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 14: RIVERTON HAWKS
(4) Riverton vs. (5) TBA
PG - Jason Sowers (Eastern Illinois), 6-5, Area Honorary Captain 1994; 2x State team; Class of 1994
SG - Garret Thomas (Northern Illinois, SIUE) 6-2, 7th IHSA 3FG career (354), 12-2-4 best year D2; Class of 1998
SF - Clint Cuffle (Evansville) 6-6, 17-5-2 best year UE, 2x Area Honorary Captain 1999 + 2000; All-State Class A (two classes); 2x State team; 4th place at State 2000 (two classes); Class of 2000
PF - Rich Fetter (Penn State) 6-7, 1st points, 26th IHSA 2,569, 1st rebounds, 11th IHSA 1,215, 11-5 best year PSU; Class of 1979 State team (4th place, two classes); Class of 1979
C - Mike Tisdale (Illinois) 7-1, 12-6-1.6 bpg best year UI, 2x Area Honorary Captain; Class of 2007
F - Kurt Cuffle (Eastern Illinois) 6-6, 9-4 rpg best year EIU, NCAA Tournament; 2x State team; Class of 1994
G - Doug Robertson (Bradley baseball) 6-0, All-American baseball player BU; big part of 1993 State team; Class of 1993
G - Brian Hartlaub, 6-1, Area Athlete of Year 2000, 25 points at Super-Sectional vs. Unity in 1999; 2x State Team
G - Will Schneider (Morehead State baseball) 6-1, Area Athlete of the Year 2013, 18.6 ppg
F - John Martinez, 6-6 Class A 2003 All-State, Illinois-Missouri All-Star
F - Zach Miller, 6-6 Class A All-State; Illinois-Missouri All-Star
G - Danny Roscetti, 6-1
G – Ryan Roscetti (MacMurray) 5-9, 18-3-6-2 best year RHS
G/F - Mitchell Patterson (Illinois College) 6-4, 13-5-3 best year D3; Class of 2013
SG - Spencer Yoggerst (Current) 18 ppg, Class of 2020
F - Travis Hogan (Current) 6-7
Johnny Derosa; Early 2000s
Pat Keating, Double-double at State in 1994 (15-11 vs. Eureka)
(Did we miss a player? Email email@example.com 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 most underrated team in All-Time 5 and the only small school to be ranked this high. That speaks volumes about this program's quality of all-timers.
Upside of roster: Two double-digit Big Ten scorers with size. Another that averaged 17 at Evansville. Cuffle (6-6), Fetter (6-7) and Tisdale (7-2) are a nightmare in the front court. Cuffle clamped down on Kyle Korver defensively, too. Plus then you have to deal with Garret Thomas, one of the top perimeter shooters in state history. With all that talent, the point guard has to be a weakness then, right? Nope. How'd you like to have 6-foot-5 Jason Sowers running the show? He was a superstar in the mid-90s, earning SJR Area Honorary Captain in 1994 and taking Riverton to State back-to-back years. This is one complete roster.
Downside of roster: Perhaps depth? But the first eight are incredibly good. Bigger programs have Division-I players on the Third Team. I guess that's the biggest weakness. Having one more elite bucket-getter would help too.
Highlights of bench: F Kurt Cuffle isn't really a bench guy, he'll get 25 minutes. He made the NCAA Tournament with Eastern Illinois and will provide critical leadership for the Hawks. Brian Hartlaub and Will Schneider are both Area Athletes of the Year which is a big honor. Robertson and Schneider were both Division-I baseball players. Shout-out to current Hawks Spencer Yoggerst and Travis Hogan for continuing the legacy in recent years.
Best season: Pick a State team. 1979, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2000. They're all loaded.
Enrollment: 414 (2020). The smallest by far for this high in the rankings. Says a lot about this program.
GOAT: Fetter is the O.G. and put up cartoonish numbers in high school. Clint Cuffle had the best college career. Tisdale achieved the most at the highest level. Pick your poison!
Music: Uplifting, gliding, retrospective. This program takes its history seriously and Mike Tisdale's interview at his signing day (as seen in the video above) says it all. It's all about celebrating the legends that came before you.
Controversial decision: Kurt might trip me the next time I'm shooting a game he's officiating, but we can still be friends! (Insert emoji here.) He's an integral part of this team but when you have Clint-Fetter-Tisdale ahead of you it's hard to get in that first five.
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
No. 12: TBA (6 p.m. show)
No. 11: TBA (6 p.m. show)
No. 10: TBA (10 p.m. show)
No. 9: TBA (10 p.m. show)
March 13: The 2 seeds (Note: this is a Friday)
No. 8: TBA (6 p.m. show)
No. 7: TBA (6 p.m. show)
No. 6: TBA (10 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)