Public Opinion Players of the Year, Dylan Gordon and Bronwyne Mellott team up with sports reporters Lizi Arbogast and Lindsey Smith for the battle of the century.
Dylan Gordon had big shoes to fill.
Luckily, he and Connor Litton seem to have similar feet.
A year ago, Southern Fulton graduated the then-P.O. Player of the Year in Connor Litton; Gordon filled the role to a T. Literally.
He is this season's Public Opinion Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
"We honestly thought as a team we might not be as good," Gordon said. "Losing Connor was big. He could jump out of his shoes, and he was just a freak athlete. We knew we needed to step up. (SF coach) Kent (Hendershot) said if we wanted to get to our ultimate goals, that's what had to happen. Simple as that."
Gordon did a little bit of everything for the Indians, leading them in virtually every statistical category and basically willing them to a District 5 Class A championship.
"We kept challenging him to take ownership of this team," Hendershot said. "In crunch time, we wanted him to take over the game, and that's been a learning process. There were times where he tried to do too much, but toward the end of the season, he did it in a way that was natural with what was happening in the game."
Consistently in the top five scorers in the area, Gordon finished with an average of 17.0 points per game. He also led the Indians in rebounds (229), assists (94), steals (59) and blocks (20), and he shot a staggering 59 percent from the field. He collected 11 double-doubles and accounted for 29 of SF's 40 points in the District 5 final.
"At the beginning of the year, I felt a lot of pressure (to replace Litton), but as the year went on, I got into a rhythm," Gordon said. "You start to see how your teammates look up to you, and you know you have to be that guy when it comes down to situations that get tough. I had to be the leader for the team, and let my teammates know I was willing to keep them in the game and wanting them to win."
Since Gordon first stepped foot on SF's court as a freshman, it was clear that he was going to make an immediate impact. As a ninth-grader, Gordon was third on the team in scoring, averaging 11.7 points per game.
Despite being an obvious marked man early on, Gordon has kept us his offensive prowess since Day 1. In 78 games in an Indian jersey, Gordon has scored in single figures just 15 times. He was limited to under 10 only twice this season. It's no wonder that he's already joined the 1,000-point club as a junior.
"I don't think I've had to change the way I played (as a freshman), but I think I had to work a little bit harder on the things I wasn't as good at," Gordon said. "For example, I've gotten stronger rebounding and going to the hole. I still need to work on a lot of things, but I feel like if I keep on the track I am right now, I'm still going to improve."
Hendershot said, "The thing that sticks out most to me is his consistency, averaging almost a double-double and almost a triple-double sometimes. Day in and day out, he stayed the course and he pulled our team along with him."
In addition to his offensive strength, Gordon is also arguably the best defender in the area. His quick movements and ability to read the game give him an edge as he typically marks the opposing team's top player.
Moreover, Gordon added this season's district gold medal to a pair of golds he earned with the baseball team. Gordon is the starting third baseman for the two-time defending champs.
"Going from winning a D-5 championship in basketball to knowing your team has potential to win the third straight D-5 championship in baseball is pretty sweet," Gordon said. "It's something you come in each year knowing it's always a possibility. Going to Southern Fulton, we've always been strong in sports, and we always have a target on our chests. Everyone wants to beat us, so we just have to take control."
Well, Gordon is certainly no stranger to that.
Dylan Gordon file
School: Southern Fulton
Parents: Donnie and Darlene Gordon
Other interests: Dylan also plays baseball for the Indians, and is a member of an AAU basketball and travel baseball team.
Surprising fact: His favorite subjects are chemistry and biology.
Favorite team: Michigan State Spartans (oops, his NCAA bracket is already busted).
Athlete most admired: J.J. Redick
Favorite movie: Let's Be Cops
Favorite food: Egg and cheese sandwich
Favorite singers: Speaker Knockerz and Rihanna
Statistics: Gordon led Southern Fulton in every stat category this season ... He finished just shy of averaging a double-double with 17.0 points and 8.2 rebounds per game ... He also contributed 94 assists, 59 steals and 20 blocks, and was a major factor in the Indians' District 5 Class A championship victory.