2021 SALEM NEWS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
St. John's Prep Senior
Aidan Callahan was a part of the Eagles' varsity basketball program for the past four seasons. In each of those campaigns, the 6-foot-1 floor general continued to elevate his game. Fittingly, he saved his best for last.
A two-year team captain, Callahan helped St. John's Prep to its first winning season in two years. Despite the challenging circumstances surrounding the ongoing pandemic, he kept his team motivated and eager to compete in the well-balanced and talented Catholic Conference.
A gifted scorer, Callahan often took a backseat in that department in order to effectively get his teammates involved. Still, he managed to average 14.2 points, a team-best 8.0 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.5 steals a game. Between his scoring and facilitating, Callahan accounted for more than 33 of his team's points per game, higher than any Salem News Player of the Year winner since SJP legend Pat Connaughton won the award in 2011.
Among his many accomplishments, Callahan finished as runner-up in the Catholic Conference MVP voting, has collected three straight league all-star selections, and guided the Eagles to a 6-2 record in league play to take a share of the regular season crown this winter. He had games of 22 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals, as well as 18 points, 11 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals. Defensively, he regularly guarded the opponents' best player and took pride in that.
Callahan recently committed to play basketball at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) next season.
Six-foot-2 swingman pumped in 10 points, 4.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game for unbeaten Panthers ... Reliable starter also drilled 22 triples ... Scored 16 points with five rebounds and four assists vs. Marblehead ... Skilled defender and all-around player was a starter last season before getting injured, sliding right back into that role in 2021 ... Maintains a 3.4 GPA ... Hopes to play college basketball and get a degree in sports medicine ... Credits his older brother Toskany, a former Salem News hoop all-star, as the one who taught him how to play basketball and push him to be the best he can be.
Talented floor general enjoyed breakthrough campaign after successful sophomore season ... Led North Shore in scoring at 22.4 points per game ... Also chipped in seven rebounds and three assists per contest ... Regularly double-teamed and trapped but still managed to find his way to the rim ... Exploded for season-high 32 points against Masconomet ... Improved defensively and will look to guide Falcons to state tournament berth in 2022 ... Carries a 3.0 GPA and hopes to play college basketball ... Cites Damian Lillard as his athletic influence for his calm demeanor and humbleness.
Do-it-all threat didn't always fill up the stat sheet, but contributed in a variety of ways as the team's "glue guy" and top defender ... Averaged a team-best 7.6 rebounds and regularly guarded opposing team's best player ... Boasts an athletic 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame ... Scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds with a big bucket in overtime to help Panthers top Lowell Catholic and complete unbeaten campaign in season finale ... Also a tremendously talented soccer player and hopes to play at Division 1 level ... Carries a 3.4 GPA.
St. John's Prep Sophomore
Second-year standout elevated his game by dropping in 19.1 points per game to lead the Eagles ... Also contributed 1.7 assists and 2.1 rebounds ... Pure scorer could get into the paint and finish efficiently ... Terrific shooter hit 22 three-pointers ... Went off for a 29-point, 3-assist, 4-rebound game ... Will be team's go-to offensive player next winter ... Hopes to play high level Division 1 college basketball and aspires to make it to the NBA ... Carries a 4.35 GPA and considers his father to be his biggest athletic influence.
Standing a burly 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, Coffey was one of the most physically imposing point guards in the state ... Two-year captain was one of three Generals to average a double-double, pumping in 12.5 points and 11.9 rebounds a night ... Also dished out 4.5 assists on average and hit 24 threes ... Streaky shooter could explode at any moment, as evidenced by his 19-point quarter in a win over Rockport ... Had an 18-point, 12-rebound game against Lynnfield ... Also plays baseball and soccer and will play football this Fall 2 season ... Holds a 4.0 GPA.
Second-year standout averaged 17.8 points (good for 4th on North Shore) and 5.2 rebounds per game ... Helped Panthers to unbeaten (13-0) campaign ... Pure shooter led Beverly in made threes with 32 ... Six-foot-2, 210-pound guard is extremely versatile defensively ... Played a key role for last year's Beverly group that advanced to Division 2 state semis and will headline the team's roster in 2021-22 ... The 16-year-old considers LeBron James to be his biggest athletic influence, saying that "he's not just a great athlete, but a great person and he uses his fame to speak on problems in the world." ... Hopes to play college basketball.
