BCAM is proud to announce a new project designed to recognize the sport’s top high school players from years past.
“Retro" Mr. Basketball - honoring the state's top senior prep basketball players will span the years 1920 through 1980. The project will evolve over the next ten seasons. This year, BCAM honors seniors from 1920, 1930, 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970 and 1980. Next year, the organization will honor seniors from 1921, 1931, 1941, 1951, 1961 and 1971. In 2019, the list will be complete.
As with the current honor, the goal is to focus on high school careers. Hence, information pulled from All-State and All-Tournament teams is used to guide the committee as they select nominees for the award.
While gathering statistical information on players from the 1920s and 1930s present challenges, BCAM did not want to avoid honoring athletes from the era when the center jump was a dominate feature of the game.
“BCAM has considered trying to go back to years previous to 1981 and coming up with players that that would have been named Mr. Basketball if there was such an award at the time,” notes BCAM executive director Tom Hursey. “The Retro Mr. Basketball project accomplishes this goal. The basketball fans of Michigan will enjoy going back in time and either agreeing with or finding fault with our committee’s winners. Either way it will be fun reminiscing about days gone by.”
Here are this year’s nominees and winners of BCAM’s Retro Mr. Basketball.
(Winners are listed first in ALL CAPS, followed by those selected as nominees by the committee in alphabetical order.)
TIM MCCORMICK – CLARKSTON
6-10½ center, McCormick earned 2nd team Parade Magazine All-American honors. Earned top All-State honors from the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News, and the Associated Press. Averaged 24.7 points and 17.6 rebounds per game as a senior.
M.C. “Tony” Burton III - Grand Rapids Catholic Central
The son of former Muskegon Heights and University of Michigan star M.C. Burton, the 6-6 Burton was selected as a 1st team Class B selection by AP and the Free Press and earned Dream Team status from the News.
Randy Morrison – Olivet
Earned All-State honors in both his junior and senior season at Class C Olivet. Scored 479 points in 14 games.
Anthony Scott – Grand Rapids Creston
6-4 forward, averaged 22 points and 13 rebounds a game as a senior.
RICK DREWITZ – GARDEN CITY WEST
Averaged 29 points a game, the 6-7½ Drewitz scored 42 points in the Class A semifinals as West fell victim to Pontiac Central and Campy Russell, 84-79.
Dave Freeman - Battle Creek Central
A 60 percent shooter from the floor, Freeman averaged 20 points per game for the Bearcats.
George Kubiak - Carrollton
Top ballplayer for the Class B runner up. Averaged 25.5 points per game as a senior, scoring over 1,000 points in his two season with the varsity.
Larry Tatum – Muskegon
Shot .723 from the floor and averaged 24 points for the Big Reds.
PETE GENT – BANGOR
“Accumulated a 22.6 scoring average shooting with either hand,” noted Hal Schram in his Free Press All-State write-up. The 6-2 Gent scored 21 as Bangor knocked off top-ranked Grand Rapids Lee, 57-45 for the Class C state title. An author, he penned several books, including “North Dallas Forty” following a pro career in the NFL.
Bill Chmielewski – Detroit Redeemer
Standing 6-10, Chmielewski averaged 23.4 points and 18 rebounds per game for the Class B state champs. A 4th team Parade Magazine All-American.
Doug Herner - Lansing Sexton
Member of the 1959 and 1960 Class A state champions. Scored 290 points in 22 games as a senior.
Fred Thomann – Taylor Center
Scored 415 points in 19 games for a 21.9 average
CHARLIE PRIMAS – DETROIT MILLER
A three-year veteran for coach Will Robinson’s Trojans, the 6-2 Primas earned top All-State recognition from the Detroit Times, the Free Press and the News as a senior. He led Miller to two consecutive Metropolitan League titles. Played college ball at Wayne State.
Milton Mead – Bay City Central
Established a new Saginaw Valley League scoring mark with 269 points in 12 contests. Played at the University of Michigan.
Jim Plecas – Detroit Catholic Central
Three-letter winner, established a new Parochial League record as a senior with 232 points in 12 games. Led Catholic Central to the Class A semifinal round of the tournament in 1950. Attended Yale.
Art Spoelstra – Grand Rapids Godwin
Top player in the Grand Valley League, the 6-8 center received 1st team All-State kudos from the Detroit News and the Detroit Times, and second team honors from the Free Press. Led Godwin to the Class B state semifinals in 1949, and the finals in 1950, where the unbeaten Wolverines were upset by Ishpeming. Attended Western Kentucky, then played in the NBA.
1940RALPH GIBERT – FLINT NORTHERN
Honorary captain of the Free Press All-State team. An honor-roll student, he scored 101 points in 18 games as a senior. Led Northern to back-to-back Class A titles in 1939 and 1940.
Roy Clark – Pontiac Central
According to the Detroit Free Press article covering the All-State team, “many persons considered Clark the best basketball player ever to play at Pontiac." Scored 206 points in 18 games.
Jack Fultz – Keego Harbor
Earned 11-letters during his high school career in basketball, football and track. Scored 287 points in 22 games for the Class C state runner-up squad. Outstanding passer.
JOHN TOOKER – KALAMAZOO ST. AUGUSTINE
Captain and center for coach Harv Freeman’s Class C state champs. Dominated his position, and his ability to take the tip-off on nearly every occasion in the title game led to Augustine’s 40-9 win over Lansing St. Mary in the title game. Also a state track champion.
Hank Ceasor – Port Huron
A top all-around athlete in Port Huron, Ceasor earned 1st team All-Tournament honors for the Class A quarterfinalists.
Emanuel Fishman – Detroit Northern
Known for his one-handed push shot, Fishman hit the game winner with 35 seconds remaining as the Eskimos defeated Kalamazoo Central 16-14 for the Class A state championship. (Detroit Public League schools dropped from MHSAA state tournament competition the following year, and didn’t return until 1962.) Co-captain at Northern, he was considered the city league’s outstanding performer for the season.
1920HARRY KIPKE – LANSING CENTRAL
A 12-letterwinner, including three in basketball, Kipke served as captain and guard in his senior year. Was honored on the All-Tournament team when his team advanced to the semifinal round of the Class A tourney. Later played and coached at the University of Michigan.
Bruno Smokiewicz – Detroit Northwestern
Starred for Coach Bert Maris on league championship teams in 1919 and 1920, state title squads in 1917 and 1920, and a state runner-up in 1919. Named to the 1920 All-Tournament team. Later played pro ball for ABL's Detroit Lions and the ABL's Detroit Pulaski Post.
William Springsteen – Detroit Northwestern
One of six Honorable Mention players on the 1919 All-Tournament team, Springsteen earned 1st team all-tournament team honors in 1920. Also All-State in football as a center in the fall of both 1918 and 1919. Played college football and basketball at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. Played professionally for the Frankfort Yellow Jackets of the upstart National Football League in 1925-26.
About BCAM: The Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan was incorporated in the summer of 1976. The purpose of BCAM was for the betterment of basketball in the state of Michigan. Over 30 years later, BCAM has shown that it is the voice of high school basketball in Michigan. BCAM has also gained respectability nationwide by being a leader in clinics, academic awards, scholarship programs, websites, awards for players and coaches, official – coach relationships, and as a policy setter for national concerns.