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 7: SPRINGFIELD HIGH SENATORS
(2) Springfield High vs. (7) TBA
PG - Randy Rice (Illinois State) 6-0, 6-3-4 ISU, 18-5-7 senior year SHS, CS8 Male Athlete of the Year 1998
SG - Steve Dixson (Vincennes JC) 6-4, 1,774 pts 2nd SHS, HM All-State 1996 (Class AA), Led City in scoring 1995 (61), 1996 (60), 1997 (55)
SF - Tyron Lee (Missouri) 6-6, 23 ppg SHS, 11-5 best year MU, 10 years overseas, Led City in scoring 1993 (52) + 1994 (78), 1992-93 sectional championship; Class of 1994
PF - Tom Cole (Michigan) 6-7, 2x All-Big Ten, Captain at UM, 1959 State Championship (33-1), 2x All-State 1958 + 1959; MVP and State Champion; 1,666 points SHS, 14-10 average at Michigan; City-high 65 1959; Class of 1959
C - Dave Robisch (Kansas, ABA/NBA) 6-10; 2x Big 8 POY, 27-12 best year KU, 16-9 best season ABA; 13 years NBA/ABA; 1971 Final Four; 8th IHSA points in season (1,057 1967); Had cartoonish 152 points at State in 1967 (49 more than 2nd); City-record 98 points in 1967; Class of 1967
Minutes off the bench
PF - Harold McMath (Bradley) 6-6, 10 rpg 9 ppg best year BU; 2nd Team All-State 1975 + 1976, 799 rebounds at BU, 726 points
PF – Obi Church (Missouri State) 6-7, 7 ppg, 6 rpg all four years (600 reb, nearly 700 pts)
F - Herb Scheffler (Illinois, Oklahoma, NBL) 6-4, star of 1935 state champions, Played for Detroit Gems of National Basketball League and minor league baseball in Red Sox system, Led state tournament in scoring; Class of 1936
SG - Shelby Roberson (Duquesne) 6-1, 5-2-2, Part of early 1990s resurgence
SF – Willie Wiley (Evansville) 6-7, All-CS8 2010 + 2011 + 2012
SG – Ray Ramsey (Bradley, NFL, briefly NBA 1948-49) 6-2
F - Larry Bauer (Illinois) 6-7, All-State 1961, two varsity seasons Illinois
Bob Plohr, All-State 1961
Mark Stoddart, 1967 State team, wingman to Dave Robisch, 7th in scoring (51 pts) at State
PG – Lonell Reeves (Louisiana-Monroe) 5-10
Michael Lee, Led City in scoring 1982 (56 pts)
Marcus Barker, 48 points tied for most at City (1988)
Tives Gardner, Sr., Led City scoring 1990 (54) + 1991 (65)
George Mathis, 1959 state champs, 6th scoring at State Tournament
Lynn Neff, 1959 state champs
Charles Shauger, 4th scoring option on 1959 state champs
Tommy Hayes, All-CS8 1996
Todd Moore, All-CS8 1998
Tony Hammonds, All-CS8 1999
Willie Collins, All-CS8 1999
Phil Jones, All-CS8 1999
Brian Price, All-CS8 2000
Sam Johnson, All-CS8 2000
F - Keith Elbert, All-CS8 2001 + 2002, Led City in scoring 2001 (46)
F - Colin Beveridge (UIS) All-CS8 2003, Led City in scoring 2003 (64)
Davion Lucas, All-CS8 2004
Eddie Snow, All-CS8 2007
Kyle Klunick, All-CS8 2008
Mike Gilchrese, All-CS8 2009
Mark Gilchrese, All-CS8 2011
PG - Isaiah Hale (UIS) 5-9, All-CS8 2009 + 2010
Bryan Bridges, All-CS8 2010
Don Casper, Led City in scoring 1951 (49)+ 1952 (63)
Dick Schofield, Sr., (MLB) Led City in scoring 1953 (67)
The 1917 State Champions: Max Poscover, Jerome Dunne, Harry Eielson, Ben Clouser
G - Bennie Slater (Current) 6-4, Class of 2021
G - Shane Miller (Current) 6-1, Class of 2021
(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: In terms of history, it doesn't get any better than this. State championships in 1917, 1935, 1959 and then 3rd in 1967 with an NBA player at the helm (Robisch). The 1990s were maybe the highest concentration of talent in program history, with playmakers left and right. How on Earth do you attack a team with a lineup of 6-10, 6-7, 6-6, 6-4, 6-0 that each has an elite list of accolades?
Upside of roster: This team is arguably the most balanced in the field, with stars at all three positions. Where exactly is there a weakness? Nowhere. The 6-10 Robisch is among the most accomplished players in Central Illinois history, Cole was All-Big Ten, then Dixson and Lee were both forces of nature -- Lee averaging double-digit points in the Big 12 and Dixson making it to Southern Illinois after putting up more points than anyone in SHS history other than Robisch. Rice is a great floor general to lead this group because he can get a bucket with the best of them but his passing will be huge to help distribute the ball to all these amazing playmakers.
Downside of roster: I really don't think you can say there is one. That's what makes this top tier of teams so dangerous. The gap between the Senators and the six teams ranked higher is minuscule. Big leagues.
Highlights of bench: Look at the size off the bench. Other programs would beg to have even one of these guys in the starting lineup. McMath. Church. Wiley. Bauer. All Division-I caliber forwards. Dozens of weapons on this bench, I mean look at the All-CS8 picks.
Best season: I love the consistency of championships in 1917, 1935, 1959 and then 3rd in 1967 followed by explosive talent in the 1990s. Are the Senators due for another run to State? ...
Enrollment: 1,462 (2020)
GOAT: Dave Robisch. 12 years in the NBA/ABA. Final Four. 2x POY in the Big 8. Scoring record at SHS and the City Tournament. End of story.
Music: Hail to the Chief. The school closest to the state capitol will have other teams saluting them by the end of the game.
Controversial decision: There's no way Obi Church isn't a "starter" and same with McMath and the many All-Staters from the program's early days.
Bonus: Three Major League Baseball players! All three Cubs! That's pretty cool. Bill Madlock even had 1,000 points and reportedly had many basketball scholarship offers. Kevin Roberson and Roe Skidmore were also stars, with Roberson putting up big numbers at EHS and Skidmore scoring 41 points in a game at Millikin.
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 21 (Phase 1)
March 21 through April 18 (Phase 2)
March 22: Selection Sunday
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 (Note: The schedule has been changed in light of all local sports being cancelled by coronavirus concerns.)
No. 6: TBA (10 p.m. show)
No. 5: TBA (6 p.m. and 10 p.m. show)
No. 4: TBA (6 p.m. and 10 p.m. show)
No. 3: TBA (6 p.m. and 10 p.m. show)
No. 2: TBA (6 p.m. and 10 p.m. show)
No. 1: TBA (6 p.m. and 10 p.m. show)
- "Selection Sunday": Revealing the Bracket (5 p.m. show)
- Fan voting begins for First Round Games
First Round Results Announced
Sweet 16 Results Announced
Final Four Results Announced