MITCHELL, S.D. (KELO) — The 4th nominee for the KELOLAND Media Group Boys All Star Basketball Player of the Year is Mitchell senior Caden Hinker, who leaves behind quite a legacy within the Kernels program.
Caden Hinker played five seasons of varsity ball at Mitchell, elevating his game in each passing year and capping it off with a dominant senior season where he averaged more than 22 points and 9 rebounds per game.
“My 8th grade I was primarily a post only. As the years went on, I developed an outside game,” Hinker said.
“Completely transformed his game from what I would call a post-hook central down there in the middle school gym to now he’s bringing the ball up the floor. He’s shooting threes. He’s one of the better shooters in the state,” Mitchell Head Coach Ryker Kreutzfeldt said.
Hinker leaves as the 6th leading scorer in AA history and finishes 2nd on Mitchell’s all-time scoring list, just behind Mike Miller.
“He’s doing that while getting double-teamed and triple-teamed every single game probably since his sophomore year,” Kreutzfeldt said.
“It means a lot to be in the conversation with a guy that possibly could be one of the greatest to ever do it from the state,” Hinker said.
But Hinker’s game goes well beyond scoring and rebounding. He dished out more than 3 assists per game this season and leaves as Mitchell’s career assist leader.
“He’s been so unselfish and he knows that he can’t win by himself and trusts his teammates a lot. I don’t know how many people would have guessed that a 6’7″ kid is the leading assist guy in Mitchell Kernel history now, so it’s a pretty cool thing for him,” Kreutzfeldt said.
Hinker has his name all over the Mitchell record books, but that pales in comparison to the impact he had on the Kernel program now and into the future.
“It’s an honor to play for the Kernels, with all the names associated with it. It’s just, you have to represent not only yourself, but the city and the culture that surrounds it as well,” Hinker said.
“He’s the kid that did things right the entire time. He was a great player, a great kid and a great student and that’s exactly what we want Mitchell Kernels to be,” Kreutzfeldt said.
Hinker was also the Class AA Spirit of Su Recipient. He’ll continue his basketball career next season at Augustana.