5 seasons, 10 players: GLH editor ranks his favorite players to cover

Posted: December 5, 2009 by Jared Field in High School
Tags: , , , , ,

By Jared Field

Just for kicks, I thought it would be fun to rank my top 10 favorite players that I’ve covered in five seasons as GLH editor. Keep in mind that these aren’t (necessarily) the best players I’ve covered, just the ones I’d love to go back and cover again.

Ah, l’ll just level with you: I love lists.

(This is ironic.)

10.) Jared and Aaron List, Frankenmuth: High-energy players who seemed to love the game as much or more than anyone on the court.

9.) Jonathon Jones, Okemos and Oakland University: A relative unknown as a junior, Jones had a flair for the dramatic and has become one of the best players to come out of Lansing this decade.

8.) Bobby Lewis, Saginaw High and Mott Community College: A lock-down player in the truest sense of the term. Lewis checked them all in high school and made defense fun again.

7.) Shane Moreland, Flint Powers: Made plays almost magically for the Chargers. He was never the quickest or most athletic guard on the court, but he always made more plays than the other guy.

6.) Russell hope, Swartz Creek: Hope was a 4-year starter at Creek and had the mind of a basketball professor.

5.) Zach McGee, Flint Carman-Ainsworth and Carl Sandburg College: Was an undersized post for the Cavs and a warrior on the glass. Get five guys with his heart and you won’t lose a game.

4.) Torian Harris, Saginaw High and Lansing CC: Didn’t get a whole lot of tick in high school, but pound-for-pound might be the best athlete I’ve seen on a basketball court.

3.) Nathan Turner, Haslett: Tremendous competitor and prototype high school guard.

2.) Dar Tucker, Saginaw Arthur Hill and Depaul: Probably the most crowd-pleasing player I’ve ever covered, with the possible exception of Doug Anderson.

1.) Brad Redford, Frankenmuth and Xavier: Probably the most fun I’ve ever had covering basketball. Redford’s traveling circus of shooting was something I’ll never forget.

And just for fun, how about my five favorite coaches?

5.) Lance Baylis, Holly: High-energy coach who has breathed life into a program that used to make embarrassment blush.

4.) Greg Hebden, Perry: The former coach of the Ramblers is now and assistant at Lansing CC. To many fans he looked like a nut, but to me he better resembled a great coach getting the most out of his team.

3.) Darren Zwick, Lansing Catholic: He’s a winner; his players are winners; he has a great program.

2.) Rory Mattar, Flint Carman-Ainsworth: Probably the most underrated coach in Michigan while he was at C-A. He’s scary as hell, too.

1.) Lou Dawkins, Saginaw High: This was easy. He turns out the best talent and his teams win, plain and simple.

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  1. jglitz says:

    I will counter with my list…
    10. Draymond Green – Liked him more as a Soph. than as a senior. Got cockier as he went on, but no denying his talent, rebounding knack, and leadership.
    9. Anthony Crater – FSWA – It is a shame to see how far he has fallen off.
    8. Jonathon Jones
    7. Bobby Lewis
    6.Adrian Hunter – Grand Blanc – Carried an average team and was the best sacrificial leader I have seen at the high school level.
    5. Josh Southern – Da High- Showed great basketball smarts. I didn’t think he was as great of a prospect as some, but I never doubted he would be a good D1 big man and loved his poise.
    4. Josh Barnes – Bridgeport – Pure energy player on a pure energy team. Consumate leader always smiling.
    3. Maurice Jones Cooper – SAH – Just wow.
    2. Dar Tucker
    1. Brad Redford

  2. Williford says:

    I enjoyed Crater while with Whiteley as his coach. Seems like he’s the only one who can harness his talent.
    Maurice Jones is another one. It’s amazing what he can do with a basketball.
    Brad Redford is plain out amazing.
    I enjoyed Spencer Jennings from Midland Dow as well. Great shooter.

  3. Well, because I mostly handled Flint City Hoop the past few years, I will stay there for my list…

    10. Ty Ward (SWA)- No matter what the outside problems were, he got the most out of himself on the court. Transformed from scrawny PG to a leader down low or wherever the team needed him.

