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 8: EISENHOWER PANTHERS
(2) Eisenhower vs. (7) TBA
PG – Lewis Jackson (Purdue, G-League) 5-9, 10-4-3-1.2 spg best year PU; 12-5-9 apg with Erie BayHawks G-League 2013-14; 2x MC POY 2006 + 2008; 1st points 1,630; Class of 2008
PG – Jarod Oldham (Buffalo) 6-3, 1,039 points EHS, 10-5-4-1.5 spg best year Buffalo, All-State HM; Class of 2010
G/F – Monty Wilson, Sr. (Tennessee State) 6-4, 20-7 best year TSU, Top 15 in OVC in pts, reb, ast, stl; 1,594 points in college, 23+ ppg as a sophomore EHS; Class of 1992
F – Jeff Roth (Boston College) 6-4, All-State 1976, 1,226 points, 4th in State (two-class system) in 1976, best finish in school history; 14-10 at EHS; 5-2 best year BC; Class of 1976
C - Dave Louwerse (Rice) 6-7, best year: 14-6 in old Southwest Conference, 3rd all-time in blocks at Rice, could shoot and defend too; Class of 1974
Minutes off the bench
F/C - Perry Johnson (Lincoln) 6-5, All-State 1969 (Just 15 players) and 1968 too; MC POY 1969, Part of elite 1969 team with Madlock and Beals, 1,117 points; Class of 1969
PG - Junior Bond (UC-Irvine, Southern Indiana) 5-8, 5 ppg UCI, 12 ppg USI, 20.5 ppg Eisenhower as senior; 3rd points 1,276; Class of 1995
F – Jeremy Robinson (Illinois State, Chicago State) 6-8, 1,094 points EHS, 14-8 best year CSU; Class of 2008
G - Jerry Nixon (Western Illinois) 6-0, All-State 1960 one class, 2nd points 1,282, 22.5 ppg senior EHS; Class of 1960
G - Roger Beals (Lincoln College, Rocky Mountain College) 5-10, HM All-State 1969, 19 ppg led city; Class of 1969
G - Duane Huddleston (Missouri-Rolla) MC POY 1984, 24 ppg D2
F - Hubert Carter, 6-3, 2nd team All-State 1976, MC POY 1976, Shooter, slasher, 5th points 1,267; Class of 1976
G/F - Sturgis Jones, 6-6, All-State 1973, 19-15 rpg junior, might be most physically gifted player in EHS history; MC POY 1972, 1,100 points; Class of 1973
F – Terry Bates (Aurora) 6-1, 1987 MC POY, 21-8 rpg senior year
F - Art “Snookie” Hicks, 6-4, All-State 1970 + 1971, MC POY 1971, 18 ppg, strength
F - Larry Jarrett (Lake Land) 6-4, MC POY 1973, All-State 1973
G – Bill Madlock (MLB) 1,017 points, one of the leaders of the legendary 1969 team; 4-time NL batting champion and World Series champion with “We Are Family” Pirates; Class of 1969
PG - Jim Oldham (Eastern Illinois) 6-3, flashy playmaker who averaged 16 ppg, 6 apg senior year EHS with behind-the-back passes common; 3x Turkey Tournament Champs; First-ever Sweet 16 appearance MC POY 1975
G - Mike Sain, 5-11, 1979 MC POY, 3rd Team All-State 1979, 21 ppg, Handles and shooter, 1,099 points; Class of 1979
G - Kevin Roberson (MLB) 6-4, 20 ppg senior year, Excellent shooter, strong, clutch down stretch, Normal Christmas Tournament MVP; Class of 1986
G – Booker Horges, 6-1, 17 ppg senior year 1965, All-State 1965
F - Ron Meyer, 6-3, 16 ppg; Class of 1984
G - Jim Cook, 6-1; Class of 1982
G - Lionel Phillips, 6-1; Class of 1982
F - Roe Skidmore (Millikin) 6-3, 18 ppg as a junior at Millikin, 41 points in a game against Illinois College on 1/28/66
F - Dan Androff (Western Illinois, Hawaii-Hilo), 6-6, 19-8 senior EHS, MVP 1984 The Classic, 4th points 1,268; Class of 1985
F - Dirk Androff (Eastern Illinois) 6-7, HM All-State 1980, 12-6 best year EIU; Strong
G - Carl Jenkins, 6-0, Aggressive defender, All-City; Class of 1965
C - George “Ball Head” Watkins (Centenary) 6-5, ABA contract; Class of 1968
Shalin Bond, Unanimous All-Big 12, 19 ppg, 8 rpg senior year, 1,229 points at EHS and SDHS; Class of 2001
Ernie Taylor, All-State 1962
F - Brock Von Nordeck (Millikin) 6-8, part of late 2000s star-studded teams, dunker
Andy Roberts, 1,169 points; Class of 1998
Eugene Powell, 1,047 points; Class of 1989
G - Stephon Bobbitt (Monmouth, Highland JuCo) 1,000 points; Class of 2017
G - RJ Walker (Current) Hit 1,000 points towards end of junior season; Class of 2021
G - Charles Sangster, 5-9, 18 ppg senior year; Part of history-making 1976 team; Class of 1976
(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 is the Junkyard Dog team. When they walk in the gym, nobody will be scared by this team's size, just visually. Then the game will start and it'll be 10-0 Panthers before they can blink. This is a roster of some of the gutsiest players to play in Central Illinois, led by 5-foot-9 killer Lewis Jackson who got every ounce out of his abilities. Most players in the starting lineup are "undersized" players who showed incredible toughness and guile in earning All-State honors, Division-I scholarships and launching overseas careers.
