We wrap up the 2019-2020 boys basketball season officially with the naming of our second annual Outside the Huddle All-Area team.
For our selections, we narrow down candidates to the top 16 players as we see them in the area. No second teams, no honorable mentions, just one group of who the editors of Outside the Huddle felt to be the best of the best in the 2019-2020 season.
In order by grade, here are this year’s honorees:
DILLON DUFF, SNIDER, Sr.
Duff was part of big senior class at Snider and led the Panthers to a second straight SAC Tournament finals appearance and then concluded his high school career with a Class 4A Sectional title with a closing seconds three pointer that pushed the Panthers ahead of Northrop. Duff averaged 17.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game during his senior season while passing 1,000 career points. Duff was named All-SAC First Team, to Hoosier Basketball Magazine’s Top 100 Seniors and was honored by the IBCA as Senior Large School All-State and Academic All-State First Team. Duff was a member of Outside the Huddle’s 2019-2020 preseason First Five and this is his second consecutive OTH All-Area selection. He will play college basketball at Rose-Hulman.
WILL GEIGER, NORWELL, Sr.
Norwell was Outside the Huddle’s top ranked team in the area during the second half of the season, finishing at 22-2 with Geiger at the top of their lineup. The farm strong senior led the Knights to an undefeated NE8 title and a Class 3A Sectional title before the season was halted. Geiger was one of four All-Area players to average a double-double this season with 19 points and 11.7 rebounds per game; he also added two assists and 1.3 steals per contest. He became Norwell’s all-time leading rebounder and is second in school history points scored. Geiger was named First Team All-NE8, to Hoosier Basketball Magazine’s Top 100 Seniors and was honored by the IBCA as Senior Large School All-State. Geiger was a member of Outside the Huddle’s 2019-2020 preseason First Five and this is his second consecutive OTH All-Area selection. He will play college basketball at Grace College.
DEMARCUS HUDSON, BISHOP LUERS, Sr.
Hudson’s return from injury was a major catalyst in Bishop Luers completing a quick, two-year turnaround from a one-win program. Hudson helped lead the Knights to an unexpected SAC title, beating Snider and Carroll along the way to close out the conference crown. Hudson averaged 15.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game before ending his season prematurely in injury. Hudson was named First Team All-SAC, to Hoosier Basketball Magazine’s Top 100 Seniors and was honored by the IBCA as Senior All-State Honorable Mention. He is among the first Bishop Luers All-Area players since 2017.
DONOVYNN LEWIS, NEW HAVEN, Sr.
Lewis cultivated his game into his senior season as not only a leader but as a versatile scoring threat. New Haven fell short in the NE8, losing just one conference game and finishing second in the conference but they rallied through the postseason, winning a Class 4A Sectional title in their first year reclassified up into the class. Lewis averaged 15.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and one steal per game while hitting 45 percent of his shots. Lewis was named First Team All-NE8, to Hoosier Basketball Magazine’s Top 100 Seniors and was honored by the IBCA as Senior All-State Honorable Mention. He is the first New Haven All-Area selection since 2018.
MITCHELL WILSON, COLUMBIA CITY, Sr.
Wilson became Columbia City’s most prominent scorer ever during his senior season. The Eagle guard lit up Donald S. Weeks Gymnasium in the facility’s final season and broke a 60 year old scoring record held by Bill Schwarz. While Columbia City went title less this season, Wilson was one of just a handful of area players to break a 20-plus point scoring average. Wilson finished the season averaging 21.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Wilson was named First Team All-NE8, to Hoosier Basketball Magazine’s Top 100 Seniors and was honored by the IBCA as Senior All-State Honorable Mention. Wilson is the first All-Area selection for Columbia City since 2016 and will play college basketball at Huntington University.
CHARLIE YODER, WESTVIEW, Sr.
If there was a record to be broken this season, Yoder broke it in his final season as a Warrior. During this season, he became the school’s single game scoring leader (52), single season scoring leader (734) and all-time scoring leader (2,163) while also being the county’s all-time leading scorer and the 25th best scorer in the history of Indiana. Westview won a share of the NECC regular season title and Yoder became the school’s first ever Indiana All-Star. As a senior, Yoder averaged an area best 27.3 points per game while adding 11 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 3.3 steals per contest among several triple double outings. Wilson was named First Team All-NECC, to Hoosier Basketball Magazine’s Top 100 Seniors and was honored by the IBCA as All-State ‘Supreme 15’ as one of the top 15 players in the senior class state wide. Yoder was a member of Outside the Huddle’s preseason First Five and this is his second consecutive OTH All-Area selection.
ZANE BURKE, BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN, Jr.
At 23-3, Blackhawk Christian was on a road to perhaps repeat as State champions before the season abruptly ended, this time in Class 2A. During that time, Burke elevated himself to a true top 2 option for the Braves, improving on his already impressive shooting. Burke averaged 18 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 51.8 percent from the field. Burke was honored by the IBCA as Underclass All-State Honorable Mention. This is his second consecutive season named to the OTH All-Area team.
BLAKE DAVISON, LEO, Jr.
