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2016 Jack Gabriel Nominees are listed below - Congratulations to the nominees!

Please click on name or scroll below to see photos and bios:

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John Nelson, Amesbury


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Duncan Moreland, Beverly

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As coach of the Beverly 8 travel basketball team, i would like to nominate Duncan Moreland for the 2015-16 Jack Gabriel Award. It is tough, as a coach, to nominate your son, but after 4 years of coaching him, it was pretty simple. Ive watched him grow each season, from a defender, to a rebounder, a shooter to now a floor general and all around player.

What sets Duncan apart is all the other things that he does for the team. He is modest about his athletic ability, has great character, works well with teammates and great sportsmanship. I am sure any ref or opponent would agree. We set lofty goals each season for our team and I put the most pressure on Duncan. He take the blunt of my glares during the game and my talks on the drive home. With all this, his dedication and leadership to the team shine. 

Duncan has helped me become a better coach throughout the years. I am very vocal and a bit competitive as a coach, and his even demeanor and calmness has helped me to realize there is more than one way to coach and get through to kids. 

Duncan Moreland clearly demonstrates all the traits tha tJack Gabriel Award exemplifies and I am proud to nominate him as Beverly's representative. 

Chris Perez, Peabody


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Peabody is proud to nominate Chris Perez for consideration of the Jack Gabriel Award. Chris is the type of person that can serve as a role model for others. He plays basketball (and baseball) the same way he navigates life; with a respectful attitude, a hard work ethic, and a tremendously large heart. 

Everyone can learn from Chris' positive attitude and his ability to move on in life despite tragedy and tough times befalling him. Three years ago, while in France on a job assignment, Chris’ mother’s life was cut short when she entered a bank during an armed robbery. After losing his mother, Chris moved from Peabody and had to endure frequent moves and having to live with different family members until he arrived back in Peabody this past summer. 

While on the team, Chris has been an outstanding teammate. Although the last few years have been very challenging for Chris, his teamwork, sportsmanship and dedication is exemplary.  What is most impressive about Chris is that despite the many opportunities to go down the wrong path in life, Chris has remained a steadfast young man of character and faith.  

Connor Ryan, Hamilton-Wenham

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This year the Hamilton Wenham 8th grade travel squad nominates Connor Ryan for the Jack Gabriel award. Connor plays power forward and center and consistently comes to the court displaying a competitive drive and team spirit that is second to none . Connor has excellent physical ability and basketball intelligence.  However, even with those traits he never stops working on improving his game. He excels in all the little details of the game. He is the most humble athlete a coach could ask for and displays maturity beyond his years.  His selfless commitment to his team stands as a great example.

Connor's work ethic is unparalleled. For 4 years regardless of the game score or record of the team, he has worked hard from the very first tip-off to the final buzzer.  Whether it is playing oppressive defense, diving for loose balls or pursuing an opponent on a fast break Connor has been simply amazing.  He has always exceeded his coaches expectations with his attitude, perseverance and work-ethic.  Never with words but only through his play has Connor lead by example.   He never puts his own stats, needs or desires before anyone else. Even with all of his natural skill and accomplishments he is the consummate team player. His sportsmanship toward our opponents is unquestionable. Based on his demeanor, one would never know that Connor is a top performer on the team. Please consider this humble, quiet leader and talented young man for the Jack Gabriel Award in 2016.

John Morris, Newburyport

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I am pleased to nominate John Morris from Newburyport 8th Grade Travel to represent the team for the Jack Gabriel Award.  John has been a travel player for 2 years, and played in our In-Town program since 4th grade prior to that.  This is my first year coaching the current 8th grade group, and we have a lot of great kids and players worthy of being recognized, but the more I got to know about John, the more he stood out in my eyes.  As relates to basketball, John is one of our most improved players over the years, which is a testament to his hard work and his love for the game.  He has developed shot fakes, pivot moves, and low post up and under moves that would make Kevin Mchale proud.  Earlier in his basketball development, John struggled with his outside shooting, particularly at the free throw line.  Not any longer.  In a recent tight game, John calmly went to the line on two separate occasions, going a perfect 4 for 4 from the charity stripe.  At our intra-squad 3 point contest, John placed among the top on the team, narrowly missing a chance to represent the team in the CAL competition.  John is also a walking encyclopedia of basketball knowledge, past and present, from college to the NBA.  He truly loves the game and brings a great attitude to every practice and game.  John is often the first player to dive to the floor for a loose ball, and works very hard to defend the other teams “bigs”.  In addition to being a pleasure to coach on our Newburyport Travel team, John was elected Captain of the Brookwood Middle School basketball team. 


