The Northern New York Boys Basketball Officials Board first presented the Joe Jukoski Memorial Award to a future Syracuse University Captain in Hal Cohen of Canton in 1976.
The award was founded to honor the outstanding boys basketball player in Section 10 and the memory of Joe Jukoski of Massena who was a longtime basketball official. An extremely respected official who personified dedication, dignity, sportsmanship, a genuine love for the game and a love for providing players and coaches with the best possible setting for their contests.
Since the award was instituted it has always been presented to a senior and very few juniors have even been chosen as a finalist.
On Wednesday, history was made at SUNY Potsdams Jerry Welsh Gymnasium. OFAs Kinnon LaRose became first junior to be recognized when he was named a 2014 award co-recipient with St. Regis Falls senior Brandon Votraw.
LaRose, the NAC Central MVP, is averaging 24 points, nine rebounds, five assists and five steals on the season. Through his outstanding play as a three-year varsity starter and in AAU competition LaRose, the son of Steve and Monica LaRose, has drawn recruiting interest from several NCAA Division I programs.
As a highly talented but totally unselfish player, LaRose personifies the major strengths of his number two state-ranked OFA team according to Coach Mark Henry.
Kinnon LaRose is one of the most unselfish players that I have ever coached. He is a student of the game and understands the value of getting his teammates involved. While Kinnon is a great pure shooter, it is his passing ability and court sense that amazes those who have watched him play the most, said Henry.
He plays with great poise, lets the game come to him and plays at his best in big games. Kinnon has worked extremely hard to become the player that he is today. He is a great role model for all student athletes and is being recruited by numerous Division I basketball programs.
LaRose maintains a 93 grade point average, volunteers as a coach in the Biddy Basketball program and in programs at the Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club.
His selection has created another bit of history as he follows his brother Breton, who is now a pitcher on the Sacred Heart University baseball team, who won the 2013 Jukoski Award.
He is also the ninth OFA player to receive the award following his brother Breton (2013), Gene Bouyer (2010), Mike Baker (2007), Mike McDonough (2005), Travis LaRock (2004), Tom Wears (2000), Mike Harrison (1992) and Tom DuPre (1977).
It means a lot to receive this award and I want to thank my coaches, my teammates, my parents and the community as a whole for all the support I have received, said Kinnon LaRose.
Votraw, who is the son of Bill Votra and Tabitha Stilwell, averaged 17 points, 12 rebounds, 4.7 assist and 2.5 blocks leading the NAC East Champion Saints to an 18-0 regular season.
Brandon is the most complete player I have ever coached here at St. Regis Falls, said SRF coach Justin Todd of Votraw who is the NAC East MVP, the Valedictorian of his high school class and will attend Albany School of Pharmacy in the fall.
Rounding out a group of outstanding award finalists were two-time NAC West MVP and 26 PPG scorer Kaden Dandrow of Edwards-Knox and Mitch Keniston of Tupper Lake who both averaging double-doubles.
GILMOUR, GRAVLIN HONORED
In other special presentations by the officials board Tristan Gilmour of Morristown received the Betty Ahlfeld Memorial Award, Alex Gravlin of Lisbon received the Tony Murray Memorial Award and St. Regis Falls received the Glen Bissell Sportsmanship Award. Malones Alex Johnson received the NYS Athletic Administrators Scholarship.