Vikings Say Goodbye to 'Special Group'
Union Pines senior basketball player Jon Toomer was recently selected as the Cape Fear Valley Conference player of the year.
The announcement was made during the Vikings’ team banquet at the Union Pines cafeteria last week.
It is the first time a Viking boys’ player has been selected as conference MVP since Andy Kelly was named the Tar Heel Conference player of the year back in 1989. Kelly, who played ACC basketball at Clemson University, was inducted into the Union Pines Athletic Hall of Fame as a member of the 2007 class.
Over his four-year varsity career, Toomer scored more than 1,300 points and led the team in scoring in his final three seasons. He is a three-time all-conference selection, finishing third in the MVP voting as a sophomore and second as a junior. He was also selected as a first-team member of the all-district team this season, marking the second time he has gained that honor. Toomer averaged 17.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 0.76 blocks as a senior.
While head coach Bobby Purvis feels that Toomer’s entire body of work as a Viking speaks for itself, he did have some words to add about his senior forward’s career achievements.
“Jon Jon has certainly distinguished himself in the history of Union Pines basketball over the four years he was a Viking player,” said Purvis. “By being named the MVP of our conference and making the first team on a district level twice, he now has the hardware to back that up.”
Joining Toomer on the all-conference team was senior center Chris Henderson. It was his second time as an all-conference selection.
Henderson, who averaged 14.8 points and 9.5 rebounds on the year, was also named to this season’s all-district second team, an honor he also garnered as a junior.
At the banquet, Henderson was named the Vikings’ team MVP. Senior Andrew Macpherson won the Coaches’ Award, while senior guards Eric Smith and Justin Brabham shared the team honor for outstanding defensive player.
“In regards to my eight seniors, we did not focus so much on this last season, but rather their entire body of work,” said Purvis. “We discussed how we made the playoffs three straight years, advancing to the second round twice, and have been a third-place basketball team in our conference at worst over their run.
“If you look at what they have achieved over their years at Union Pines, this group has earned its own little niche in the overall basketball history of this school.”
The other Union Pines seniors are Berry Chalmers, Brandon Brown and Mitchell McNeill.
“I am so proud of all these guys and feel awfully close to them,” said Purvis. “As a group, they will always be looked upon as exceptional in the overall athletic history here at Union Pines, and I treasure the time we have spent together.”
The Vikings finished the season at 14-13 overall after placing third in the conference with a record of 7-5 after winning their final two league tilts in a fierce Cape Fear Valley Conference.
“As a coach, it is not always easy to let go,” Purvis said, “and I made sure to remind them we will forever have a bond connecting us as a unit over the years to come.
“I am really going to miss these guys. They truly are a special group of young men.”
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