Aside from basketball, John is an excellent student at the Brookwood school, where he has been named a “Brookwood Scholar” for making high honors for 7 straight terms.  John also placed 2nd overall in a  grade wide Math League, was chosen to be a peer tutor in writing, and tutors 3rd grade students in math.  He participates in the school band playing the piano, in addition to the Brookwood A Cappella Group.  John has also volunteered his time at local charity road races, the Salvation Army, and the PMC kids ride for cancer research.  John is truly a very well rounded young man. 


Kellen Furse, Manchester-Essex

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It is with great pride that I would like to nominate Kellen Furse as the Manchester-Essex team's nominee for the 2016 Jack Gabriel award. 

I have had the pleasure of coaching Kellen since his family first moved to Manchester when he was in 5th grade.  During that time, I have seen him develop from a boy who struggled with the nuances of the game into a solid player whose game has few weaknesses.  Kellen has been the leading scorer on our team the last 3 years, and that is due to his dedication and hard work.  He continues to work tirelessly on his game, both during the season and during the off-season.  He has dedicated himself to basketball during the last 3 offseasons by taking thousands of jump shots, layups, etc, doing dribbling work, etc.  During the season, you can often see him on a spare basket at one of his siblings' practices, working on his shooting.  As the level of competition year-to-year has evolved, so has Kellen, who has learned how to create his own shot in a number of ways.

Kellen leads by example on the floor.  He works as hard as any kid in the league and backs down from no one. He gets every loose ball.  Despite being average size he has lead our team in rebounding every year until this year (where he is second) and it is all because of heart and desire.  He normally gets our toughest defensive assignment, often covering boys a head taller than him, which is no fun for those boys!  Kellen leaves it all on the floor every game.

Kellen is all about the team.  He wants to do better and be better.  He constantly wants to "scout" other teams and see what they do and think about what we need to do to beat them.  Nobody was happier/more excited than Kellen last year when we won the Small Division title. He doesn't need to score to have a huge impact on the game - he is good at creating shots for others.  Kellen is unbelievable at forcing turnovers - both intercepting passes and stealing the ball.

Although a fierce competitor, you would never know it if you met Kellen off the court.  Kellen is always polite and courteous with adults and makes friends easily.  This is evidenced by his many close friendships he has developed over the years with players on other teams in the Cape Ann league.

Off the court Kellen is a straight A student with his favorite subject being Latin.  In addition to basketball, Kellen also plays soccer and flag football, where he is also a gifted athlete.

Silas Emerson- Gloucester

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Gloucester's Nominee for the Jack Gabriel Award is SILAS EMERSON.

Character, teamwork, dedication, excellence and sportsmanship are the five qualities that a player should possess to be nominated for the Jack Gabriel Award.  Many of my players possess some or many of these qualities but Silas Emerson embodies every one of these traits. 

Silas is a player any coach would love to have on their team.  Silas gives 100% effort every time he steps on the court.  He selflessly will make the extra pass, dive on the floor for a loose ball, set a pick or screen to help a teammate get open, be the first player to congratulate a teammate for a good play and help a teammate up off the floor after a foul.  He is always attentive to a coach’s instruction,  communicates well with his teammates and is courteous and respectful to coaches, players and officials. 

Silas understands that success cannot always be measured by winning, but knows that his success and his contribution to the team is measured by putting forth an outstanding effort and leading by example. Silas does just that, at every practice and at every game.  To show Silas’s further dedication to the team, it was discovered late in the season that due to a fall football injury he could no longer play and finish the season.  He tried to play through the pain all season rarely missing a practice or game.  Since then he still comes to the games to sit on the bench, help record stats for the coaches and cheer on and encourage his teammates.  

It has been my great pleasure to coach Silas and for all the reasons above, I am very proud to nominate him for the Jack Gabriel Award.

Christopher Husak- Pentucket

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It is with great pleasure that the Pentucket Cape Ann League Team nominates Christopher Husak for the 2015-2016 Jack Gabriel Award.   Christopher’s unwavering dedication and commitment to his team and teammates make him an ideal candidate for an award that celebrates character, teamwork, dedication, excellence, and sportsmanship.  