    9. Leviante “Gore” Davis (SWA)- This is the best athlete for his size that I have seen in a long time. I still believe he could be a great, not good, but great football player. He wasn’t bad at basketball either and is stil terrorizing opposing players with his size and quicks for a big.

    8. Keenan Coleman (Central)- One of the most explosive scorers in the city in a long time. Unfortunately may have become too big a fan of his own press clippings. He is currently trying to revive his career in JUCO.

    7. Damon Franklin (NW)- As smooth as you ever wanted to see in a high school player. A quiet guy with a killer instinct on the court and unexpected athleticism. Should be in a D-1 school right now.

    6. Carlos Benton (Northern)- A little guy that did it all on the court. At 6’2″ and barely 140 lbs., he got blocks, steals, buckets, and assists every game as a junior and senior. Played 4 years of varsity (although should have only played 3).

    5. Joemar Black (Northern)- Came off the bench two years ago to punish Powers with 30 points in an OT loss to a team that was favored heavily. That was just the beginning. A player with freakish bounce, he has a number of city players on his posters (ask SWA players).

    4. Dre Upchurch (NW)- Keeping in mind we are talking “on the court” behavior and prowess, this one was the most polished small guy I have seen in a while. He almost looked sleepy on the court because things came so naturally to him. Went toe-to-toe with Powers’ Moreland and Lucs-Perry and was the best one on the court to me.

    1c. Anthony “Noopy” Crater- I have three number 1′s so I will start with Noop. He simply was the best passer in the city since Max Scott in 1994. Eyes in the back of his head doesn’t even begin to describe it. Once again, stuff off of the court has derailed him a bit. Time will tell if he recovers fully.

    1b. Mike “O. J.” Martin (Northern/Mt. Morris Alternative)- Only got to play one year of his final two at Northern due to eligibility issues stemming back to his freshman year. That said, he was as exciting during his senior year at Mt. Morris Alternative as anybody. He is continuing to grow at Iowa Central Community College today.

    1a. Demetrius “Meechie” Miller (Central)- Happened to play in what looks like Central’s last team since they are closed now and one of my all-time favorites period. He played the game with so much passion that allowed him to get better every year starting from his sophomore campaign after getting moved up to varsity. I have never seen any player enjoy basketball so much. The love he has for the sport has kept him out of the major trouble that has gripped so many others. Under the guidance of Coach Schmidt at Mott, this kid may have only scratched the surface.

  4. Williford says:

    I completely agree with you on a lot this this. It seems as if the city of Flint always seems to have the pure players.

  5. SBell says:

    Favorite players from the GLH coverage area:

    10. Peter Bunn, Lansing Christian
    Had one of the best AAU days I’ve ever seen, twice playing the Hurricanes for Camp Darryl. Noopy Crater couldn’t check him, his second burst got by Dar Tucker then he hung in the air to maneuver around Tom Herzog. Not just on one play, but again and again to the tune of two 30-point games.

    9. Draymond Green, Saginaw
    Such a fun, smart, sophisticated all-around game. And few guys have been better with the press (media, not defensive — but that too, probably) at the state finals.

    8. Brad Redford, Frankenmuth
    It was the fall of his freshman year that Redford’s dad called. Oh boy, another pops who thinks his white son is the next Pete Maravich. Soon the opportunity arose that I could hopefully weed this kid out forever — so he showed up at a Buena Vista open gym to play in front of a veritable Big 10 coaches convention against the (older) elite of Saginaw — Tory Jackson, Dar Tucker, Josh Souther, Larry Wright. So much for that plan. Redford played beyond his years, and only got better.

    7. Jason Richardson, Arthur Hill
    You don’t forget the first time you see a player like this. It was at the 16-under AAU states at Kalamazoo Valley. He breathing asbestos and banner dust up in the rafters and hasn’t come down since.

    6. Tory Jackson, Saginaw Buena Vista
    Tory is ranked this high despite his unfortunate “Mr. Basketball” at the 2006 state finals. His body of work speaks for itself, his name is all over MHSAA record books.

