Meet the first team for boys' basketball

Meet the first team for boys' basketball

P.J. Blissit

Senior guard, Urbana

The numbers: A three-year varsity member, Blissit led the Tigers in scoring average (15.9 points), more than doubling his average as a junior. Despite standing 6-foot-2, he also paced Urbana in rebound average (5.5) and tied for the team lead in total rebounds (104). Blissit's versatility — and importance to the Tiger attack — is reflected, too, in the fact he paced the Tigers in assists (4.3, eighth in the area). Appearing in 19 games, the All-Big 12 Conference selection — the Tigers' first unanimous all-league pick in more than a decade — was Urbana's top scorer seven times, including a season-high 26 points against Chicago Corliss on Nov. 26.

Your season highlight: Scoring 19 points in our win against Centennial

Your career highlight: Beating Danville at home the last two seasons

Favorite college player: Pierre Jackson

Favorite entertainer: Kevin Hart

Favorite class: I don't have one really.

Favorite movie: "He Got Game"

Favorite store: Foot Locker

Favorite restaurant: Texas Roadhouse

Favorite car: Hummer H2

My first job was ... delivering papers for The News-Gazette.

Plans for college: Play basketball and focus on school

In five years, I will be ... playing basketball somewhere.

Travis Britt

Senior guard, Rantoul

The numbers: The 6-foot-4 Britt was the do-it-all leader of the winningest Eagles team in 22 years. The senior paced a 21-win Rantoul squad in scoring average (18.3, fourth in the area), three-pointers (58, seventh in the area), rebound average (5.2), steals (85, tied for sixth in the area) and blocks (40). All this while being Item A on any opponent's scouting report. Britt led the Eagles in scoring in 19 of Rantoul's 27 games. He kept defenders guessing whether he'd attack off the dribble or from long range (37.4 percent accuracy on three-pointers), Britt scored 25 or more points five times, with a high of 32 against Mahomet-Seymour in an overtime win Jan. 13.

Your season highlight: Scoring my career high against our rival, Mahomet-Seymour

Your career highlight: Winning regionals our junior year

Favorite college player: Harrison Barnes

Favorite entertainer: Will Smith

Favorite class: Business

Favorite movie: "Hancock"

Favorite store: Finish Line

Favorite restaurant: Olive Garden

Favorite car: Kia Optima

My first job was ... at Rantoul Youth Center.

Plans for college: Play basketball and study business

In five years, I will be ... hopefully playing basketball for money.

Corvon Butler

Senior forward, Champaign Central

The numbers: Following a summer of intense training, Butler saw all that work pay off in a new uniform. The Centennial transfer led a Maroons team that won its first regional title in four years in scoring average (14.7) and rebounding (7.4). A powerhouse in the paint, the 6-5 Butler produced seven double-doubles, highlighted by a 14-point, 15-rebound performance Jan. 7 against Missouri Class 5 state champion-to-be McCluer North. Butler led Central in scoring 10 times, with a season-high 25 points against Centennial on Feb. 3. Among colleges he is considering: St. Bonaventure.

Your season highlight: Winning regional championship against rival Centennial

Your career highlight: In AAU, hitting the game-winning three-pointer to go to the finals

Favorite college player: Jeremy Lamb

Favorite entertainers: Kevin Hart and Denzel Washington

Favorite class: Entrepreneurship

Favorite movie: "Project X"

Favorite store: Citi Trends

Favorite restaurant: Po' Boys

Favorite car: '87 Buick Grand National

My first job was ... working for my dad at his auto repair shop.

Plans for college: Going to a four-year college, playing basketball and getting my education

In five years, I will be ... playing basketball in the NBA or over in the Euro-league.

