It's WAND's "All-Time 5"! Which local high school has the best all-time, all-star lineup of basketball players from any era, together on one court in a tournament of 33 teams? Tune in every Wednesday at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. through March 18 as Gordon Voit announces a new group of seeds in the bracket!
53 pages. 12,000 words (and counting). Countless conversations, messages, box scores, All-State lists and school records. Now that Gordon Voit's research packet has been compiled, we begin the fun. (Quick reminder: It's not who was the best player in high school, or who had the best stats. It's which player [evaluated at his peak] would help the team stay competitive against the Lanphiers and Lincolns of the tournament, who have All-Americans up and down the lineup.)
NUMBER 11: MACARTHUR GENERALS
(3) MacArthur vs. (6) TBA
G – Darius Adams (UIndy, overseas) 6-1, 37-8-6-3 p, CBA MVP candidate who is outproducing former NBA players in China; Class of 2008
G – John Cliff (Marquette) 6-2, MC POY 1994; 15-4-2-1.2 stl senior year MU; 14 ppg and 7 rpg senior MHS, 1,461 points, Played overseas (Austria); Class of 1996
G – Felipe Phillips (Tennessee-Martin) 5-10, co-MC POY 90, 11-3-3 best year UTM (one of two players in MHS history to average double figures at D-I level), 20 ppg, 4 apg senior year MHS; Class of 1990
F – Cortez Bond (Northeastern) 6-5, Only 2x MC POY in school history: 1996 + 1997, dangerous from 3-point range, inside and rebounding, HM All-State senior; 21-7 senior; Class of 1996
PF - Floyd Anderson (Lincoln (Mo.)) 6-5, Macon County Athlete of the Year 1985, 17 ppg and 12 rpg senior MHS, big, wide; Class of 1985
Minutes off the bench
PG - Mike Phillips (Wichita State) 5-10, 16-4-4-4.6 spg senior year, 4-3-2 best year WSU; Class of 1997
PF – Moe Dampeer (Oklahoma football, D1 basketball offers) 6-4, 290 lbs; 15-9 rpg senior year; 1st Team All-Big 12 and 1st Team All-County 2003, IBCA All-Star Game 2003 (Class AA South); Shot 59 percent senior year with 63 assists and 49 steals; Class of 2003
F – Corley Lee (Chicago State) 6-6, MC POY 1999, 4-3 one year at CSU, 16-14-5 senior year MHS; Class of 1999
G – Marcus Bartley (Saint Louis/Southern Illinois) 6-5, MC POY 2014, 7 ppg, 3.5 apg best year in college, 19-7-6-3.3 spg senior MHS; Class of 2013
F - Kip Jones (Lincoln (Mo.)) 6-5, 1,201 points, Transferred from Lakeview, Won 1982 Turkey Tournament MHS; 15 ppg senior year; Gus Macker National Champion; Class of 1983
F - Kita Jones (Lincoln (Mo.)) 1984 All-State Special Mention, 18 ppg
PF – Craig Huss (Southeastern Louisiana) 6-7, All-State HM 1970, 19 ppg, ~8 rpg senior year; 7-6 rpg at SL; Class of 1970
G – Monty Wilson, Jr. (Georgetown KY), 24-5-2 NAIA senior, NAIA national champion, 1,044 points, played overseas; Class of 2009
G – Kin Yanders (Chicago State) 6-3, 1,485 points (1st?) 38 inch vertical; Class of 1999
G – Armon Brummett (Bradley) 6-3, MC POY 2018, 2nd Team All-State (3A), 1,000 points; 19 ppg, 7 rpg, 2 apg senior MHS; Class of 2018
G – Amir Brummett (Northern Illinois football) 6-2, 1,000 points, 17 ppg, 4 apg, 2.5 spg senior MHS; Class of 2018
G – Jeremy Moore, 2k points at two schools, MC POY co-90, 19 ppg senior year, elite shooter (42% 3FG); Class of 1990
G - Arius Young, 6-0, 2002 MC POY, 21 ppg, 3 spg, 1,293 points; Class of 2002
PG – Marlin Murphy, 5-8, 1998 MC POY, 12.7 ppg but 6 apg, 4 spg, floor general
G - Troy Stanley (Parkland CC) 6-0, MC POY 1988, 1,166 points; Class of 1988
G - Fabian Warren (Lincoln (Mo.)) 5-10, MC POY 1983, unselfish 12 ppg; Class of 1983
SG – Keymonta Johnson (UIS) 2016 MC POY
Leonard Dabner, 1,017 points; Class of 1964
G - Terry Taylor, 5-11
G - Rick Minton (Southeast Louisiana) 6-0, SL Class of 1979
F – Tom Taylor (SW Baptist) 6-3, Won State with Lake Land
F - Louis Jones, 6-3, 1985 All-State HM, strong
