By Christopher Dabe // Times-Picayune/nola.com
Newman senior Chris Lockett Jr. has been selected as the Louisiana Farm Bureau Insurance/Mr. Basketball winner by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association after helping the Greenies win a second straight LHSAA championship.
The 6-foot-5 Boise State signee averaged more than 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and 1.5 steals per game. Newman defeated Shreveport’s Calvary Baptist 52-42 in the Division III select state championship played at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles.
In the state final, Lockett scored 16 points and was selected as the title game’s Outstanding Player.
“The stat sheet doesn’t always say what a player does,” Newman coach Randy Livingston said soon after Lockett was selected in March as the Gatorade Louisiana boys basketball player of the year. “He guards the best player. He rebounds. He passes for us. He did a little bit of everything. Winning helps too.”
In a game against eventual Division I nonselect state champion Ponchatoula in November, Newman made a defensive switch that put Lockett against 6-9 junior Allen Graves that helped the Greenies to a 60-55 victory in their home tournament.
“They were winning by 10 points in the whole first half, pretty much controlling the game and doing it from the perimeter,” Livingston said. After the switch on defense, “(Lockett) didn’t give up much,” Livingston said.
“I took the challenge upon myself to slow him down,” Lockett said.
Lockett follows former Carver standout Solomon Washington, now at Texas A&M, as the second consecutive Mr. Basketball winner to hail from the New Orleans area.
Lockett and Newman senior teammate Canin Jefferson were each selected as Class 2A first-team all-state players by the LSWA . Livingston credited Lockett and Jefferson for how well they shared the ball during their senior seasons together.
Newman posted a 24-3 record against in-state opponents. The Greenies won by wide margins in the postseason, defeating No. 17 Green Oaks by 26 points in a regional, No. 8 Sophie B. Wright by 36 points in a quarterfinal and No. 4 Dunham by 22 points in a semifinal.
In the state final, after Newman opened to a 14-2 lead, the top-seeded Greenies went cold from the floor and No. 3 Calvary trimmed the margin to five by halftime. Newman widened the lead to 18 with a 21-8 run through the third quarter as Lockett scored eight points in the period.
“It was him, making the small plays, making the extra pass,” Jefferson said of Lockett. “He kind of kept us in that first half when I was pretty much out of it. Then we kind of came together in the second half and we finished it.”
For Lockett, the victory was a fine finish to a four-year varsity career that included three state finals appearances, two championships and now plenty of state basketball player of the year recognition.
La. Farm Bureau Insurance/LSWA Mr. Basketball winners
1996: Lester Earl, Glen Oaks
1997: Marcus Fizer, Arcadia
1998: Stromile Swift, Fair Park
1999: Bernard King, Gibsland Coleman
2000: Chris Duhon, Salmen
2001: Donald Perry, McCall
2002: Darrel Mitchell Jr., St. Martinville
2003: Paul Millsap, Grambling
2004: Glen Davis, University
2005: Tasmin Mitchell, Denham Springs
2006: Demond Carter, Reserve Christian
2007: Greg Monroe, Helen Cox
2008: Greg Monroe, Helen Cox
2009: Joevoskie Mitchell, Zwolle
2010: Markel Brown, Peabody
2011: Ricardo Gathers, Riverside
2012: Dee Wagner, Peabody
2013: Jarell Martin, Madison Prep
2014: Reginal Johnson Jr., Richwood
2015: Brandon Sampson, Madison Prep
2016: Javonte Smart, Scotlandville
2017: Javonte Smart, Scotlandville
2018: Javonte Smart, Scotlandville
2019: Jalen Cook, Walker
2020: Reece Beekman, Scotlandville
2021: Carlos Stewart, The Dunham School
2022: Solomon Washington, Carver
2023: Chris Lockett, Newman