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PSAL Player of the Year: Diego Aguiar

In his 15 years as Bryant boys’ basketball coach, John Demas has seen a lot of great offensive players and several stellar defensive players don an Owls uniform.

But never has Demas seen a more complete player than Diego Aguiar, the TimesLedger PSAL Player of the Year.

“He’s a great team player, all the kids love him,” Demas said of Aguiar. “He doesn’t care about stats, he just wants to win. He’s a wonderful player to coach, he’s very likeable.”

And versatile.

Because of his size, Aguiar played with his back to the basket a lot for the Owls as a power forward and center. But in his native Brazil, where he played for the 16-and-under national team, he played small forward, which he is likely to play in college.

The 6-foot-6 1/2 forward from San Paulo scored 24 points, grabbed 13.5 rebounds and dished out six assists per game to lead Bryant to the title in the inaugural Queens Borough championship.

And the scary thing is that Aguiar, who recently played in the Wheelchair Classic, is still improving by the day.

“He’s getting better, which makes him even more dangerous for opponents,” Demas said. “Last year he was overshadowed by a pair of scorers in Carl Rhodes and Deshawn Warren. This year he took a more dominant role.”

As the games became more important, the better Aguiar played.

He netted 24 points in a win at Beach Channel in the borough quarterfinals and then scored 27 points in an 86-81 victory over Cardozo in the semifinals and sent home a game-high 30 points in the Owls’ 81-73 win in the Queens Borough championship game.

The Owls garnered the No. 20 seed in the citywide playoffs, but Aguiar helped lead Bryant past John F. Kennedy, 81-61, in the first round by scoring 34 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. In the Owls’ season-ending 74-57 loss to Grady, Aguiar scored a team-high 25 points.

Aguiar, who has drawn interest from Division I schools like Rutgers, Quinnpiac and Rider, has yet to make a decision about next season. He is going to take the SAT again May 4 and may attend prep school or junior college in the fall.

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