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 6: CENTENNIAL CHARGERS
(2) Centennial vs. (7) TBA
PG – Trent Meacham (Illinois, Dayton) 6-3, 10-3-3 best year UI; 2004 Area POY, 18 ppg, 1,023 points; Class of 2004
SG - Roger McClendon (Cincinnati) 6-4, McDonald’s AA 1985, Was 2nd all-time pts at UC behind Big O (1,789) (now 5th), 20-4-3 best year UC, ridiculous .476 3FG in 1986-87; State tournament 1984; Class of 1984
SG - James Kinney (San Jose State, Ohio) 6-2, 21-6-3 best year SJSU; 17-7 senior CHS, 1,492 points, 2009 3A State Champs; Class of 2009
G/F - Rayvonte Rice (Drake, Illinois, G-League) 6-4, 17-6-2-2 spg best year UI; 3A State Champs 2009; Led team to 4th at State next year; Class of 2010
F - Coleco Buie (Chicago State, Missouri State) 6-5, 16-5-1.8 spg freshman CSU, 14-5-3 best year Missouri State; Class of 1993
Minutes off the bench
PF – Michael Finke (Illinois, Grand Canyon) 6-10, 10-5 best year UI, 12-5 GCU; 1,110 points at Division-I level; Class of 2015
G - U.S. Davidson (Kansas State, North Dakota State) 6-2, 23+ ppg 1973, All-State 1973
F – Carvell Ammons (Northwestern, Illinois, Maine) 6-6, Started freshman at NU 8-6, 7-4 at Maine, 20 ppg senior year at Centennial; Class of 1997
F – Steve Holdren (South Dakota State, Illinois) 6-5, 14-4 rpg SDSU, 18-7 CHS; Class of 2005
Terry Brown (50 points at Jacksonville in 1973)
PF – Jeff Johnson (Eastern Kentucky) 6-7, 250 lbs, 5-4 best year EKU, 3A State Champs 2009
PF – Josh Piper (Eastern Illinois) 6-8, 10-4 best year EIU; Class of 2011
PG – Anthony Figueroa (Chicago State, Millikin) 6-0, 4-6-4-2 spg best year CSU; Class of 1995
SG – Sonny Walker (Chicago State) 6-5, 9-4-2 best year CSU
JR Hughley; Helped 1984 team get to State
Scott Nagy (Delta State) Helped 1984 team get to State, went on to coach at South Dakota State and Wright State (current); Class of 1984
(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 team can play big if needed, but we'll start off with a small ball lineup to get as many of these ridiculously talented guards in the lineup as possible. This would be one impossible team to guard in the open court and on the perimeter.
Upside of roster: Star power. This team has just ridiculous scoring, and all of these guys were legitimate standouts at the Division-I level: McClendon (20 points per game best year), Kinney (21), Rice (17), Buie (16), Finke (12), Meacham (10) not to mention the many other Division-I role and high school stars.
Downside of roster: This team isn't blessed with length or height like the other elite rosters, but Finke, Johnson and Piper are all Division-I bigs and Buie can guard bigger players too. But the bigger backcourt guys like Rice will have to help out on the glass because this isn't the tallest roster in All-Time 5. But that's nitpicking -- this lineup is stacked.
Highlights of bench: Imagine a lineup of Figueroa at the point, Davidson at the 2, Holdren at the 3, Ammons at the 4 and Finke/Piper/Johnson at the 5. That would be so much fun to watch against the "First 5" because it has better size and would probably be a 6 or 5 seed as a standalone All-Time 5 school.
Best season: The Kinney-Rice-Johnson team won State (four-class system) in 2009 and then Rice and Co. took fourth the following year in 2010. The 1984 team also made it to State under McClendon (two-class system).
Enrollment: 1,416 (2020)
GOAT: Roger McClendon is one of just four McDonald's Americans in WAND viewing area history (Lanphier's Ed Horton plus Lincoln's Chuck Verderber and Brian Cook). He then backed that up by putting up nearly 1,800 points and making All-Conference at Cincinnati.
Music: Off to the races. This team will push the ball and take advantage of its uber-talented group of guards.
Controversial decision: Truthfully this lineup decision made me uncomfortable -- you never want to show disrespect to anyone, and there were about a half dozen players I struggled to leave out of the starting. It was basically a coin flip. I think Michael Finke did more than enough in college to earn a starting spot, and it's likely that a coach would start him for the size and skill he brings to the post. Regardless of who the coach picks, guys like Finke and U.S. Davidson and Carvel Ammons would get 20+ minutes of playing time no matter who happens to start the game.
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: Centennial (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