Coaches poll unveils Utah Valley’s top players

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Orem High's Dalton Nixon rebounds the basketball in a game against Lone Peak High School this season. Nixon (Photo by Rebecca Lane)

Orem High’s Dalton Nixon rebounds the basketball in a game against Lone Peak High School this season. Nixon is one of the top 5 players in Region 7 according to the coaches poll. (Photo by Rebecca Lane)

It didn’t take many post-game interviews for me to realize that I see high school basketball games differently than coaches do.

I wondered if it was because my seat was obstructed by students jumping up and down on the bleachers.

Or maybe the coaches’ basketball vision is 20-20, and I need glasses to see what’s really going on. Whatever the reason, it’s been common in more than 20 years in covering prep games that when I do a post-game interview with the coach the player I want to talk about is seldom the one his praise is centered on.

With that in mind, I have polled the coaches in Region 4, 7 and 8 and asked them two questions.

Who are the five best players in the region (excluding their own team), and who are the top five players who have surpassed expectations? In other words, who has had a breakout season? With the state tournament just three weeks away, the sampling size should be large enough to gain some insight on what the coaches have been seeing.

Here are the results:

American Fork's Tyler Rawson dunks the ball during a game in the Great Western Shootout. (Photo by Rebecca Lane)

American Fork’s Tyler Rawson dunks the ball during a game in the Great Western Shootout. (Photo by Rebecca Lane)

Region 4 top 5 players

1. T.J. Haws, Sr. (Lone Peak) – No surprise that Haws tops the list. He is averaging 24.4 points per game
2. Ryan Andrus, Sr. (American Fork) – He leads A.F. in scoring (15.8), second in rebounding (6.7)
3. Matt Conway, Sr. (Pleasant Grove) – One of the keys to a 17-2 start. He’s averaging 26.3 ppg in region play.
4. Tyler Rawsom, Sr. (American Fork) – Productive post player, averaging 12.7 ppg and 7.2 repg.
5. David Maynard, Jr. (Herriman) – Returning All-State player averaging 23.5 points per game.
5. Riley Court, Jr. (Pleasant Grove) – Recorded a triple-double against Riverton and averages 15.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg

Others receiving votes: Brandon Sly (Riverton), Frank Jackson (LP), Brayden Holker (WL), Jake Barnes (L).

Region 4 breakout players

1. Matt Conway, Sr. (Pleasant Grove) – Shows you what kind of year he’s had since he showed up on both lists.
2. Brayden Holker, Jr. (Westlake) – The future of Westlake averages nearly a double-double (18.2 ppg, 9.8 rpg)
3. Jake Barnes, Jr. (Lehi) – He leads the team in 3-point percentage, second in scoring (14.0 ppg)
4. Brandon Sly, Sr. (Riverton) – Shooting 91 percent from the free-throw line and averages 15.5 ppg.
5. Tanner Nygren, Sr. (Lehi) – Point guard who leads the team in scoring (18.1) and assists (3.4).
5. Frank Jackson, Soph. (Lone Peak) – Second in team scoring (17.7) and averages 3.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

Others receiving votes: Brendan Bailey (AF), Spencer Johnson (AF), Jaren Jones (R), Jeff Arens (R), Mark Sheffield (PG), Riley Court (PG), Asa McCord (WL), David Maynard (H), Forrest Pincock (PG), Jake Sutton (H), Alec Johnson (H).

Region 7 top 5 Players

1. Alec Monson, Sr. (Olympus) – He is second in 4A in scoring at 21.2 ppg and has made 55 3-pointers
2. Jake Lindsey, Jr. (Olympus) – He’s averaging 18.2 ppg on the Region 7 leaders
3. Dalton Nixon, Sr. (Orem) – Leads all 4A in scoring in scoring (21.2)and rebounding (9.2)
4. Cooper Holt, Sr. (Orem) – He’s made 37 3-pointers this year, averaging 17.2 ppg
5. Nate Warner, Jr. (Mountain View) – Leads the team in scoring (13.4) and is second in 3-pointers

Others receiving, votes: Zach Facemyer (Timpanogos), Connor Haller (Olympus)

Region 7 breakout players

1. A.J. Hodges, Soph. (Murray) – Tops the team scoring (14.0) and leads the team in 3-pointers
2. Logan Hudson (Corner Canyon) – He leads the team in scoring with 10.7 ppg
3. Michael Binford, Jr. (Skyline) – He’s the team’s leading scorer at 11.3 ppg
4. Manuel Ortiz, Sr. (MV) – Second on the team in scoring (12.6) and rebounding (5.5)
5. Wyatt Allred, Sr. (MV) – Leads the team in 3-pointers (33) and averages 10.4 ppg

Others receiving votes: Alex Meldrum (S), Zach Facemyer (T), Spencer Conrad (MV), Trevor Miller (CC), Quinn Peters (O), Spencer Williams (Oly), Zach Dickerson (Murray), Jordan Meacham (Oly)

Region 8 top 5 players

1. Max Schreiner, Sr. (Springville) – He’s a double-double machine, averaging 15.5 ppg and 7.2 rpg
2. Gavin Baxter, Soph. (Timpview) – Putting up big numbers (11.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg) for the T’Birds.
3. Hayes Hall, Sr. (Spanish Fork) – A deadly 3-point shooter and the team leader in scoring at 16.5 ppg
4. Hunter Bailey, Jr. (Provo) – A forward who leads Provo in scoring at 13.0 ppg
5. Wesley Bosco, Sr. (Provo) – Point guard who battled back from injuries and makes Provo go.

Others receiving votes: Britain Covey (TV), Riley Corbin (TV), Taylor Parker (SF), Nathan Dow (W), Kade Paulsen (MM)

Region 8 breakout players

Gavin Baxter, Soph. (Timpview) – Few expected this kind of production from a sophomore
Hunter Bailey, Jr. (Provo) – Helped Provo become only team in region to beat Timpview
Gabe Reid, Jr. (Timpview) – Few expected Reid to average 10.8 points per game on this team.
Nathan Dow, Jr. (Wasatch) – Keeping Wasatch competitive. Leads team in scoring at 12.6 ppg.
Kade Paulsen, Soph. (Maple Mountain) – Leads the team in scoring at 15.9 ppg

Others receiving votes: Britain Covey (TV), Jeff DeGraffenried (SH), Benson Rhees (SF), Taylor Parker (SF), Andrew Slack (SP), Jake Dixon (MM), Jaren Hall (MM), Ammon Fifita (SH), Tom Mortensen (MM), Max Terry (SP), Hunter Schofield (SF), Casey Peterson (W), Kayden Hillstead (SP)

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Neil K. Warner has covered all levels of sports in Utah for the last 20 years and is currently the beat writer for Utah Valley University. He is known best by the name Zuke, a nickname that stuck for his entertaining and often controversial Beat the Zuke column that runs weekly in the football and basketball season. He is the author of four books; Danny's Corner, Under the Green Banners, Off Court and Soul Survivor. He lives in Orem with his wife and three children.

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