Maymon, Roginski win state AP awardsMADISON — Jeronne Maymon put on one of the best boys state basketball tournament performances in recent memory last week,
By: By CHRIS JENKINS/AP Sports Writer, The Daily Telegram
MADISON — Jeronne Maymon put on one of the best boys state basketball tournament performances in recent memory last week, evoking comparisons to the remarkable run of former Madison Memorial star Wesley Matthews three years ago.
But after this year’s Memorial team came up two points short in overtime of the Division 1 championship game against Wauwatosa East on Saturday, Maymon apologized to his coach — first in person after the game, then again in a text message Sunday.
‘‘I said, ‘You have nothing to apologize for,’ ’’ Madison Memorial coach Steve Collins said.
Maymon, a junior, scored 33 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in the title game and was named the tournament’s most valuable player. But he can’t forget about those few times he could have gotten back more quickly on defense or dove for a loose ball.
‘‘Coming into the tournament, I kept saying, ‘Coach, I’m going to get this for you,’ ’’ Maymon said. ‘‘I didn’t succeed. I had promised something, and I didn’t deliver.’’
A statewide panel of media members respectfully disagreed with Maymon’s harsh self-critique, naming him the 2008 Associated Press Wisconsin Player of the Year.
Maymon, who averaged 21 points and 11.7 rebounds per game this season — then topped those numbers in his three state tournament games — narrowly beat out Milwaukee Washington senior DeMarcus Phillips for the award.
Joining Maymon and Phillips as first-team all-state selections were Jamil Wilson of Racine Horlick, Korie Lucious of Milwaukee Pius and Kwamain Mitchell of Whitefish Bay Dominican.
Rich Roginski, who led Eleva-Strum to the Division 4 championship on Saturday, was named AP Wisconsin Coach of the Year. Also nominated were Wauwatosa East coach Tim Arndorfer and La Crosse Aquinas coach Rick Schneider.
‘‘It was a real rush, a lot of fun,’’ Roginski said. ‘‘They certainly were a special group, not just great athletes, but good in the classroom, too.’’
Roginski, 54, has been at Eleva-Strum 29 years, including the last 23 as the school’s head basketball coach.
‘‘It was my first job that I took out of college,’’ Roginski said. ‘‘I got here, and I never left.’’
Roginski’s roots in the small community in West Central Wisconsin were planted for good after walking into the library one day to check out a book.
‘‘I ended up marrying the librarian, and she was a local girl,’’ Roginski said, chuckling.
These days, Roginski also is the defensive coordinator for Eleva-Strum’s football team, which won the Division 7 state championship in November. Basketball started only five days later, and all but one of his 15 basketball players were on the football team.
Roginski usually comes home grousing to his wife after the first practice of the season, wondering how they’re going to win a single game. But this time around, he came home beaming.
He didn’t see any signs of fatigue.
‘‘It doesn’t even look like they played football,’’ Roginski recalls saying. ‘‘That’s the truth.’’
Eleva-Strum went on to a 27-0 season, beating Suring in the championship game Saturday — an impressive effort for players who could have considered their school year a success just by winning in football.
‘‘There might have been some satisfaction and complacency, and that never happened,’’ Roginski said.
Meanwhile, Maymon has one more year left to deliver that championship he promised his coach. But given the fact that his brother, Devonte, was a senior this year, Saturday’s loss still stings.
‘‘All I can do is sit back and laugh,’’ Maymon said. ‘‘How could we not win that game?’’
This was Maymon’s first year as Madison Memorial’s floor leader, taking over after former Memorial star Keaton Nankivil graduated and went on to play for the University of Wisconsin.
Collins said Maymon learned how to lead by watching former Madison Memorial players such as Nankivil, Matthews — who now plays for Marquette — and Michael Nelson, who is at North Dakota State.
Maymon said leadership came naturally to him, and that he has no problem speaking up to his teammates if ‘‘what they’re doing is wrong — if they’re not playing hard on defense, or if they get an attitude when they’re not getting the ball.’’
Maymon’s own game is fairly complete and polished, but he’ll spend the offseason working on improving his free-throw and 3-point shooting and trying to get stronger.
All that will make him an even more attractive recruit to a list of interested schools that he says already includes Wisconsin, Marquette, Florida, Texas, Iowa, Baylor and Iowa State.
Maymon said he won’t let the attention go to his head — even though he realizes some people already think it has, judging him by the authoritative way he carries himself on the court.
‘‘I’m a real fun person, goofy,’’ Maymon said. ‘‘But when it comes to playing basketball, I’m serious.’’