J.J. Rhymes is Blue Dragon Men's Basketball's third-straight Jayhawk Conference Player of the Year. (Allie Schweizer/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
J.J. Rhymes is Blue Dragon Men's Basketball's third-straight Jayhawk Conference Player of the Year. (Allie Schweizer/Blue Dragon Sports Information)

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

Hutchinson Community College sophomore guard J.J. Rhymes was named the 2018 Jayhawk Conference and Region VI Player of the Year after a tremendous season helped the Blue Dragons to a fourth-straight NJCAA Tournament appearance.

Rhymes was one of three Blue Dragon sophomores to earn postseason conference and region honors. The 2018 Blue Dragons finished 29-7 overall. Hutchinson finished second in the Jayhawk Conference, was Region VI Tournament runner-up and earned an at-large bid to the 2018 NJCAA Tournament. The Blue Dragons bowed out in the second round.

Joining Rhymes on the postseason honors list is sophomore Devonte Bandoo, who was first-team all-Jayhawk Conference and all-Region VI. Sophomore Sal Nuhu was an honorable mention all-Jayhawk Conference selection.


Rhymes is the third-straight Blue Dragon to be named the Jayhawk Conference Player of the Year, joining Shakur Juiston (2017) and Bashir Ahmed (2016). He is the fifth player to earn the Jayhawk's top individual honor in head coach Steve Eck's nine seasons on the Blue Dragon bench.

Rhymes was not only Hutchinson's leading scorer, but the Jayhawk Conference's top scorer in 2018 at 19.6 points per game. He had a career-high 41 points on December 6 in an 82-80 victory at Butler where the Blue Dragons completed the largest comeback in program history, rallying from 26 points down to win with Rhymes hitting the game-winning shot at the buzzer with a 3-pointer.

The 6-foot-4 sophomore from Phoenix became the 11th Blue Dragon in history to score 700 points in a season with 704 total points. Rhymes also joined the Blue Dragon career Top 10 scoring list, finishing with 1,295 points.

Rhymes shot 47.0 percent overall, hitting 29.7 percent from 3-point range and 72.7 percent from the foul line. Rhymes also averaged 4.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.

Rhymes finished his career third in career free throws with 370 and fourth on the single-season list with 197 free throws. His 215 career assists ranked 13th on Hutch's career chart.

Rhymes had one career double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds against Pratt on November 18. In addition to his 41-point game against Butler, Rhymes had six games of 30 or more points and 18 games of 20-plus points. He led the team in scoring in 22 of 36 games played this season.

Bandoo shook off an early-season shooting slump to become one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in the Jayhawk Conference in 2018.

His 16.7 point-per-game scoring average was third in the Jayhawk Conference. That average increased three more than full points per game over the second half of the season when Bandoo broke out of the slump. Bandoo on Jan. 4 was averaging 13.3 points and was shooting 27.4 percent from 3-point range. Over his final 21 games played, Bandoo averaged 18.2 points, while shooting 52.7 percent from 3-point range (48 of 91).

Bandoo completed the season shooting 49.3 percent overall, 43.0 percent from 3-point range and 80.6 percent from the free-throw line. Bandoo also averaged 5.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.

His 62 3-pointers in 2018 tied for the eighth most in single-season Blue Dragon history. His 43.9 percent from distance was the fourth-best 3-point shooting percentage in single-season history. Scoring 1,072 career points, Bandoo ranks 15th on the Blue Dragon career scoring list. His 99 career 3-pointers rank 13th in team history.

The 6-8 forward from The Bronx, New York, started in 23 of 35 games played in 2018. He averaged 5.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 67.3 percent from the foul line.

Nuhu rejected a team-high 56 opponent shots this season, which ranked fifth in the Jayhawk Conference. He blocked a single-game high five shots against Garden City on November 2 in Garden City.

Nuhu's 56 blocked shots this past season tied for 14th most in team history. His 95 career blocks are the ninth most in program history.

Nuhu posted one double-double this season with a season-high 12 points and 10 rebounds against Cloud County on Jan. 20 at the Sports Arena. He had two games of 10 or more rebounds this season.