By now, the state tournament-worthy basketball players at Jackson County Central and Southwest Minnesota Christian have emotionally settled into their spring realities. Or perhaps not fully.
It has been about three weeks now since the 2020 Minnesota state boys extravaganza was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. It was a cruel ending to the 2019-20 campaign for the Huskies and the Eagles, especially since it occurred almost immediately after they won their section tournaments -- JCC in Class AA and SWC in Class A. Reaction was so raw in Edgerton (not surprisingly, since the Eagles would have taken a perfect 29-0 record to state) that a petition was passed to force the Minnesota State High School League to merely postpone the tournament instead of outright canceling it.
The absence of a state tournament, however, does not diminish what the Huskies and the Eagles accomplished this past winter. And it certainly doesn’t diminish what the individual players -- for all the area schools -- were able to accomplish during the regular season.
Once again, there were a myriad of stellar boys basketball players to see within The Globe coverage area. Today we reveal our choices for the 2020 All-Area boys basketball team (see related story).
We have three teams, plus honorable mentions.
It is always a difficult task to consider the nominations, determine who best deserves to be selected, and which ones to place where. A player who might be worthy of a first-team designation will sometimes be placed on the second team, and so on. There, of course, can only be five first-team selections despite the fact that six, or even seven, have the credentials for a first-team nod.
In making the picks, we consider many things. Statistics are always important, but we realize that pure numbers don’t tell the whole story. We look at the player’s leadership qualities. We look at the team’s record, certainly, but we also understand that a worthy candidate is no less worthy when he is surrounded by minimal help.
We tap into the wisdom of our coaches. We don’t see their players perform, in some cases, more than once or twice a season, so we trust their judgments. We ask them to assess not only their own players, but players they’ve seen. But the final judgment is our own.
This year’s first team is all quality. It consists of an all-time school scoring leader, and another who next year might become his school’s all-time scoring leader. We have a player whose defensive intensity makes all good things happen, and another dedicated athlete from the same team who is as smooth as silk. And we have an individual who proved himself the essential ingredient for his team.
Thanks for the memories, athletes.