Boys prep hoops: The 2017 Fabulous Five
For the 35th straight year, The News-Sentinel has selected it’s Fabulous Five of boys high school basketball.
The Fabulous Five, whose first team was selected in 1983, names what The News-Sentinel deems as the top five area players in the preseason. Here are the 2017 honorees:
CRAIG YOUNG, WAYNE JUNIOR
Young has asserted himself to be at the top of the conversation of most athletic kids in Fort Wayne. And win or lose, he has played a major role in making Wayne one of the most talked about basketball programs in the area. His 18.6 points and 9.2 rebound per game numbers sometimes played second fiddle to his thunderous slams and one of a kind flash.
“I’m a better player this year because I make playes better,” Young said.
He is the first Wayne General to be named to the Fabulous Five since Justin Mitchell in 2013.
KEION BROOKS JR., NORTH SIDE JUNIOR
While being named to the Associated Press All-State second team last year, Brooks Jr. averaged 20.5 points and 7.4 rebounds in helping the Legends to a Class 4A state title game as the runner-up. His summer has only vaulted him higher on the list of top players in the nation. He currently sits on scholarship offers from Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA, Indiana and many others.
“My main focus this year is trying to get better overall, but I also want to get stronger. I’m still very thin. I could put on more weight and muscle. And I want to just keep developing my guard skills, ball-handling and shooting with range,” Brooks Jr. said.
Brooks is the only repeat member of this year’s Fabulous Five. He shared the honor in 2016, including with then teammate Jaylen Butz.
LUCAS KROFT, NORTH SIDE JUNIOR
Kroft will look to bounce back from an injury shortened sophomore campaign as he now wears the red and white of North Side. He worked well in the past last season for Blackhawk Christian after injuries left them without a true big man. Kroft averaged 15.7 points and 6.5 rebounds. He was Blackhawk Christian’s top overall rebounder with 123 despite playing in just 19 of their 27 games.
“I think he’s one of the best shooters in the area,” North Side coach Shabaz Khaliq said. “He can stretch the floor and be a matchup problem.”
Kroft is part of a North Side trio that marks three straight years for the program in placing at least one player in the Fabulous Five.
JALAN MULL, BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN SENIOR
To call Mull’s move from Northrop to Blackhawk Christian last year a success would be an understatement. He became the premier true point guard of the area with a pass first game not often seen in the city much anymore, racking up 9.1 assists per game on his way to being named Associated Press All-State honorable mention. Better yet? He showed his diversity when asked to step up after numerous Braves injuries hampered them offensively and ended up averaging 15.6 points per game.
“I’m a distributor and I will lock up on defense. I’m still working on the jump shot but its getting better with my pullups and off the dribble. You have to be versatile so people can’t play you one way,” Mull said.
Mull is the first Blackhawk Christian player to be named to the Fabulous Five since 2009 when Russell Byrd was part of the top group.
AUSTIN BOUCHER, NORTH SIDE SENIOR
The last time Boucher suited up in the area, he dropped 54 points in a Sectional loss to Muncie Central, setting a school scoring record for South Side. The next year, he was declared ineligible to play varsity basketball as a transfer to North Side. So he took his talents to Maryland and a year at St. James Prep. He now returns to the city for a final run, finally in a Legends jersey. As a sophomore at South Side, he averaged 24.4 points, 4.5 assists and two steals per game.
“It feels good to be back where I belong with my brothers. I feel like my work ethic and intensity helps set the bar for everyone else,” Boucher said. “As a point guard I have to be a floor general, which means I have to know what every position is doing so that we can get the best opportunity to score. I think with my basketball IQ, my passing ability and my ability to score, I can help us get back to Bankers Life.”
Boucher’s inclusion alongside new teammates Brooks and Kroft makes North Side the first boys basketball team to ever place three players on the Fabulous Five in the same year. The only other team to ever do so was last year’s Homestead girls team.