL tournament championships, a BCL regular season title and a MIAA A Conference championship. The 38 wins this season tied a school-record as well as equaling the area and state mark the Gaels established in 2006 (38-1).

Mount St. Joseph's Amani Hansberry puts up a shot against St. Frances' Benjamin Brown during Sunday's key MIAA A Conference/Baltimore Catholic League contest. Hansberry finished with 26 points and 16 rebounds as the top-ranked Gaels defeated the No. 2 Panthers, 82-64, in Southwest Baltimore.
Amani Hansberry, putting up a shot against St. Frances' Benjamin Brown during a MIAA A Conference/Baltimore Catholic League regular season contest, was the Most Valuable Player of the BCL Tournament for the second straight year. Hansberry, who will play for the University of Illinois next season, was the BCL Player of the Year for the regular season.

“It was emotional, the last time playing with my guys,” Hansberry said. “Just tried to come out here, leave my legacy and get a win.”

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Four years ago, Clatchey recruited Hansberry, a teammate of future Gael point guard Ace Valentine on the Team Durant AAU team. Hansberry, who lives in Silver Spring in Montgomery County, opted for Washington Catholic Athletic Conference program St. John’s College (D.C.).

Hansberry quickly emerged, averaging 10.6 points and 7.7 rebounds for St. John’s, garnering second-team honors on MaxPreps’ national All-Freshman team. He decided to transfer to Mount St. Joseph for his junior year.

The broad-shouldered Hansberry flourished. He averaged 20.3 points, 13.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists, helping Mount St. Joseph to the MIAA A and Baltimore Catholic League Tournament crowns.

Whether it was scoring, ballhanding, rebounding or defense, the versatile Hansberry, VSN’s Player of the Year in 2022, had an impact.

“He’s the complete package, high character, good student, outstanding player, but at the same time, great teammate,” said Clatchey. “He’s about winning.”

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“He’s been amazing,” said Valentine, who will play for UMBC next season. “We played together in middle school and was hoping he would come…he’s a difference maker.”

Hansberry was the MVP of the Iolani Classic in Hawaii where the Gaels defeated Florida powerhouse Montverde Academy, ranked No. 1 in the nation by ESPN. The University of Illinois recruit, a consensus Top 75 national recruit by 247Sports, ESPN and Rivals, was selected Gatorade Maryland Player of the Year.

“The most impressive thing is his consistency, he doesn’t have bad games,” said Clatchey. “He finds ways to contribute towards winning.”

Derek Toney is content editor of Varsity Sports Network, a high school sports news network that became part of The Baltimore Banner in August 2022. 

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