Prep Boys Basketball

Teams of the decade: Area boys basketball programs produce college-level talent

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jul. 18, 2020 10:40 am

John Wood Community College men's basketball coach Brad Hoyt's decision to heavily recruit this area speaks volumes about the level of talent being produced.

Just consider during the Trail Blazers' last two NJCAA Division II national tournament berths -- a runner-up finish in 2015 and a sixth-place finish in 2019 -- there were a minimum of two area products starting for JWCC. Six of the 10 Herald-Whig Players of the Year during the last decade played for the Trail Blazers as well.

Quincy University also tapped into the area bounty, recruiting two players who played critical roles on one of the best teams in program history.

With that in mind, here is the area boys basketball all-decade team for 2010-19, as selected by Senior Sports Writer Matt Schuckman:

Brad Hamilton, Guard, Pittsfield, Class of 2011

Selected as the 2011 Herald-Whig Player of the Year after leading the Saukees to a third-place finish in the Class 2A state tournament as a senior, Hamilton averaged 18.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 2.7 assists and became Pittsfield's all-time leading scorer with 1,515 career points. He earned first-team all-state honors from the Associated Press and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association before playing at John Wood Community College and Missouri Valley College.

Paxton Harmon, Forward, West Hancock, Class of 2013

An Illinois Basketball Coaches Association first-team all-state selection and an Associated Press second-team all-state pick, Harmon did it all. The 2013 Herald-Whig Player of the Year averaged 20.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists and scored a career-high 43 points in his final game, leading the Titans to a Class 2A regional title. He went on to help John Wood Community College finish as the national runner-up in 2015 and enjoyed a solid career at the University of Illinois-Springfield.

Dalton Hoover, Forward, Pittsfield, Class of 2012

Named first-team all-state by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association and honorable mention all-state by the Associated Press, Hoover averaged 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds as a senior. He set the school's single-season record for blocked shots with 100 and graduated as the third-leading scorer in program history before enjoying a solid collegiate career at Quincy University.

Dezi Jones, Guard, Hannibal, Class of 2019

Jones walked out of Korf Gym having established new school records for single-game scoring (50 points), single-season scoring (721 points) and career scoring (2,153 points). He also averaged 7.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.7 steals per game as a senior, earning first-team all-state honors and being named the 2019 Herald-Whig Player of the Year. The Moberly Area Community College signee enjoyed a triple-double against Marshall his senior season with 50 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

Evan McGaughey, Forward, Illini West, Class of 2012

The recipient of the Red O'Flaherty Award and a second-team all-state pick by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, McGaughey rebounded from offseason knee surgery to be a sizable force. He averaged 18.1 points and 9.5 rebounds for a team that rattled off 14 straight victories at one point. McGaughey averaged 15.1 points and seven rebounds as a junior before becoming the fourth leading scorer in Quincy University history and embarking on a professional basketball career in Europe.

Gabe McKenzie, Forward, Canton, Class of 2015

A knee injury in late January of his senior season slowed McKenzie some, but the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association all-state selection and 2015 Herald-Whig Player of the Year fought through the discomfort to lead the Tigers to a fourth-place finish at the Class 2 state tournament. He averaged 23 points and 10.5 rebounds, to go along with 69 3-pointers as he became Canton's all-time leading scorer. McKenzie went on to become an All-American at John Wood Community College.

Cory Miller, Guard, Unity, Class of 2017

The second-team all-state selection averaged 22.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 4.1 steals as a senior in leading the Mustangs to a Class 1A sectional championship. He was named MVP of three tournaments, received the Red O'Flaherty Player of the Year Award and was the 2017 Herald-Whig Player of the Year. Miller finished with nearly 1,700 career points before becoming a first-team All-American at John Wood Community College and starting at the University of Indianapolis.

Tyler Niemann, Guard, Canton, Class of 2014

The 2014 Herald-Whig Player of the Year and Missouri Basketball Coaches Association first-team all-stater, Niemann shot 59 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3-point range and 77 percent from the free-throw line as a senior, while averaging 20.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.5 assists as the Tigers finished third at the Class 2 state tournament. Niemann, who played baseball at Morehead State, also led the Tigers to the state quarterfinals and a 27-2 record as a junior.

Austin Richmiller, Forward, Highland, Class of 2015

Named to the Class 3 all-state team by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association and a two-time Clarence Cannon Conference Player of the Year, Richmiller led the area in scoring as a senior at 26.1 points per game, while shooting 62 percent from the field and 75 percent from the line. He also grabbed 11.1 rebounds per game, finishing with 20 double-doubles. He finished as Highland's record holder for single-game, single-season and career scoring.

C.E. Talton, Guard, Monroe City, Class of 2019

The two-time Clarence Cannon Conference Player of the Year led the Panthers to their first conference championship since 1994 by averaging 19.8 points, 5 rebounds and 2.3 steals as a senior. That came on the heels of averaging 24.9 points and 8.1 rebounds as a junior. He finished his career with 1,894 points, which is second most in school history, and earned a scholarship to Olney Junior College after leading the Panthers to three straight district championships.