Dominant Dozen: The Ozarks' best boys basketball players of the 2020-21 season
One of the great years in southwest Missouri high school basketball history featured perhaps the largest pool of talent the area has ever seen.
Multiple Power 5 athletes including some of the best players to ever come through the state played in gyms all throughout the Ozarks during the 2020-21 season.
The News-Leader's inaugural Dominant Dozen postseason list highlights the 12 best boys' players from this past season. These players stood out above the rest as some led their teams to state championships while others put up big numbers throughout the season.
The following list is listed alphabetically by last name:
Logan Applegate, Nevada
Next stop: Prep school
Even when you knew what was coming, there was still no stopping or slowing down Logan Applegate.
The Nevada star stood out as one of the area's best players while averaging nearly 23 points per game and distributing 111 assists over the season.
The crafty scorer was one of the area's most lethal outside shooters. He could also get to the basket and nearly carried Nevada to a state semifinal appearance.
Trevon Brazile, Kickapoo
Next stop: Mizzou
After committing to Mizzou over the summer, Trevon Brazile showcased the potential Cuonzo Martin saw in him and turned into one of the best players in the state.
Playing on one of the most talented teams to ever come through southwest Missouri, Brazile averaged 13.4 points and 7.4 boards per game entering the state semifinals. He was a ridiculous 71.9 percent from the field while turning into an elite defender.
Brazile's ceiling is extremely high and he's only going to get better.
Anton Brookshire, Kickapoo
Next stop: Mizzou
One of the best players to come through the area ended his career as the leader of a championship team.
Anton Brookshire averaged 18.2 points, 4.1 boards and had 150 assists entering the state semifinals. He was a 51.7 percent shooter and the floor general for one of the most talented teams to come through the area.
Kickapoo had been Brookshire's program since he started as a point guard as a freshman. The talented additions to Kickapoo before the season meant Brookshire was going to have to share some of the spotlight but ego never got in the way as Kickapoo went on to win its first state title since 2006.
Jonathan Dunn, Logan-Rogersville
Next stop: Prep school
He didn't play the entire season at Logan-Rogersville but when Jonathan Dunn arrived, the Wildcats turned into a state championship contender.
Dunn, who played 15 of 26 games after joining the team in January, averaged 23 points and 4.7 boards per game while shooting 62.6 percent from the field.
He immediately became one of the area's best athletes and put on a show on the floor. His dominance led to him being named the Big 8 East Player of the Year.
Kanon Gipson, Logan-Rogersville
Next stop: Prep school
One of southwest Missouri's smartest players made the Wildcats one of the area's best teams.
Kanon Gipson isn't the most athletic nor the biggest, but he has command on the floor and creates opportunities for himself and teammates unlike most in the area.
Gipson averaged 16.9 points, 5.3 assists and 3.1 steals over the course of the season. It's going to be difficult for the Wildcats to replace a top-tier point guard like him.
Isaac Haney, Kickapoo
Next stop: Missouri State
After winning back-to-back Class 1 Player of the Year honors, Isaac Haney showed he's perfectly capable of playing with the big boys.
Haney cemented himself as one of the state's all-time greats by adding a second state title to his resume while becoming the state's fourth all-time leading scorer.
In his lone season at Kickapoo, Haney averaged 13.4 points per game and was 33.1 percent from beyond the arc. He had 112 assists entering the state semifinals and was one of the smartest and hardest-working players on the court in every game he played.
Zach Howell, Catholic
Next stop: Senior year at Catholic
Catholic remained one of the area's top teams and it was thanks to the program's star junior.
Zach Howell took another step as one of the area's best players while putting up crazy numbers for the Fightin' Irish throughout the season. He averaged 26 points, 9.8 rebounds and two assists per game while finishing as a 45.3 percent shooter.
At 6-foot-4, Howell has the height to post up down low and he has guard skills that make him one of the biggest threats in southwest Missouri.
Drew McMillin, Republic
Next stop: Southwest Baptist
There hasn't been a better shooter in the area than Drew McMillin the past few seasons.
The Republic guard graduates as one of the better players in the school's history. He's the record-holder for 3's in a game, season and career and finished with more than 1,500 career points.
McMillin averaged 22.9 points per game throughout the season and was 79-of-195 from deep. His most notable performance came in a 61-point night in late January in which he splashed 16 made 3's in a win. It doesn't get much better than that.
Aminu Mohammed, Greenwood
Next stop: Georgetown
Perhaps the greatest player in the area's history ended his high school career by putting together another sensational season.
Aminu Mohammed averaged 23.3 points, 10 boards, 3.1 assists and was a 51.7 percent shooter during his final season in southwest Missouri.
Mohammed continued to be the extremely athletic and explosive player he has been over his career. His motor was unlike anyone else's as he moves on to play college ball.
Ryce Piper, Hartville
Next stop: Undecided
The leader of the best team in the area was senior Ryce Piper.
Piper led Hartville to an undefeated season and its second straight state title while averaging 18.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and was the team's leader with 99 assists entering the state semifinals.
At 6-foot-4, Piper could do it all, from driving to the basket to knocking down an outside shot. Piper's unselfishness helped the Eagles pull off one of the great seasons in the area's history and he is still somehow flying under the radar with his college prospects. Whoever picks up Piper is going to be really happy it did.
Kyle Pock, Bolivar
Next stop: Junior year at Bolivar
Kyle Pock wasn't supposed to be considered among the elite of the elite players until next year — but he obviously didn't get the memo.
The Bolivar sophomore had a sensational season while leading the Liberators to a state runner-up finish on one of the area's great postseason runs. He scored 29 points in a state semifinal comeback win before scoring 30 in a championship loss.
Pock's season ended with him averaging more than 24.5 points per game while shooting 48.3 percent. He also grabbed 9.5 rebounds per game entering the state semifinals.
The 6-foot-6 guard is going to be the area's best player for the next few seasons.
Colin Ruffin, Nixa
Next stop: Senior year at Nixa
After starting his sophomore year as someone who wasn't supposed to play very much, Colin Ruffin has earned his way into being one of the area's best in a season and a half.
The Nixa junior was one of the more unselfish players in the area while dishing out an average of 6.6 assists per game. He could also score and rebound by averaging 12.1 points and 5.1 boards.
Ruffin will be the leader of a Nixa team that has high expectations going into the 2021-22 season in which the Eagles are expected to be among the area's best.
- Braden Branstetter, Hartville
- Elijah Whitley, Parkview
- Cameron Liggins, Kickapoo
- Kael Combs, Nixa
- Brady Ward, Hartville
- Jamen Smith, Buffalo
- Max Schnelle, Lockwood
- Kyson Lahman, East Newton
- Cody Mahan, Hartville
- Lane Dunlap, Golden City
- AK Rael, Strafford
Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist with the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter at @WyattWheeler_NL. You can subscribe to his free "Bears Beat" newsletter on News-Leader.com. He's also the co-host of Sports Talk on Jock Radio weekdays from 4-6 p.m.