Seventeen high school athletes have been named to the 2016 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks boys basketball teams.
Five Springfield area players are named first-team selections, and 12 more are named to the second team.
This season’s first team is full of floor leaders who were all on district championship teams in their respective classes.
The ALL-USA Ozarks boys basketball teams are selected by the News-Leader staff based on a set of criteria that includes a player’s value to his team, statistical production, success in high-pressure games, leadership, sportsmanship and the overall betterment of basketball in the Ozarks. A player’s value to his team is given the greatest amount of consideration.
The ALL-USA Ozarks boys basketball teams are not designed to serve as a prospect ranker or to debate one player’s basketball abilities over another player’s.
ALL-USA Ozarks players will be invited to attend the SW Missouri Sports Awards presented by Hy-Vee on Thursday, June 9. Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow will be the keynote speaker for the event at the Springfield Expo Center that honors some of the top sports performances of the year. Tickets are available.
The 2016 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks girls basketball selections will be announced and published in the News-Leader on Monday, March 28.
American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks boys basketball first team 2016
Kickapoo senior guard
Johnson scored an average of 10 points per game, but scoring barely begins to tell the story of a senior season that ended in the Class 5 state finals at Mizzou Arena. The ridiculously athletic point guard was Kickapoo’s leading assist getter, made 48.1 percent of his shots and shot 82.1 percent from the free throw line. The Springfield Tipoff Club MVP embodied the selflessness that 2016 Class 5 coach of the year Dick Rippee demanded from his team. Johnson will continue his basketball career with the Drury Panthers.
Walnut Grove senior guard
Meinders stuffed the stats for the Walnut Grove Tigers on the way to Columbia and an appearance in the Class 1 state championship game. He scored 17.2 points per game and averaged 4.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Meinders is a 50-percent field goal shooter. The son of coach Darin Meinders will play next year for Grand View University, a Heart of America Athletic Conference team in Des Moines, Iowa in the NAIA. Dallas Meinders is interested in becoming a college basketball coach.
Bolivar junior forward
Bolivar’s leading scorer and rebounder this season became somewhat notoriously known as “Big Emmert,” for his imposing play in the paint. The 6-foot-6 Emmert’s 17.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game led Bolivar (24-5) to a Class 4 District 13 championship. With one season remaining in his high school career, Emmert is Bolivar’s all-time No. 2 rebounder and No. 3 on the school’s all-time career scoring list with 1,379 points.
Nixa senior forward
Nixa won a third consecutive district championship with the 6-foot-7 Allen leading the way in the paint. Nixa went 23-6 and Allen nabbed the Central Ozarks Conference MVP award along the way. Allen strongly considered pursuing college basketball and played on the AAU circuit for MoKan Elite in the prestigious Nike EYBL the summer prior to his senior year. However, NCAA Division I football scholarships piled up for the big tight end, and Allen ultimately chose to sign with Iowa State to play football.
Fair Grove senior guard
The Eagles’ top scorer helped Fair Grove win its first boys basketball district championship in 14 years. Cavanaugh scored 21.6 points per game and shot 53 percent from the floor. The four-year starter helped the Eagles win a sectional playoff game to reach the Class 3 quarterfinals. Coach Tim Brown said he frequently assigned Cavanaugh to guard the opponent’s best player. “Aside from all his statistics, talents and accolades, he is a special person on and off the court. There isn’t a more polite and coachable kid than him,” Brown said.
2016 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks boys basketball second team
Bryce Krueger, Bolivar
Jared Ridder, Kickapoo
Julius Walker, Greenwood
Ryan Ward, Hartville
Monty Johal, Glendale
Garrett Kesterson, Fair Grove
Tristan Ollar, Republic
Jordan Walton, Glendale
Grant Dedmon, Hartville
Logan Thomazin, Walnut Grove
Kyland Hewett-Newbill, Ozark
Cameron Davis, Kickapoo