During an otherwise disappointing spring, Jake Hoffman finally has something to celebrate.
The Mt. Lebanon senior, who had his school year moved online and basketball season ended prematurely because of the coronavirus pandemic, was named to the Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State boys basketball team.
“It’s nice to be recognized,” said the 18-year-old son of Mike and Christy Hoffman. “It gives me something to be happy about when things are not particularly great.”
Seventeen WPIAL players made the all-state list, but just three were named in the highest classification.
Hoffman earned a spot on the third team along with Penn-Trafford’s Zach Rocco. Butler’s Ethan Morton, a Purdue recruit, was Class 6A Player of the Year and was named to the first team.
“To start out with, there are so many talented players in the WPIAL,” Hoffman said. “So being able to make an all-state team is very special.”
Hoffman, a 6-3 swingman, led Lebo to four section titles and back-to-back appearances in the WPIAL Class 6A championship game.
Hoffman averaged 21.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals this season and helped lead Lebo to a 19-7 record. He converted 49% of his shots from the field and scored 21 points in Lebo’s loss to Butler in the WPIAL championship game.
The Blue Devils were in the middle of a state championship run when their second-round contest against Cheltenham was postponed in mid-March and eventually canceled.
So did the all-state selection soften the blow of a curtailed PIAA run?
“It did take some of the edge off,” Hoffman said “It still kills me that we couldn’t finish out our season. It’s always nice to hear things like (being named all-state). I feel like when I get these achievements, the whole team does too because it wouldn’t have been possible without my teammates and coaches. It’s rewarding because of how good of a season we had.”
Hoffman is one of only six Blue Devils to surpass the 1,000-point plateau. He scored 1,146 career points.
“Jake’s always been a fantastic athlete, quick and fast,” said Lebo head coach Joe David. “He’s worked very hard to improve all aspects of his game.”
Hoffman said being named to the all-state team was one of his biggest goals.
“To finally see it come true was something that will be special to me forever,” he said. “It’s a big honor. Being able to see my hard work turn into this was really satisfying.”
David echoed Hoffman’s sentiments.
“I am very happy for him. I feel it’s well deserved,” he said.
David said he was only aware of his son, Jonny, and Geoff Kestler, as being Lebo’s only players to be named to the all-state team.
“Jake’s joining some elite company,” he said.
Hoffman earned a scholarship to Division III The College of Wooster.
“The school has a good one coming,” he said. “Jake will do fantastic.”