Keeping up the tradition: Cougars' Timmerman is Player of the Year

News-DemocratMarch 27, 2014 

During senior guard Jacob Timmermann's four years as a starter, the Central Cougars were 108-23 and won a state championship.

They also captured four regional titles, two sectional titles and have enjoyed a near lock on the Belleville News-Democrat's Small-School Basketball Player of the Year Award.

Timmermann earned the honor this season in voting by area coaches, continuing an impressive stretch of Cougar players winning Player of the Year five times in the past six seasons.

Preceding Timmermann on Central's Player of the Year honor roll were Brandon Book (2011 and 2012), David Wiegmann (2010) and Garrett Gaffner (2009).

"I've looked up to those guys a lot," said Timmermann, who recently signed with Kaskaskia College after averaging 14.5 points per game and shutting down opponents as one of the region's top defensive players. "It's an honor to follow in their footsteps and keep the tradition going. Five people in six years is pretty impressive."

It is -- and winning Player of the Year was one of three goals Timmermann set for himself way before the season even began.

The others were winning another Cahokia Conference-Mississippi Division title (check) and winning the school's sixth straight regional title (check).

He also was a second-team all-state pick by the Associated Press and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.

"It's going to be different not seeing him come out of the huddle for us," Central coach Jeremy Shubert said.

Timmermann will leave high school as Central's sixth-leading scorer with 1,287 points. He's also the all-time leader in free throws attempted (539) and is second in free throw made (344) and ranks among the top three all-time in assists and steals.

Timmermann's 128 games played ranks only one behind Book, the all-time Central leader.

"I played as hard as I could and won games," Timmermann said. "That's all that really mattered to me. I didn't really care about scoring or rebounds, I just worried about winning games and playing defense."

As a sophomore guard on the Central team that won the state tournament, Timmermann had the assignment of guarding five Division I players along the way. None hurt the Cougars and Timmermann's defense and point guard play were a major contribution to winning the state title.

"By him holding someone else under their average, it helps create points for somebody else," Shubert said.

Timmermann's scoring average is one of the lowest in recent memory for a News-Democrat Player of the Year, showing how his many talents were appreciated by the area's coaches.

"It's kind of neat looking back on it. Not many people notice (defense) because it doesn't get glamorized," Timmermann said. "I take pride in my defense and I work at it a lot. I appreciate (Player of the Year) because a lot of people would just vote for scoring and rebounds. That means a lot to me."

Timmermann had interest in playing college basketball and college football, but decided to sign with Kaskaskia College after receiving a full scholarship.

"If I wanted to play football, it still would have cost me (money) to go play," he said. "I think it's a good fit for me to go to Kaskaskia for a couple years. I can improve my game there and I want to go D-2 or D-1 after two years."

Shubert also thought Kaskaskia was a good fit.

"I think he's going to be able to do a lot of the same things he was able to do for us, especially creating offense for people with his defense," Shubert said. "Jacob's better defensively than a lot of the college players I've seen. They're there for their offense."

Timmermann was perhaps most proud of being a senior leader on an extremely young team that kept the Cougars' regional win streak intact.

Even after his playing career has ended, he's still the one leading the youngsters to the weight room this spring.

"No one in Southern Illinois would have expected us to come out of that regional at the start of the year, same thing with the conference title," he said. "We had a chance there at the sectional. Now our young guys just have to get better. If they get better, Central's headed in the right direction."

Coach of the Year

Veteran coach Brad Weathers, who guided the Nashville Hornets on an improbable run to the Class 2A state championship game, was voted Small-School Coach of the Year.

The Hornets finished 27-8 after losing 76-62 in triple overtime to Bloomington Central Catholic in the championship.

The second-place finish came 25 years after Weathers coached the Carlyle Indians to their only state basketball title in 1989.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, or follow him on Twitter: @NormSanders

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