We have reached the top 5 in our countdown of Outside the Huddle’s Top 50 boys basketball players. This is No. 2 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 fourth group of honorees coming this season at the top of our Top 50 countdown.
No. 2 Connor Essegian, Central Noble
Central Noble has a bonafide Mr. Basketball candidate on their hands. And as much as we don’t like to let too much of summer successes leak into this list, Essegian’s high level of work with Indiana Elite’s top team this summer has made him stronger and, if you are on the other side of the game, scarier. Essegian has long seen success as a movement oriented shooter and helped space the floor in a fashion that has changed the game at Central Noble. His excellent off-ball movement, high basketball IQ and unselfish play have helped propel Central Noble to unchartered territory. Because of it, he proved he was one of the state’s best players and was IBCA Underclass Supreme 15 last year while leading CN to conference and conference tournament titles.
While his spacing allows him to be a high end off ball scorer, the Wisconsin commit can do a lot with the ball in his hands creating completely for himself as well. You can always expect Essegian to be a primary initiator and high-level playmaker. With the ball in his hands on the perimeter, you never know if he is going to attack and finish above the rim or pop a shot with a hand in his face. It makes him significantly more dangerous than most players statewide. He can be a space creator because he has the ball-handling, athleticism and vision to do so. He provides significant threat to the defense as he attacks with or without a screener.
Essegian averaged 24 points per game last season. He also averaged 6.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per contest.
COACH’S QUOTE ON CONNOR ESSEGIAN
“Connor has turned himself into a complete basketball player. He can obviously shoot it (probably the best shooter in the state) and score the ball. He does a good job of finding an open teammate. He rebounds at a high level. He is a very underrated defensive player. He has worked hard over the last four years to turn himself into an all around player.” – Central Noble coach John Bodey
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