Chris began his Pentucket basketball career in the fifth grade, as a member of the B team.  As a testament to his character and dedication, he worked hard to improve his game, both mentally and physically.  This hard work paid off, as the next year, and every year since, he has not only made the Pentucket Cape Ann League team, but has been a competitive and contributing player.  I have had the pleasure of coaching him this year as an 8th grader, and have admired his ability to to quickly learn and execute plays on the fly.  He always gives his best effort.  It’s clear that he is committed to being the best player he can be.

Even though Chris presents with a quiet demeanor, he is a powerful force on the floor.  His teammates can always count on him to be in the right spot, at the right time.  Chris’s “team-first” mentality is very clear in both practices and games.  His priorities are playing hard, improving, doing the right thing, and helping his team reach its fullest potential.  Chris is always there to offer support and encourage his teammates. He is a quiet leader on and off the floor, focused on the fundamentals and supporting his team.

All too often these days, we see young players more concerned with making the “highlight reel” plays, rather than the fundamentally sound plays.  Chris is not concerned with making the flashiest plays;  he is only concerned with making the right plays.  We can always count on Chris to do all the under-appreciated, yet valuable, things self-motivated players do; such as boxing out, making the extra pass, and being positioned correctly on defense. Even if he makes a mistake, he shakes it off, learns from it, moves on, and continues to play hard.  

Christopher’s commitment to excellence is evident not only on the basketball court, but in all of his endeavors.  He is an honor roll student, plays baseball, and is a standout soccer player.  Christopher constantly seeks to understand how he can improve at whatever the task before him is.  Players like Chris make coaching meaningful.   It is for all of these reasons that I believe Christopher Husak is the ideal candidate for the Jack Gabriel Award.  

Tim Cronin - Marblehead


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A multi-sport athlete who also excels in football and lacrosse, Tim has played in the Marblehead travel basketball program since the 5th grade.  Each year he has competed, including this, his last year in the program, Tim has stood out as one of Marblehead’s top rebounders and defenders, as well as one of the team’s toughest competitors.  If stats were kept on the game’s intangibles, he would lead in many other categories that reflect effort, determination, and the will to win.

Tim plays an aggressive brand of basketball while also standing out as a poster child for sportsmanship and fair play.  Ask any coach in the Marblehead system who has had him in any sport, and all will tell you he’s a pleasure to coach, a teammate that is respected by those on both sides of an athletic contest.

Basketball is a team sport, and Tim has always put team ahead of individual while representing Marblehead in his four years of travel basketball.  He was also a key front court contributor on the Veterans school basketball team that went 12-3 this past season.

We are proud to nominate Tim with all of the other worthy candidates for this year’s Jack Gabriel Award, and wish everyone the best of luck.  All the nominees are deserving winners, and we’re looking forward to watching everyone in the playoffs. 

Andrew Debenedetto - North Reading

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The 8th grade North Reading Hornets select Andrew Debenedetto as our recipient this year. We put together a large roster this year of 13 players on the team with Andrew being on the cut list at tryouts as our goal was 11 with no more than 12 players, but we took him because of his size and quickness. Andrew was on the B team squad as a "practice player" last year in 7th grade and now as we round out the season he has become a key part of our rotation on the A team. What a difference a year makes. Andrew is full throttle always and has really made huge gains from last season to this season all through his ability to give us his maximum effort .He shows the other guys on the team if I can do it you can do it.

He routinely comes in first on all sprints and could sometimes almost finish 2 sprints before other players finish 1 sprint. He never takes a drill off and gives every station/ drill his maximum effort. He has turned into an excellent man to man defender and been a key asset to help all the other players around him with his tremendous help defense. 

Bottom line we gave Andrew a spot on the team thinking he was going to be a “project” with his height and he has blossomed into a player that we could not imagine being left off our team. His leadership skills show by giving maximum effort on every drill, sprint, practice and game situation.   Andrew is not a typical leader in the vocal sense, but it is the intangibles that he does every day that put him at the top of our list for the Jack Gabriel Award. 

Thank you for your time and we hope you also consider Andrew Debenedetto as the Jack Gabriel Award winner. 

Brian Dillon - Masco

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MASCO's 8th grade boys basketball team and coaching staff proudly nominates Brian Dillon for the Jack Gabriel award.  Brian has been a valued member of our team for several years and clearly exemplifies what Jack Gabriel stood for:  character, teamwork, dedication, excellence, and sportsmanship.  Brian’s tireless commitment to being a dedicated teammate was most apparent this season when we challenged the boys to communicate more on the court and push each other during practices and games.  Brian, a historically quiet leader, has become one of our most vocal leaders on the court.  He quarterbacks our defense, encourages his teammates during practice and, as a result, they have responded positively to his unquestioned leadership. 