Sixteen-year-old enjoyed breakout campaign, averaging 15.3 points to lead the Tigers to a winning season ... Terrific shooter connected on 36 threes, the third-highest mark in the area ... Cape Ann League all-star ... Team captain scored season-high 22 points with six triples, two assists and three rebounds against Amesbury ... Part of a talented young corps at Ipswich that will look to qualify for the state tournament next year for first time since 2008 ... Hopes to play college basketball, striving for the highest possible level ... Owner of a 4.15 GPA ... Cited the late, great Kobe Bryant as his biggest influence, saying "as a kid, I wanted to shoot like Kobe, fade like Kobe and do everything like Kobe."
Starting 2- guard scored 112 points in 14 games, averaging 8.0 ppg. ... Streaky outside shooter could get hot on any given night, causing defenses to key in on him with regularity ... Lefty knocked down 27 triples ... Chipped in with 4.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals per contest ... Helped Witches to a 12-2 record in pandemic shortened campaign ... Also a terrific golfer and reigning Salem News Golfer of the Year.
Enjoyed breakout campaign, averaging 13 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.8 blocks ... Stands 6-foot-6 yet boasts a pure jump shot that extends beyond the arc ... Led Magicians in scoring and had a pair of big games against Swampscott and Danvers ... Versatile defender ... Helped Marblehead rally after slow start and finish over .500 on the year ... Hopes to play college basketball ... Owner of a 3.7 GPA and considers his family to be biggest influence.
Bishop Fenwick Senior
Team captain averaged 15.4 points and 7.8 rebounds to lead the Crusaders ... Catholic Central League all-star ... Knockdown shooter used his 6-foot-4 frame to get his shot off cleanly over smaller defenders ... Canned 43 three-pointers, good for second best on the North Shore ... Exploded for a 27-point, 10-rebound performance ... Has opted for a post graduate year at Kimball Union Academy ... Maintains a 3.3 GPA and says his father (Scott) and grandfather (Al) have been his biggest athletic influences.
Physical presence down low for a guard-heavy Witches squad ... Averaged a near-double with 10.2 points and 8.5 rebounds despite missing games early on in the season ... Six-foot-2, 200-pounder was a stout interior defender and the team's best rebounder ... Recorded 17 blocks in just 11 games played ... Helped Witches to an impressive 12-2 campaign ... Went off for a 24-point, 15-rebound performance ... Will continue his apprenticeship upon graduation ... Considers Kobe Bryant his biggest role model.
Pure scorer led talented Generals squad with 19 points per game ... Also averaged nine rebounds, 3.1 assists and 4.8 steals per contest ... Six-foot-1 team captain was named a First Team CAL all-star ... Helped Generals to CAL vs. Cancer Baker Division tournament title ... Went off for 21 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and six steals in a win over Ipswich ... Tremendous baseball talent is committed to Division 1 Quinnipiac University.
Six-foot guard could score from anywhere on the floor, finishing year at 15.9 points per contest ... Chipped in 5.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.6 steals a night ... Drilled an area-best 45 three-pointers ... Scored a career-high 42 points and hit a Salem High record 12 triples in a win over Marblehead ... Had a near triple-double with 12 points, nine rebounds and eight assists against Saugus ... Will attend Flagler College in Florida to continue baseball career and hopes to play basketball there as well ... Owner of a 3.9 GPA who ranks 30th in his class ... Considers his grandfather, who went to all his games when he was younger and "always told the truth, not just what I wanted to hear", as his biggest influence.
Gifted athlete averaged team-best 13.1 points for balanced scoring squad ... Also chipped in 8.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists a game ... Exploded on the glass for a 17-point, 18-rebound outing in an OT loss to Swampscott ... Team captain was one of the area's best jump shooters, regularly connecting from mid-range while sprinkling in 14 triples on the year to boot ... Standout lacrosse player will continue playing the sport at Division 1 Bryant University next season ... Owner of a 3.5 GPA and credits his father, who was his coach many times growing up, for always pushing him to be the best he can.
