If any two factors made each of the five Deseret News MVPs tick, it was their desire to make themselves better and their extreme distaste for losing.
West Jordan's Stephon Mills went from a less-than-average shooter as a sophomore to deadly as a senior.
Sky View's Nate Harris, a three-year starter and four-year letterman, was an offensive threat the second he stepped across half-court.
Pine View's Jeff Madsen made himself into a deadly 3-point shooter with hours and hours of practice in the gym.
South Sevier's Reggie Parsons thrived on pressure and wanted the ball in key situations.
Green River's Kalen Parsons was flat-out automatic.
They, along with Fremont center Jared Jensen, who was named the Deseret News 2001 Mr. Basketball, were all recognized by the coaches for these honors.
Each coach in the state had the chance to vote for Mr. Basketball and the MVP from their classification, and then the Deseret News selected Mr. Basketball and the MVPs based on their suggestions.
The three teams, first, second, and third, are based solely on the selections of the coaches and ties are not broken.
Coaches also voted for defensive players of the year for each classification.
Class 5A's Clearfield's Jared Moultrie, 4A's Lone Peak's Taylor Risher, 3A's Pine View's Josh Woodbury, 2A's Manti Robert Brandt and 1A's Panguitch's Bracken Englestead received that honor for their respective classifications.
5A MVP — STEPHON MILLS, West Jordan: Mills knew his weaknesses, and each year he worked on them and made himself better. He went from a mediocre defensive player and shooter to virtually unstoppable.
"It's been a long process." West Jordan coach Scott Briggs said. "He became a better shooter and a better defender and put the package together and took us to where we wanted to go."
Mills averaged 15 points, three assists and four rebounds a game for the 19-6 Jaguars, who beat Orem for the 5A State Championship.
The 2000-01 Jags were anointed as his team and he stepped up and took upon himself that responsibility.
"He never crossed the line being a team captain," Briggs said. "He motivated and made them (his teammates) work, but never to the point to offend them."
And, they looked to him.
"Anytime things broke down and we needed a big play, you could see the look in his eye," Briggs said. "I'm not sure if I'll ever find anyone that likes that moment more than he does."
4A MVP — NATE HARRIS, SKY VIEW: Harris was the big reason the Bobcats have a continuing streak of 45 straight Region 4 victories.
He is also a big reason the Bobcats finished 22-1 and 80-12 in his four years with the school from northern Cache County.
If Sky View coach Terrell Baldwin needed his help in the post, the 6-foot-6 senior would play there. If Baldwin needed an outside threat, Harris would do that, too.
Harris, a repeat first-teamer, averaged 23 points per game and nine boards and shot 65 percent from the field.
"In four years I had him, he never took a bad shot," Baldwin said. "That's a skill you just can't teach."
He was a three-year starter for Baldwin, and each year he got better and better.
"He got better everyday in practice. He got better every game," he said. "He continued to improve himself."
3A MVP — JEFF MADSEN, Pine View: "He was a team leader for us," Pine View coach John Wardenburg said. "We had a group of seniors that didn't care who got the credit. They respected Jeff. Everybody counted on Jeff to score points for us. He was willing to take on that responsibility."
He averaged 16 points a game for the 19-6 Panthers, who won their first-ever state championship in 2001. He also had 3.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 3.9 steals a game.
He buried 82 3-pointers, including 16 in four state tournament games. He shots 44 percent from the field, percent from the 3-point line and 75 percent from the foul line.
"There was never a doubt that he wouldn't work in practice. He led by example," Wardenburg said. "He's not adverse to taking criticism,, and he's an extremely coachable young man."
He is also a Sterling Scholar and Pine View's vice president.
2A MVP — REGGIE PARSONS, South Sevier: When Parsons had the ball, South Sevier coach Rhet Parsons never worried.
"I felt really comfortable with him when the ball was in his hands. I knew he would make a good decision," Rhet Parsons said. "The kids knew to look for him and counted in him to take care of the ball."
The two-time first-team selection led the team in scoring at 15 points a game and dished out five assists as the Rams captured their second straight 2A championship.
"We would have been a pretty mediocre team without him," Rhet Parsons said. He was really the only consistent outside shooter we had. We was valuable for what we needed."
1A MVP — KALEN PARSONS, Green River: His numbers spoke volumes. He averaged 26 points a game and drilled 74 3-pointers. He pulled down 8 rebounds and dished out 8 assists per game.
"He pretty much runs the show out there," Green River coach Stan Parsons said. " He does the things that need to be done at the time."
In his career he started 100 of 102 possible games and averaged 6.3 assists in those games as well as hitting 222 3-pointers. The Pirates were 86-16 in his years and they were the state champions in 2000 with a 25-1 record.
"He's not a cocky kid either," Parsons said. "A lot of times I had to push him to shoot the ball a little more."
He's a 3.8 student and is the senior class president and a two-time first-team all-state selection.