By ARTHUR L. MACK
Prolific Baker junior guard Labaron Philon, one of the nation’s leading scorers, became just the fifth underclassman to be named the state’s Mr. Basketball when he received the Alabama Sports Writers Association honor Thursday in Montgomery.
“It’s a great feeling,” Philon said. “It’s a great honor for me, my family and the Baker High community. I didn’t know how to take it at first because I was up against some great competition.
“It’s a great honor for me and for the kids at the park where I used to play. I hope this will inspire them because some of them have not had a great life growing up.”
The 6-foot-4 Philon, who has committed to Auburn, is also the second straight player from Mobile and the fifth overall from Mobile County to win Mr. Basketball, following 2022 winner Barry Dunning of McGill-Toolen, who is now at Arkansas.
Philon edged Buckhorn freshman Caleb Holt, the Class 6A Player of the Year, to earn Mr. Basketball honors and was also selected as the Class 7A Player of the Year for the second straight year.
“It’s a huge honor for us,” Hornets coach David Armstrong said. “I was hoping he would be recognized. It’s a huge thing for the school because it’s the first time in school history we’ve had a Mr. Basketball.”
Philon was previously named the MaxPreps and Gatorade Alabama player of the year. He averaged 35 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists last season for Baker and now has 2,334 career points going into his senior season.
“We’ve been working hard every day,” Philon said. “I’ve been working hard every day and making a lot of sacrifices. All the times I missed out going out with friends or staying out late, it was really worth it. My father helped me and pushed me to the limit.”
Philon’s selection came three months after Saraland wide receiver Ryan Williams became the first sophomore to be named Mr. Football.