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BOYS BASKETBALL: Mr. Basketball finalists announced, sparking trip down memory lane

By: Scott Burnstein, March 3, 2013, 10:00 am

On the cusp of the Detroit Free Press and BCAM announcing the winner of 2013’s Mr. Basketball and in honor of the five recently-named finalists (Oakland-signee Khalil Felder, Northern Illinois-signee Dontel Highsmith, Iowa State-signee Monte Morris, Michigan-signee Derrick Walton, Jr., and Rochester-signee James Young), let’s take a gander back at the history of the ultra-elite award.

The Mr. Basketball Award was created during the 1980-1981 campaign. The inaugural nod went to Lansing Eastern’s Sam Vincent, who would go on to star in the Big 10 at Michigan State and have a solid career in the NBA.

Of the 32 recipients, half of them were drafted and/or spent time in the NBA, the most recent being 2007 winner, Manny Harris (Cleveland Cavaliers) of now-closed Detroit Redford. Nine former Mr. Basketballs would be first-round NBA draft picks.

Perennial state-powerhouse Detroit Pershing has produced the most Mr. Basketball-winners, with four (‘94’s Willie Mitchell, ‘96’s Winifred Walton, ‘09’s Derrick Nix and ‘10’s Keith Appling). If Felder, Pershing’s star point guard, takes home the hardware this year that will be No. 5 for the Doughboys, currently undefeated at 20-0 and the No. 1 team in the state entering this week’s state tournament.

The frontrunners’ for the bragging rights this year are Young of Rochester and Walton of Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy. While Rochester has had a Mr. Basketball-winner in its midst before – ’02’s Paul Davis – if Walton (24 points, 14 assists per outing) claims the award it will be the first player from Chandler Park Academy to ever do so.

Young is averaging 28 points, 18 rebounds and six assists per game and if he wins Mr. Basketball he would be the first awardee to go play his college ball in the SEC.

Walton’s future school, Michigan, has seen 10 Mr. Basketballs go on to wear the Maize and Blue.

Michigan State has snared the most Mr. Basketballs with a whopping 14, almost half of the lot.

All but two of the honorees (’06’ David Kool & ’11’s Duwan Anderson) played in a major Division I college conference at the next level; Kool (Grand Rapids S. Christian) signed with Western Michigan and Anderson (Suttons Bay) ended up at Wagner, after originally committing to play in the Big 10 with Michigan State.

A dozen former Mr. Basketballs would go on to appear in NCAA Final Fours, three of them (Glen Rice, Terry Mills and Shane Battier) walking away from their respective college careers with National Championship rings. Rice (2000 LA Lakers) and Battier (2012 Miami Heat) are the only two former winners to collect NBA titles in their pro careers.

The prep hoops conference in the state to spawn the most Mr. Basketball-winners is the Detroit PSL with 10; Mitchell, Walton, Nix and Appling of Pershing, Southwestern’s Antoine Joubert (’83), Chadsey’s Demetrius Gore (’84), Cooley’s Michael Talley (’89), Murray-Wright’s Robert (Tractor) Traylor (’95), Redford’s Dion Harris (’03) and Manny Harris (’07).

Surprisingly, the rough-and-tumble Catholic League can boast a mere one Mr. Basketball in 1993-winner Jon Gargavalia of currently-defunct Southgate Aquinas.

Talley, Webber and Battier are the Mr. Basketball-winners with the most high school state crowns, each snagging three rings apiece.

All-Time Mr. Basketball Roster

1 1981 Sam Vincent (Lansing Eastern) College: Michigan State

2 1982 Robert Henderson (Lansing Eastern) College: Michigan

3 1983 Antoine Joubert (Detroit Southwestern) College: Michigan

4 1984 Demetrius Gore (Detroit Chadsey) College" Pitt

5 1985 Glen Rice (Flint NW) College: Michigan

6 1986 Terry Mills (Romulus) College: Michigan

7 1987 Mark Macon (Saginaw BV) College: Temple

8 1988 Matt Steigegna (GR South Christian) College: Michigan State

9 1989 Michael Talley (Detroit Cooley) College: Michigan

10 1990 Anthony "Pig" Miller (Benton Harbor) College: Michigan State

11 991 Chris Webber (Birmingham DCD) College: Michigan

12 1992 Kenyon Murray (Battle Creek Central) College: Iowa

13 1993 Jon Gargavalia (Southgate Aquinas) College: Michigan State

14 1994 Willie Mitchell (Detroit Pershing) College: Michigan/UAB

15 1995 Robert "Tractor" Traylor (Detroit Murray Wright) College: Michigan

16 1996 Winifred Walton (Detroit Pershing) College: Syracuse/Fresno State

17 1997 Shane Battier (Birmingham DCD) College: Duke

18 1998 Dane Fife (Clarkston) College: Indiana

19 1999 Jason Richardson (Saginaw AH) College: Michigan State

20 2000 Marcus Taylor (Lansing Waverly) College: Michigan State

21 2001 Kelvin Torbert (Flint NW) College: Michigan State

22 2002 Paul Davis (Rochester) College: Michigan State

23 2003 Dion Harris (Detroit Redford) College: Michigan

24 2004 Drew Neitzel (Wyoming Park) College: Michigan State

25 2005 Wilson Chandler (Benton Harbor) College: DePaul

26 2006 David Kool (GR South Christian) College: Western Michigan

27 2007 Manny Harris (Detroit Redford) College: Michigan

28 2008 Brad Redford (Frankenmuth) College: Xavier

29 2009 Derrick Nix (Detroit Pershing) College: Michigan State

30 2010 Keith Appling (Detroit Pershing) College: Michigan State

31 2011 Duwan Anderson (Suttons Bay) College: Wagner

32 2012 Matt Costello (Bay City Western) College: Michigan State