Taconic's Isaac Percy named Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Western Massachusetts Player of the Year
Through no fault of his, or that of his Taconic teammates, Isaac Percy's senior season came up one game short.
It won't, however, go without proper recognition.
On Monday, Percy was named a Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Western Massachusetts Player of the Year. He's the first boy from Berkshire County to earn the award, which has been given out each winter for the last 10 years.
"Real thrilled about that for him. Not surprised that someone like him, who put the work in would get recognized," said Taconic coach Bill Heaphy. "In the Berkshires we don't often get recognized in that way. So real pleased for him. He's just such a great kid."
In 2013, Stephanie Young of Lee, and in 2015, Emily Rosse of Hoosac Valley also earned the girls player of the year award.
Heaphy said while he wasn't surprised a kid like Percy would win an award, he was caught slightly off-guard when Percy's name was the first one mentioned by a different coach at the selection meeting.
"I hadn't even nominated him at that point. We had a chance to throw it around and right away his name was first, and it was 'OK, these guys have taken notice,'" said Heaphy. "When the discussion started, it was clear everyone had the same feelings about his game and his level of play. It was really neat to see."
For each of the past three seasons, Percy has played the maximum number of available games, reaching the state finals as a sophomore and junior with the Braves, before taking over the program as a captain for his senior campaign this winter.
"He realized early that he was a spoke in the wheel. He wasn't the wheel, until his senior year. He became one of our leaders, and he worked really hard at it all summer and over the offseason," said Heaphy. "He just loves to play, so I'm really happy for him."
Of the nine previous winners, six came from Springfield area schools.
"It's usually a pretty dominated field down in Springfield," noted Heaphy. "It's nice to see Berkshire County get a little notice for what we do, the players and teams we have, the coaching, the whole bit, that it's not a second thought."
As a senior, Percy kept right on winning. He drove the Braves to another Berkshire North title and the No. 3 seed in the Western Massachusetts Division II tournament. He then went about punching out the No. 2 and 1 seeds on his way to a third-straight sectional championship. In Wednesday night's state semifinal against Central Mass. champion Wayland, Percy scored a team-high 20 points in a 62-56 win.
Saturday should've been Percy's chance at an elusive state crown, however the COVID-19 outbreak wiped out the MIAA finals. Percy's Braves were named co-state champions.
On Monday, Percy added another honor to his list. He was named co-player of the year for the 2019-2020 season.
His fellow honoree was another hardwood victim of Percy. Chicopee senior Kobe Parker earned the nod, despite the Pacers falling to Taconic 63-52 in the Western Mass. final. Percy scored the game's first eight points and finished with 16. Parker had seven.
Granby's Nora Young was named player of the year on the girls' side.
The awards are voted on by Western Mass. coaches while selecting the Western Mass. Senior All-Star Game at the start of Western Mass. tournament week.
"We once again praise the outstanding seniors who were selected as Western Mass. All-Stars, and we congratulate Kobe, Isaac and Nora on their Player of the Year honors," John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame stated in a release. "We wish all these remarkable young athletes well and know they will make Western Mass. proud as they continue their basketball and academic journeys."
The player of the year awards were supposed to be announced and given out at the All-Star Game, which was canceled due to the coronavirus. Instead, the winners will receive their awards privately, as the hall of fame remains closed until May 1.
Percy has been a varsity starter for coach Heaphy's Braves since his sophomore season and surpassed the 1,000-point mark as a senior this winter. He finishes his career with 1,173 points, fourth all time among Taconic boys and 31st overall in Berkshire County boys history.
"He could've certainly put up bigger numbers had he gone other places. He happened to come around at a time when we had a bunch of other guys," said Heaphy. "It doesn't hurt to win, and Isaac understood that. It's well-deserved."
Mike Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @CLNS_Walsh on Twitter and 413-496-6240.
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