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.”

Math, Civics and Sciences' Nisine Poplar dunks against Simon Gratz in a regular-season game on Jan 30.
STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
Math, Civics and Sciences' Nisine Poplar dunks against Simon Gratz in a regular-season game on Jan 30.

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.

Tvon Jones of Math, Civics and Sciences celebrates after making a basket in overtime against Imhotep Charter in a Philadelphia Public League semifinal on Feb. 18 at Southern.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Tvon Jones of Math, Civics and Sciences celebrates after making a basket in overtime against Imhotep Charter in a Philadelphia Public League semifinal on Feb. 18 at Southern.

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.

2A

First 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

Second team

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

Third team

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

1A

First team

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

Second team

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

Third team

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

Also receiving votes: Cosie Aliquo, Bishop Carroll; Tanner Prosser, Berlin Brothersvalley