Blount Press Row

Butch & Sundance

Co-players of year Anderson, Harris like nothing we’ve seen

Maryville’s Joe Anderson, left, and Alcoa’s Dante Harris, the Barley’s/Blount Press Row co-Players of the Year, just flat out crushed the sophomore jinx this past season. Photo by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Editor
Blount Press Row

Reaching 1,000 career points is an amazing achievement for a high school basketball player.

It’s really, really tough to do.

So is winning district player of the year as a sophomore … in a district where the league champion went 32-1, didn’t lose a game in district play, and that team wasn’t yours.

Alcoa sophomore Dante Harris and Maryville counterpart Joe Anderson, the Barley’s/Blount Press Row co-Players of the Year, were that good during the 2017-18 season.

Harris became the fastest player to 1,000 points in Alcoa history this past season. He’s a sophomore.

Harris became the fastest Tornado to 1,000 points in the history of the program during Alcoa’s run to the Class AA state tournament. The 5-foot-11 dervish, who can already dunk, did it largely without the 3-pointer. All but unstoppable off the drive, Harris did a lot of it old-school, burying 140 free throws.

The list of Tornadoes who breached 1,000 during their careers is a storied one. Alcoa all-time scoring champion Travis Stinnett — 1,748 points — went on to sign with Alabama. Greats Micah Marsh (1,674) and Dennis Godfrey (1,469) could also fill it up.

For the season, Harris put up an impressive line of 19.3 points per game, adding team-bests for assists (59), rebounds (135) and steals (93).

Considering Harris has two full seasons to play, could he do the impossible and reach 2,000?

Could Anderson?

The Rebel guard finished just back of 1,000 for a career as sophomore. Not only will the 6-1 guard get there in a hurry next season, his unprecedented career to date says 2,000 is definitely doable.

When they start smiling at you as they’re setting up a move, as Anderson does here, it’s probably not going to end well.

Anderson became the first known Blount County player to receive a scholarship offer as a freshman when East Tennessee State University got in early a year ago. That, along with the long-held belief in the sophomore slump, is often enough to derail any rising star. Anderson not only didn’t slump. He surged.

Bearden didn’t lose a game to an in-state opponent until a loss in the state tournament semifinals. The gaudy run included a sweep of the Rebels. All that withstanding, Anderson was still the district’s hottest ticket.

Finishing with a line of 19.2 points per game with team-bests for assists (4.5) and steals (2.9), he proved more than deserving.

(Editor’s note: We’d pay the price of admission just to get in the gym watch the guy dribble.)

The Harris/Anderson selection marks the first time ever Blount Press Row’s editor has named a co-player of the year in anything — anywhere. The Tornadoes and Rebels made it pretty much mandatory by splitting the season series.

Like Butch and Sundance, one without the other just doesn’t work.

The Barley’s/Blount Press Row
All-Blount County Boys Basketball Team

 

Joe Anderson

Barley's/BPR co-Player of the Year
Maryville
Sophomore
Position: PG
Scouting Report:
In our dreams we all average 19.2 points per game. Just maybe not as a sophomore. Anderson, the District 4AAA Player of the Year, backed his scoring with team bests for assists (4.5 per) and steals (2.9), adding 2.7 rebounds per outing. As a shooter, he made good on 48 percent of his field goals -- 41 percent of his 3s -- and 78 percent of his free throws. Dang.

Dante Harris

Barley's/BPR co-Player of the Year
Alcoa
Sophomore
Position: PG
Scouting Report:
Just wow! The District 4AA co-Player of the Year and tournament MVP dropped 19.3 points per game on Alcoa opponents during the Tornadoes' run the Class AA state tournament. Get this, though. He also led Alcoa in rebounds (4.5 per), assists (59) and steals (93) en route to becoming the fastest to 1,000 in school history. Shot 44 percent from the field, 77 percent (140-181) from the free-throw line.

Jordan Tarver

William Blount
Junior
Position: FWD
Scouting Report:
Few players intrigue like the tall, smooth Tarver. The William Blount ace went for 9.3 points per game, leading the Governors with 1.6 steals per game. Added 3.5 rebounds. Inside the arc, he was deadly, knocking down 49 percent of his attempts there. We're still thinking about that backdoor cut against Maryville.

Brett Boling

William Blount
Junior
Position: G
Scouting Report:
Boling should catch on with the Secret Service. Few players were so effective this past season ... and so unassuming about it. Led the Governors with a 9.8 points per game average, setting the tempo in rebounding (4.0) and steals (38) as well. The complete player, shot 51 percent from the field (42 percent from 3) and 79 percent from the line.

Jeremiah Murrell

William Blount
Senior
Position: PG
Scouting Report:
Murrell is just a ball player. Great handles for a point guard. He's tough, and he's sneaky. The backdoor feed to Tarver in the Maryville win was great, great stuff. For the year, William Blount floor general averaged 6.1 points and a team-best 1.5 assists. Throw in 2.6 rebounds, and he could run the floor for us.

Jacob Giles

Maryville
Senior
Position: C
Scouting Report:
Giles put in some work his senior season with the Rebels. The all-district selection pumped in 11.2 points per game, knocking down 47 percent of the his field goals and 40 percent of this treys, all while leading district runner-up Maryville with 7.4 rebounds per game. He was a 77 percent shooter from the charity stripe.

Nick Roberts

Alcoa
Sophomore
Position: C
Scouting Report:
Roberts is one of the toughest outs in the business. The Alcoa center shot 53 percent from the field while averaging 12.2 points per game. He shot 37 percent from 3. On the glass, pulled off 4.0 rebounds per game, getting stuck in on defense to come away with 31 steals on the year.

Mekhi Carter

Alcoa
Senior
Position: FWD
Scouting Report:
Alcoa's lone senior, Carter was also its designated sniper, knocking down 42 percent of his bombs from the arc. That number rose to 55 percent when the got to the basket. It made for a 11.4 points per game scoring average, to go with 4.2 rebounds per game. He shared the rock, helping teammates with 2.4 assists per game.

Davon Kimble

Maryville
Junior
Position: G
Scouting Report:
Kimble didn't get much time to acclimate, rolling into basketball right out of the football team's state championship run. The versatile Rebel still put up 6.6 points per game en route to an all-district tournament selection. It was his board work that got him on our all-county team, averaging 5.2 rebounds per game. Shot 44 percent from the field.

Kyler Sudhoff

Heritage
Senior
Position: G
Scouting Report:
The Mountaineers took a big hit with the midseason transfer of talented sophomore Luke Burnette. Sudhoff shook it off and got stuck in, setting the pace for Heritage with 7.1 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. Throw in a 2.0 steals per, and it's tough to see this guy go.

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