For the fifth season in a row, Bounce and Outside the Huddle are counting down who they feel are the top 50 individual players in northeast Indiana heading into the 2023-2024 season.
Today, we continue on the boys hoops side with positions No. 20-16.
No. 20 – Caden Pettis, DeKalb
Pettis is a tremendous leader for the Baron program and a very proficient offensive executor with or without the ball in his hands to make decisions. His mid range game is probably too underrated as his ability to pull up for a tough shot is one of his greatest strengths. Pettis averaged 14.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game last season and he remains one of the toughest guards in Northeast Indiana. Pettis has continued to get better at reading the floor and breaking down defenses, which helped lead to his 65 percent shooting percentage from two point range last season at DeKalb.
COACH’S QUOTE ON PETTIS:
“Caden has shown to have great concentration to make tough shots around the basket while be bodied up by the defense.” – DeKalb coach Marty Beasley
No. 19 – Kyler Krull, Whitko
The First Team All-TRC player is a consistent force who is a knockdown three point specialist but has become really strong at getting out in transition and being a threat by filling lanes. He is a matchup problem because of his length combined with a guard skillset. Krull is athletic and very versatile and has been able to display how clutch he can play in both school and summer seasons. Krull has shown flashes of being dynamic two-way presence who can really alter the game with his high motor.
No. 18 – Isaac Smith, Blackhawk Christian
Smith is a big time three point shooter who has gone from a homeschool player as a freshman to one of the area’s most feared threats from behind the arc. Smith was an integral part in Blackhawk Christian’s state championship run a season ago including an eight three point make game opposite Marquette Catholic. With teams keying on his three point shooting more, Smith has shown a good ability to adapt, create his own shot or even get downhill better. Last season, he averaged 9.1 points and 2.3 rebounds per game for the Braves while hitting 79 three pointers.
COACH’S QUOTE ON SMITH:
“Isaac had a great Junior season a year ago filling a big time role on that team. I am looking for him to take advantage of all his hard offseason work and take on a main role for us this year. He is one of the best knock down shooters and has really developed his ability to get to the basket and score from a lot of different angles which will be key for us. He has also really learned how to use his length on the defensive end and is ready to take on the challenge of our schedule this year!” – Blackhawk Christian coach Matt Roth
No. 17 – Jaxson Fugate, North Side
One of Fugate’s greatest strengths is his ability to create in iso situations with having a top tier euro step that lets him weave through defenders and score at the rim. His length is a tough defend on the wing and he uses it well in creating mismatch issues along the way. His long range game continues to improve, making him a three level scoring threat. But Fugate too has shown prowess as a rim protector defensively, being among the SAC’s best shot blockers a season ago. Last year, Fugate averaged 12.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.
COACH’S QUOTE ON FUGATE:
“Very good all around player. Can shoot, drive, post and is also very good defensively. We will need him to really step up for us this season.” – North Side coach Gary Andrews
No. 16 – Gavin Betten, Manchester
Betten is a name that fans of the big four area conferences may not know very well but he is a physical force that had a tremendous sophomore season. His length makes him really tough to match up with as he has the ability to show some range in his shooting and is deadly from 15 feet and in. While we are waiting to see how Betten continues to improve, he averaged 21.4 points and 11.6 blocks per game last season and could easily be ranked higher on this list very quickly.
COACH’S QUOTE ON BETTEN:
“In my opinion, he has potential to be one of the top juniors in the state. His work ethic and determination is what separates him from other good players. His ability to handle the ball and become a guard in transition at 6-6 makes him a very difficult player to defend. He has great court vision and has really worked hard at improving his outside shot. Every game he has the ability to be the best player on both ends of the floor.” – Manchester coach Eli Henson