Prairie Heights’ jumps into Northeast Corner Conference contention have come due to a variety of reasons. But when you first look down on the court when the Panthers are playing, you would assume the lead of that is Elijah Malone and for good reason.
At 6-foot-9 and 253 pounds, Malone is a sight to behold but what makes his case as a player to react to even stronger is his ability to mix up how he plays the game. You can call Malone both smooth and strong given on how he needs to be playing with the pace of a game. He has a super soft touch at the rim and the interior game seems to flow to smoothly through his mind and hands. Yet, when he needs to ramp up the aggression, he can flip that switch with absolutely no trouble. When teams double team him low – which happens quite a bit – Malone is perfectly comfortable and savvy in power dribbling out to create space, where he can spin back around defenders and take the ball to the basket strong.
A season ago, Malone was second on the Panthers team with 13.5 points per game, but led them in rebounds with 9.8 and blocks with 3.3 per game. He hit 68 percent of his shots last season and his two biggest scoring games were two of his best shooting games; 28 points against Churubusco on 13-of-15 (87%) shooting and 29 points against DeKalb on 12-of-16 (75%) shooting. He registered 12 double doubles with points and rebounding and actually blocked eight shots twice, in back to back games against Woodlan and Fremont. There are not a lot of true centers in the area this year and even fewer that you can call dominant in what they do; Malone is both and is going to be a chore to stop at the rim in 2019-2020.