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BOYS BASKETBALL: Kraatzs’ keep it in all in the family at IC, son passes dad in record books, tracks to be all-time asst leader

By: Scott Burnstein, January 31, 2014, 8:00 am

ALLEN PARK – When they talk about the basketball gene being passed on from father to son in the Kraatz family at Allen Park Inter-City Baptist, it’s a literal statement.

Longtime Inter-City head coach Mark Kraatz was one the state’s all-time best point guards in his days as a prepster in the 1980s, an artist in the passing game.

Now, almost 30 years later, his eldest son and top player Evan Kraatz, has followed in his footsteps.

The consummate playmaker of a floor general, Evan passed his dad on the MHSAA’s all-time career assist list Thursday night, dishing seven dimes in Inter-City’s 60-36 thumping of league-rival Birmingham Roeper to move to No. 3 in the history books, behind only Flint Central’s Eric Turner (Michigan) and Wyoming Park’s Drew Neitzel (Michigan State), both future college stars in the Big Ten.

Evan’s 680 career assists one-ups his dad, who ended his time in an Inter-City uniform in 1985 with 679.

The younger Kraatz will most likely break the state’s career-assist record in the next couple weeks, as Neitzel’s 692 and Turner’s 726 are well in reach.

Even though he plays at tiny Inter-City, most scouts tout him as one of the top point guards in the entire state regardless of school size – really not surprising taking in account his prodigious stat line.

Asked about his extreme productivity quarterbacking a basketball team, he’s quick to spread the credit around.

“It’s really not all me, my teammates and my coaches are just as responsible,” he said. “Winning games is all that matters to me though.”

Oh, yeah, the Kraatzs’ know a thing or two about winning games on the hardwood.

Mark won a Class D state championship as a senior and since assuming the reigns in the bench with the Chargers over two decades ago, he consistently has his clubs competing for titles and taking long playoff jaunts.

Evan has won 20 games or more every season he’s started at the point for Inter-City. He’s already been a first-team all-state selection two years in a row. Through the first half of his senior campaign, Evan is averaging 18 points and close to 10 assists per game.

His father is impressed.

“Evan’s a true point guard and that’s something that’s a bit of a lost art in the game these days,” Mark said. “He’s a very unselfish player. He gets everyone involved and knows how to run a team on the court. I personally know what the position used to be, so I really appreciate it as his dad and his coach.”

On the subject of his assist-mark being broken by his own flesh and blood, the elder Kraatz wore his heart on his sleeve.

“Whenever someone breaks your record, exceeds what you did, you take note, but in this case, you kind of just shed a tear and be grateful,” he said.

Starting alongside Evan in the Chargers backcourt is his little brother Garrett, a sophomore shooting guard.

Inter-City is currently 9-3 and ranked No. 3 in the state according to the Associated Press.

Numbers aside, Evan is firm when discussing his outlook for the season and his career.

“For me, it’s not about records or statistics, it’s about winning a state championship,” he said. “That’s the ultimate goal.”