Boys Basketball Player of the Year: Ben Roy, Manasquan (NJ)
Manasquan already had an accomplished boys basketball program when Ben Roy showed up to his first official practice as a freshman in November of 2018. The team was so tradition-rich and talented that Roy – a heralded incoming freshman on the New Jersey basketball scene – would not open the season as a starter.
Starter or not, Roy made his mark on that Manasquan boys basketball season and has only raised his level – and that of the team – since his first day on the job. Now, the 6-foot-2 junior boasts a career record of 72-5, more than 1,000 points, two Shore Conference championships (one official) and back-to-back Shore Conference Player of the Year awards from the Shore Conference Basketball Coaches Association.
Now, Roy can add another repeat to his resume: for the second straight year, he is the Shore Sports Network Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Through his first two seasons, Roy amassed nearly 900 points while helping Manasquan win 60 games, two NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II championships and the program’s first Shore Conference Tournament title in 63 years. While last year’s Player of the Year pick came down to Roy and teammate Alex Galvan, this year, there wasn’t much of an argument for anyone other then Manasquan’s reigning award-winner.
Statistically speaking, Roy made a strong case. During a season significantly shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Roy led the Shore Conference in per-game scoring at an even 24 per night while also putting up four rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.8 steals while also hitting 36 three-pointers on 31.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Those numbers were only part of Roy’s story in 2021 – a year that saw Manasquan once again reign supreme among all Shore Conference teams. He barely ever came out of games in 2021, in part because Manasquan seldom ran opponents off the floor. Manasquan wound up with a challenging schedule that included four teams ranked in the Top 20 in N.J., a prep school with multiple Division I prospects and three more opponents that finished the year in the Shore Sports Network Top 10.
When the competition was at its toughest, Roy was and Manasquan were at their best. He scored 19 of his 26 point in the second half of a 68-65 win over Montclair Immaculate, including three free throws with 1.6 seconds left to break the tie and deliver the Warriors the win over a ranked opponent in their first game after a two-week shutdown.
One night later, Roy poured in 29 points to guide Manasquan to a hard-fought win over Wall and capped that first full week of his team’s season by posting 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists in a convincing win over Don Bosco Prep. While the 14 points marked a season-low for Roy, it was also the same game in which he joined the 1,000-point club in just the fifth game of his junior season.
Manasquan had one four-game week during the season that included two games vs. Neptune and one apiece vs. Trenton Catholic and Life Center Academy. It was one of Roy’s best four-game scoring stretches of the season and if you include a third game against Neptune that opened the postseason week, Roy scored 128 points in five games (25.6 per game) over eight days, including a season-high 30 points in a 72-65 win over Trenton Catholic.
Roy and Manasquan labored to score in the postseason, although the junior guard did score 26 of his team’s 41 points in the opener vs. Neptune. He also scored game-highs in wins over Christian Brothers Academy and Marlboro to close out a run to the unofficial Shore Conference Championship, but the lasting image of Roy in 2021 was not him making a shot but rather hitting a teammate with a pass.
In the final seconds of overtime in the Shore Conference Pod A championship vs. Marlboro, Roy elevated at the foul line off the dribble and fired a pass to senior Andrew Solomon, who finished the layup with 1.4 seconds left to give Manasquan a 58-56 lead that would wind up the final score of the Warriors’ final game in a perfect 12-0 season.
During his two Player of the Year seasons, Roy led Manasquan to a combined record of 43-1, with its only loss coming against Roselle Catholic, 45-43, last season when Galvan was injured. The shortened season took plenty of wins off the table, not to mention an opportunity for Manasquan to play for a third straight NJSIAA sectional championship and a trip to the Tournament of Champions. The only team to finish higher than Manasquan in the NJ.com Top 20 in 2021 was 13-0 Camden, which is, like Manasquan, also a Group II school and the two would have been lined up to clash in the Group II semifinal. That matchup was set to take place in the 2020 Group II semifinals but Manasquan removed itself from the tournament on the day of the game due to the escalating pandemic.
The shortened season also makes it unlikely Roy will be the ninth Shore Conference player to reach 2,000 career points, which he would likely have made a run at if he kept up his current scoring pace for a full 30-plus game season. While Roy would need to put up close to 30 points per game to join that club, he will have a very good chance to become Manasquan’s leading scorer. He will enter his senior season with 1,174 points – 506 points away from current record-holder and 2004 graduate Tom White.
At some point over the next year, Roy will choose his college destination – holds offers from – but before he heads to play high-level Division I basketball, Roy will leave Manasquan as the most decorated player in program history and one of the Shore’s all-time great guards.