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Simmons Superlatives - Best Freshman

As we officially close down the 2020-21 school year this week, WCSA editor-in-chief Jeffery Simmons wanted to go back and hand out his final awards for the year. Simmons has been picking the defining athletes, teams and moments in high school sports for years, but this will be the first on our new website.

Welcome to the Simmons Superlatives!

This week, we have honored the best moments, best coaches and best under-the-radar athletes in Warren County. Today, we’ll bring the week to a close with the best freshmen. Because of the holiday weekend, and our commitment to covering the Spring Fling, we’ll be coming back the rest of the Simmons Superlatives starting Tuesday, June 1 and finishing June 3 (Best Athlete, Best Senior, Best Team).

Now, on to the freshmen list:

1. Donathan Lewis, WCHS track/football

I’ve mentioned before that picking the best coach for the boys was the toughest category – and the upcoming best athletes, best seniors and best teams for the boys were the hardest to limit to just five – the freshman boys list gave me different issues. It’s not that there wasn’t talent abounding in the group, it’s just that it was harder to find this year.

The biggest reason is because the Class of 2021 really dominated across the board in all boys sports. Pick a team (or school) and you’re probably looking at their stars all being seniors. I think we’ll really see the class of 2024 break out more next year, when their opportunities grow.

As for our top freshman – Donathan Lewis – I may have been overly swayed by recency bias. I was really impressed with what he did at the spring game just last weekend, scoring two touchdowns and nabbing an interception as one of the top Pioneer playmakers.

Lewis’ resume isn’t just the spring game though. He had some big moments for the WCHS track team this year. He has speed for days, something that coach Patty Kelly took advantage of by having him run on almost all of the team’s relay events.

The Lewis family came to Warren County from Orlando two years ago and we’re really starting to see their athleticism across the board. DeVans Lewis, one of two brothers to graduate this year, set the school record in the 400 this month. Donathan is going to be a major factor for WCHS football this fall and his younger brother, DJ, looks promising in middle school.

2. Sam Page, Boyd Basketball

Page was always going to play a big role for Boyd this season, but even he probably didn’t expect to turn into one of the Broncos’ top offensive options so quick. A roster shakeup midseason left the Broncos with just five players for a large chunk of the season, so Page had to step up and help carry a bigger load.

He played the role well. Page has a game tailor-made to play beside Boyd’s big man Christian Rogers. He’s a reliable spot-up shooter, cuts well off the ball and can beat rotating defenders off the dribble if they turn too much of their attention to Rogers in the post.

It’s probably not going to be a stretch to say Page will be the next 1,000-point scorer for the Broncos.

3. Alex van Vuuren/Treyton Terry/Isaiah Cummings, WCHS basketball

Instead of trying to pick between these three, I just decided to group them together. Inevitably, I think they’re always going to be grouped together as long as they are playing for the Pioneers.

Cummings, Terry and van Vuuren have been a core on the hardwood together for years, all playing different positions which should allow them to compliment each other. Cummings is a slashing scorer, Taylor is a point guard and van Vuuren is an emerging stretch forward.

If there’s going to be anything that sets them apart in the next few years, it will be what each does in other sports. Selfishly, I would love to see all three play football (van Vuuren was at spring practice this month). I think all of them have the ability to put together solid careers on the hardwood, but looking forward at a potential Simmons Superlative battle in 2024, I think it’ll be what each does in their offseasons that will determine which emerges as the best in their class.

Special shoutout: Casper Standefer, Covenant basketball

Just wanted to add that Casper Standefer was my favorite freshman to watch this season. He didn’t play a ton of minutes for the Lions, but every time he was on the court you could feel a buzz in Covenant’s gym.

Now that the senior-heavy group has left title expectations behind for the Lions, Standefer will be counted on to fill those big shoes. Fortunately, the 6-foot-8 (my estimation, he may be taller) post has a chance to be a force the next three years.

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