G - Greg Hunt, 5-10, 1,061 points, All-State HM 1978, MC POY 1978 17 ppg; First MHS player to win MC POY (started in 1967); Class of 1978
G/F - Romano Dees, 6-4, 14-6 senior year, 1997 First Team All-Big 12
Tim Littrell (Millikin) Millikin HOF, DPS HOF, 22 ppg MHS, 43 in a game was record; Baseball star; Class of 1973
Stefon Carson, 1,137 points; Class of 2008
G - Anthony Smith (Washington Generals) All-Big 12 2003, First Team All-County, 42.6% 3FG, 13 ppg, nearly 5 apg, 2+ spg
Vincent Barnett, 6-7 SIUE, 70s
Dick Funk, All-State HM 1964
Ralph Rosser, All-State HM 1968
Al Lawson, 5-10, football star who was explosive on the basketball court too, 15 ppg
(Did we miss a player? Email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can update the roster! Thanks for your help in making this special project complete. If you submit a name for consideration, please remember to include height, position, graduation year, college destination as well as a list of accolades. Please also remember that this is a fun hypothetical basketball project.)
Overview: This isn’t me being politcal: There really is no “five” with this program. One roster limits the rich history of this school, it can’t be contained in a neat little lineup. I fully recognize that. So, pay attention to the full roster, not the first five guys in the game. I’m not “sleeping” on anybody — if you think someone deserves to play then I would bet good money that I agree with you. Any of the bench members could start. I’m not exaggerating, the gap between players 4-24 is virtually nonexistent — I mean how do you pick between Corley Lee, Marcus Bartley, Kip Jones, Craig Huss, Moe Dampeer, Monty Wilson, Jr., Kin Yanders, Felipe Phillips, Armon Brummett, Amir Brummett, Kita Jones, Jeremy Moore, Arius Young, Marlin Murphy and the many dozens of others? Their credentials, stats, college destinations are are virtually identical.
Park legends: Some people say that Louis Jones used to dominate even the Division-I kids in the Decatur parks. Is he even in the Top 15 of this “lineup”? Probably not. But he might have been the best player on any given day. I recognize that. I respect the various venues, eras, styles and circumstances. There are people on the national radar that went D-I, but then there are the local legends who were better on the playgrounds and/or in high school. For the purposes of this exercise we are comparing how high a player climbed the ladder, so to speak. Not who was better in high school or any certain stage.
Why didn’t you pick my dad? Again, this was by far the hardest lineup to sort through. I honestly had each one of those first 10 or so bench players in the starting lineup at one point or another. You would get equal value. Someone’s gotta start, so for this lineup I am going to go with a speed-and-defense lineup and start the game with Adams-Cliff-Phillips and just try to run other teams out of the gym and splash jumpers. But if you were the coach maybe you want to go with the defensive intensity of Mike Phillips? Or the length and passing of Marcus Bartley? Or the size and versatility of Corley Lee? Or the floor general skills of Marlin Murphy, the shortest player on the roster and maybe the most game savvy. Sheer athleticism? Maybe Kin Yanders or one of the Brummetts. Honestly it was painful to not put a guy like Moe Dampeer in the starting lineup, who was electric and far more efficient (59% as a senior) than he gets credit for. A traditional center? That’s Craig Huss. How about the street smarts of Kip and Kita Jones? Those guys are icons. Is Jeremy Moore the best shooter? Arius Young? The Taylor brothers? Leonard Dabner, the king of the 60s? Free throw titan Rick Minton? We still haven’t even named all of the Macon County Players of the Year! Troy Stanley, Keymonta Johnson, Greg Hunt, Fabian Warren. Pick your lineup. The “Third Team” could honestly beat the “First Team” if you had to break it down like that. I’m serious.
