Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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April 13, 2014

All-Area boys basketball team

Wildkats' Persons is MVP of 51st annual honor squad


Persons scored 1,131 career points — the eighth-best total in Kokomo’s long and rich history.

Persons is the 19th boys player from a Kokomo school to cap his high school career with an Indiana All-Star selection — and just the fourth in the last 40 years.

“He is one of the all-time greats at Kokomo High School,” McCauley said. “We’ve had so many good players, but he’s right up there. What I really like is it meant a lot for him to play for the Kokomo Wildkats. He played at a high skill level and he played with so much passion and pride. It’s what made him fun to watch.”

Persons played in 88 games and the Kats were 75-13 in those games. He is a three-time All-Area player. He made the first team in 2012 and again in ‘13.

The following are capsule looks at the other All-Area players. They are listed in alphabetical order within their respective teams.

Des Balentine, Western

Balentine emerged as one of the area’s best with a breakout junior campaign. He finished second in the area in scoring with a 21.1 average, nearly 10 points per game more than he averaged as a sophomore. The 6-foot guard also cemented himself among the elite all-around players in the area by leading the area in assists at 5.4 per game while adding 4.2 rebounds a night.

“Des is an outstanding player and outstanding young man,” Western coach Bart Miller said. “He led us in scoring but led [the area] in assists, which shows how unselfish a player he is. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to win and help out his teammates. It was unfortunate that he did have the injury there in the sectional, but even when he was out, he was rooting with the team, fighting, and giving us everything he could while he was out as far as information and helping his teammates.”

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