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Boys basketball player of the year: Corn Elder


1:00 AM, Apr. 05, 2013 EDT

It's hard to imagine anybody who hates losing more than Ensworth's Corn Elder.

Maybe that partly explains how he led the Tigers to the past three Division II-AA titles in basketball and football.

Elder was named The Tennessean 2013 boys basketball player of the year, four months after winning the same award in football.

"Now that football is over we do a little two-on-two with each other, and I honestly can't tell you the last time he lost," Ensworth guard Rico McGraw said. "He's just dead serious. He breaks sweats. It's just fun. He loves it."

McGraw calls Elder the biggest competitor he has ever played with, and it stretches beyond the court.

"He has to win everything, even a little argument," said McGraw, a Tigers cornerback. "I had a couple matchups with (Brentwood Academy receiver) Jalen Ramsey and a couple of big-time players. Corn was in my ear that whole week. He's one of the best teammates you can ask for."

Elder, a Miami football signee who will walk on in basketball with the Hurricanes, said his competitiveness grew roots during his childhood.

"Growing up, I always wanted to be the best," Elder said. "Playing with my older cousins, I had to play even harder than them, so I think that's what helps me have the drive that I do."

The 5-foot-10 guard went out in style, scoring a career-high 41 points in an 87-77 overtime win over Briarcrest in the DII-AA final. Ensworth rallied after trailing by nine points early in the fourth quarter.

"My motivation was just win it," Elder said. "I hate losing, so I just wanted to go out there and help my team. I know my teammates hate losing, so we just wanted to win that game."

The senior scored 1,521 career points, leading the Tigers to a 97-20 record during the last four seasons. He was the state tournament MVP the past three years.

"He's a special guy," said Ricky Bowers, who coaches Elder in basketball and football. "He rises to the occasion, and he is a competitor through and through -- one of those rare types that's going to win every little battle. He wins all the little battles every day in practice."

Elder averaged 20.2 points, 4.7 assists and 4.2 steals this season.

"I think he was probably the little guy growing up, and I think the little guys have to fight a little harder to get the ball," Bowers said. "I think he's probably maintained that sort of intensity until now."

Pressure seems to bring out the best in Elder, whose jumper with 26 seconds left in regulation against Briarcrest tied the game at 75 and sent it into overtime. He also made a crucial steal with four seconds left in regulation before scoring seven points in overtime.

"His athletic abilities, his quickness, the pace at which he can push the ball and the pressure he can put on the ball -- those are things that set him apart," said Montgomery Bell Academy coach Kevin Anglin, a former Vanderbilt standout. "I think we all saw, between football and basketball, he just had a knack for making plays when the game was on the line that make him really hard to compete against.

"Guys who can be such difference makers in two sports don't come around often, so he had a tremendous career. I enjoyed watching it, and will enjoy him being gone all at the same time."

RECENT BOYS BASKETBALL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

RECENT BOYS BASKETBALL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

2012: Alex Poythress, Northeast

2011: Kedren Johnson, Marshall Co.

2010: Kedren Johnson, Marshall Co.

2009: John Jenkins, Station Camp

2008: John Jenkins, Station Camp

 

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