Math, Civics & Sciences Charter School basketball coach Lonnie Diggs says he’s never seen a player rise as rapidly as Nisine Poplar has over the last two years.
As a freshman, Poplar didn’t play organized ball. He wasn’t a member of any school-sponsored team until his sophomore year at MC&S.
On Tuesday, the 6-foot-4 junior guard was named Class 2A Player of the Year for the 2019-20 season by Pennsylvania sportswriters.
“It’s a big honor for him and just a tribute to the great deal of work that he’s put in over the past year,” Diggs said. “He’s improving at such a rate that I’ve never seen, to the point where he’s now considered as one of the top guards in the country.”
Poplar, a rangy athlete with the ability to get to the rim and also score from distance, has scholarship offers from Penn State, Temple, and St. Joseph’s along with Maryland, Miami, Wichita State, St. John’s, and Auburn, among other programs.
Poplar led MC&S to the Public League title. His 25-foot jumper with five seconds left that forced overtime in the league semifinals against three-time champion Imhotep Charter was one of the more remarkable shots of the season in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Poplar averaged 22 points and five rebounds. He had led the Mighty Elephants to a 24-5 record when the season was ended by the outbreak of the coronavirus.
At the time, reigning state champion MC&S was set to play in the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinals.
Constitution senior guard Keshaun Hammonds, who averaged 18.7 points, also was named to the Class 2A first-team squad.
Academy of the New Church senior guard Isaac Marshall and MC&S senior swingman Tvon Jones were named to the second team, while Dock Mennonite senior forward Darius Ellis was named to the third team.
Sacred Heart’s Mike Rodriguez was named Class 2A coach of the year, while Diggs was among the other coaches receiving votes.
In Class 1A, Chester Charter’s Dan Spangler was named coach of the year.
Sankofa Freedom junior guard Symir Preister was named to the second team and Chester Charter junior guard Malik Cook-Stephens was named to the third team.
Nisine Poplar, 6-4 Jr. G, Math, Civics & Sciences
Keshaun Hammonds, 6-0 Sr. G, Constitution
Jake DiMichele, 6-3 Soph. F, Sacred Heart
Dante Spadafora, 6-0 Sr. G, Sacred Heart
Andy Zuchelli, 6-2 Sr. G Northstar
Abe Atiyeh, 6-0 Sr. G, Moravian Academy
Isaac Marshall, 6-2 Sr. F, Academy of the New Church
Jevin Muniz, 6-2 Sr. G, Executive Education
Malik Smith, 6-3 Sr. G, Sto-Rox
Tvon Jones, 6-4 Sr. G, Math, Civics & Sciences
Malik Ramsey, 6-3 Sr. G, California
Tyler Fritz, 6-3 Sr. F, Marian Catholic
Jessiah Witherspoon, 5-10 Sr. G, Bishop Guilfoyle
Eric Hopson, 6-2 S. F, Farrell
Jackson Piotrowski, 6-6 Sr. F, Delco Christian
Kieran Burrier, 6-0 Sr. F, Holy Cross
Titus Wilkins, 6-4 Sr. F, Executive Education
Darius Ellis, 6-7 Sr. F, Dock Mennonite
Coach of the year: Mike Rodriguez, Sacred Heart
Also receiving votes: Lonnie Diggs, Math, Civics & Sciences; Chris Drenning, Bishop Guilfoyle
Kaden DiVito, 5-11 Sr. G, Cornell
Tanner Colflesh, 6-1 Jr. G, Turkeyfoot Valley
Davion Hill, 6-0 Fr. G, St. John Neumann
Angelo Reeves, 6-6 Jr. F, Vincentian Acad.
Tristan McDonnell, 5-11 Sr. G, Bishop Carroll
Elijah Sechler, 5-11 Jr. G, Berlin Brothersvalley
David Hill, 6-1 Jr. G, St. John Neumann
Nathan Blasick, 6-3 Sr. G, Halifax
Vinnie Cugini, 5-11 Fr. G, Aquinas Academy
Grant Sareyka, 5-11 Sr. G, The Christian Academy
Vince Fyock, 6-0 Jr. G, Shade
Symir Preister, 6-4 Jr. G, Sankofa Freedom
Isaiah Langston, 6-2 Sr. F, Cornell
Kegan Hertz, 6-6 Jr. F, Nativity BVM
Malik Cook-Stephens, 6-3 Jr. G, Chester Charter
Hayden Callen, 6-4 Jr. F, Clarion-Limestone
Darian Keyser, 6-6 Sr. F, Jamestown
Isiah Mitchell, 5-9 Sr. G, The Christian Acad.
Marquis Ratcliff, 6-5 Soph. F, Nativity BVM
Coach of the year: Dan Spangler, Chester Charter