ALL STATE: French first team All-Ohio, Patton honorable mention

Warren boys’ basketball coach Blane Maddox had never seen one of his players earn first team All-Ohio honors in his career with the blue and white.

That is no longer the case, as Warrior junior Evan French was selected to the Division II All-Ohio first team Monday by The Associated Press.

French, a 6-foot-4 sharpshooting guard, has helped lead the Warren boys’ basketball program to its first ever district and regional championships this season. On Thursday, French and the Warriors will take on St. Vincent-St. Mary at Value City Arena with an appearance in the Ohio Division II state championship game on the line.

To say Maddox was thrilled for his player would be an understatement.

“It’s freakin’ awesome,” Maddox exclaimed.

“It’s fantastic. It’s wonderful. I’m just ecstatic. If anybody deserves it, he does.”

French, who was informed of the honor via a phone call from Maddox, was somewhat shocked.

“I was kind of overwhelmed and surprised,” French said. “I guess it shows that hard work pays off.”

French’s classmate Reece Patton was also listed on the honorable mention list.

“I’m glad to see (Patton) is honorable mention,” Maddox said. “Maybe he can get up there in the first, second or third team next year.”

For the Warrior program, it’s the first time a boys’ basketball player has earned All-Ohio honors since Austin Cunningham made the third team in 2011.

Cunningham currently plays for Division II Shepherd University.

French, who has NBA-range from beyond the arc but can also drive to the hole, will likely get plenty of collegiate looks as well.

He led the royal blue and white with 533 points this season, which averages out to 19.7 points per game for the 26-1 Warriors.

French posted 5.3 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block per contest in 2012-13. He also shot 42 percent from the field, including 35.5 percent from deep and 81.7 percent from the foul line.

French has always been quick to credit his teammates for his success.

“They’ve been the best,” French said. “They’re always helping me out and picking me up when I’m down.”

As Warren heads into the Final Four, French believes the honor could provide confidence.

“I don’t know how it can’t,” he said. “Something like that can boost the whole team.”

Overall, French said the honor is something very special to him.

“It means a lot to me,” he said. “It’s pretty important for the community as well.”