All-UP Boys Basketball 2016-2017
Striking gold: Negaunee’s Bell, Tuominen earn All-U.P. Dream Team honors
MARQUETTE — The Negaunee boys basketball team has made three trips to the Class C quarterfinals in the past five seasons, including one trek just a few weeks ago.
A lot of this year’s success came from the Miners’ 1-2 senior punch of Trent Bell and Dre Tuominen.
The tandem were rewarded for their strong performances at Wednesday’s Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association meeting as both made the All-U.P. Dream Team. Bell was just two votes short of being a unanimous choice and Tuominen came within three.
The 6-foot-7 Bell had a good junior year but really emerged as a post player this season. He averaged 19.6 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Bell also shot a tremendous 69 percent from the field and racked up 14 double-doubles.
His best overall game came against Escanaba, when he dropped in 37 points and snatched 18 boards. Bell also had a great night against Ishpeming, scoring 35 and getting 13 caroms.
“Trent’s versatility made us tough to guard,” Negaunee head coach Dan Waterman said. “He can take bigger players off the dribble and post up smaller defenders.
“His ability to handle the ball triggered our fast break because he could pull the board and bring the ball up the court himself. He’s a very complete player and Michigan Tech is getting a steal with him.”
Not to be outdone, Tuominen also had a big final season in high school. A 6-foot point guard, Tuominen gave opponents fits over the course of the season and was an all-around offensive force. He averaged 20.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game. He also had an eye-popping 5.2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio and finished his career with 1,048 points.
Tuominen had four truly great performances with a game against Iron Mountain in the final week of the regular season standing out. He put in 37 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and dished out eight assists.
“Dre is in my opinion, without question, the best point guard in the U.P.,” Waterman said. “He has the greatest impact on winning a game because he is a factor in all facets. His greatest strength is his ability to both score and distribute the ball. His assist-to- turnover ratio is beyond exceptional. Two-to-1 is exceptional, but 5-to-1 is unheard of. He had his best games against our best competition.”
North Central’s Jason Whitens, a 6-5 senior, got a unanimous vote for one of the other Dream Team spots, while teammate Dawson Bilski, a 6-3 senior, and Iron Mountain’s Carson Wonders, a 6-4 senior, notched the other two.
U.P. Players of the Year:
Class ABC: Carson Wonders, Iron Mountain
Class D: Dawson Bilski, North Central, and Jason Whitens, North Central
Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal. net.