The MSHSL's series celebrating 100 years of high school tournament basketball continues this week with the top players in the boys tournament. You can see the MSHSL's commentary at http://www.mshsl.org/mshsl/index.asp, and you should because I'm not going to be repeating it here. The commentary below is my own.
Top Five Players
The MSHSL selected as its top 5:
• Khalid El-Amin, Mpls. North 1995-96-97
• Jim McIntyre, Mpls. Patrick Henry 1944-45
• Mark Oberding, Melrose 1973-74
• Randy Breuer, Lake City 1978-79
• Isaiah Dahlman, Braham 2004-05-06
The 1st 3 are the correct picks of the best 3 players ever. El-Amin and Olberding you probably know. McIntyre was the 1st modern low-post center and he devastated opponents and the record book alike. The scoring records before Mac were 19 points per game for a tournament and 27 points in 1 game. He scored 29, then 36, then 43 points in a game, and 86 and then 100 for the tournament. He went on to set Big 10 scoring records and earn all-America honors at the U.
My choice at #4--and the #2 center--would be Ron Johnson, New Prague 1955-56 ahead of Breuer. #5, then, could be one of any number of players including of course Breuer and Dahlman. But Bob Zender and Dave Tschimperle are right there, too.
The MSHSL, as it happens, picked not only a top 5 but 20 "other notable players," and Johnson, Tschimperle and Zender are among them. So any disagreements with the list are fairly minor. The MSHSL's next 20 are:
Ron Johnson, New Prague 1955-56. Johnson scored 203 points in 6 tournament games against all comers, Breuer scored 181 against Class A competition. That is basically my argument for having Johnson ahead of Breuer, though it is true that Johnson went on to earn all-America honors at the U of M. Breuer had a great career as a Gopher, of course, and even led the Gophers to a Big 10 title, which Johnson (and most Gophers) have never done. So it's a close call, but I like Johnson.
Bob Zender, Edina 1966-67-68. I also like Zender among my top 5. He did something that only Khalid El-Amin has also done, and that is lead his team to 3 straight state titles against the highest level of competition available.
Bob Bruggers, Danube 1961-62
Martin Norton, Mpls. Central 1921. Set free throw records that stood until Cody Schilling 85 years later. 50 years later, Halsey Hall still had Norton on his all-time all-tournament five.
Cody Schilling, Ellsworth 2006-07-08. Only boy ever to lead the tournament in scoring 3 times.
Dave Tschimperle, Hopkins 1951-52-53. 1 of only 2 players to earn all-tournament honors 3 times in the single class era.
Tommy Nordland, Mpls. Roosevelt 1956-57
Barry Wohler, Bird Island-Lake Lillian 1980-81. Played in 6 games, all wins, and treated Bird Island fans and fans of the game to not 1, not 2, but 3 game-winning shots among those 6 games.
Ronnie Henderson, Mpls. Marshall-University 1981-82
Steve Lingenfelter, Bloomington Jefferson 1975-78
Bill Simonovich, Gilbert 1951
Jim Fritsche, St. Paul Humboldt 1949
Jake Sullivan, Tartan 1998-99-2000
Frank Wachlarowicz, Little Falls 1975
Mark Landsberger, Mounds View 1972-73
Hal Haskins, Alexandria 1943
Terry Kunze, Duluth Central 1961
Kevin Lynch, Bloomington Jefferson 1986-87
Lawrence McKenzie, Mpls. Patrick Henry 2000-01-02-03. The MSHSL says that "McKenzie led the Patriots to...four...state championships," which is a bit of hyperbole. 3, maybe. As a freshman in 2000, he scored 3 points in the 1st round, zero in the semi-final, and did not play in the final. He started as a sophomore and scored 27 points in 3 games, but was not among the 3 Henry players who won all-tournament honors.
Blake Hoffarber, Hopkins 2005-06
Well, I would say that the list is light on old-timers--only Norton from before WWII, only McIntyre and Fritsche from the 1940s. Here are some of the old-timers that deserve to be remembered on the occasion of the tournament's 100th year.
Harold Gillen, Stillwater 1914. Went on to earn all-America honors at the U.
Butsie Maetzold, Red Wing 1920-21-22. Later coached Hopkins to 2 state titles.
Earl Moran, Moorhead 1928-29-30. One of only 2 boys to earn all-tournament honors 3 times in the single class era.
Johnny Dick, Buhl 1935-36.
Willie Warhol, Mpls. Edison 1935-36-37. The best player on the best team of the pre-war years.
To put a little more order to the chaos of these 28 names, here are my all-time all-tournament teams.
C- Jim McIntyre, Mpls. Patrick Henry 1944-45
PF- Mark Olberding, Melrose 1974
SF- Dave Tschimperle, Hopkins 1951-52-53
PG- Khalid El-Amin, Mpls. North 1995-96-97
OG- Willie Warhol, Mpls. Edison 1935-36-37
C- Ron Johnson, New Prague 1955-56
PF- Bob Zender, Edina 1966-67-68
SF- Isaiah Dahlman, Braham 2004-05-06
PG- Butsie Maetzold, Red Wing 1920-21-22
SG- Cody Schilling, Ellsworth 2006-07-08
C- Randy Breuer, Lake City 1978-79
PF- Hal Haskins, Alexandria 1943
SF- Martin Norton, Mpls. Central 1921
PG- Terry Kunze, Duluth Central 1961
SG- Blake Hoffarber, Hopkins 2005-06
C- Steve Lingenfelter, Bloomington Jefferson 1975-76
PF- Kris Humphries, Hopkins 2002-03
SF- Bob Bruggers, Danube 1961-62
PG- Kevin Lynch, Bloomington Jefferson 1986-87
OG- Earl Moran, Moorhead 1928-29-30
C- Chad Kolander, Owatonna 1989-90
PF- Jim Fritsche, St. Paul Humboldt 1949
SF- Tom Nordland, Mpls. Roosevelt 1956-57
PF- Barry Wohler, Bird Island-Lake Lillian 1980-81
SG- Jake Sullivan, Tartan 1998-99-2000
C- Ed Nylund, Buhl 1941-42
PF- Mark Landsberger, Mounds View 1972-73
SF- Johnny Dick, Buhl 1935-36
PG- Jeff Nessler, St. James 1972
SG- Ben Johnson, DeLaSalle 1997-98-99
C- Como Pontliana, Duluth Central 1971; Joe Regnier, White Bear Lake 1984-85; Bill Simonovich, Gilbert 1951
PF- Bill Davis, Richfield 1960; Kevin McHale, Hibbing 1975-76; Rick Rickert, Duluth East 2001; Dean Veenhof, Edgerton 1960-61
SF- Arvesta Kelly, Cretin-Derham Hall 1991-92-93; Tom Mulso, Sherburn 1970; Jabbar Washington, Mpls. North 1995-96-97
PG- Ronnie Henderson, Mpls. Marshall-U 1976; Lawrence McKenzie, Mpls. Henry 2002-03; Jordan Taylor, Benilde-St. Margaret's 2007-08
SG- Joe Coleman, Hopkins 2009-10-11; Jake Sullivan, Tartan 1998-99-2000