Upside of roster: Heart. Pedigree. Scoring: four players in the starting lineup put up double-digit scoring numbers at the Division-I level, and the fifth reached the game's highest level at Boston College. That'd be Jeff Roth, who others describe as a "beast" and a true team player. Most of this lineup played professionally in some capacity, with Monty Wilson, Sr. playing for more than a decade and Jackson making the G-League.
Downside of roster: Height. As with most Decatur teams, size isn't necessarily the strength of the roster. Dave Louwerse, Jeremy Robinson, these are really solid forwards to have, but both would be best served in the four role given many other teams have 7-footers to defend. However, any team with the Androff Brothers (Eastern Illinois and Hawaii-Hilo) coming off the bench will never get bullied! And again, the strength of this roster is overcoming obstacles/size disadvantages. So in the words of this team, "Let's stop looking at the starting lineup heights and let's play ball."
Highlights of bench: Where do you start? There are five Macon County POYs on the bench. A handful of All-State guys. Division-I players. George "Bald Head" Watkins signed an ABA contract, according to his family. Some people say that Sturgis Jones is the most gifted player in program history. Perry Johnson is among the guys named All-State, which in the 1960s meant one of just 15 players -- in Chicago, Central Illinois, you name it. Art "Snookie" Hicks was a *two*-time Macon County POY, 1970 and 1971.
Best season: The team to reach it farthest (4th at State) was the 1976 juggernaut led by Jeff Roth, Hubie Carter and Co. The best record in school history was the 28-1 team that was upset in the 2008 playoffs. The 1969 team will also make an argument as the best ever, with names like Bill Madlock, Perry Johnson and Roger Beals. However, that team was also upset before winning a sectional. The 2007 and 1975 teams won sectional titles.
Enrollment: 1,039 (2020)
GOAT: Lewis Jackson is the school scoring record holder by more than 300 points. Let that sink in. Mix in these factors: A rare two-time Macon County Player of the Year. The Purdue pedigree. An *impact* player on that Purdue team, which contended for a national championship. G-League and overseas career. Monty Wilson, Sr. put up huge numbers at Tennessee State and has had the longest professional career -- that's an incredible list of achievements as well.
Music: Blues rock. This team has a blue-collar identity and the kind of grit that makes blues an obvious genre.
Controversial decision: There are legitimately 20 players who have an argument for being in the starting lineup. So yes, the odds are that you disagree with one (three?) of the selections! That's what makes this fun! The fifth team on this roster would still be deadly. Some of the bench players are particularly painful to have on the bench, but then again they'll still get tons of playing time.
Best nickname: Art "Snookie" Hicks, who was a two-time Macon County POY, 1970 and 1971.
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 18 (Phase 1)
March 18 through 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 (Note: The schedule has been changed in light of all local sports being cancelled by coronavirus concerns.)
No. 8: Eisenhower (10 p.m. show)
No. 7: TBA (6 p.m. and 10 p.m. show)
No. 6: TBA (6 p.m. show)
No. 5: TBA (10 p.m. show)
No. 4: TBA (6 p.m. show)
No. 3: TBA (10 p.m. show)
No. 2: TBA (6 p.m. show)
No. 1: TBA (10 p.m. show)
Bracket Challenge Begins