Outside the Huddle and Bounce are counting down who it feels are the top 50 individual boys basketball players in northeast Indiana heading into the 2022-23 season.
Today, we unveil five of the best in the area at positions No. 10-6.
No. 10: Jackson McGee, Leo
McGee was a steady presence for most of Leo’s season as they tried to high maintain a presence both in the NE8 and Class 3A. While Leo didn’t need to lean on him a lot of the season, once they did he shined. Down the stretch of the regular season and into the early postseason stages, it is fair to say that McGee was the best Lion on the court a lot. His shooting is top tier and when he gets rolling, there are few that can stop him. Look no further than last springs semi state game when he was a major catalyst in Leo competing in that game. McGee only averaged seven points per game, along with 2.1 rebounds but if you watch the last third of the season, you will see why McGee’s offense is so special. He is a true student of the game and his mind is always clearly thinking, a good blend of reactionary and by the book.
COACH’S QUOTE ON JACKSON MCGEE
“Jackson is a very hard worker, who doesn’t take a play or rep off. He’s a very good shooter and has done a good job in the weight room getting himself stronger. Jackson was a key contributor last year but will need to step into a much larger role as a player and leader this year.” – Leo coach Cary Cogdell
No. 9: Omarion Washington, South Side
Omarion Washington was, without a doubt, the best breakout player in the SAC last year. He went from a guy on a scouting report to “the guy to stop” anytime you played South Side. Washington averaged 17.4 points and 3.6 rebounds per game for the Archers last season. Along the way, he sniped his way to 43 three point makes and also shot 56 percent inside the arc. Washington is versatile off-ball threat, with the ability to shoot off movement or from standstill positions. He is an excellent transition player based on speed and decision making. Defensively, Washington was great at getting into passing lanes and altering games. He registered 27 deflections during the season for South Side.
No. 8: Andrew Hedrick, Columbia City
Hedrick became one of the most proficient scorers in the NE8 last season. His body of work really has come to speak for itself as not only was Hedrick able to put up several very big scoring games, his consistency has Columbia City again in the NE8 contender talks. Hedrick has been patient and wise beyond his years for a while for the Eagles and is expected to be in for a huge season. Hedrick has become a favorite one area coaches because of his relentless motor and his ability to find success against nearly any defensive situation. Hedrick averaged 16.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game but his 56 percent shooting the ball was so critical for his game. When Hedrick is on, he is legitimately one of the best scorers in the area.
No. 7: Darrion Brooks, New Haven
Brooks has been biding his time as a big part of the New Haven lineup but not the go to guy, until now. His raw athleticism is high end and, if nothing else, it leads him to make some pretty big plays, especially defensively. Yet, there is a ton of talent to go with the athleticism. Brooks is a great rim protector and a wing and his ability to block shots all around the court makes him a matchup nightmare. His defense is something he has excelled at his entire varsity career and it certainly allows him to create offense for this team off his defense. He also averaged 1.6 steals per game last season. Brooks’ offense has gotten consistently smooth over the years, leading to 19.7 points per game last season to go with 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
COACH’S QUOTE ON DARRION BROOKS
“Darrion has been an exceptional leader on and off the floor for us throughout the summer, he has been pushing his teammates to continue to work hard in the weight room and during our open gyms. Darrion will be a key guy for us on offense and defense this season, but most importantly the leadership and experience he brings to the floor is helping our team come together.” – New Haven coach Bruce Stephens
No. 6: Jaxson Gould, Warsaw
Sitting just outside of the Fort Wayne area, Gould may not be a household name in the “big city” but he absolutely should be. Gould can do basically anything he wants on offense. Gould averaged 19.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.9 steals while pushing every NLC opponent and then some as he became one of the most prolific scorers in the north half of the state. Gould shot 51 percent from inside the arc and 79 percent from the free throw line. Gould has big portions of many games where he just simply takes over. His is a solid shooter from deep but Gould is tremendous at getting the the rim. And when he does, it opens up everything else in his game as his midrange pull ups can come on a dime and really mix up a defense.
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