There was huge expectations for Amani Hansberry when he transferred to Mount St. Joseph from St. John’s in the District last season as one of the nation’s top underclassmen.

He’s more than lived up to the hype. Monday, Hansberry was named Baltimore Catholic League Player of the Year at the league’s award luncheon at Turf Valley Country Club in Ellicott City.

The 6-foot-7 University of Illinois recruit is the first Gael to win the Jerry Savage/BCL Player of the Year award since James Bishop (George Washington University) in 2019. Hansberry is averaging 17.6 points and 12.7 rebounds for the top-ranked Gaels, who claimed the BCL regular season title for the first time since 2016.

The lone holdover from last season’s All-BCL first team, Hansberry was Most Valuable Player of the 52nd BCL Tournament as Mount St. Joseph won its eighth championship. He was the consensus Player of the Year in the Baltimore metro area.

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The versatile Hansberry has been the driving force this season for Gaels, who’re ranked No. 1 in the area and nationally by MaxPreps (17th) and ESPN (No. 23).

“Amani is just a good player. He can help a team win in so many ways,” said Mount St. Joseph legendary coach Pat Clatchey. “His impact has been tremendous.”

Hansberry’s teammate and UMBC-bound guard Ace Valentine was chosen to the first team along with St. Frances’ Power 5 backcourt mates Carlton Carrington (Pittsburgh) and Maryland recruit Jahnathan Lamothe.

St. Maria Goretti, which handed Mount St. Joseph its only BCL regular season loss, placed Dionte Alexander and Caleb Embeya on the first team. Embeya, a 6-9 junior, was the named the Mark Amatucci Award winner as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.

The Hagerstown school also had the league’s most improved player in senior guard Najeh Allen. Goretti coach Sidney McCray, who starred at St. Paul’s in the late 2000s, was selected the O. Ray Mullis/BCL Coach of the Year.

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Allen and John Carroll senior Jeannot Basima was selected to the All-BCL second team. The remainder of the team features underclassmen with juniors Andrew Dixon (Mount Carmel) and Brendan Johnson (Calvert Hall) and sophomores Tyler Jackson (St. Frances) and Malik Washington (Archbishop Spalding).

The 52nd Baltimore Catholic League Tournament will take place March 3-5 at Goucher College.

2022-23 BALTIMORE CATHOLIC LEAGUE BASKETBALL AWARDS

Player of the Year - Amani Hansberry, Mount St. Joseph, senior

Coach of the Year - Sidney McCray, St. Maria Goretti

Defensive Player of the Year - Caleb Embeya, St. Maria Goretti

Most Improved Player - Najeh Allen, St. Maria Goretti

First Team

Dionte Alexander, St. Maria Goretti, senior

Carlton Carrington, St. Frances, senior

Caleb Embeya, St. Maria Goretti, junior

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Jahnathan Lamothe, St. Frances, senior

Ace Valentine, Mount St. Joseph, senior

Second Team

Najeh Allen, St. Maria Goretti, senior

Jeannot Basima, John Carroll, senior

Andrew Dixon, Mount Carmel, junior

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Tyler Jackson, St. Frances, sophomore

Brendan Johnson, Calvert Hall, junior

Malik Washington, Archbishop Spalding, sophomore

Honorable mention: Jonah Biggers, Calvert Hall; Tyrin Bizzelle, Calvert Hall; J’Lin Brown, Loyola Blakefield; Mason Ellison, Loyola Blakefield; Tyonne Farrell, Mount St. Joseph; Omar Reid, Mount Carmel

Dave Kropfelder “Never Never Quit” recipients: Damien Wilburn, Archbishop Spalding; Troy Tinch, Calvert Hall; Miles Smith, John Carroll; Ryder Drew, Loyola Blakefield; Tyler Lewis, Mount Carmel; Tyler Clark, Mount St. Joseph; Joede Mebane, St. Frances Academy; Pascal Echibe, St. Maria Goretti

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52ND BALTIMORE CATHOLIC LEAGUE TOURNAMENT

When: March 3-5

Where: Goucher College

Friday March 3

Quarterfinals

No. 6 seed Archbishop Spalding vs. No. 3 St. Frances, 3 p.m.

No. 7 Loyola Blakefield vs. No. 2 St. Maria Goretti, 4:45 p.m.

No. 8 Calvert Hall vs. No. 1 Mount St. Joseph, 6:30 p.m.

No. 5 John Carroll vs. No. 4 Mount Carmel, 8:15 p.m.

Saturday March 4

Semifinals

John Carroll/Mount Carmel winner vs. Calvert Hall/Mount St. Joseph winner, 5 p.m.

Spalding/St. Frances winner vs. Loyola/Goretti winner, 7 p.m.

Sunday March 5

Championship

Semifinal winners, 3 p.m.

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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