Can Blake Davison dunk? He sure can, proving that and many other things as he led Leo to their first Sectional title since 2002, including a first round upset of SAC champion Bishop Luers. Davison passed 1,000 career points in the Sectional final. The Lions finished third in the NE8, but Davison was always among the top players in the conference, finishing the season averaging 17.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.3 steals per contest and hit a team high 42 three pointers. Davison was an All-NE8 First Team selection and was honored by the IBCA as Underclass All-State Honorable Mention. He is the first Leo played named All-Area since 2018 when brother Jeremy was an All-Area pick; their other brother, Adam, was All-Area in 2015.
MICHAEL ELEY, SNIDER, Jr.
In helping lead Snider to a Class 4A Sectional title, Eley’s clutch gene was in full effect many games. While Snider fell short in the SAC and SAC Holiday Tournament, they were the only team from the conference to win a postseason title. Along the way, Eley was one of a handful of All-Area players to average over 20 points per game, coming in at a career best 21.2 points per contest. He also averaged six rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.8 steals per game while passing the 1,000 point scoring mark for his career. His scoring and shooting prowess gained state wide attention as he was named an Indiana Junior All-Star. Eley was also named All-SAC First Team and recognized by the IBCA as Underclass Large School All-State.
CALEB FURST, BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN, Jr.
The second half of Furst’s season was one for the record books, leading him to be named a core Indiana Junior All-Star as Blackhawk Christian was on a possible path to repeating as a state champion. He drew big time recruiting interest to Fort Wayne before committing to Purdue on Sectional week. Furst was one of a handful of All-Area players to score 20-plus points per game and one of four players to average a double-double in the area this season. His final numbers per game were 21.7 points, 14.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists while hitting 66.8 percent of his shots from the field and 84.5 percent of his free throws, both team highs. Furst also passed the 1,000 point scoring mark for his career. He was named Underclass All-State ‘Supreme 15’ by the IBCA. Furst was a member of Outside the Huddle’s 2019-2020 preseason First Five and this is his second consecutive OTH All-Area selection.
LUKE GOODE, HOMESTEAD, Jr.
Goode upped his recruiting profile as a junior, drawing offers from many major programs on route to being named an Indiana Junior All-Star. The dual sport star led Homestead to a solid season, and although title less, they held two wins over the SAC champion, the lone area victory over the NE8 champion and also a win over Blackhawk Christian. Along the way, Goode averaged 17.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Goode was named All-SAC First Team and was named Underclass All-State ‘Supreme 15’ by the IBCA. Goode was a member of Outside the Huddle’s 2019-2020 preseason First Five and this is his second consecutive OTH All-Area selection.
LANDEN JORDAN, CHURUBUSCO, Jr.
Was he overlooked by some this season? It would have been hard in our eyes. Jordan helped emphatically lead Churubusco to a share of the NECC regular season title as well as their second ever Class 2A Sectional title before the season was halted. Churubusco was 15-2 with Jordan in the lineup after his January debut. During those 17 games, the Eagle post went on to average one of only four area double doubles with 15.6 points and 12.1 rebounds per game; he also averaged 1.4 assists and 2.5 blocks per contest. Ultimately, Jordan was named All-NECC Honorable Mention but was named IBCA Underclass Small School All-State. He is one of the first Eagles named All-Area since 2017.
HAYDEN NERN, BLUFFTON, Jr.
Nern came from a small role as a sophomore to lead the ACAC in scoring at 19 points per game as a junior. Nern helped lead Bluffton to an undefeated ACAC regular season in capturing the conference title and asserting himself as one of the best dual sport (football/basketball) athletes in the area. Nern averaged a 8.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game to go with his 19 points per contest. He posted a co-career high 26 points in a January 11 win over Woodlan that was big in winning the conference. Nern was named All-ACAC First Team and recognized by the IBCA as Underclass All-State Honorable Mention. He is the first Bluffton player named All-Area since 2008.
JACKSON PAUL, CHURUBUSCO, Jr.
With the ball in his hands, Paul made a lot of things happen for Churubusco in a season where they shared the NECC regular season title and captured their first Sectional title since 2017 and second of all-time. Paul averaged a team high 19 points per game to fo with 5.3 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game, pushing a physical pace for the Eagles and reaching the 1,000 career point mark. Paul was named All-NECC First Team and named Underclass All-State Honorable Mention by the IBCA. Paul is one of the first Churubusco players named All-Area since older brother Jalen in 2017.
NAYLON THOMPSON, BISHOP LUERS, Jr.
Thompson reached a full potential as a junior by being the leading scorer for a surprise SAC champion team. His 24 point outing in what was essentially a conference clinching win over Snider put him officially on everyone’s map of top area players. Thompson led Bishop Luers in points (16), rebounds (6.4) and steals (2.5) per game while also averaging a team second best 2.4 assists per contest. Thompson was named All-SAC First Team and was recognized by the IBCA as Underclass All-State Honorable Mention. Thompson is among the first Bishop Luers players named All-Area since 2017.
CONNOR ESSEGIAN, CENTRAL NOBLE, So.
Essegian became the most prolific single season scorer in Noble County history with 647 points for NECC contender Central Noble. He helped lead Central Noble to a NECC Tournament title and the best record in program history while averaging 24 points (the area’s second highest total), with 7.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game. Essegian became the fastest player in Noble County history to reach 1,000 career points and is already the 4th best scorer in Central Noble history (trailing first place by just 171 points). During the season, Essegian also broke a school record for most three pointer made in a gamer with 10. Essegian was All-NECC First Team and recognized by the IBCA as Underclass Small School All-State. He is the first Central Noble player in our lineage to ever be named All-Area.