That Wyoming Park’s Drew Neitzel was awarded the Mr. Basketball award by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan doesn’t in and of itself make this an upset. The future Spartan has had a spectacular season, averaging 32.7 points and 8.9 assists in leading Park on their deepest playoff run in a number of years. What made this an upset was the overwhelming manner in which he claimed the prize. In a scoring system that awards 5 points for a first place vote, 3 for a second, and 1 for a third, Neitzel scored more than Crawford and Hairston combined with his 908 points to their 380 and 367 respectively. Many pundits had predicted that Hairston and Crawford would split first place votes, allowing Neitzel to swoop in and edge out his primary competitors for the honor. However, his margin of victory and the point totals of the Renaissance pair suggest that there were a number of ballots where neither Crawford nor Hairston received votes at all!
After being similarly shunned in the Mr. PSL race (an award given to the Detroit Public School League’s top player), Crawford and Hairston led their team in a total domination of Daryl Garrett (who won Mr. PSL) and the Denby Tars in the City Championship game. When the state playoffs resume Tuesday night, Renaissance will take on Warren Fitzgerald, while Wyoming Park takes on Paw Paw. Should Renaissance and Park win (as they’re both expected to do), then the two teams will meet center court at Michigan State’s Jack Breslin Center Friday Night in the State Semi-Finals. If that match-up takes place, don’t be at all surprised to see the two McDonald’s All Americans (Crawford and Hairston) play the game with a little added incentive.
Top 10 finishers in the 24th annual Hal Schram Mr. Basketball Award
1. Drew Neitzel, Wyoming Park, 908 points
2. Joe Crawford, Detroit Renaissance, 380
3. Malik Hairston, Detroit Renaissance, 367
4. Marquise Gray, Flint Beecher, 292
5. Al Horford, Grand Ledge, 127
6. Brian Moten, Saginaw Arthur Hill, 99
7. Ron Coleman, Romulus, 96
8. Goran Suton, Lansing Everett, 88
9. Darryl Garrett, Detroit Denby, 72
10. Dan Waterstradt, Redford Catholic Central, 37