All-U.P. Boys Basketball: Player of the Year Jandron is the best at just about everything

MARQUETTE – Winning has become a hallmark of the way that Negaunee senior guard Tyler Jandron plays, shown in the four consecutive MHSAA Class C quarterfinal appearances the Miners made during his high school days in a Miners uniform.

The last two years Negaunee made it one step further to the semifinal round at Michigan State University.

Individual accolades have come his way, too, including selection for the second straight time as Class ABC Player of the Year by the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association at its annual basketball meeting in Marquette on Wednesday.

Jandron won on a unanimous acclimation of the voters that recognized his play that often amazed and always got the job done for the Miners.

In Class D, just one vote separated Player of the Year winner Joey Duncan of Cedarville from runner-up Travis Vincent of North Central, fitting for a pair of a teams that didn’t decide their regional championship game until no time was remaining on the clock.

The 6-foot-2 Jandron averaged 17.2 points per game as a senior, making 42 percent of his 2-point shots and 86 percent on free throws even as the focus of every opponent’s defense.

He also averaged 4.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and three steals per game as a senior while earning his third consecutive Mid-Peninsula Conference Player of the Year honor and second straight first-team mention from the Associated Press for all-state Class C honors.

He finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer with more than 1,300 points over three full years plus about a half-dozen games at the end of his freshman year on varsity. His record in that time? 75-10.

Negaunee coach Mike O’Donnell heaps praise on a player who it is no exaggeration excels at just about every facet of the game.

“The big thing that jumps out at me is that he’s a winner,” said the Miners’ ninth-year coach. “He looks forward maybe even more to playing on the defensive end and making a stop as he does to scoring. It shows what a complete player he is.

“He’s a very vocal leader, an excellent finisher at the rim, and his best on-court attribute is turning defensive steals into offensive points on the break.

“He’s become one of the all-time greats in Negaunee not by accident. He’s been mentally strong and confident, and watches films and makes adjustments – the right adjustments.”

Jandron himself was dissatisfied with his play during the Class C districts that opened postseason play at his home court in Negaunee. But he righted himself once he came to the next round played a week later in Marquette.

“I’ve been in the gym a lot because I played pretty bad the last two games,” he said following a 24-point, nine-rebound, seven-assist and six-steal game against St. Ignace. “I needed to start slowing things down. The game should feel like it’s going in slow motion.

“I would be trying to go up against three guys. That just doesn’t work.”

And he led the Miners to an easy romp in that game and two that followed – victories of 23, 25 and 21 points – to get back to MSU.

Two opposing coaches who have seen him close-up also rain praise on Jandron.

“He’s just a phenomenal player,” long-time Gwinn coach Darren Sinnaeve said. “He changes your whole game plan because he’s one of those rare kids who plays at both ends of the floor.”

“Definitely the best player in the U.P. because of his quickness and shooting ability,” Ishpeming coach Jeff Olson said. “He can pass the ball well and control the game by himself.

“His defensive play was phenomenal, too.”

The Class D vote was razor-thin as Duncan received 12 votes and Vincent 11.

Duncan led Cedarville to the Class D semifinals after getting past North Central 81-79 in the quarterfinals when a NC player missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw situation with no time remaining on the clock.

The 6-foot junior averaged 21 points, three steals, three assists and three rebounds a game this season while surpassing 1,000 career points. He made 56 percent on 2-point shots and 70 percent of his free throws and was an AP Class D all-stater.

Vincent, also an AP all-stater, scored 16.4 points, grabbed 11.4 rebounds while also making 2.4 steals and two blocks per game for the Powers school. The 6-2 senior shot 58 percent from the field and was most valuable player in both the Central U.P. and Skyline conferences. Just for good measure, he slammed home seven dunks during the season.