Jersey number: 32
Nominated by: Head coach Adam Barton
Signature moment: On Dec. 20, with Franklin Central limiting Ryan Curry to five points on 1-of-8 shooting (only his second game this season with less than 10 points), Riley stepped up to score a team-best 26 points and paced New Palestine to a 73-57 win against the Flashes. Riley made 5-of-7 3-point attempts and knocked down 5-of-6 free throws.
Coach’s take: Barton knows his nomination of Riley goes slightly against what “Beyond the Box Score” is about. After all, the senior in the Dragons’ second-leading scorer (14.1 ppg) and features prominently in the box score most nights. However, Barton insisted on his senior for one reason. Playing Robin to Ryan Curry’s Batman, Riley’s efforts sometimes go underappreciated.
“Kevin has an amazing attitude about coming in every night and playing second fiddle, which is tough for a high school kid. Ryan has the school record for points in a game and has 1,000 points, and Kevin comes in every night and puts in his work. … The night Ryan had 46, Kevin had 23, but nobody wanted to talk about that. You know? And that’s a tough role for a high school kid to play, but I like how he’s handled it. It’s pretty impressive.
“The coolest thing about Kevin is two years ago tonight, we probably would have never projected him to be at this level as a varsity basketball player. And now he’s getting college looks from Earlham, Franklin, Anderson, some schools that are very interested in him continuing his career, just because of everything he’s done to develop himself. So as far as the ‘Beyond the Box Score’ idea, it’s just what he’s done the other half of the year, away from what we do. And when he’s with us, that attitude he has night in and night out to just consistently produce. I’m just very proud of him.”