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THE TIMES' ALL-AREA BOYS BASKETBALL TEAM: Cullman's Dorough named Player of the Year

Apr. 3—It's easy to hear the pride in Stu Stuedeman's voice when he discusses his talented point guard.

Because for the third-year Cullman basketball coach, there aren't many better than Jake Dorough — and the junior's impressive numbers back it up.

Dorough averaged 17.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game for the Bearcats this past season en route to picking up Class 6A second-team All-State honors for a second consecutive year.

The 6-2 standout, who also totaled 49 steals and 10 blocks, was one of the most efficient scorers in the state as well, shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc, 91 percent at the free-throw line and 45 percent from the field — numbers Stuedeman was no doubt delighted to see on a nightly basis.

Dorough's rise to stardom is one of the many reasons he's The Times' All-Area Boys Player of the Year.

"Jake made a huge jump from sophomore year to junior year — not just the numbers, but the overall leadership," Stuedeman said. "There was a time in December when we weren't playing well and Jake carried us through that. He helped us win, stayed positive, kept others upbeat and energized."

It's that growth and maturation that helped Dorough persevere in the second half of the season.

"Jake battled through an injury down the stretch," Stuedeman said. "Some guys might not have been able to play, but he kept doing all the little things in addition to his scoring and assists. He also had the highest blockout percentage on our team and didn't turn it over once in the postseason. He's a leader and the type of player you need to win area, regional and state championships.

Among Dorough's awesome performances this season included a school-record 10 3-pointers — as well as a game-high 32 points — in a 65-35 win over Lausanne Collegiate. He also shone in Cullman's 70-58 sub-regional win as the team's primary ball handler against a relentless Lee-Huntsville defense.

"You can point to games where he scored a lot and point to that game against Lee — a team that traps you and pressures you for 32 minutes — where he handled the ball so well and made veteran and great and winning plays to help us move on. That's not easy to do. He needs to play high minutes for us ... so to do what he did to get us over the hump tells you this guy is a floor general and the real deal.

"And I think he'll make an even bigger jump next year."

It wasn't just Stuedeman who heaped the praise upon Dorough, either.

Hartselle's Faron Key saw up close what the well-rounded guard could do in Class 6A, Area 14 — and the coach couldn't help but be impressed by the on-court talent.

"He's a tremendous young man who competes, plays the right way and has respect for the game," Key said. "He plays with great pace, shoots at a high clip and makes you work as a coach to find ways to try and slow him down just a little bit. Competing against kids like him makes you a better coach down the road."

Stuedeman shared Coach of the Year honors with Good Hope's Drew Adams.

The former guided the Bearcats to a 23-9 mark and their second Elite Eight in three seasons. Cullman also won its third straight area — regular season and tournament — championship.

Adams, meanwhile, led the Raiders to a 21-11 record and the program's first Sweet 16 since 2020. The Red and White also racked up their fourth county title in the past six seasons — all of which have seen Adams and Co. win at least 20 games.

Cullman's Sam Duskin, Good Hope's Kmal Bell, Good Hope's Tyler Cone, Holly Pond's Kollin Brown and Vinemont's Isaiah Jones comprise this year's All-Area first team.

Addison's Jed Wilkins, Fairview's Kobe Payne, Fairview's Blake Rickard, Good Hope's Tucker Malin and West Point's Jay Lamar headline this year's All-Area second team.

The All-Area Team was selected myself after reviewing the 2023-24 campaign and speaking with local basketball coaches. However, with a small number of spots available, it's possible that some deserving candidates were left out.

See below for The Times' complete 2023-24 All-Area Boys Basketball Team.

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Player of the Year: Jake Dorough, Cullman

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Coaches of the Year: Stu Stuedeman, Cullman and Drew Adams, Good Hope

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First Team

Sam Duskin, Cullman

Kmal Bell, Good Hope

Tyler Cone, Good Hope

Kollin Brown, Holly Pond

Isaiah Jones, Vinemont

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Second Team

Jed Wilkins, Addison

Kobe Payne, Fairview

Blake Rickard, Fairview

Tucker Malin, Good Hope

Jay Lamar, West Point

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Honorable Mention

Addison: Jake McLamb

Cold Springs: Cole Bales, Ethan Day

Cullman: Brodie Banister, Colton Echols, Kase Nixon

Fairview: Cade Yeager

Good Hope: Weston Hancock, Jacob Haynes

Hanceville: Braxton Broad, Noah Jones

Holly Pond: Sawyer Olinger

St. Bernard: Emmanuel Santiago

Vinemont: Jordan Eller, Jeremy Harbison

West Point: Jacob Harbison and Kolten Perry