PLAIN CITY, Weber County — On the west side of the gymnasium at Fremont High School, high above the hardwood floor, hang two banners. One is dedicated to Jared Jensen, the 2001 Deseret News Mr. Basketball award recipient. The other is in recognition of Shelbee Molen, the 2014 Deseret News Ms. Basketball award winner.
On the first day of practice in the summer, ahead of the recently concluded 2019-20 season, Fremont head coach Corey Melaney grabbed senior guard Dallin Hall and walked him over to those banners.
From the moment Hall stepped foot on campus as a freshman, Melaney knew he was different.
“It is a huge honor to me, because of all the guys before me that have won this award. You see the college careers they’ve had and you know the type of players they are. For me to be put into that category is a huge honor.” — Dallin Hall
“It was pretty evident, pretty clear that he was the guy,” he said.
After Hall’s junior season, Melaney was convinced that Hall was the best prep basketball player in Utah.
“There are a lot of great players, but by the end of his junior year, it was like ‘OK, this kid is the best player in the state,’” Melaney said.
With Hall heading into his final high school season, Melaney believed it was about time the rest of the state understood that as well.
“I said ‘Hey, we need to put another banner up there,’” said Melaney.
Hall looked at the banners, then his coach and replied “Yeah, that’d be cool.”
His response belied just how much he really wanted it.
The future BYU Cougar is the most “disciplined, dedicated and smartest basketball player” Melaney has ever coached, and competitive to boot.
He didn’t just want to be Mr. Basketball. He wanted to win a state championship. He wanted it all.
“He told me ‘I want a state championship,’” Melaney said. “I said ‘Yeah, me too.’”
Fremont won that state championship, when the Silverwolves defeated the Davis Darts 55-52 in the 6A state title game.
And now Hall will get a banner up on the wall with his name on it, as he is the Deseret News’ 2020 Mr. Basketball.
“It is a huge honor to me,” Hall said, “because of all the guys before me that have won this award. You see the college careers they’ve had and you know the type of players they are. For me to be put into that category is a huge honor.”
And well deserved. Hall led Fremont to a 23-3 record overall record, averaging teamhighs in points per game (22.6), assists (7.1), rebounds (7.62) and steals (1.9), all as the Silverwolves’ point guard.
He set a new school record for points in a game, with 43 in a win over Bingham, and scored 42 points later in the season against Layton. He finished second in scoring average in the 6A classification, though his 588 points total were the most scored by any player. His three made 3-pointers a game were the third-most in 6A, his rebounds seventh-best.
“He is such a tough cover, such a tough and intelligent player,” said Melaney. “He was just impossible to guard. He led us in assists and points. We could rely so much on him and we trusted him.”
The numbers speak for themselves, but what truly set Hall apart was his unselfishness. His teammates always came first.
“He genuinely cared about every single kid, whether he dressed for varsity or was a kid on the sophomore team,” said Melaney. “You’d hear him, behind the bench, cheering in the sophomore and JV games. He’d be there talking to kids, helping them out. When your best player is like that, it just makes the team go. It makes everyone comfortable and just better.”
That attitude comes naturally to Hall. It’s why the success of his teammates mattered more to him than his own.
“Honestly I love seeing my teammates score,” he said. “I am a great passer, but I think the reason I do it so well and so often is I love to see my teammates succeed. I love that feeling when I kick it out to those guys and they hit.”
“That is just him,” Melaney explained. “He gets more excited when his teammates score, when they do something, than when he does. It is not fake. It is genuine. He cares about other people and helping them.”
Early in his time at Fremont, Hall’s unselfishness was somewhat detrimental to the success of the team.
“Sometimes, we’d find ourselves in games with teams that we probably shouldn’t have been,” said Melaney. “We had to have some talks with him, and told him to be aggressive early.”
Hall was a quick study, though, and come his senior season he had found a nearly perfect balance. A pair of postseason contests provide the best example of that.
In the 6A quarterfinals against West Jordan, Hall scored only two points. He handed out eight assists, however, and Fremont won by 23 points. The very next game, Hall went off for 38 points against Layton, all of which were needed in the Silverwolves’ hard-fought semifinal victory, that included his now viral dunk.
“How does that happen? Who does that?,” said Melaney. “Normally, a kid his age would take selfish shots, but that isn’t him. Against West Jordan what we were doing was working and he was so content with getting his teammates involved and dishing out assists. And then the next game he scored 38. I watched it thinking, ‘How do you defend this kid?’”
In truth, few, if any teams could.
After he serves a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — he was called to the Philippines — Hall will take his talents to Provo. If his high school career is any indication, success will go with him.
“Nothing will stand in his way” said Melaney. “If you surround him with other Division I talent, some of the best players in the country — lights-out shooters — he will have a chance to do things he hasn’t done before. I think he is going to do great.”