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AGR Boys Basketball: New role helps Downey excel as Player of the Year

James Johnson
Staff writer


(March 30, 2007) — Kyle Downey understood that changes were ahead after his first season with the Fairport basketball team.

More production would be expected from Downey after Fairport's top two scorers graduated. He was told that by Red Raiders coach Scott Fitch.

Mother Nature provided a boost, in the form of a three-inch growth spurt. And it was Big Brother that gave Downey some direction, which older siblings tend to do, whether requested or not.

"Now I'm a huge weight person," Kyle Downey said. "It was kind of hard to get used to. My body was sore all of the time.


"But trying to workout with tired legs kind of helped me."

Their work during the summer showed. Kyle Downey returned to the Red Raiders taller and stronger for his junior season, then became Section V's top player.

JEN RYNDA staff photographer

Kyle Downey hit the weight room after last season and added 20 pounds to his frame, which helped him add more points to his scoring average. "Trying to work with tired legs kind of helped me," said the AGR Player of the Year, who averaged 23 points a game for Fairport.

Downey is the AGR Player of the Year after he averaged 23 points a game for a Fairport team that made its first appearance in a state tournament semifinal.

Fairport's leading scorer was primarily a jump shooter during his sophomore year. This past season, Downey added muscle, 20 pounds overall, to his game and also averaged eight rebounds.

"Kevin helped me with that too," Kyle Downey said about his older brother who also gave him a hard lesson or two on the basketball court. "During the summer, I had no idea what to expect this season. I could see improving, but not drastically, like I did this year.

"I think a lot of the improvement came last spring. I worked out with coach (Fitch) quite a bit. We made my shot a little quicker, and I just started becoming more of a player."

A stronger and faster Kyle Downey, who is 6-feet-2 inches and 190 pounds, was able to drive for baskets with more success. He also made more contributions on defense, which made Fitch happy.

Defense is a primary reason the Red Raiders are currently Section V's most dominant large-school team.

Fitch emphasizes defense, gets players to understand what the goal of the scheme is and work together to stop opponents. And Downey is not the first Fairport player to improve noticeably from one season to the next in Fitch's six seasons.

Those are two reasons why Fitch is the AGR Coach of the Year, which like all of the Democrat and Chronicle's Super 15 team, is determined by ballots from area coaches and input from the newspaper's staff.

"There's years of experience on the coaching staff and they teach the fundamentals very well," Fitch said. "I can maybe go to another level with the players.

"I respect the players. I think they know that and feel that."

This year's AGR team also includes Fairport guard Kevin Borden, who helped the Red Raiders repeat as Section V Class AAA champions.

Bishop Kearney guard Anthony Terry and Finney's Andy Marchand, who made 242 3-pointers in four varsity seasons, were selected to the team for the second consecutive year. Rush-Henrietta forward Dane Miller, a 6-6 sophomore, is the youngest member of the Super 15, and shared Monroe County Division I Player of the Year honors with Downey.

"Dane has a lot of potential," Downey said. "He's long and can shoot it. He's got the perfect basketball body.

"It's incredible how well he can see the floor as a big guy."

Downey established himself as a contender for AGR Player of the Year honors just about right away. He scored 28 points during a win for Fairport at Wilson.

When the Red Raiders were off to a slow start against Saint Francis, Downey went off for 39 points with 10 rebounds in what turned into another non-league win.

Downey's scoring average was 21.7 during the regular season and went up after the Red Raiders entered tournament play.

"He had a great year," Rush-Henrietta coach Chris Reed said. "Mentally, he's a very tough player, he just stays with it and doesn't get too frustrated.

"Everyone's plan when they go into the game is stop him, he just keeps plugging along. I think he has deceptive speed, he can get around guys you don't expect him too. He's not just a shooter."

Kevin Downey, who went to play at Canisius after an all-star high school career at Livonia, was the perfect mentor for Kyle.

"When I was a little kid I watched Kevin do this," Kyle Downey said. "He grew another inch in college, and is very explosive. He's very focused on his legs and stuff.

"I plan to lift every week in the offseason. Next year, I'm going to try to be 200, 205 pounds, but not top-heavy."

More size would make Kyle Downey a more attractive Division I college prospect.

Fifteen schools from the Ivy League, Patriot League and other conferences already have shown interest in the A-student, making college coaches a frequent guest at Fairport practices.

"I kind of want to go as high as I can go," Kyle Downey said. "If I can go to the Big East or the ACC, I mean that would be awesome.

"Right now, there's no way I could, but this summer, hopefully the work that I will do to improve can change that." 

