Wauwatosa East senior forward Jai'Vionne Green didn't mind carrying the figurative extra weight around that 'the target on his back' provided.
That's because he did it so well.
Green, a 6-foot-4-inch forward/guard, was the Red Raiders' main man this season, and everyone knew it. But that didn't stop him from filling up his trophy case this season.
His most recent honor was being named to the 2015-16 Now All-Suburban boys basketball team, a 14-player team selected from among the 23 teams we cover.
Previously, he was also a first-team All-State Division 2 selection and a first-team All-Greater Metro Conference choice. He was also selected to participate in the WBCA All-Star Game, playing for the D2 South Team.
'He had an exceptional season,' East coach Tim Arndorfer said. 'He had a target on his back. He was the player other teams would prepare for. But he proved he was a consistent scorer.'
Green averaged a team-leading 17.9 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four steals per game, and just last week, he committed to a full scholarship to play basketball at Bemidji State University.
Dan Wandrey, whose second-place Brookfield Central team split two games with Tosa East, had to deal with Green the past few seasons.
'The two years I worked against him — he is a really great athlete — he had the biggest impact,' he said. 'He handled us. Defensively, he made a big impact on the game. You could tell the difference from last year to this year. He improved his perimeter shot, and he was more versatile offensively. Our total game plan (was to) not let him get to the rim.
'He's more of a complete player. In the bigger games, he is always their catalyst.'
Green noticed the extra attention.
'I noticed, but I didn't force the ball,' he said. 'I passed the ball, let the game come to me. Then if there was an opening, and I had a clean open shot, that's when I got hot and would take over the game.'
Green also worked on his defense in the summer.
'I put in a lot of work in AAU, repetitive drills,' he said. 'This way it was easy in the game. Against smaller guards, I had to stick with them, and I jumped out on passes.'
Green was a quiet, lead-by-example player.
'During practice, I focus,' he said. 'I figure if the other guys see me playing hard, being competitive, it makes it better.'
Arndorfer was pleased with Green's effort.
'Of all the kids I coached, he is one of the hardest working,' he said. 'He is always first or second in sprints. He stands out. He never took a day off from practice.
'He is a humble kid. I really appreciated him.'
Wauwatosa West's Alou Dillon, a 6-8 junior forward, faced the same situation that Green did during the season. Dillon made high honorable mention on the Now All-Suburban boys basketball team, which is the equivalent of second team. He was also honorable mention Division 2 All-State and first-team All-Woodland West.
Dillon was 'the guy' this season, and he didn't disappoint, improving in every statistical category. He improved his scoring from 10.2 ppg to 19.5 ppg this season, and his rebounding went from 5.3 rpg to 7.3 this season. He improved from seven 3-pointers a year ago to 44 3-pointers this season. He was only 15-28 (.536) from the free-throw line a year ago to 94-113 (.832) this season.
'He is just very poised,' Green said of his crosstown rival. 'He doesn't rush any shots; he lets the shot come to him. He is not one you could outrebound in the box. You try not let him get in there.'
West coach Chad Stelse added, 'He did this despite defenses focusing in on him and playing a lot of box-and-1 and face guarding. Alou stepped up to the challenge of replacing a lot of scoring from a year ago in a big way. He will continue to work on his game, and I look forward to even more improvement his senior season.'
Arndorfer had a second player make the Now All-Suburban Team as an honorable-mention choice, and that was Najee Stewart, a 6 -3 senior guard.
Stewart was the Red Raiders' Most Improved Player this year, and he earned second-team All-GMC honors to prove it. He averaged 12.0 ppg, right behind Green, and was a key ball handler and shooting guard.