Players can land on all-tournament teams for all kinds of different reasons. Sometimes oft marginalized factors like defensive hustle or effective point guard management can promote one player above another. At other times, a sheer mass of rebounds might be a critical factor.
Still, what usually tends to win out is a player providing clutch baskets and points when they're needed most. That's precisely what makes the exclusion of Dallas (Texas) Lincoln girls basketball player Breanna Hayden from the all-tournament team of the recent Dallas ISD/Coca-Cola Tournament completely baffling. After leading Lincoln in scoring in each one of the team's victories en route to the tournament title, Hayden didn't even earn a spot on the all-tournament team.
Yes, you read that correctly. The leading scorer for the championship team at a heated holiday basketball tournament couldn't even earn a spot on the all-tournament team, let alone the MVP award that she probably deserved. Hayden scored a whopping 19 points in the tournament title game against Dallas (Texas) Skyline High, which you can see in full above, a performance which encouraged Dallas Morning News writer Matt Wixon to declare he felt she deserved an MVP honor.
Instead, Hayden couldn't even get a look from the tournament-team selection committee, which -- interestingly -- didn't include a single vote from any media members covering the event.
Interestingly, there may be more room for conspiracy theories, as Lincoln girls basketball coach Michael Ensley didn't appear to receive a vote himself, either. That, combined with Hayden's slight, motivated the coach to beg Wixon to publish the following statement, in which he defends his star's honor against any others who might have been picked ahead of her.
I just want to make sure that everyone knows I think Breanna Hayden should have been named to the DISD Coca Cola All Tournament team. Unfortunately the formula for selection does not always justify the selections and someone is unfortunately slighted. I do think all of the players selected are worthy of the honor without question. I also know without doubt that Bre Bre is not only worthy, but was probably the best player in the tourney and will be the recipient of many awards to come. However, sometimes the overall contribution of over achievers have to be given recognition.
Indeed, all the statistics appear to back up Ensley's claim. The real mystery is how no one on the committee that counted felt the same way.