With some unrivaled free time to look back at the prep hoops season gone by, Bounce is now going to break down his own awards for the boys side of things.
ICYMI, I have already given out my own awards for the girls side, met with a FAN VOTE as well:
All this week, Bounce will be giving out some awards for each conference in Northeast Indiana as well as area teams we cover not in those four major conferences, let you get some voting in, and what about one more prediction?
We will break down these conferences and players this week and then on April 15 & 16, we wrap up boys hoops season with our All-Area team and Player of the Year. Today we look at these teams that we cover that aren’t in one of the four major conferences.
*You can vote in any of these fan polls for the next 10 days, through April 11
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Caleb Furst, Blackhawk Christian
Is this the easiest pick to ever make? The Purdue commit was on one of the best runs of his career when the season was ended prematurely. To say that Furst was a matchup problem down low is about the biggest understatement ever. Furst was dominant any time that he wanted to be and his game continued to grow by leaps and bounds. There is no doubt, after his Junior All-Star season, that Furst is an early frontrunner to be Mr. Basketball in the state of Indiana next season.
HONORABLE MENTION: Caedmon Bontrager of Lakewood Park, Zane Burke of Blackhawk Christian, Brett Sickafoose of Whitko, Will Shank of Canterbury
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Caedmon Bontrager, Lakewood Park
Despite and near .500 overall record, Lakewood Park certainly drew attention to themselves with their upbeat style and pace. At the forefront of both that and Lakewood Park’s confidence was Bontrager and who question the value of a 6-foot-8 player on a rebuilding program? Bontrager provided significant value to the growth of this program with his shear athleticism taking control around the rim and being a game changer. As we have pointed out many times at OTH, we look at MVP and Best Player as two different things with MVP being true VALUE and there is no doubt that Bontrager provided exponential value to the Panthers.
HONORABLE MENTION: Caleb Furst of Blackhawk Christian, Drake Lewis of Whitko, Will Shank of Canterbury, Weston Hamby of Manchester
Who was the most valuable to their team in 2019-20?
BREAKOUT PLAYER: Callan Wood of Blackhawk Christian
There were clearly holes in the Blackhawk Christian lineup that needed to be filled coming into the season so we had to ask who would step up. And Callan Wood immediately answered some of those questions with his sometimes emotionless grit and determination defensively. He then when on to get more and more comfortable inside the flow of the offense and becoming yet another dangerous jump shooter in this lineup. All of the sudden, the Braves go into next season with another confirmed threat in Wood, a guy many didn’t know about before the 2019-20 season began.
HONORABLE MENTION: Chris Diwis of Canterbury, Carter Harman of Lakewood Park, Max Carter of Manchester
Who is your pick for breakout player from the independents?
MOST UNDERRATED: Holidey Stephenson of Canterbury
Credit in Canterbury’s season went, in a large part, to top scorers Will Shank and Noah Drapala, but it was senior Holidey Stephenson who made have made the biggest strides for the Cavaliers in a season that turned out significantly more strong than once expected. Stephenson was able to morph into whatever Canterbury needed. He was a quality ball handler and distributor, which was expected but then also was able to score and rebound at a comfortable rate. Stephenson was certainly one of the most underrated players in the entire area.
HONORABLE MENTION: Callan Wood of Blackhawk Christian, Josh Pike of Lakewood Park, William Rickerd of Whitko, Thane Creager of Manchester, Luke Adamiec of Warsaw
Who is your pick for the most underrated player from the independents?
COACH OF THE YEAR: Marc Davidson, Blackhawk Christian
Like with Caleb Furst as the Player of the Year, this is a no brainer. Davidson took a team that won a state title last season, then lost the majority of their lineup and made them contenders for the state title again, this year at a higher class. Davidson has consistently made the Braves one of, if not the best, team in the area year after year. He knows how to move his pieces well and develop his younger players as seen by their enhanced contributions later in the season.
HONORABLE MENTION: Steve Oberlin of Lakewood Park, Eli Henson of Whitko, Rob Westfall of Canterbury
Who is your picks for Independent Coach of the Year?
GAME OF THE YEAR: Whitko vs. Lakewood Park, February 8
This one was an absolute classic and it is hard for Bounce to not consider this the game of the year period, regardless of gender, class or conference. As part of Basketball Day Indiana, this game was full of rallies, frantic pace and sharpshooting. Whitko looked like they had the game wrapped up before Lakewood Park’s TJ Faur cut to the basket like the sea had parted for a layup to force overtime. In the extra session, Josh Pike’s free throw gave the Panthers the lead before Whitko came down and William Ricked’s shovel shot at the buzzer gave the Wildcats the win.
HONORABLE MENTION: 11/27 Whitko over Columbia City, 70-65; 2/28 Lakewood Park over Adams Central 65-63; 1/31 Manchester over Tippecanoe Valley 71-66 in 2OT; 3/3 Canterbury over Manchester 58-56; 12/28 Blackhawk Christian over Columbus North 62-59; 1/18 Blackhawk Christian over Bishop Luers 67-63
What is your pick for Independent game of the year in 2019-20?
These opinions represent those of Bounce and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Bounce on Twitter at Bounce_OTH