1986-1987 All State

First Team Second Team
Player School Player School
Ed Cooley Central Brien Jenkins Middletown
Ron Smith Middletown Curt Lucas Hope
Julius Sacko Classical Kenric Tavaras Central
Jeff Jarry Cumberland Jim Varin Our Lady of Providence
Jeff Kent LaSalle Robert Williams St Raphael

First Team Player Recap
Ed Cooley, who led Central to the Class A title, and Ron Smith, the force behind Middletown's Class B championship, head the Journal-Bulletin All-State Interscholastic League boys' basketball team. The team includes Julius Sacko of Classical, who returns to the top unit after a one-year absence; Jeff Jarry of Cumberland, the state scoring champion, and Jeff Kent, a 6-8 center who led La Salle to the best record in Class A.

Curt Lucas of Hope is named again to the second team, along with Jimmy Varin of OLP, Kenric Tavares of Central, Robert Williams of St. Raphael and Brien Jenkins of Middletown. Five of the top 10 players - Cooley, Kent, Jarry, Varin and Tavares - are juniors, meaning the league figures to be even stronger next year. The thinking around the league was that the talent this year was stronger and deeper than it has been in several years.

The 6-3 Cooley averaged 19.1 points as Central won the A-Two title in the regular season, and he was named the MVP as the Knights took the state title in the playoffs. A flashy player, Cooley also was the leader in spirit for the Knights. On offense he took advantage of his outstanding long-range shooting ability. In the playoff semifinal victory over Rogers, Cooley had 19 points in the first half, including at least five baskets from beyond the college three-point line. This year, those baskets counted for only two points under high-school rules, but it has been announced that the three-point shot will be in effect for Cooley and everyone else next year. A solidly built player, Cooley also had the strength to work inside - something he did regularly at the defensive end of the court where he was one of Central's top rebounders. At times, he also moved into a low post position on offense - a spot he played as the Knights edged Classical in overtime in a thrilling state final.

While Cooley was leading Central to the Class A crown, Smith was doing the same thing for Middletown in Class B. The Islanders, the preseason choice as the power in Class B-One, lost their first game, then won 20 straight, including 3 in the playoffs. Smith averaged 17.2 points a game, though at times playing less than a full game because the Islanders won so easily. "He's the guy we wanted to get the ball to," Middletown coach Steve Croughan said. A smooth 6-1 star, Smith played forward, a position he could handle easily because of his rebounding ability. He scored many on corner jumpers. Smith was nominated by Class B-One coaches as the top player in that division in the regular season. When the competition got tougher in the playoffs, Smith moved up with it, earning MVP honors. His work included 20 points in the title-game victory over North Providence.

Sacko completed one of the more fabled careers in the league by returning to the top team. The muscular Classical senior started four years for the Purple and became the first player ever to compete four years in the final four at the Civic Center. After helping Classical to titles in each of his first two years, and being a first-team All-Stater as a sophomore, Sacko injured a knee in his first-ever game as a football player in his junior year. The injury forced him to miss more than half the basketball season. Even when he played, he was not the dominant inside force that he had been. However, Sacko returned to form this year, averaging 19.7 points as Classical finished second to Central in the regular season in Class A-Two, and then spearheaded Classical's drive to the finals in the playoffs. He dominated play in stretches in both Classical's semifinal thriller over La Salle and the state title game with Central. Sacko is leaning toward attending the University of Pennsylvania, though he also is considering Brown and Brandeis.

Jarry's All-State honors cap an amazing comeback for the Clipper junior. Jarry had been billed as one of the best prospects in years when he led Cumberland to the junior high title, a number of times scoring more than 40 points in one game. He started for Cumberland as a sophomore, but last summer was involved in a serious automobile accident in which he suffered a broken neck. He missed the football season (he is a standout in that sport, too) but not only returned in time to play basketball, he was healthy enough to win the state scoring championship. He averaged 25.9 points in the 11 league games in which he played. Jarry's game is much like Cooley's. At 6-3, he is rugged enough to work inside. Yet, he is at his best as a medium- and long-range shooter. Like Cooley, OLP's Varin and others, he figures to be an even bigger factor next year when his bombs from outside count for three points.

Kent, another of the juniors, emerged this year as the most dominant big man the state has seen since Brian Burke was at Pilgrim seven years ago. Kent finished second behind Jarry in scoring in Class A with a 23.5 mark as he led La Salle to a 16-1 mark in Class A-One competition. At 6-8, Kent did the bulk of his scoring from in close, but his ability to hit the 10- and 15-foot jump shot has made him a Division One prospect. Kent scored in double figures in every league game this year and had at least one triple-double, recording double figures in points, rebounds and blocked shots.