Sunday, March 20, 2016

100 Years 100 Stars: The Power and the Glory

Today we turn to the "4" spot, the so-called power forward. Of course, the idea of a "power forward" as kind of a 2nd post only came into vogue in the 1950s. It depended, of course, on seeing the value of the 1st post, and that had only happened about the time of WWII. Johnny Kundla inserted 6-10 Vern Mikkelson into the Mpls. Laker's lineup next to George Mikan, and the rest is history.

We manage to find some power forwards prior to that, of course. I mean, if a team had 2 forwards and 1 was bigger than the other--voila! Power forward. A lot of these guys, further, never played forward in high school. But there are so many great centers, and so few few great power forwards, that if a guy was a center in high school but a forward in college or the pros, then to me he's a power forward.

Anyway, here are the top 20 in the state tournament, and the top 20 more generally in Minnesota high school basketball history.

Top 20 Power Forwards State Tournament

1. Mark Olberding, Melrose 1973-74. Led Melrose to 2 Class A title games and the 1974 overall championship. He scored a record 112 points in '74 (since broken by 1 point by Randy Breuer). Played for the Minnesota Gophers and professionally.

2. Bob Zender, Edina 1966-67-68. 1st boy to be a major contributor to 3 state title teams, all-tournament twice. Led all scorers in 5 of 6 games in '67 and '68. Played college ball at Nebraska.

3. Hal Haskins, Alexandria 1943. Led Alex to 2nd place in 1943, scoring a 2nd-all-time-best 19 ppg. Was also the 1st Minnesotan to score 1,000 points in his high school career. Went on to earn all-America honors and win a national championship at Hamline.

4. Kris Humphries, Hopkins 2002-03. Led Hopkins to the 2002 title and 3rd place in 2003, and led Class AAAA in scoring both years. Mr. Basketball 2003. Played for the Minnesota Gophers and now in the NBA.

5. Mark Landsberger, Mounds View, 1972-73. Led Mounds View to 1972 Class AA title and to 5th place in 1973. Led all scorers in 4 of 7 games. Played for Minnesota Gophers for 1 year.

6. Jim Fritsche, St. Paul Humboldt 1949. Led Humboldt to the state title, scoring 23.3 ppg, 2nd only to Jim McIntyre at the time. Also led the St. Paul City Conference in scoring twice. Went on to play at Hamline.

7. Rick Rickert, Duluth East 2001. Scored 2,358 career points including 90 in 2001 tournament, where he was the 1st boy to score 30 ppg since Randy Breuer. Mr. Basketball 2001. Played at the U of M.

8. Kevin McHale, Hibbing 1976. Led Hibbing to runner-up spot in 1976. Out-scored by Steve Lingenfelter 26-21 in the final. Mr. Basketball 1976. Played at the U and for the Boston Celtics.

9. Bill Davis, Richfield 1960. Led the Spartans to 3rd place after famous loss to Edgerton in the semis. Scored tournament-best 88 points, and 1,206 for his high school career. Went on to be captain at the U of M.

10. Dean Veenhof, Edgerton 1960-61. Battle with Bill Davis was the 1st time 2 1,000 point scorers faced each other in the tournament. Finished his career with 1,887 points.

11. Jabbar Washington, Mpls. North 1995-96-97. Helped the Polars to a three-peat as state champion, leading all scorers in 3 games in 3 years.

12. Kurt Shellhas, Edina 1966-67. 2-time state champ, 2-times all-tournament.

13. Ray Cronk, Bemidji 1957-58. Scored 86 points in 1958 but Lumberjacks lost in the 1st round both times.

14. Greg Downing, Duluth Central 1977, 1979. Led Central to 1979 title and led all Class AA scorers with 67 points.

15. Gordon Burich, Chisholm 1933-34. Helped Bluestreaks to 3rd, then 1st. Led them in scoring 3 times in 2 years.

16. Redd Overton, Mpls. North 1980-81. Led North to 1980 Class AA title, and to the consolation title in 1981.

17. Jeff McCarron, Sherburn 1970. Helped Sherburn win the last of the single class titles. Scored 37 points with 24 rebounds in semi-final win over Marshall 71-60, and 1,597 in his career.

18. Paul McDonald, Chisholm 1974-75. Led Chisholm to Class A 3rd place in 1974, and championship in 1975. Led all scorers in 3 of 6 games--these being in his sophomore and junior seasons.

19. Milan Knezovich, Hibbing 1948-49. Led Hibbing to a 3rd and a 5th place finish, leading all scorers in 4 of the 6 games. Finished his high school career as the #1 scorer in Minnesota high school basketball with 1,476 points.

20. Bob and Dick Peterson, Henning 1965. Led Henning to 6th and 4th place finishes. Dick led all scorers 3 times in 6 games, while Bob's 29 points in the 1965 1st round was the top game.

Overall Top 20 Power Forwards

1. Mark Olberding, Melrose 1974. #1 above.

2. Bob Zender, Edina 1968. #2 above.

3. Hal Haskins, Alexandria 1943. #3 above.

4. Jim Fritsche, St. Paul Humboldt 1949. #6 above.

5. Bill Davis, Richfield 1960. #9 above.

6. Milan Knezovich, Hibbing 1949. #19 above.

7. Kris Humphries, Hopkins 2003. #4 above.

8. Jabbar Washington, Mpls. North 1997. #11 above.

9. Kevin McHale, Hibbing 1976. #8 above.

10. Mark Landsberger, Mounds View 1973. #5 above.

11. Ray Cronk, Bemidji 1958. #13 above.

12. Vern Mikkelson, Askov 1945. Never played in the state tournament, but won all-American honors at Hamline, and Hall of Fame honors as a Minneapolis Laker.

13. Johnny Norlander, Virginia 1938. Played in the 1937 state tournament without making much of an impression. Made a big splash at Hamline, helping with the 1942 national title. Then played professionally for several years.

14. Frank Wachlarowicz, Little Falls 1975. State champ and tournament MVP, went on to become the all-time Minnesota small college scorer at St. John’s.

15. Paul McDonald, Chisholm 1976. #18 above.

16. Rick Rickert, Duluth East 2001. #7 above.

17. Dean Veenhof, Edgerton 1960. #10 above.

18. Jeff McCarron, Sherburn 1970. #17 above. 

19. Jim Peterson, St. Louis Park 1980. Led Park to a 2nd, 4th and 3rd place finish in state tournament. Played for the Minnesota Gophers and in the NBA. Mr. Basketball 1980.

20. Kevin Noreen, Minnesota Transitions 2010. Noreen scored 4,000 points, currently an all-time Minnesota record, and also led Transitions to the 2010 Class A title. Mr. Basketball 2010.

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