All that changed on Monday, as Flint Beecher’s Monte Morris joined Kelvin Torbert and former NBA all-star Glen Rice in the fraternity.
After seeing some of the former Mr. Basketball winners, Morris, a senior at Flint Beecher, has come to this conclusion: “They don’t hand them out to just anybody.”
No, they don’t, and this year, the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan, in conjunction with the Free Press, is handing out the 33rd Mr. Basketball award to Morris.
Morris, who signed with Iowa State, captured the most prestigious award a high school athlete in Michigan can receive in one of the closest three-man races in the history of the award, named for the former Free Press sports writer who covered high school athletics for more than 40 years.
He accumulated 2,130 points while Harper Woods Chandler Park’s Derrick Walton Jr. was second, with 2,086. James Young of Rochester was third (2,030). Detroit Pershing’s Kahlil Felder was fourth (1,252) and Dowagiac’s Dontel Highsmith was fifth (1,161).
Seeing Morris win this award is great for basketball in this state. He’s not the most naturally talented player in that group, nor is he the most prolific scorer. He is the best all-around basketball player in that group and he plays the game the right way.
He sees and understands the game like a grown man, and is among the most popular players I’ve ever seen with fans from opposing teams, opposing coaches and officials. He’s a hard guy not to like, and clearly it was hard for many voters to pass him over.