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 in at the SAC as our final conference to give out Bounce’s special awards to. And with a wacky SAC, this was interesting to break down in my own mind.
*You can vote in any of these fan polls for the next 10 days, through April 15
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Dillon Duff, Snider
The only time in Bounce’s boys season ending awards that I’m not giving this to a member of the conference champions. Why? Duff was just really good in all aspects of the game this year. Snider could rely on him to step into significant roles game after game. With the season getting a premature end, the lasting image of Duff will be his corner three in front of the Snider bench that essentially wrapped up a Sectional title. That was Dillon Duff’s year: step into the big moments and make a big impression with energy and efficiency in scoring, rebounding, passing and senior leadership. Fact is fact in Bounce’s mind: Duff was the best player in the SAC this season.
HONORABLE MENTION: Naylon Thompson of Bishop Luers, Luke Goode of Homestead, Michael Eley of Snider
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Demarcus Hudson, Bishop Luers
While Luers had a lot of guys that provided real value and that is what made them click, Hudson is the leader in that category to me and we saw that in Sectional play. Could Luers have won without him? Sure. Did they in the postseason? No. Hudson had a nice defensive aggression and a length that the Knights really thrived from. He was a hard worker and really set a tone of confidence and desire to win by any means. The rest of the team had that too, but without Hudson in the lineup, there were some glaring holes. No disrespect to the rest of the Knights, they were clearly very good; it was just hard to fill Hudson’s shoes when he wasn’t there.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jalen Jackson of Carroll, Luke Goode of Homestead, Brayden Pearson of Concordia Lutheran, Qualen Pettus of Northrop, Dillon Duff of Snider, Michael Eley of Snider
Who was the most valuable to their SAC team in 2019-20?
BREAKOUT PLAYER: Grant Simmons, Homestead
Homestead had plenty of guys to play plenty of roles when the season started. But when Grant Simmons stepped in and gave them a major fourth contributor immediately, it looks some pressure off, especially during periods of shorthanded play. He averaged a team fourth-best 9.6 points and appeared in 23 games a junior. His fifth and sixth games of the season were both 20-point games in wins over New Haven and Bishop Luers. While he didn’t hit 20 points again and his production was more sporadic when other teams focused on him more, there is no doubt that his breakout play drew in that attention. He hit a solid 38 percent from deep with a team second-best 29 three pointers made.
HONORABLE MENTION: Nick Thompson of Bishop Luers, Jade Moore of Snider, Owen Shively of Bishop Dwenger, Isaiah Moore of North Side, Cam Toles of Wayne, Jalen Jackson of Carroll
Who is your pick for breakout player from the SAC?
MOST UNDERRATED: Treveon Jones, South Side
Jones falls as one of two players who did not make All-SAC First Team that I absolutely think deserved the nod. Jones averaged 17.3 points and five rebounds and took control over a South Side team that never got their feet under them after their point guard went down hurt in the Holiday Tournament and they started the season without a full lineup too. Jones was electric more often than he wasn’t and was able to score at a high pace regardless of the opponent. There clearly wasn’t enough respect put on Treveon Jones name some places, but here there is.
HONORABLE MENTION: Alec Grinsfelder of Homestead, Isaac Farnsworth of Snider, Richie Gross of Carroll, Michael Redding of Wayne, Xavier Nolan of Bishop Dwenger, Patrick Raudenbush of Homestead
Who is your pick for the most underrated player from the SAC?
COACH OF THE YEAR: Fonso White, Bishop Luers
The SAC had three different teams claim titles of some sort this season, but Luers won the big one that needed longevity. The Knights also rose to the occasion when they were picked to finish between 6th and 9th by every media outlet. To get there, they had to step up without a traditional “star player,” integrate a lead senior who didn’t play a season before due to injury and had a coach who is still – in his second season locally – is trying to figure out the ebb and flow in Fort Wayne. Luers stepped up, won when they had to and finished marquee games in the SAC that they were rarely, if ever, were predicted to win.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jeremy Rauch of Snider, Marty Beasley of Carroll, Chris Johnson of Homestead
Who is your picks for SAC Coach of the Year?
GAME OF THE YEAR: Snider versus Homestead, January 17
If for no other reason, it is for THAT SHOT. Snider had no shortage of heart stopping closing moments this season and they didn’t come out on the losing side much in those. But on this night, it was Jon Barnes Jr.’s three quarter-court heave to beat the buzzer that is arguably the most lasting single moment from prep basketball in Northeast Indiana this season. The game was a strong affair from start to finish with Snider really looking to be the aggressor after beating Homestead weeks earlier too. But the Spartans rallied back in front of their home crowd. It really looked like Snider would be heading home with a lot of what ifs when Luke Goode hit three free throws in the closing seconds to go up by two points. Then Barnes happened and the rest certainly is etched in history.
Barnes’ night wasn’t limited to that last shot. He actually hit 5-of-8 three pointers on the night and proved an important point about Snider this season: senior leadership, experience and confidence matter.
HONORABLE MENTION: 12/28 Snider over Homestead 65-63; 1/31 Snider over Carroll 56-55; 2/14 Bishop Luers over Snider 79-74; 3/7 Snider over Northrop 59-56; 1/17 Bishop Luers over Carroll 61-50; 1/31 Northrop over Homestead 66-64; 1/31 Bishop Luers over Wayne 68-65
What is your pick for SAC game of the year in 2019-20?
WHO WINS THE SAC IN 2021?: Homestead
While there could be as many as six teams in conference contention next season, Homestead is going to head to the top of the list. Their returning group is long and they shoot well. Luke Goode is arguably going to be the best player in the conference, Grant Simmons had a breakout start to the year and Andrew Leeper had a breakout end to the season. Throw in more minutes for guys like Quinn Harmon and you are going to have a still steady and controlled Spartan team. Lets not forget, for a “down year,” they stayed in the conference title race until the very end and beat the SAC champs twice, the NE8 champs and Blackhawk Christian this season. If that’s a down year, then it shows Homestead has consistency.
Who do you think wins the SAC in 2021?
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