Talented big man averaged a double-double at 13.3 points and 14.3 rebounds per game ... Terrific finisher around the basket with soft hands and a nice touch ... Collected a 26-point, 20-rebound performance in a win this winter ... Named CAL Baker Division Player of the Year ... Extremely hard worker helped Generals to another CAL title as well as the CAL vs. Cancer Tournament Baker Division crown ... Also a strong football player and will play that sport at Saint Anselm next fall ... Owner of a 3.2 GPA.
Big Blue captain led the Northeastern Conference in assists (7.2 per game) and was second on entire North Shore ... Also finished fourth in NEC in rebounding at 10.2 per contest ... Gifted scorer took a backseat in that department and chose to get his teammates involved more ... Versatile defender could play all five positions at a high level ... Six-foot, 200-pound athlete led team in charges taken ... Nearly recorded triple-double with eight points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists vs. Salem ... Also a strong football and baseball player and hopes to play at least two sports in college.
Chieftains' captain provided excellent leadership and on-court skills to the table each day ... Helped Masco finish above .500 in competitive NEC ... Canned a team-high 23 triples, including five in a win over Saugus ... Owner of a 3.2 GPA plans to major in criminal justice or business and become a federal agent or entrepreneur ... Thanks his older brother Patrick, a former Salem News hoop all-star, for giving him the edge he needed to play as a leader this past year.
Bishop Fenwick Junior
Third-year standout did it all on the hardwood for the Crusaders while averaging 10.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game ... Connected on 16 triples ... Terrific defender swiped a team-high 3.8 steals per contest ... Catholic Central League all-star ... Had 22 points and 14 rebounds against Archbishop Williams ... Intelligent player hardly ever came off the court due to his versatility and work ethic ... Plans to play college basketball ... Carries a 3.0 GPA and considers his grandfather, Bill Linehan, to be his greatest athletic influence and supporter.
Team captain manned the middle for the Tigers, using his 6-foot-6, 230-pound frame to bully players down low ... Averaged a double-double with 10.6 points and 11.2 rebounds a night ... Cape Ann League all-star ... Helped IHS to its first winning season in over a decade ... Strong interior defender ... Also shines on the football field and will take his talents to Bridgton Academy for a post graduate year ... Considers his mother to be his biggest athletic influence for always keeping him motivated.
Talented offensive player enjoyed breakout campaign for strong Big Blue squad ... Led team in scoring at 15.1 points per contest ... Had some of his best outings against Saugus, including a 25-point game and a 17-point outing with the game-winning three ... Shot an impressive 48 percent from the field and led team in made threes with 12 ... Carries a 3.8 GPA and hopes to become a doctor or veterinarian some day ... Cites AAU coach Tony Gallo as his biggest athletic influence.
Beverly: Rook Landman, Soph. G; Cam Jones, Sr. G/F.
Bishop Fenwick: Alex Gonzalez, Sr. G; Mike Yentin, Jr. G; Che Hanks, Soph. G.
Danvers: Daury Margarin, Sr. F.
Essex Tech: Ian McBournie, Sr. G.
Hamilton-Wenham: Markus Nordin, Jr. G/F; Ronan Connors, Sr. G.
Ipswich: Charlie Henderson, Jr. G; Will Wertz, Fr. G; Tyler White, Jr. F.
Marblehead: Noah Mann, Jr. G; Tyrone Countrymon, Soph. G; Sami Loughlin, Sr. F.
Masconomet: Ben Dillon, Jr. G; Spencer Butterworth, Sr. F.
Peabody: Nick Vecchio, Sr. G; Shea Lynch, Soph. G; Danny Barrett, Soph. G.
Salem: Guillermo Pimentel, Sr. G; Tommy Beauregard, Sr. G/F.
Salem Academy: Dexter Brown, Jr. F/C; Jorbert Peralta, Soph. G/F; Emilio De La Cruz, Sr. G.
St. John's Prep: Kyle Webster, Jr. F; Jack Perry, Jr. G.; Mike O'Brien, Soph. F/C.
Swampscott: Jacob Cooke, Sr. G; Jason Aucone, Sr. G; Evan Roth, Jr. G.