Who Should Be Mr. Basketball?

For the first time in 26 years the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan and the Detroit Free Press limited the number of candidates to five.

LANSING, MI - In the past, each and every senior playing basketball in Michigan had the opportunity to claim the Hank Schram Mr. Basketball Award as the state's top senior as voted on by members of the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan. A vast majority of those seniors gained notoriety as sophomores or juniors and by the end of the voting 10-15 deserved candidates would find the ballot.

In contrast and for the first time in 26 years the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan and the Detroit Free Press limited the number of candidates to five.

Some say, "Those five are the most deserved." Others mention, "There are more than five candidates worthy of votes."

The fact of the debate is that there are crowds on either side of the aisle praising and demeaning the limited selection of candidates. But, there have always been those that don't agree with the winner of the senior award.

Why change the procedure now?

Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan President Tom Hursey was quoted in the Free Press as saying, "The board of directors felt that there was no need to have more than five on the ballot. We're trying to simplify the ballot for the voters so they can take a good look at the candidates."

Should they have made the same decision three years ago when Wyoming Park's (Michigan St. U.) Drew Neitzel and Detroit Renaissance's (Oregon U.) Malik Hairston and (U. of Kentucky) Joe Crawford were the clear cut leaders? Yes, if you pull from this year's choice. They were by far, head and shoulders above those in the '04 class.

Will they limit the field every year? I hope not but, some years the final five or so are clearly the best. Just imagine if Alex Legion stayed with Detroit Country Day.

The five candidates are dynamite and headed to high-major teams in Michigan and out of state. Each B.C.A.M. member chooses three candidates and votes on a 5-3-1 point system. I'll be a jerk anyway, no matter who is my top pick or not but, this is a two-man race. Man-O-War vs. Secretariat, Magic vs. Bird, Barry Sanders vs. Jim Brown, Richardson vs. Blanchard, Dar vs. Manny.

I've seen all the candidates play at least two times this season and would need toes to count how many times I've seen this quintet over the last two years. This is my hypothetical vote, the thirteenth most difficult decision in my life, and a breakdown of the players:

(5)- Based off of the senior season, I've got to say Detroit Redford's 6'5 Corperryale ‘Manny Fresh' Harris. No senior has produced the way he has, multiple 50-point games, mixed in with a 40-point game, and a third consecutive Public School Championship. The most impressive is the latter, as this feat has not been duplicated since the Jalen Rose, Vashon Lenard, and Howard Eisley day's with Detroit Southwestern, 16 years ago. The "And-One Kid" is headed to the University of Michigan and the label is because of the fouls he draws when going to the hoop. 33.5 points/game; 12 rebounds/game; 3.4 assists/game, 2.5 steals/game

(3)- The thing that keeps my mind spinning about voting for Saginaw Arthur Hill's 6-foot-5'ish Darquavis ‘Dar' Tucker second is that he has a Class A title from last season. By far, the most exciting senior to watch by dazzling his viewers with 360 degree dunks, explosive moves down the lane, no look passes, and a smile to go with the highlights.

He gave me one of the greatest team quotes I've heard after an early win his junior year, "I've got my scholarship. I want to help my teammates get their's." Tucker's headed to Depaul. 23.9 points/game, 13.0 rebounds/game, 4 assists/game, 2 steals/game

(1)- Quick, shifty, the ability to change gears and score coupled with a trip to the state semi-finals last season, and consecutive Catholic League Championships are all reasons that Orchard Lake St. Mary's point guard and Michigan St. bound Kalin Lucas deserves to be near the top of this list. But, he's third in this two-man award struggle. 20.9 points/games, 6.8 rebounds/game, 7 assists/game, 4 steals/game

Honorable Mention: Yes, he might be tops in his class but, unfortunately playing in Class D hurts Redford Covenant's Durrell Summers. If, Deporres doesn't close he might be the award winner. It was his heroics as a sophomore in Operation Friendship that led the Catholic League to victory over Harris and the P.S.L. If, he puts up 30+ points in E. Lansing over the December break this could also be another story. 31.6 ppg, 16.4 rebounds, 4 assists/game, 2 steals/game

Honorable Mention: Laval Lucas-Perry has elevated his game as much as anyone in this year's senior class. Last year, much of play was downplayed by the outstanding performances of others on Flint Powers. But, this year he is the charger in the Chargers' run. LLP is headed to the University of Arizona. 20.9 points/game, 6.8 rebounds/game, 7 assists/game, 4 steals/game

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