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Brad Libby had been an assistant men’s basketball coach under Warren Caruso at Bangor’s Husson University but stepped away for a year to ensure his business, Performance Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation, was running efficiently.
But he missed coaching basketball and when the Bangor High School boys job came open last year, he applied and landed the job.
And his first head coaching job certainly turned out well.
Libby guided the Rams to their first state championship since 2011 which earned him the honor of being named the Maine Schoolboy Coach of the Year by USA Today.
And his star player, senior forward Matthew Fleming, was named the state’s Player of the Year.
Joining Fleming as first-team USA Today all-stars were Edward Little High School of Auburn forward Wol Maiwen, Deering High of Portland forward Ben Onek, Oceanside High School of Rockland guard-forward Cooper Wirkala and Gray-New Gloucester guard John Martin.
The second team was comprised of Scarborough High forward Nick Fiorillo, Greely High of Cumberland Center guard Zach Brown and forward Drew Storey, Winthrop center Cameron Wood and Hall-Dale of Farmingdale forward Ashtyn Abbott.
All are seniors.
The 29-year-old Libby, a licensed physical therapist, a Brewer High School graduate and four-year player at Husson University, led the Rams to a 16-2 regular season record and the top seed for the Class AA North tournament.
Libby had spent five years as an assistant coach at Husson.
When he was named the Bangor coach, Caruso said: “He has done a tremendous job in life and on the basketball front. He’s so well-prepared for this opportunity. He’s worked toward building success on the basketball court and he’s of the highest character and integrity as an individual as well. He’ll have a great impact on the young people playing for him at Bangor.”
Libby’s Rams allowed just 44.3 points per game in the postseason after surrendering 49.2 ppg during the regular season.
The 6-foot-6 Fleming, who will take his talents to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in the fall, had a memorable senior year, averaging 22 points, 11 rebounds and four assists per game. He capped his career with 19 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots against Bonny Eagle.
“Matt was a nightmare of a matchup for opposing teams because he can be dangerous in all aspects of the game,” said Libby. “He can play both inside and out, set ball screens and either roll to the paint or pop for a three-pointer.”
Fleming was the Gatorade Player of the Year and Mr. Basketball in Maine.
Maiwen averaged 22.6 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for Class AA semifinalist Edward Little; Onek produced 19 points and 10 rebounds per game for Deering; Wirkala concluded a career in which he scored over 1,000 points by averaging 26.3 points and 8.4 rebounds for Oceanside and Martin was another career 1,000-point scorer who averaged 15.2 points, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game.
As for the second team, Brown (14 ppg, 6 apg, 4 rpg) and Storey (19.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.6 apg) led Greely to the state Class A championship; Fiorillo averaged 19.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.3 blocks for Scarborough; Wood registered 21 ppg, 10 rpg and 1.8 bpg for Winthop and Abbott paced Hall-Dale by averaging 22 points, 9.4 rebounds and four assists.