We have reached the top 5 in our countdown of Outside the Huddle’s Top 50 boys basketball player countdown. This is No. 3 in our annual preseason crowning of the top 5 players in northeast Indiana that we call the ‘First Five;’ our highest individual preseason honor.
The ‘First Five’ was started in 2018, following in the 35-plus year tradition of naming the top five area basketball players, started by a now defunct prep sports department in Fort Wayne. It is our honor to pick up and carry on that tradition with the ‘First Five,’ including our third group of honorees coming this season at the top of our Top 50 countdown.
No. 3 – Connor Essegian, Central Noble
It didn’t take long in his high school career for the entire area to not just know who Essegian was, but to praise his game. He scored 35 points in a game early in his freshman season and has never taken his foot off the gas of being one the area’s most feared and intelligent scorers. A lights out shooter, Essegian has been able to dagger the hopes of many teams, including a 7-of-11 performance from deep in last season’s NECC tournament championship game. Essegian also set a program record with a game of 10 three pointers made last season. If all else fails him, Essegian can flat out score as well as anyone in Northeast Indiana. Essegian became Noble County’s best ever single season scorer in 2019-20 as a sophomore. He also surpassed 1,000 points for his career and at his sophomore scoring rate (24 ppg), it should only take Essegian eight games to become the school’s best scorer of all time.
Essegian enters his junior season after an IBCA Underclass All-State nod, but his tireless work ethic continues to push him forward. The focus on Essegian will always be his scoring, but that too has diversified over his high school career. He can really do anything you ask of him and do it well, averaging 7.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game last season as well. Essegian’s pace is difficult to keep up with, he never stops moving on or off ball and his vision allows him to slip into tight spots to make plays on both ends of the floor. He continues to add more muscle and strength to his game, allowing him be a bit more of a bully when he wants to make a point by stripping a ball or finishing hard at the rim.
COACH’S QUOTE ON CONNOR ESSEGIAN
“Connor is a skilled basketball player and one of the most competitive players I have coached. Connor is driven and has a tireless work ethic. He continues to improve and add different skills to his game. He has turned himself into a well rounded player.” – Central Noble coach John Bodey
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