It was another solid season on the hardwood this past winter in The Times area, led by a sectional championship team in Class 2A (Fieldcrest), a 1A regional champion (Newark) and a number of other impressive seasons from the likes of Streator (20 wins), Somonauk (19 triumphs), Seneca (19 winning outings), Earlville (18 "W"s) and Ottawa (17 victories).
Leading those very good cage teams were very good cagers such as the ones you'll find here — The Times 2019-20 Boys Basketball Team, selected via vote of The Times Sports staff (* denoting a unanimous pick):
*Myles Tucker, Ottawa, Sr.
One of only two unanimous choices this season, Tucker was simply unstoppable at times for the 17-win Pirates. With athleticism to spare, a smooth outside shot and the ability to get to the hole seemingly at will, Tucker averaged 20.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game for Ottawa, earning Interstate Eight First Team, IBCA 3A All-State Special Mention and Associated Press 3A All-State Honorable Mention honors as well as The Times 2019-20 Boys Basketball Player of the Year award.
Tucker was previously an All-Area Second Team member as both a junior and a sophomore.
*Jaxon Cusac-McKay, Fieldcrest, Jr.
The only other unanimous choice on our team this year, Cusac-McKay was the straw that stirred the drink for the junior-heavy, Heart of Illinois Conference and sectional champion Knights. A well-rounded leader on the court with uncanny athleticism, Cusac-McKay averaged 15.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.1 steals on his way to HOIC First Team, IBCA 2A All-State Second Team and Associated Press 2A All-State Honorable Mention honors.
Cusac-McKay earned Times All-Area Honorable Mention both his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Liam Roberts, Somonauk, Sr.
While it didn't end in the long-awaited regional championship they were hoping for, the Bobcats had a big 2019-20 ... in large part due to their big man. Roberts racked up averages of 18.1 points and 8.4 rebounds with 50.9% field-goal shooting for Somonauk, earning a spot on the Little Ten All-Conference Team and also IBCA All-State Special Mention.
Roberts was Times All-Area Third Team last winter and Honorable Mention his sophomore campaign.
Jack Haynes, Streator, So.
Streator relied on depth and balance to contend for a conference title and reach 20 wins, but even on a balanced Bulldogs team Haynes' breakout season stood out. A high-motor, wiry post with guard skills and a nose for the offensive glass, Haynes put up per-game norms of 12.5 points and 9.3 rebounds during a double-double-filled season which led to his receiving a spot on the Illinois Central Eight Conference First Team.
This is Haynes' first appearance on The Times All-Area Team.
Landon Larkin, Earlville, Sr.
An explosive scorer who could put his team on his back, Larkin closed out his high school career in impressive fashion. The Red Raiders senior guard led The Times area in scoring with 20.7 points per outing — including a 48-point onslaught against Kirkland Hiawatha in the Little Ten Conference Tournament — and also averaged 4.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists on his way to All-Little Ten Conference honors.
Larkin was Times All-Area Honorable Mention a year ago.
Anthony Cooper, Ottawa, Jr.
An all-around strong player with per-contest averages of 4.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.2 steals, Cooper could be downright deadly shooting the rock as his 12.7 points per game as the Pirates' top outside threat indicate. Cooper was also a member of the I-8 First Team.
This is his Cooper's first Times All-Area appearance.
Mason Benning, Streator, Sr.
When Benning was clicking, more often than not so were the Bulldogs. And the senior guard was on a lot, averaging 12.5 points and 2.4 assists to go with 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals on his way to All-IC8 First Team honors.
Benning was a member of The Times Third Team in 2018-19.
Rex Avery, Sandwich, Sr.
When Avery returned from injury, the Sandwich Indians started winning. It's easy to see why, as the Indians senior averaged 11.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists en route to Interstate Eight First Team accolades.
This is Avery's only Times All-Area appearance.
Sean Kissel, Marquette, Sr.
The Crusaders hovered around the .500 mark for the vast majority of what many thought would be a significantly down year, and Kissel was a big part of many of those 15 wins. He averaged 13.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 steals on his way to earning Second Team All-Tri-County Conference honors.
This is Kissel's only Times All-Area appearance.
Nate Christian, Newark, Sr.
After a slow start the Norsemen surprised down the stretch, including a runner-up finish in the Little Ten Conference Tournament and a regional championship — the program's 10th over the past 13 years — led by Christian's 14.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals during an All-LTC and IBCA 1A All-State Special Mention campaign.
This is Christian's only appearance on The Times All-Area Team.
Tyler Harms, Flanagan-Cornell, Sr.
Harms was a force for the Falcons to the tune of 16.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.7 blocked shots. This is his only Times All-Area Team appearance.
Tony Pusateri, Serena, Sr.
Pusateri paced the 13-win Huskers with a potent 16.0 points per outing to go with his 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists. He earned a spot on the All-Little Ten Team and this, his first Times All-Area honor.
Alex Krejci, Somonauk, So.
As secondary scorers go, Krejci was a really good one for the Bobcats, averaging 14.8 points complemented by 6.3 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 1.4 assists. This is his first Times All-Area Team appearance.
Ben Krause, Seneca, Sr.
Krause was the heart and soul of the 19-win Fighting Irish on the floor, finished with per-games of 12.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.9 steals on his way to Tri-County Conference First Team honors. This is his lone Times All-Area Team nod.
Trevor Derossett, Woodland, Sr.
Derossett was able to keep the Warriors in games they otherwise wouldn't have been with a solid season which saw him average 11.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.0 steals en route to Third Team All-TCC accolades. This is his only Times All-Area Team appearance.
Drew Kaufman, Ottawa, Sr.
Christian Bedecker, Streator, Sr.
Cory Land, Fieldcrest, Jr.
Nick Melvin, Marquette, Jr.
Henry Lorton, Fieldcrest, Jr.
Alex Tollefson, Newark, Sr.
Kyle Theurer, Sandwich, Sr.
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