CODYENTERPRISE.COM – When the word reached Northwest College late last week that Chris Boucher had been named the National Junior College Athletic Association men’s basketball player of the year, people wondered if it was an April Fool’s prank.
“Oh, my god,” said the 6-foot-10 center who already knew he had been named a first-team All-American. “It will take me a week to realize it. I was surprised.”
Boucher, a sophomore from Quebec who is being recruited by many NCAA teams for next season now that his Trapper eligibility is up, had trouble digesting the news when coach Brian Erickson informed him.
“He said, ‘What are you talking about?’” Erickson recalled.
The achievement, a first for Northwest basketball since the program began about 60 years ago, didn’t catch Erickson off guard.
“I’ve said for the last month that he should be it,” Erickson said. “No one has his numbers.”
The long-armed Boucher, who can shoot 3-point jumpers like a guard and possesses remarkable agility, averaged 22.5 points per game for the 31-5 Trappers as they advanced to the NJCAA championships in Hutchinson, Kan., for the first time in 46 years.
Boucher shot 58 percent from the floor, grabbed 11.8 rebounds a game and 4.7 blocked shots per game. Boucher was eighth in the country in scoring, fifth in rebounding and third in blocks average, though his total of 159 blocks was tops in the land.
Northwest reached the quarterfinals of the national championships before losing by two points to the eventual titlist.
Boucher and star guard William “Nicky” Desilein both are from Quebec and are long-time friends. They transferred to Northwest together after playing one season of junior college ball in New Mexico. Their signature play, as Northwest won the Region IX title, was an alley-oop lob pass from Desilein that Boucher grabbed high above the rim and jammed.
Few opponents could cope with it.
Twice during the 2014-15 campaign Boucher recorded eye-opening triple doubles, one of 30 points, 18 rebounds and 10 blocks and the other 32 points, 12 rebounds and 11 blocks.
Besides being named to the NJCAA All-American team, Boucher earned first-team Region IX honors and made the all-tournament team for Region IX and at the NJCAA event.
Desilein was chosen second-team All-Region IX and made the Region IX all-tournament team.
Boucher admitted during the weekend that he hasn’t yet processed all the recognition that’s poured in.
“It was a good year,” said Boucher, who was born in St. Lucia in the Caribbean. “I won everything I can win. It’s one of those years I will always remember.”