Second team, honorable mention picks


Rob Brown, School of the Arts, F
Jason Corletta, Pittsford Sutherland, G
Will Cornett, Campbell-Savona, G
Kyle Coulon, Webster Thomas, C-F
Jerome Davis, Franklin, G
Mike Fowler, Hilton, G
Shane Galatio Hilton, G
Kourtney Goff, Greece Athena, G
Mike Hoy, Batavia, G
Matt Jones, Aquinas, F
Chris Milke, Palmyra-Macedon, C
Jake Russell, Brockport, G-F
Chris Skipper, Pittsford Mendon, G
Brian Szczepanski, Web. Schroeder, C
Jeremy Washington, Gates Chili, C

Monroe County: Mark Bruce (Fairport), Dan Teerlinck (Webster Thomas), Dave Woodhams (Greece Arcadia), Skip Schwartz (Pittsford Mendon), Conor Dever (Brighton).

City-Catholic: Bradley Griffin (Charlotte), Jordan Major (Charlotte), Rueben Balkum (East), Kenyon Sharp (East), Norman Simmons (East), Nate Dukes (Freddie Thomas), Terrance Finley (Freddie Thomas), Tyron Wilcox (Freddie Thomas), Justin Nickson (Franklin), Roderick Gray (Jefferson), Cedrick Martinez (Jefferson), Pablo Correa (Marshall), Roosevelt Hall (Marshall), Isaiah Jones, (Marshall), Wes Edwards (McQuaid), Dan Riley, (McQuaid), Vincent Jones (Monroe), William Mason (Monroe), Dylan Hogan, (School of the Arts).

Private-Parochial: Tim Modeste (Finney), Tim Brown (Lima Christian), Jaanai Beckford (Northstar), Gavin Spuck (Finney), Aaron Fischer (Finney).

Finger Lakes: Ben Sheppard (Midlakes), Dustin Grzeskowiak (Marcus Whitman), David Popp (Mynderse), Titus Stephens (Newark), Connor Henderson (Canandaigua), A.J. Trahms (Waterloo), David Ahonen (Victor), Kurtis Porter (Geneva De Sales), Ben Jacobs (Bloomfield), Wes Atwood (Bloomfield), Ben Garman (Red Jacket), Steve Mateo (Romulus).

Genesee Region: Derek Wolfley (Attica), Donovan Flint (Alexander), Andrew Wright (Pembroke), Geoff Redick (Batavia Notre Dame), Ryan Francis (Batavia Notre Dame), Karl Giese (Batavia Notre Dame), Andrew Fisher (Oakfield-Alabama), Jason Kirkum (Oakfield-Alabama), Alex Williams (Wheatland-Chili), Cody Castor (Lyndonville), Ian Woodward (Elba), Jed Torrey (Elba).

Livingston County: Cameron Smith (Honeoye Falls-Lima), Bryan Canty (Hornell), Chip Northrup (Livonia), Ira Langhorn (Wayland-Cohocton), D.J. Schwartz (Hornell), Andy Ratchford (Bath), Tyler Koch (Dansville), Cody Cornell (Avon), Rob Curry (Pavilion), Gary Kwiecien (Perry), Matt Rebisz (Perry), Derek Buttles (Letchworth), Brent Owens (Letchworth), Mark Bennetti (Le Roy), Chris Parrott (Warsaw), Drew Dumbleton (Warsaw), Ryan Nugent (Keshequa), Shane Chesnes (Mount Morris), Cory Tschiderer (Geneseo), Billy Schwan (York), Tony Messana (York).

Wayne County: Jon Brooks (Marion), J.R. Williams (Gananda), Turell Parker (Lyons), Tim Stanton (Avon), Sean Michele (East Rochester), Eric Castle (Gananda).

Steuben County: Patrick Wright (Prattsburgh), Wade Fuller (Prattsburgh), Jamie Martin (Addison), James Dinnen (Canisteo-Greenwood), Sean Mourhess (Campbell-Savona).

Allegany County: Aaron Martin (Fillmore), Ethan Burt (Genesee Valley), Collin Morrison (Bolivar-Richburg), Nolan Searle (Cuba-Rushford), Bill Erwin (Bolivar-Richburg), Austin Kelly (Genesee Valley), Kyle Brubaker (Whitesville), Dylan McCall (Scio), Greg Wright (Houghton), Lewis Brent (Friendship), Ryan Shay (Andover), Dan Heisey (Whitesville).


Calvin Betts, Rush-Henrietta
Levar Goff, Greece Athena
Anthony Hall, Palmyra-Macedon
Reid Houston, Marshall
Cory Humphries, Irondequoit
Greg Logins, Sodus
Cory Magee, Fairport
Andy Marchand, Finney
Corey McAdam, Fairport
Waryn McCullough, Wilson
Keion Mitchem, East
Robert Parks, Wilson
Anthony Terry, Bishop Kearney
Rickey Wallace, Greece Athena
Scott Young, Hornell
Player of the Year: Corey McAdam, Fairport.
Co-Coaches of the Year: Jim Johnson, Greece Athena; Joe Marchand, Finney.