Lawrence said he thought Jones’ decision to commit to Nebraska-Omaha early helped.
“I really think it did,” Lawrence said. “From the day he committed he was a different person. A weight was lifted off his shoulders. He played a lot more relaxed.”
Ernst could find himself in a similar position next year. Lawrence said Ernst already had offers from Northern Iowa, Drake, Lehigh, San Diego and South Dakota, and he has been contacted or visited by several major programs, including Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Wichita State, Stanford and Colgate.
Ernst averaged 17.2 points and led the league with 10.2 rebounds a game. His value showed through when the River Kings went through a swoon after he suffered a hand injury that kept him out of four of the final five conference games.
“He did a lot of what he did last year, controlling the glass, but he was scoring more,” Lawrence said. “He led Class 4A in blocked shots (70 in 18 games), even missing four games. His leadership was good, and he pushed himself every day to get better.”
In addition to the two first-team picks, Clinton also had an honorable mention pick in sophomore Derrick Howard.
“He provided a third option on offense,” Lawrence said. “He will contribute in every statistical category and is a real solid player.”
ALL-MISSISSIPPI ATHLETIC CONFERENCE BOYS BASKETBALL
Nicholas Baer, sr., Bettendorf; Cortez Seales, jr., North Scott; Jalen Jones, sr., Clinton; Cole Clearman, sr., Bettendorf; William Carius, so., Pleasant Valley; Brady Ernst, jr., Clinton; Marlon Stewart, jr., North Scott.
Kendall Jacks, sr., Bettendorf; Dylan Sortillo, sr., Bettendorf; Geo Butler, sr., Davenport Central; Grant Graham, jr., North Scott; Evan Wadsager, jr., Davenport Assumption; Nasir Shabazz, jr., Davenport West; Adam Miller, sr., Muscatine.
Derrick Howard, so., Clinton; Jeffrey Kardell, jr., Pleasant Valley; Trey Hollingshed, jr., Davenport Central; Brice Plein, sr., Burlington; Kyle Buhman, sr., Bettendorf; Jayden Clayton, jr., Davenport North; Roman Youngblut, jr., Davenport Assumption; Kyle Calvert, sr., Muscatine; Ricky Grimes, jr., North Scott; Matt Wieskamp, jr., Muscatine; Michael Lintz, sr., Bettendorf; Hunter Grenier, jr., Davenport Assumption; Matt Moran, jr., Davenport Central; Corey Iossi, sr., Davenport North; Trey Kilburg, jr., North Scott; Chase Kipper, sr., Pleasant Valley; Michael Evans, jr., Davenport West.
Player of the Year — Nicholas Baer, Bettendorf.
Coach of the Year — Curtis Clark, Bettendorf.