By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-Jeff Otchere accomplished something that no other Broncbuster in school history ever did.
The freshman set the program record for blocks in a single season with 124, earning Region VI defensive player of the year honors, while his fellow post player Jamir Thomas landed on the All-Region first team. Point guard Pierre Johnson and wing Kendale Hampton were named honorable mentions.
Otchere's presence changed the dynamics of the Jayhawk Conference in 2017. He led the nation in swatted shots, averaging 3.8 per game. He had a season-high eight blocks vs. Cloud County on Feb. 10 and had 10 combined in the Region VI tournament. All of this while averaging just 15 minutes per game.
Johnson, who transferred from Seward County following the 2016-2017 season, was a steadying force at the point guard position. The sophomore led the region in assists, dishing out 5.6 per contest while dropping in 12.1 points per game. His improved shooting and playmaking ability helped bring the Broncbusters to within two games of their first national tournament appearance in nine years.
Hampton may go down as one of the best pure shooters to ever come through Garden City. The sophomore was magnificent in the postseason, and his bauzzer-beating 3 to beat Cowley in the Region VI Quarterfinals, will go down as the greatest clutch shot in the history of the program. He finished second in the region with 81 made 3s and was fifth in 3-point percentage (41.8). He scored in double figures in 15 out of his final 16 games including a 30-point outburst vs. Hutchinson on Feb. 7. He added 23 on Feb. 14 at Pratt and 24 in the Region VI semifinals vs. Coffeyville.