In addition, Brian is the classic “first to arrive, last to leave” type of player who is driven to improve his overall game.  Brian consistently seeks feedback from our coaching staff on how to shoot better, create opportunities for his teammates in transition, and become a better defender.  We always see him working on even the most simple aspects of the game, like free throws, after practices.  From a sportsmanship perspective, our coaching staff has never heard Brian complain about a teammate, an opponent, a difficult drill or even after a frustrating loss.  Brian is an extremely positive teammate and always listens intently when a member of our coaching staff is explaining a concept or strategy to the team.  He is truly a pleasure to have on our team and consistently strives for excellence.

It’s important to note that Brian also enjoys all sports including basketball, baseball, golf, skiing, hiking and paddle boarding. Brian is an extremely well-rounded individual focused on academics, extracurricular activities, and his community.  For example, he was a participant in the Extended Studies Math and Science Program and the Extended Studies Creative Thinking Program while at Howe Manning School in Middleton and has been on the MASCO Middle School High Honor Roll since 2014. Brian's creative side was acknowledged by the MASCO Art Department and his art work was one of 25 pieces submitted to the annual Boston Globe Scholastic Art Awards. Brian is also a member of the Saint Agnes Religious Education program and a member of the Burbank YMCA community.

In conclusion, we are extremely proud and excited to recommend Brian Dillon for the Jack Gabriel Award. Congratulations to all the other nominees.

MASCO 8A Boys Coaching Staff: Brett Albren, Tim Glover & Jack Milmoe


Adam Kantarevic - Danvers

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The Danvers 8th Grade CAL team coaches would like to nominate Adam Kantarevic for this year’s  John J. Gabriel Award.

People that coach youth sports usually start and end with their player’s league involvement (usually around 3 or 4 years).This staff has coached or refereed youth basketball for over 15 years each. You ask why that matters? Most coaches will see1 group of players move through their program and make decisions based on that 1 group. We have had the pleasure to see several teams during our tenure and in our minds Adam would stand out regardless of the year. Here is our list of reasons

Character—Teamwork—Dedication—Excellence & Sportsmanship

This young man is always early to practice and works on game situations before practice. (Not taking half-court shots, or trying for ESPN highlights)

He never says a bad word about a teammate, opposing team member or referee.

He leads by example quietly showing people the RIGHT way to do things

Adam is also the starting QB on the Championship 8th grade team, but always balanced practices for both sports w/o missing a practice. His football coach said the following about Adam

* As a 4 years starter at QB, he showed natural leader by example; takes practice very seriously.

* Intelligence (had excellent command of our offense)

* Coachable - Listens and accepts instruction and criticism extremely well.

* Very even tempered and shows great sportsmanship after a loss.

* Excellent teammate (cares more about team results than personal performance).

One of our topics before & during the season is discussing our belief that schoolwork comes before sports. All players are instructed that if they need to miss practice in order to finish their homework that is what we want them to do. Adam has not missed a practice all year but has also made the Honor Roll each semester.

Although this team has yet to win this year, Adam keeps showing up with a smile, works hard each and every practice session, and has not succumbed to the negative attitude that sometimes happens on losing teams. I believe this award is not for the best player but rather for a player that is the best person. Adam is that person.

Nicholas Baldini  - Lynnfield

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When I read the nomination requirements for the Jack Gabriel Award, character, teamwork, dedication, excellence and sportsmanship, it was very clear to me who should be nominated to represent Lynnfield. I’m proud to nominate Nicholas Baldini for consideration for the 2016 Jack Gabriel Award. Nicholas has been a four year player in our program. In looking back at the scorebooks for prior years and this year, Nicholas has scored over 1100 points in Lynnfield Youth Basketball. That statistic alone speaks to the dedication and excellence that he brings to our team and our town. Anyone who has seen number 15 play for Lynnfield knows that he is one of the hardest working players in our or any league.

The Jack Gabriel Award is not simply a basketball award, and Nicholas is not just a basketball player. He is a natural leader, the hardest worker on his team, dedicated to team, not individual success and popular with players on every other team in the Cape Ann League. He’s a nicer kid than he is an excellent basketball player and that is saying something.

Our town, our league and our team are very proud of Nicholas Baldini. As his coach, it is my distinct honor to nominate him for the 2016 Jack Gabriel Award.


Wayne Holloway  - Salem


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The 2015-2016 Salem 8th Grade team would like to nominate Wayne Holloway for the John J. Gabriel Award.

