Saturday, March 19, 2016

Mythical Mr. Basketball 1940s

For the 1940s, I've got 5 candidates for most years. Mythical Mr. Basketball is again the fellow in boldface type.
1940 Orlando Bonicelli, Chisholm
Ray Cimbura, Breckenridge
Tony Jaros, Mpls. Edison
Donald “Red” Mattson, Mpls. Marshall
Howie Schultz, St. Paul Central
This was a monstrous class. Jaros was among the best ever to that time. Schultz of course played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, not to mention the Hamline basketball team. Mattson played at the U. Cimbura led his team, improbably, to the state title this year. If they played it 10 times, Mpls. Marshall wins 5.
1941 “Big Bill” Ekberg, Mpls. Marshall
Kleggie Hermsen, Mpls. Vocational
Jim Lewison, Owatonna
Dave Ruliffson, Mpls. Washburn
Junior “Spike” Skoglund, Hopkins
Kids are getting taller. Lewison was 6-8, Ekberg was "Big" (his nickname), Hermsen was "big" and played at the U. Ruliffson was not big and played at the U. Skoglund was in between and played at Gustavus.
1942 Jack Hiller, Marshall
Jack Johnson, St. Paul Mechanic Arts
Ed Nylund, Buhl
Wally Salovich, Mpls. Marshall
If there's a 5th wheel it's Nylund's teammate John Klarich. Buhl was the 2nd team to win back-to-back state titles. Salovich played at the U.
1943 Tom Corrigan, Bemidji
Hal Haskins, Alexandria
Dick Kaess, St. Paul Washington
Bill Madden, Cretin
Stewart Skoglund, Hopkins
Haskins became an all-American at Hamline, but Kaess and Washington demolished his team at the state tournament. Skoglund joined his brother at Gustavus.
1944 Ed Jacobson, Crosby-Ironton
Bob Leiviska, Virginia
Duane Nelson, Mankato
A down year for this decade, but Leiviska played at Hamline.
1945 Jim Korth, Mankato Loyola
Jim McIntyre, Mpls. Henry
Vern Mikkelson, Askov
McIntyre became an all-American at the U but it was Mikkelson who had the Hall of Fame career in the NBA.
1946 Don Avikainen, Tower-Soudan
Don Gruber, New Ulm Holy Trinity
Jim Malosky, Crosby-Ironton
Dick Ravenhorst, Austin
C-I was rated #1 in the state coming into the state tournament but Austin was the champ.
1947 Dave Hegna, Granite Falls
Herb Mickelson, Canby
Rudy Monson, Duluth Denfeld
Ray Wall, Mountain Lake
Monson was an easy choice.
1948 Chuck Grover, Bemidji
Lawrence Krause, Waseca
Virgil Miller, Hopkins
A tough choice this year.
1949 “Shorty” Cochrane, Rochester
Neil Fedson, Lyle
Don Frye, Cotton
Jim Fritsche, St. Paul Humboldt
Milan Knezovich, Hibbing
The toughest choice ever. Fritsche led the St. Paul Conference in scoring twice and led Humboldt to the state title in '49. And Mpls. Central beat Hibbing 37-34 in the 1st round, then lost to Humboldt 53-47 in the semi. Still, Knezovich was the state's all-time leading scorer at the end of the season with more than 1,400 points.

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