2013 KHQA Boys Basketball Player of the Year: PAXTON HARMON, West Hancock



Rationale: Truthfully, we could have just rolled out the numbers (20.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3 assists per game) and defied anyone to argues against the statistical evidence in favor of Paxton Harmon. Point blank, that's one heck of a stat line at any level of basketball. But that's also a very small part of the story. The truth of the matter is that Paxton achieved those numbers in one of the most "star unfriendly" systems in Tri State Basketball and that is incredibly telling. Reno Pinkston basketball is all about "team above self" and there really isn't any place within his program for individual resume building, stat stuffing or self promotion. Truth be told, after the great Tim Parrish fell short of reaching a POY threshold a couple of years ago, I never thought we'd see a kid come off a Reno team and have a prayer of making this kind of splash. Which is what is so amazing about Harmon's year. He did almost completely oblivous to his own "cause celeb" and totally within the framework of what his coach asked him to do. And as if that isn't enough, this kid, one of the most natural volume scorers we've seen in the last decade, was asked by his coach to completely change his role and become some sort of all important hybrid that really defies easy two word position explanation or definition. Reno Pinkston called him a point forward, but not in the traditional Paul Pressey sense of the term. Paxton was, in essence, a Point Guard who was in charge of basketball security and offense setting; but the function of which was to get the basketball ultimately back in the hands of the teams best offensive threat (you guessed it: Paxton Harmon himself) for the purposes of either creating scoring opportunities for himself or decoying and drawing defensive pressure to create a better, higher percentage shots for his teammates. I just wasted about four dozen words trying to distill the essence of that job description and I am not sure I came close to encapsulating it all. Let's just say Paxton Harmon had the broadest reaching job duties of any player in Tri State Basketball; not to mention the greatest amount of personal responsibility (in more phases of the game) than any other kid around. And he executed they fearlessly and beautifully. Kid was an absolute joy to watch and arguably the most reliable mid-range offensive player we've seen; some kind of freakish high school version of Michael Redd in his prime, except with the other fleshed out skills beyond shooting the basketball Redd never possessed. He also happens to be an honor roll student, tremendously polite and well spoken young man, and a credit to his family, his school and his community. Bottom line, on every tally sheet: as big a no brainer decision as Jordan Frericks was on the girls side. Got to love it when you all make these decision processes easy on us....


Runner Up: CODY HILDEBRAND, Payson-Seymour

Viewers Vote: PAXTON HARMON, West Hancock

Past Winners:

2012: Dalton Hoover, Pittsfield

2011:Brad Hamilton, Pittsfield

2010-Zach Forbes, Quincy High

2009-Ryan Stuckman, Quincy Notre Dame

2008-Matt Patterson, South Shelby

2007-Jared Summers, Quincy High

2006*-Mike Smith, Van-Far

2006*-Justin Brock, Liberty

2005-Cody Stoneburner, North Shelby

2004-Mike Smith, Van-Far

2003-Chad Cox, Macomb

2002-Nathan Emrick, Griggsville-Perry

2001-Mike Fitch, Pittsfield

2000-J.D. Summers, Quincy High

1999-Craig Lewis, Keokuk

1998-Jason Littig, Bluffs

1997-Bill Heisler, Warsaw

(*shared award)