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Posted On: 10/7/17 12:49 PM
Mike Bothwell is a Cornerstone Christian Academy legend. As a freshman, he was All State Honorable Mention in Division IV. Bothwell followed that up by leading CCA to a State Championship in 2015-2016. As a sophomore, he was the state’s D-IV Co-Player of the Year. After the breakout season, Bothwell averaged 20.9 points as a junior and was, once again, First Team All Ohio on a team that finished tied for 6th in the final AP State Poll and made it to a District Final.
Basically, Bothwell cannot be slept on in this year’s Ohio Mr. Basketball race. The Furman commit embodies what it means to be a Mr. Basketball winner.
First of all, Ohio’s Mr. Basketball must have elite talent. Since 2001, only LeBron James (#1 NBA Draft pick) and Justin Fritts (Wheeling Jesuit) didn’t play Division I basketball.
Next, we considered projected team success. Again since 2001, 10 of the 17 Mr. Basketball winners led their high school team to the State Final Four that season.
Then, the most important piece of the formula considered is production. We’re considering the player’s projected role on their team to predict if they have the opportunity to fill up the scorer’s book. It’s especially imperative that you put up points, as the only Mr. Basketball to average under 20 points since 2001 was Jared Sullinger at 19.9 points per game in 2009. But, Sullinger made up for that tenth of a point by averaging 14.8 rebounds, being the #2 player in the country, and winning the Division I State Championship.
Let’s check out how Bothwell’s 2017-2018 season could stack up in each category.
Certainly, Bothwell passes the talent pre-requisite. He’s a natural scorer whose three-point shot has shown improvements this summer. Bothwell is effective as a primary ball-handler or 2-guard. Also, his quickness, both laterally and with the first step, allows him to control games as a slasher and on-ball defender.
Divisional re-alignment across the state didn’t affect CCA, as they’ll compete at the Division IV level once again. With a couple teams moving away from the D-IV level, namely the reigning State and Regional Champions Lutheran East, CCA will be one of the top D-IV teams in Ohio.
With the graduation of backcourt mate Brandon McQueen, Bothwell should have as many scoring opportunities as anyone next season. If the team does succeed, it will be because of Bothwell.
Even though he didn’t take much of a leap in scoring from his sophomore to junior season, raising his average just 0.5 points per game, we expect Bothwell’s numbers to raise considerably as a senior, out of necessity. Bothwell should tally large assists numbers, because of the attention he’ll draw on the drive. Also, he’s one of the state’s top on-ball defenders in the senior class, so a couple steals per game is likely.
They’re pretty darn good! The biggest question is going to be if his team will have a good enough regular season record, as CCA usually loads their schedule. Being that Bothwell plays at a D-IV school, CCA will have to be dominate all season long and Bothwell will have to be the overwhelming reason for their success.