Devin Carter

Senior guard, Centennial

The numbers: One year after leading regional finalist Urbana in scoring, Carter didn't miss a beat after transferring to a Twin City rival. The 6-4 guard averaged a team-high 15.5 points and topped 400 points. Carter was the Chargers' top scorer in 13 of the 27 games in which he appeared, twice racking up season highs of 26 points. The senior also ranked second on the team in rebound average (5.7) and assists (81). A versatile scoring threat, Carter hit one-third of his three-point attempts but was particularly effective inside the arc, shooting 52.6 percent. He made his presence felt on defense, too, with a team-high 69 steals.

Your season highlight: Game-winning assist to Taylen Alexander in first regional game

Your career highlight: Scored a career-high 33 points in a game

Favorite college player: Darius Johnson-Odom

Favorite entertainer: Martin Lawrence

Favorite class: Sociology

Favorite movie: "Semi-Pro"

Favorite store: Finish Line

Favorite restaurant: Steak 'n Shake

Favorite car: Cadillac Escalade

My first job was ... at Gabe's Place Apartments.

Plans for college: Keep playing basketball and get a college degree

In five years, I will be ... playing professional basketball with a college degree to fall back on.

Reid Farchmin

Senior forward, Mahomet-Seymour

The numbers: The lone repeater on the All-Area first team, Farchmin capped his Bulldog career with another high-impact season. The 6-4 forward racked up a career-best 478 points to finish three varsity seasons with 1,131 points — the No. 3 total in school history. Besides leading M-S in scoring average (17.1), Farchmin was the Bulldogs' top rebounder (7.5). An active defender, he came within one of matching Brad Herrmann's team-leading 43 steals. Farchmin was M-S' top scorer in 18 of its 28 games, twice racking up 30 points. He scored 25 or more points five times.

Your season highlight: Selected to State Farm Holiday Classic all-tournament team

Your career highlight: Achieving 1,000 points in my varsity career

Favorite college player: Stephen Curry

Favorite entertainer: Shawn Spencer on "Psych"

Favorite class: Physics

Favorite movie: "In the Army Now"

Favorite store: Best Buy

Favorite restaurant: Fat Sandwich

Favorite car: Lamborghini Reventn

My first job was ... construction at Hunsinger Enterprises.

Plans for college: Attend a four-year school, play basketball and study engineering

In five years, I will be ... starting my engineering career or attending graduate school.

Jaycee Hillsman

Soph. guard/forward, St. Thomas More

The numbers: Ranked seventh in the area in scoring (17.5 average) and was also seventh in free throw accuracy (82.6 percent) after hitting 128 of 155 for Class 2A regional runner-up team. Led the 18-10 Sabers in three-pointers (40) and also averaged 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. His aggressive play resulted in third-most free throw attempts in the area for the all-conference first-teamer. Halfway through his prep career, he needs 319 more points to reach 1,000. His two-year varsity accuracy rate from the free throw line is 78.0 percent (195 of 250).

Your season highlight: The entire season was fun and was a great learning experience.

Your career highlight: Winning regionals freshman year

Favorite college players: Verdell Jones III and Austin Rivers

Favorite entertainer: Kevin Hart

Favorite class: Spanish II

Favorite movie: I don't have one.

Favorite store: Any place with food.

Favorite restaurant: LongHorn Steakhouse

Favorite car: Lamborghini Murcilago

My first job was ... student-athlete.

Plans for college: Go to Texas and play basketball

In five years, I will be ... in law school.

Clayton Jones

Senior guard, Champaign Central

The numbers: The three-year varsity starter became the 10th player in Champaign High/Central history to score 1,000 career points. By totaling a career-high 424 points as a senior, Jones ended with 1,055 points. The 6-foot guard averaged 14.1 points, just behind team leader Corvon Butler, and led Central in assists with 89. He was Central's leading scorer in 13 of its 30 games. He twice racked up 26 points — the most by a Maroon this season — and also had a 25-point game. When opponents collapsed on Central's towering inside attack, the sharpshooting Jones more times than not made them pay. He fired in 82 three-pointers (second in the area).

