Monday, March 18, 2024

- Khalil Carlson and Ava Azzaro Receive Top Honors -


SPRINGFIELD, MASS.  The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced the recipients of the 13th annual Western Massachusetts Player of the Year awards – Khalil Carlson of Monument Mountain Regional High School and Ava Azzaro of Northampton High School. 


“We again praise the outstanding seniors who were selected as Western Mass. All-Stars, and extend our congratulations to Khalil and Ava on their Player of the Year honors,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “We are certain that each of these talented young athletes will make Western Mass. proud wherever they continue their basketball and academic journeys.”


Carlson, a four-year starter for the Monument Mountain varsity team, finishes his career with 1,511 points, scoring his 1,000th point on December 14, 2023, in a 97-52 win over Easthampton High School. He broke the school scoring record for boys on December 27, 2023, in a 67-50 win over Clinton High School. He was selected First Team All-Western Mass two times (2022-23) and twice named a Boys Masslive Super 7 Player (2022-23), which recognizes the seven best boys’ basketball players in Western Mass., regardless of division.As a captain this year, Carlson led his team to a 22-2 record, averaging 23.1 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game,and advancing to the quarterfinals in the Massachusetts Division IV State Tournament. Outside of basketball, Carlson has been a member of the National Honor Society for two years and participated with the Monument Mountain Unified Basketball Team in 2023.


Azzaro was a four-year letter winner of the Northampton Varsity Basketball Team. As team captain this year, Ava led her team to a 20-5 record, an appearance in the WMass Class A Championship Game, and Northampton’s first trip to the Division II Final Four in the new MIAA state tournament format – Northampton’s first State Semi-Final appearance since 2019. Ava totaled 1157 career points and, during her senior year, averaged over 18 points per game, including nine games over 20 points and two games over 30 points. Ava has been named First Team All-Western Mass. three times (2021-23) and will continue her basketball career next year at Roger Williams University.


The Western Mass. Players of the Year will receive their awards during halftime of their respective game at the Western Massachusetts All-Star Game on Thursday, March 21, on the Jerry Colangelo Court of Dreams at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. The first game of the evening will feature the Class C and D boys’ teams at 5:30 PM, followed by the girls’ matchup at 7:00 PM; the final game of the evening will showcase the Class A and B boys’ teams at 8:30 PM.


Tickets for the All-Star Games will be available at the Hall of Fame box office the night of the event and will be good for all three games that evening (Adults: $15, Students: $10). Advance tickets are available online here.


About the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame 

Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was born, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, preserving, and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame Museum is home to more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Hall of Fame Museum each year to learn about the game, experience the interactive exhibits and test their skills on the Jerry Colangelo "Court of Dreams." Best known for its annual marquee Enshrinement Ceremony honoring the game’s elite, the Hall of Fame also operates over 70 high school and collegiate competitions annually throughout the country and abroad. For more information on the Basketball Hall of Fame organization, its museum, and events, visit, follow @hoophallclassic, or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.