    5. Thomas Jackson, East Lansing
    The people’s champion, the little man who went toe-to-toe with Marcus Taylor to pack Breslin for a regular season game. He went on to be one of the players that elevated Butler to the elite program it is today.

    4. 2005 Bank Hoops 19-under AAU team
    This team was loaded with namebrand Mid-Michigan talent. Clyde McKinney from Everett was a true coach on the floor, Erik Kangas was as legit as his state finals run and Oakland career would suggest and the most talented player in the entire field was Carman-Ainsworth’s Brandon Stephens. Would have won the title but for a) corrupt PSL refs in the semis and b) Flint Northern’s senior class trip to Cedar Point, which cost us J’Nathan Bullock.

    3. LaMarcus Lowe, Flint Northwestern
    His career to date is spotty and unaccomplished. But his future remains large, and his Bank Hoops camp performance was legendary. The way he worked those stations, he’s still talked about in reverence by the coaches in praise usually withheld for camp lifers like Zeigler, Lucas-Perry, Dibble and Myrick.

    2. Desmon Farmer, Flint Northwestern
    Overshadowed by Kelvin Torbert, but he always had more game. Kinetic, off-kilter, unpredicatable and fun, all represented by that funky left-handed shot. If not for a recruiting visit mishap, he couldn’t been teamed with Dwyane Wade and a likely NCAA title at Marquette.

    1. Mateen Cleaves, Flint Northern
    Went from getting crossed over by Holland’s Dan Kuipers in the ’94 state quartefinals at Ionia, to winning it all the next year in the best championship game performance I’ve seen — better than Appling, better than Kool. Then he whooped up on Mike Bibby that summer. After back injury, was never as good an athlete as he was as an 11th-grader.

    • Kevin Kuipers says:

      I’m obviously biased (see my email address), but the ’94 Holland team had real talent. Dan Kuipers also showed great tenacity during the quarter finals: near the end of the game, he somewhat surprised Antonio Smith when the both of them came up with a loose ball at the same time. When Antonio realized he was being challenged, he ripped the ball away. But it was fun to watch.

  6. Nice list Steve….I didn’t want to go back too far because there is no way I could limit it to 10! Cleaves was the man in that junior year like many people don’t even understand that see him post-injury…

  7. SBell says:

    Ha, I know, I’m already kicking myself for omissions, too many good players … I love Jaquan Hart showing it out at Cobo, or Al Horford busting his butt at Aim High to Eugene Seals doing it all for Saginaw.

  8. SBell says:

    Ha, I know, I’m already kicking myself for omissions, too many good players … I love Jaquan Hart showing it out at Cobo, or Al Horford busting his butt at Aim High to Eugene Seals doing it all for Saginaw or driving through the backwoods to see Marcus Taylor as a freshman then watching Dan Wetzel declare him the savior of basketball at the Nike All-American Camp.

  9. And on and on and on we could definitely go…lol!

  10. Jared Jackson says:

    Pete Bunns aau performance was amazing

  11. Mark says:

    10. Kion Arkwright (Carmen Ainsworth) Pure Shooter
    9. Manny Harris. (Best Floor Leader)
    8. Bobby Lewis (SH) Best Defense Ever
    7. Tory Jackson (BV) Could score when he wanted
    6. Daniel West (SH) Smart player who knew how to win
    5. Brandon Polkey & Mike Kaminecki(Clarkston) I know everyone is going who??? Kids have alot of heart (Watched Polkey kid hit 3, 3 pointers with 1:45 in overtime against Saginaw High. 25points Kamiecki hit 22 to scare the living daylights out of the high.
    4. Draymond Green (SH) Led Team to 2 Championships (Enough Said)
    3. Josh Southern.(SH) Quiet Player who changed games quietly.
    2. Keith Appling. This kid will be amazing at the next level
    1. Maurice Jones Cooper (AH) No one can understand how he gets to the hole like he does. This kid averages over 30 points a game this season. He is 5-7 and grabs rebounds! His game is nuts!

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