Ponchatoula’s Allen Graves Named 2024 LSWA Mr. Basketball

by Christopher Dabe // Written for the LSWA

Ponchatoula 6-foot-10 standout Allen Graves capped his high school career as a leading player on a state championship team for a second year in a row, and for that has been selected as Mr. Basketball by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

Graves, twice selected as the outstanding player in the LHSAA Division I nonselct state final, averaged 20.8 points and 12 rebounds with 2.8 assists, 2.4 blocks and 1.5 steals as a senior. The Santa Clara signee nearly posted a triple double as Ponchatoula defeated Natchitoches Central 75-60 in the more recent of the two state finals with 19 points, 20 rebounds and eight blocked shots.

Ponchatoula posted a 30-4 overall record against several other top programs from across the state.

“This season was definitely amazing,” Graves said. “We had a whole bunch of ups and downs, and I’m glad to be part of this team we had this year. We definitely had a lot of pressure on us coming into the season, trying to go back-to-back.”

Ponchatoula won the final 10 games of the regular season after a mid-January loss to Newman and scored more than 90 points in the two postseason games before the state tournament.

Ponchatoula won a semifinal against a New Iberia team that was intent on slowing the pace to keep Ponchatoula from scoring a runaway victory. Graves scored nine points in the 34-26 victory and found several other ways to impact the game with 13 rebounds, three steals, two blocked shots and two assists.

In a quarterfinal against Slidell, Graves made four 3-pointers and scored 37 points. He made 50 3-pointers for the season on nearly 40% shooting from beyond the arc.

“A lot of times, this is a trust thing,” Ponchatoula coach Tom Taylor said. “You got a 6-foot-10 guy, most coaches will put him in a box, down low, a rebounder and shot-blocker. With him, this happened in the Natchitoches Central game and throughout the season, he’d get the rebound and try to get an outlet. Or it’s, ‘OK, I’ll initiate it and bring the ball up.’ Even at 6-10, he has tremendous ball-handling skills.”

Graves is a younger brother to former LSU men’s basketball player Marshall Graves and to current Auburn women’s player Amoura Graves.

Graves joins Chris Lockett from Newman (2023) and Solomon Washington from Carver (2022) as recent Mr. Basketball selections from the New Orleans metro area.

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
2024: Allen Graves, Ponchatoula