BOUNCE: Season awards for the NECC boys

bounceinset_21With 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:

Bounce Awards Girls Hoops FAN VOTE winners

BOUNCE: Season awards for the SAC girls

BOUNCE: Season awards for the NE8 girls

BOUNCE: Season awards for the ACAC girls

BOUNCE: Season awards for the NECC girls

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 in at a surging hotbed for basketball this season: the NECC, where the race at the top in the tournament and the regular season was so razor close.

*You can vote in any of these fan polls for the next 10 days, through April 12

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Charlie Yoder, Westview

Numbers don’t lie and there were very few triple double threats in the area this season. Yoder is one of the very few that was that threat and he also turned it into multiple triple doubles. Yoder was a workhorse that led the Warriors to share of the NECC title and allowed him to break just about every records in the school and county that he could. There was a lot of individual talent in the NECC this season, but Yoder and his area high 27.3 points per game stood out most.

HONORABLE MENTION: Connor Essegian of Central Noble, Jackson Paul of Churubusco, Landen Jordan of Churubusco, Mike Perkins of Prairie Heights

Churubusco’s Landen Jordan calls for the ball during a January 31 game against Central Noble.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Landen Jordan, Churubusco

There are a lot of ways you could go here with who provided the most value to their team this year in the NECC and none of them would be wrong. But I go with Jordan here, in part for this eye popping stat: he joined a 2-4 team in January and that team then went 15-2 with him in the lineup, shared the conference title and won a Sectional. There just were not teams that could hinder, slow or especially stop a Busco team with a focused Jordan present on the interior. As odd as it is, not every 6-foot-9 player is a game changer, but Jordan absolutely was.

HONORABLE MENTION: Charlie Yoder of Westview, Elijah Malone of Prairie Heights, Dyer Ball of Angola, Brady Bontrager of Lakeland, Connor Essegian of Central Noble, Jayden Broadnax of Garrett

Who was the most valuable to their NECC team in 2019-20?


BREAKOUT PLAYER: Gabe Trevino, Eastside

The Blazers finished in the bottom third of a tough NECC in the midst of a rebuild. Trevino made that rebuild a little easier, helping push Eastside to a 9-14 overall record. The sophomore was All-NECC First Team and IBCA All-State Honorable Mention. Trevino averaged just over 12 points and seven rebounds per game but certainly made an instant impression and quickly had other teams game planning for his high energy approach.

HONORABLE MENTION: Myles Smith of Central Noble, Chase Bachelor of Prairie Heights, Brady Yoder of Westview, Austin Cripe of West Noble

Who is your pick for breakout player from the NECC?


MOST UNDERRATED: Sawyer Yoder, Central Noble

But how can you underrate Sawyer Yoder, who averaged 15.9 points per game and was a walking bucket when he was in the zone? When Connor Essegian is in the lineup too. Opposing coaches will say this clearly: Yoder was always a MAJOR point of focus in the defensive scheme. Yet, in general in the entire area, Yoder wasn’t given nearly enough attention for his leadership, work ethic and ever improving offense that allowed him to score from all three levels (with the occasional dunk even). The NECC knew, but the rest of the area should too.

HONORABLE MENTION: Hunter Perlich of Churubusco, Drew Litwiller of Westview, Nolin Sharick of Fairfield, Josh Gross of West Noble, Luke McClure of Churubusco, Brandon Christlieb of Prairie Heights

Who is your pick for the most underrated player from the NECC?


Central Noble’s Sawyer Yoder makes a pass during a January 31 game at Churubusco.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Chris Paul, Churubusco

The Eagles were built for this season and they made the best of it. Despite a slow, shorthanded start, they really flew down the stretch of the season scoring 81.2 points per game in their last ten where they went 10-0. Yes, they shared the NECC title but they beat the team they shared the title with two different times and also held two wins over conference tournament champion Central Noble. The Eagles accomplished everything they could have asked for in a Pandemic-shortened season. There is even a clear argument to be made that, under different circumstances with a full roster early in the season and if just a couple of things happen different in a pair of January losses, this team was actually closer than you think to being undefeated. And that was quite a work of art by the Eagles AND their coach.

HONORABLE MENTION: John Bodey of Central Noble, Rob Yoder of Westview, Tony Everidge of Prairie Heights

Who is your picks for NECC Coach of the Year?


GAME OF THE YEAR: Churubusco vs. Central Noble, NECC Tournament Semi final, January 17

This one was packed with emotion. These two rivals had an absolute slug fest to try and get to the tournament final. Central Noble won this one and then that title, but this game was an instant classic. The crowd was rowdy, there was so much crazy raw emotion in the building and it spilled onto the court. Connor Essegian scored 33 point and pulled down 17 rebounds for the Cougars in the win. Central Noble jumped up 14-5 but Churubusco surged and surged with Central Noble not converting much from the floor in the fourth quarter. Yet, they held out and got the win. For a game where the score wasn’t close much more than it was, this one certainly was always in question.

HONORABLE MENTION: 12/6 Churubusco over Westview 56-50; 1/17 Prairie Heights over Westview 47-46 in OT; 3/3 Westview over Prairie Heights 70-54; 1/31 Fairfield over West Noble 50-49 in 2OT; 1/10 Angola over Prairie Heights 33-28; 1/18 Central Noble over Prairie Heights 76-70 

What is your pick for NECC game of the year in 2019-20?


WHO WINS THE NECC IN 2021?: Central Noble

While the conference won’t be as much of a toss up in 2021 – or, I could be wrong – Central Noble is the early frontrunner in my mind. First, they don’t take AS BIG of a hit with graduation as the other top 4 teams from this season. Second, Connor Essegian and Sawyer Yoder are as lethal of a pair as there is. Expect Churubusco to be right there again too, but I am going to give the Cougars the edge as of April. I think we can expect those two teams to go at it three times once again next season and while I don’t think anyone sweeps that series, I am giving the edge to a Central Noble team that will be eager to prove themselves and finally complete a rise to the top of the NECC.

Who do you think wins the NECC in 2021?


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

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