Bounce is wrapping up the four week Summit Summer League but doing things a bit different this week than I have in the past. Guess that is why it took me a couple of days to get to August 31’s games and the end of this first annual league.
So instead of just a breakdown of the fourth week, Bounce is naming some awards for the league based on my own personal opinion. The league itself didn’t have a champion or award winners, outside of the competitions where Monte Smith won the Slam Dunk Contest, Isaac Smith won the Free Throw Contest and Jaxson Gould took home the 3-Point and 1-on-1 Contests.
But I am here to pick it up and name my own award winners. So, for full disclosure, these awards are all of my own opinion and not necessarily those of the league’s operators.
Bounce has his own opinions and I stick to them fiercely.
Monte Smith, Wayne
This is a no brainer no matter what week you watched or if you were able to, like me, watch all four weeks of the Summit Summer League. Monte Smith did everything and went from a guy we knew was solid to one that has to be one of the most watched players heading into this season with Wayne.
Smith was a revelation 95 percent of the time in the month of August and that isn’t easy to do when you are considering how much basketball he had already played in the last eight months with the Generals and on the summer circuit. From the time he walked into the gym on week one alongside Dalman Alexander, both dressed like they were headed to the NBA Draft green room, Smith had zero interest in blending in during the Summit Summer League.
Every week, almost every game, he showed something different. He shot the ball well, he got to the rim, he played above the rim, he blocked shots he had no business blocking and he created for other teammates as he got them involved. Monte Smith did everything you want in a player during the course of August and he had fun doing it.
He was the best player in the gym overall, and he was certainly the most valuable. Those who know Bounce know I look at those two things differently. But games and teams were different in flow, pace and value when Smith was on the court, so he is certainly my MVP from the Summit Summer League.
BEST BOUNCE BACK
Wyatt Weaver, Homestead
Weaver was one I never mentioned individually but he really does deserve to be noted. Weaver played well week one, very well, and would have probably been next to be mentioned if I added on. I didn’t and weeks two and three saw him play ok, but underwhelming compared to his strong first week. By the end of things on Wednesday though, Weaver had worked all of the way back. In my opinion, he was one of the top 5-6 guys on the court on August 31. Weaver was physical in the post, worked his post moves well and created openings for himself in and around the basket.
Isaac Smith, Blackhawk Christian
Smith can absolutely go and when he hits, like he did in Week 4, he was able to prove how important he is in game. Sure, the Summit Summer League lended itself to pretty even playing time, but Smith maximized that. During the league, Smith proved that he could really stand out because of that shooting. Smith ended up winning the closing night’s free throw competition, further showing how much of a pure shooting threat he is.
WEEK 4 EYE OPENER
Kaedyn Quintanilla, Norwell
From week one to week three, I was able to pinpoint some breakout players, but with the column taking a turn this week, I still want to point out someone who certainly drew awareness in the final week of the league. Quintanilla showed greater aggression on both ends of the court. He moved well defensively and took an assertive approach on offense. Quintanilla played decently the first three weeks but he really stood out in the final week of play in the Summit Summer League.
NOW YOU KNOW THE NAME
Preston McCann, Mississinewa and Gavin Hoeppner, Norwell
This was the most important area of the Summit Summer League in my opinion. I think that the league was very important in raising the stock of everyone who participated in one way or another. But at the end of the day, what could be more important than going from a virtual unknown to not just a breakout player, but one of the best players in the entire league?
I’ll start with Hoeppner, because there can be an argument that behind Monte Smith, Hoeppner was the second best overall player in this league. His shooting ability put him on par with anyone in the league. Sure, it was Jaxson Gould who won the three point contest and Isaac Smith that won the free throw contest. But, Hoeppner proved over his eight games that he could outshoot anyone in the gym with wild range. Norwell is deep, but if Hoeppner is like this come the season, they should be deeper with him in the rotation.
McCann stood out multiple times, including weeks one and three. During those weeks, he was crazy good and made plays everywhere he went. Even when McCann wasn’t one of the best players in the gym, he was still very good. Northeast Indiana doesn’t get a lot of looks at Mississinewa, but now they know about McCann when they do. The first one: November 26 when the Indians travel to Huntington North.
OTH’S PICK: ALL-LEAGUE TEAM
Monte Smith, Wayne: You know how I feel about Smith. He comes out of this league as the guy from this group of 30 that I most look forward to seeing when the school season comes around.
Jaxson Gould, Warsaw: The winner of the league’s three point and one on one competitions, Gould also made game changing and winning moments in the three weeks he participated.
Gavin Hoeppner, Norwell: Hoeppner is another one I already talked about this week. But add to this that as great of a shooter as he is, Hoeppner also almost won the one on one competition. He clearly is a diverse talent that should be recognized.
Dalman Alexander, Northrop: At his peak, Alexander showed that he can be physically and athletically dominant playing above the rim. Alexander had fun and took this league at face value and had fun performing. That was a lot of fun to watch and equally effective.
Preston McCann, Mississinewa: I loved McCann’s motor throughout the four weeks. He didn’t have a second speed on either end of the court as he was always active trying to change the game.
Hunter Kline, East Noble: Arguably the most consistent guy outside of Smith in this league during the three weeks he played. Kline was just a tough interior presence who wasn’t afraid to go at it with other bigs. He had a couple of big moments but he was always consistently strong.
Nolan Cumberland, Tippecanoe Valley: If you read Bounce’s stuff you know that I love a pure mid range shooter. Cumberland was so smooth pulling up in transition, picking his spots and burying tough shots in the three weeks he played.
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