To be listed among the greatest basketball players to ever compete at the high school level in Wisconsin has always been a goal of Milwaukee Hamilton’s Kevon Looney.
Looney’s incredible ability to impact a game on so many different levels and his stellar showing for first-year coach Randy Williams and the Wildcats this season made that goal a reality as the 6-foot-10 UCLA recruit has been named Mr. Basketball for the 2013-14 season by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association.
“It’s a terrific honor,” said Looney, who averaged 27.9 points per game and scored more than 2,000 points in his four-year prep career. “To be named Mr. Basketball … it was definitely one of my goals. To always be listed with the Wisconsin greats is a tremendous honor.”
Ranked among the top 20 players nationally by many recruiting websites, Looney scored 30 or more points 10 times this season and led Hamilton to the Milwaukee City Conference title with a perfect 11-0 record.
Looney scored a season-best 45 points in the Wildcats’ 84-82 loss to West Allis Central in a WIAA Division 1 regional final. He took what would have been the game-winning shot in that contest, but his three-pointer bounced off the back rim, went straight in the air and hit a wire above the basket before falling through the net.
The officials ruled the basket no good because of the interference with the wire, but that call couldn’t stomp out the outstanding effort Looney put forth in his final high school contest.
It was anything but an atypical game for Looney, who at 6-10 can handle the ball against pressure, score in the lane and from the perimeter and block and alter shots on defense.
“I can tell you this,” said rival coach Ty Moseler of Milwaukee South Division, “he wasn’t a whole lot of fun to try and guard. He had the Shaquille O’Neal thing going where refs could have called a foul on someone every time down the floor. He had kids lean on him, hold and grab him, hack him and he never had bad body language or lost his composure, which I think speaks to the kind of kid he is.
“Obviously, his length was a big factor in his ability to dominate a game, but his skills did improve over the four years. He became a better shooter and ball handler over his career.”
The recruiting battle for intelligent and unselfish Looney was intense and included national powerhouse programs such as Duke and Wisconsin, among many others.
In the end, he selected UCLA and coach Steve Alford, picking the Bruins on Halloween during a press conference at Hamilton.
“There has never been a player like Kevon Looney from the state of Wisconsin,” said first-year Cedarburg coach Tom Diener, who spent the previous three seasons as Looney’s head coach at Hamilton. “He is the prototypical player of the future.
“I have seen them all, from Fred Brown to Kevon Looney. Chances are high that Looney will be the best basketball player this state has ever produced.”
Looney entered Hamilton as a 6-5, 154-pound forward, but he leaves the southside school as a 6-10, 210 pound wing who figures to play both forward positions at UCLA.
A three-time First Team all-league pick and two-time Player of the Year in the City Conference, Looney was an outstanding senior leader for a young Hamilton team that surprised many by winning the league title with a perfect record.
“My four years of high school was a great ride,” Looney said. “The three years with Coach Diener and then this year with Coach Williams, it was just a lot of fun.
“Each game I played this year, I saw double and triple teams and I had to learn to trust my teammates. We also had a new system with a new coach and I had the ball in my hands more. But things came together very well and it was a great feeling to win the City Conference title.”
Looney will be presented with the Mr. Basketball award Saturday prior to the WIAA Division 1 championship game at the Kohl Center.