Upside of roster: Sheer depth. As I layed out above, the “Fourth Team” would be scary. Very few other teams in any seed level can say that. As for firepower, Darius Adams is among the best professional players in all of All-Time 5. What he’s doing in China is spectacular.
Downside of roster: Size and elite scoring pieces. Other than Cliff, the only other player to average double-digit points at the Division-I level is Felipe Phillips (11 points at UT-Martin). Those are two nice pieces, but other programs have quadruple that number of scorers. That’s what separates the Generals from the 1 and 2 seeds in this field. Also size; If the Generals had a prolific forward like, say, Brian Cook, this roster would have an outside shot at a No. 1 seed. (Much like the other Decatur schools, height is a little hard to come by compared to other schools that have 6-10, 7-0, 7-2 (etc.) in the frontcourt.) But they don’t, so they’ll have to go with a Warriors-style small ball lineup and just push the heck out of the ball with versatile forwards like Cortez Bond getting it done at all levels, not just working the post.
Highlights of bench: Check out the blurbs above, I have a lot to say about the bench!
Best season: Surprisingly, this program has never won a Sectional title or above. The Regional champion with the fewest losses was the 1998 squad, led by indomitable point guard Marlin Murphy who was a floor general and one-man press on defense. As for pure talent, the 1996 and 1997 teams have to take the cake, between Cliff, Mike Phillips, Cortez Bond, on and on. Some people say the Jones Brothers Era teams were the second best team in the state other than the stacked Lanphier team that edged them.
Enrollment: 1101 (2020)
GOAT: Only one player has cashed multimillion dollar contracts: Darius Adams. He is an incredibly rare story: barely played in high school, latched on at Lincoln College, found his way to Division-II UIndy, developed, found an overseas home at the bottom of the ladder. Developed more. Worked his way to the top of the overseas ladder. A lesson for young students that hard work can pay off profoundly.
Music: If I could have used Public Enemy’s “Harder Than You Think” I would have. The attitude of the song is perfect: bold, brash, plucky. You might not recognize some of the names if you’re not from Decatur but this team truly is …. harder than you think.
Controversial decision: I think I addressed this in the first few blurbs. I recognize that there will be 100 different opinions as to who should start. It came down to pedigree — you have to go on concrete facts over “______ would KILL _______”. That's for us to debate over omelettes some day. I can't do that in this project -- I have to go on facts. So please provide your case from that perspective and I would love to listen.
Role model: Marcus Bartley’s Academic All-America status is something every parent should discuss with their kids. He had a 4.0 GPA in his MBA, which by the way he earned for free. Not only is Marcus the paragon of dedication to one’s studies but he’s also going to launch into his professional life without the student loans that saddle so many young college graduates. The student debt crisis is a larger number than the housing crisis from a decade ago, let that sink in. Bravo, Marcus.
ALL-TIME 5 OVERVIEW
WHAT: A competition to see who has the best all-time all-star squad of any high school basketball program in the 217 area code.
WHEN: February 5 - March 18 (Phase 1)
March 18 until the NCAA Final Four in April (Phase 2)
HOW: Gordon Voit will release four more teams every single Wednesday night, two during the 6 p.m. show and two during the 10 p.m. show. This is Phase 1. Phase 2 consists of a bracket challenge pitting the teams against each other in a simulated tournament.
RELEASING THE TEAMS
February 5: The 8 seeds
No. 33: Mt. Pulaski (Play-in game)
No. 32: Okaw Valley (Bethany-Findlay) (Play-in game)
February 12: The 7 seeds
February 19: The 6 seeds
February 26: The 5 seeds
March 4: The 4 seeds
March 11: The 3 seeds
March 13: The 2 seeds (Note: this is a Friday)
No. 8: TBA (6 p.m. show)
No. 7: TBA (10 p.m. show)
March 16: The 2 seeds (Note: this is a Monday)
No. 6: TBA (6 p.m. show)
No. 5: TBA (10 p.m. show)
March 18: The 1 seeds
No. 4: TBA (6 p.m. show)
No. 3: TBA (6 p.m. show)
No. 2: TBA (10 p.m. show)
No. 1: TBA (10 p.m. show)