MOWEAQUA (WCIA) — Winning runs in the Heaton family.
Connor finished his Central A&M career with 105 wins, that’s more than 26 per season. That goes along with three sectional titles and a 3rd place finish at state. The winning pedigree comes from his dad, Mark, who won a state title in 1988 with Pana.
“I always heard about his team winning it all and both my grandparents live in Pana so whenever I’m up there visiting them everyone is talking about the ’88 team,” Connor Heaton said.”
“I just talked to him over the years quite a bit about, ‘every play, make a play,'” Mark Heaton said. “You can always do something and he’s done a really good job of listening.”
Both knew when Connor was young that basketball was in his future. He remembers his 5th grade team going 24-0 in their first year of organized basketball. It was about that time that the 1-on-1 match-ups between Mark and Connor got a little closer.
“I’d say probably 7th or 8th grade is when I started getting an edge on him and then I don’t think he’s played me for about four years,” Connor joked.
“If we play to a small number like two or three I got a shot,” Mark responded. “But anything after that I’ve got no chance.”
Connor said after the Raiders’ super-sectional loss that he was close to making a college choice. Since that game, plans have changed though, as more schools have reached out. Heaton finished his senior season averaging 21.9 points per game, to go along with 8.8 rebounds 4.3 assists and 3.3 steals. He finished his career with more than 2,600 points and 1,000-plus rebounds.
“These schools just hit me up and it was kind of a shock but a good problem to have at this time of the year,” Connor added. “Like I said, I’m in no rush to make a decision.”
The 6-foot-4 point guard says he would like to make that decision by the end of the school year. He currently has D-II offers from Culver-Stockton and Quincy. Connor may have the upper hand in 1-on-1 now but he’s behind in state championships.
“Just knowing that he won that state championship, I wanted to do it too and my sister won one so I guess I’m the only one that doesn’t have one in the family,” said Connor.
State title or not, Connor Heaton will be remembered for a long time at Central A&M, and as the 2020 WCIA 3 Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year.
PAST WCIA 3 BOYS’ BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS:
2020: Connor Heaton, Central A&M
2019: Christian Stadeli, Cissna Park
2018: Kendle Moore, Danville
2017: Tim Finke, Central
2016: Brandon Trimble, St. Joseph-Ogden
2015: Christian Williams, St. Teresa
2014: Michael Finke, Centennial