It’s spring season, I know. But in this week’s paper edition you’ll find the Great Northwest boys and girls basketball teams. There’s no question all the players are deserving. My struggle has been with the selection of the boys’ player of the year.
I covered Jacobs’ John Moran for his first three season in high school. Outstanding player, better person. The Northern Iowa recruit is someone who I would want on my team, for no other reason than he’s a great guy.
This season, though, I covered the MSL. Schaumburg’s Cully Payne is a better player than Moran. Not by much, but he is. If I had to pick a team, the junior and DePaul recruit would be my first selection. Moran No. 2.
Both are the same type of players, combo guards able to create on offense. Moran’s probably the better defender, but Payne’s tough, too. His quickness and ability to read his opponents helps him do the job.
Except for the Highland Park game in the sectional semifinals, Payne carried the Saxons in the playoffs. Without him, they would have lost in the opener. He averaged more points in the postseason than he did during the regular season, which tells me a lot. He also averaged nearly 10 points in the fourth quarters of four playoff contests.
Alas, I was outscored in the office, so Payne will have to wait his turn.