Columbus’ Boozer is Mr. Florida Basketball; Belen’s Rodriguez named Coach of the Year
The list of accolades continues to grow for Columbus boys’ basketball star Cameron Boozer.
And with two years left in high school, Boozer is likely nowhere near finished.
On Friday, Boozer joined an elite list of all-time basketball talent in the state of Florida when he was named the Florida Dairy Farmers’ Mr. Florida basketball award winner.
Boozer, 6-9, 215-pound forward, just recently earned the Gatorade National Player of the Year award after leading the Explorers to their second consecutive state championship and a top 10 national ranking.
Boozer, who is rated the top prospect in the Class of 2025, has propelled Columbus to back-to-back state crowns so far in his prep career and, this season, averaged 21.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.
Cameron Boozer wins major national award after leading Columbus to back-to-back state titles
He is the first winner of the award from a Miami-Dade County school since Monsignor Pace’s Ray Shipman in 2008 and the sixth all-time, also joining HML’s Chris Corchiani, Miami High’s Doug Edwards, Steve Edwards and South Miami’s Luke Barnes.
Boozer is the first winner from South Florida since Vernon Carey Jr. won it in back-to-back seasons in 2018 and 2019 while playing at Davie NSU University School.
He was one of two finalists from Dade including Miami Southridge’s Koree Cotton, who was named the Class 6A Player of the Year and finished fifth in the overall voting.
A NATIONAL TITLE?
Boozer, along with his brother Cayden, are in Atlanta this week competing with their Columbus teammates in The Throne, a new, National Basketball Players Association-supported postseason tournament.
Competing as The Explorers and not as Columbus since the teams involved compete as clubs to get around different state association rules regarding postseason play, Boozer’s squad was gearing up to play Camden Avalanche (N.J.) in the semifinals late Friday night.
Avalanche features senior shooting guard DJ Wagner, a Kentucky commit, rated the top prospect in the nation by ESPN and is a rematch of sorts as Columbus defeated Wagner and Camden High during the regular season in January.
The Explorers, the No. 3 seed in the tournament beat the No. 14 seed The Tribe (St. John Bosco from Bellflower, California) 78-58 in the first round on Wednesday, and the Longhorns Basketball Club (Ga.) 66-53 in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
The Explorers had four starters in double digits led by Cayden Boozer and Benny Fragela, who each had 14 points. Cameron Boozer had 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Malik Abdullahi had 13 points.
COACH OF THE YEAR
After a remarkable run leading Miami Belen Jesuit to its first ever state championship, Wolverines coach Gaston “Chachi” Rodriguez was named the Florida Dairy Farmers Overall Coach of the Year.
Rodriguez led a Belen squad without a major Division-I recruit for basketball or a player taller than 6-4 to the Class 5A state championship and a 28-4 season.
Rodriguez, who has compiled a 128-64 record at Belen, is the first coach in state history to win state titles at three different schools, having also won at Hialeah Champagnat Catholic and Miami Coral Reef.
Mater Lakes’ Dylan Estock (Class 4A), Riviera Prep’s Anthony Shahbaz (Class 3A) and Sagemont’s David Roe (Class 2A) were all the Coaches of the Year in their respective classifications.