The game of basketball requires that each individual player brings his own skill set, work ethic and personality to the court in order to improve as a player but to also help the team grow together in order to be successful.

As a coach, it is always difficult to single out just one player for such a prestigious award, especially when I believe that many players are deserving of recognition. Therefore, as part of the nomination process, I asked the entire team for written feedback.  I believe it is important to see how these young men perceive each other as a teammate. I asked my players to choose a teammate who best exemplifies Character, Dedication, Excellence, Sportsmanship and Teamwork.

Wayne’s peers describe him as a teammate who always comes to practices and games ready to play hard and with a positive attitude.  It was also stated that he is a person who always supports his teammates both on and off the court.  Since the start of the season, Wayne has in fact been that player. No matter what the situation, he brings a confident, yet quiet focus to not only his own game, but to the team as a whole. 

From my point of view, Wayne is a very polite, considerate and thoughtful person which can be more important than skills on the basketball court. He is a outstanding competitor, a phenomenal teammate and a true friend to all who know him.  It has been a privilege to coach such an exceptional young man. 

Thank you for your consideration of Wayne Holloway for the John J. Gabriel Award. Please contact me if you need any further information. James T. Rush Salem 8th Grade Coach

Jimal Anilus, Triton

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The perfect youth basketball player is one who:

  • Is passionate
  • Has a desire to learn and get better
  • Is coachable
  • Is of strong mind
  • Is determined

I am proud to introduce you to the perfect youth basketball player, Jimal Anilus. Jimal began his Cape Ann Youth Travel Basketball development in the 7th grade. Despite his best efforts, he was not successful in achieving his goal of making the Cape Ann travel team in 5th or 6th grade. While many youth players would have given up after the first attempt at making the team, outwardly Jimal was not phased. Instead he dug his heels in and began to work. Work on his skills, work on the mental aspects of playing a team sport, and building his confidence to try once more. After two years of year-round playing, attending local basketball camps, and participating in the Triton Youth basketball program, Jimal's development was impossible to ignore. Goal achieved. 

Making the travel team is not where this feel good story ends. For the next two years, Jimal has shown his coaches, his teammates, and his family that this is just the beginning. If you ask Jimal how many points, assists, or steals he averages he will not be able to answer the question. Ask him how a game or a practice went and he will swiftly answer based on how his team performed. I do believe he can tell you how many rebounds he gets in most of his games. After all, he is a small guard and he is human!   

I have had the pleasure of coaching Jimal for two years. I can say, without question, Jimal represents everything any coach, teacher, parent, or friend should look for in searching for "perfect". You don't drag yourself to the basketball courts for two years straight, after falling short of a goal, without passion. You will not improve your game without the desire and determination to get better. You do not come back after being turned away without being of strong mind. And, you don't immediately come to a coaches’ mind when thinking about what he would look for in the perfect youth basketball player without being extremely coachable. 

It has been my pleasure to spend the last two years watching a fine young man grow as a basketball player and flourish as a teammate. This is just the beginning of Jimal's basketball story. I look forward to watching from the front row as the rest of the story unfolds. It is my pleasure to nominate Jimal Anilus for the 2015-2016 Jack Gabriel Award on behalf of Triton Youth basketball.  

Andrew Gilligan, Ipswich

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We would like to nominate Andrew Gilligan for THE JACK GABRIEL AWARD. Andrew Gilligan has been a 4 year player with the Ipswich Cape Ann Team. He has been a joy to coach and watch grow as a fine basketball player. Anybody that knows Andrew will tell you he is a joy to be around. He has been dedicated to his team, to the game of basketball and to the coaching staff for four years. Never complaining about a single thing, enjoys to be around others playing the sport he loves so much. Shows great sportsmanship on and off the court, will be the first one to congratulate an opponent after a game, win or lose. Always looking forward to that thank you fist bump with the refs after every game. As a coach’s son it is not easy sometimes hearing a father’s frustration or venting when he will be alone with me after a game explaining to him how hard I want the boys working and I am sure kids talk about the coaches as well. It has never bothered him because of the wonderful disposition he has. Every day is a good day in Andrews’s eyes. That’s why he is liked by students, faculty, teammates, coaches and all who know him in the town of Ipswich. Always there to cheer on any other team in his community, or lend a hand cleaning up the gym after games, cleaning up fields in town in the spring to get ready for his other sport he enjoys being baseball. Hats why I believe it’s a childlike Andrew that should carry on in The Name of Jack Gabriel.


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