Your season highlight: Going to sectionals

Your career highlight: Reaching the 1,000-point mark

Favorite college player: My brother, Verdell Jones III

Favorite entertainer: Kevin Hart

Favorite class: African-American history

Favorite movie: "Superbad"

Favorite store: PacSun Favorite restaurant: Cheesecake Factory

Favorite car: Range Rover

My first job was ... student-athlete.

Plans for college: Go to a four-year school and play basketball

In five years, I will be ... living out my dreams.

Aaron Larson

Senior center, Unity

The numbers: An all-state first-teamer on the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association team, he led the Okaw Valley Conference champion Rockets in scoring (19.4 average, third in the area), rebounding (10.9, third in the area) and field goal accuracy (66.7 percent, second in the area). Also made 66.7 percent of his free throws. Committed only 14 turnovers in 28 games for a team that won a Class 2A regional title. Improved his averages significantly in his second year after transferring from Heritage. As a junior, averaged 11.6 points and 7.0 rebounds a game. In two years at Unity, hit 63 percent of his shots (339 of 538). Scored 1,178 career points.

Your season highlight: Making my first three-pointer in a high school varsity game

Your career highlight: First dunk in a summer game at Parkland College

Favorite college player: Jared Sullinger

Favorite entertainer: Drake

Favorite class: Physical education

Favorite movie: "Glory Road"

Favorite store: Best Buy

Favorite restaurant: T.G.I. Friday's

Favorite car: 2012 Dodge Ram

My first job was ... mowing at my high school.

Plans for college: Play basketball

In five years, I will be ... an athletic trainer for a university.

Chase Patton

Junior guard, St. Joseph-Ogden

The numbers: Top scorer (12.2 average) on a 23-8 regional championship team. Shared team lead in three-pointers with Nate Michael (54). Made 73.3 percent of his free throws (55 of 75). Unanimous all-conference first-team selection had high game of 31 points against Bloomington Central Catholic. Also led the Spartans in scoring as a sophomore (10.6 average) and in three-pointers (67). For the past two years, he has made 71.0 percent of his free throws (110 of 155). Needs 313 points next season to reach 1,000 for his prep career and 63 three-pointers to break the all-time SJ-O record.

Your season highlight: Scoring 25 points in a regional championship win, and the dunk that game

Your career highlight: Dunk against Bismarck-Henning and playing in sectionals at our place

Favorite college player: Harrison Barnes

Favorite entertainer: Drake

Favorite class: Strength training

Favorite movie: "Coach Carter"

Favorite store: Any sporting goods store

Favorite restaurant: Texas Roadhouse

Favorite car: Cadillac CTS

My first job was ... working at Body Tech in St. Joseph.

Plans for college: Play basketball and study criminal law

In five years, I will be ... working in the World Wrestling Entertainment.

Tanner Ribbe

Senior guard, Bismarck-Henning

The numbers: Ribbe was the top scorer (15.0 average) on a 27-3 VVC championship team that was ranked seventh in the state's final Class 2A regular season poll. Ribbe had a team-high 116 steals, a team-high 116 assists, a team-high 39 three-pointers and was second among the Blue Devils with 151 rebounds. He hit 77.3 percent of his free throws (80 of 103). Scored at least 19 points in eight games. Played in all of the team's 121 games in his four-year career and led B-H in assists all four years and in scoring the last three. Has a school-record 276 steals. Totaled 1,437 career points, second best in school history, 563 career rebounds and 331 career assists, second in school history. In four years, hit 73.9 percent of his free throws (263 of 356).

Your season highlight: Making it to the regional championship

Your career highlight: Setting career records at Bismarck-Henning

Favorite college player: Austin Rivers

Favorite entertainer: None

Favorite class: Statistics with Mrs. Russell

Favorite movie: "Sweet Home Alabama"

Favorite store: Buckle

Favorite restaurant: Panda Express

Favorite car: Ford Mustang

My first job was ... refereeing youth basketball.

Plans for college: Play basketball

In five years, I will be ... teaching and coaching somewhere.

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