Posted On: 04/10/18 11:18 AM
The 2018 Mr. Basketball award is the most prestigious award given out at the end of the high school season. The award goes to a prospect who played at an extremely high level while putting his team in position to be successful. Typically speaking, the award winner also earns the most coveted team award in the state as their team walks home with the state championship. Below were the top candidates for this award this past season.
2018 Mr. Basketball
Rylan Jones 6’1 PG 2019 Olympus (Utah)
There are a select few candidates who were legitimately in the picture with Jones for the Mr. Basketball distinction due to his and Olympus’ dominance this past season. One of those candidates was his teammate, Jeremy DowDell. With that said, Jones’ play was nothing short of spectacular this past season. In addition to aiding his team in breaking numerous records, he broke the single season assist record as he nearly averaged a double-double.
While Olympus loses a couple of key pieces, the scariest part about the team’s and Jones’ dominance is that it should happen again in an even bigger way next season. With Jones running the show and DowDell shooting the basketball at an extremely high level, it might be quite some time before Olympus loses another game.
2018 Mr. Basketball Finalists
Steven Ashworth 6’1 PG 2018 Lone Peak
Ashworth was one of the handful of competitors who could have made a case for this prize. He was solid throughout the season and made big plays at key moments throughout the season for Lone Peak. While a lot of players are trained to be scorers, it was clear that Ashworth learned how to be a playmaker. He puts constant pressure on the defense due to his decision making and ability to create.
James Nelson 6’5 SG/SF 2018 Salem Hills
Nelson was one of the most prolific scorers in the state throughout his high school career. He did not cease to amaze in the state tournament as he put his versatile scoring abilities to the test against the state’s top competition on the 4A ranks. Opposing teams could not find a solution for the talented wing, which is not surprising as that has been a struggle for opponents throughout his four year career. On the biggest stage, Nelson continued his scoring his onslaught which resulted in Salem Hills walking away with the 4A state championship.
Jeremy DowDell 6’3 SG 2019 Olympus
A lot of players never hit 91 3s in their entire high school careers. However, DowDell did that in just one season. Even more impressive than the number of makes is the percentage that he shot it at. While there are plenty of volume scorers, DowDell is far from that. DowDell took 200 3s on the year and shot it nearly 45%. In addition to shooting it at an extremely high rate from the 3 point line, DowDell shot it 69% from the field and 81% from the free throw line, according to Maxpreps. Every once in a while, a player who plays some of the up 30 and down 30 minutes will shoot similar percentages due to the limited reps. However, DowDell put up these video game type numbers while being a key contributor for Olympus.
Matt Van Komen 7’4 C 2019 Pleasant Grove
Van Komen has steadily improved throughout his high school career. Numerous guards look at bigs like him and think, “Imagine what I could do if I was his height.” With that said, Komen is not one of those players. He works for deep seals, he has a soft tough around the rim, and his footwork continues to improve on the block. Further, he is active and gets up and down the court relatively well for his size. Pleasant Grove fell short of their ultimate goal this past season, but with the prospects that they have coming back next year, they are the clear cut favorite at this point to win the 6A state championship.
Chantry Ross 5’10 PG 2018 Lone Peak
Much like DowDell and Jones, Ross paired up with Ashworth to form one of the best backcourts and duos in the state this past season. Ross provided another scoring and playmaking option for Lone Peak. This roster had plenty of talent which enabled Ross and Ashworth to have plenty of options when they drove. While Lone Peak is always talented, losing guards like Ross and Ashworth will be extremely tough for them as they created the vast majority of the offense.