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 13: SOUTHEAST SPARTANS
(4) Southeast vs. (5) TBA
PG - Terrion Murdix (Mineral Area CC, future D1) 5-11; Area POY 2019; 18-8-8 career SSHS; 12th scoring 1,1039; 3A state runner-up; 3A All-State; Class of 2019
G – Rob Dye (Bradley) 6-1, 2x All-MVC, 17-4-3-3 best season, 1,453 points at Bradley and also reached the 400-assist and 500-rebound mark. Just a complete player who could start for any team.
G/F - McKay Smith (Illinois State) 6-6, 3rd Team All-State 1977, Led City in scoring 1976 (73) + 1977 (65), 1,107 points was record, 40 in one game vs. Normal Community (1977)
F – Jalen Henry (SIU-Edwardsville, Overseas) 6-4; 16-7 senior year D1; Nearly led SIUE in every statistical category; 1,000 points at D1 level; Playing professionally in Finland
PF - Marcus Heard (DePaul, Overseas) 6-7, 235 lbs; Class of 2003; 6-4 rpg senior year, High-flyer who thrived overseas
G – Eddie Smith (Texas A&M, UIS) 6-2, Two huge seasons JuCo, TAMU then UIS for Gamble, Led City in scoring 2000 (59)
G/F – Anthony Fairlee (Mineral Area CC) Area; 6-3 dunker; Area POY 2018; 16-9 junior year; 3A All-State
PG - Lawrence Thomas “LT II” (Southern Indiana) 5-9, 1,941 1st points, CS8 Male Athlete of Year 2009; 10-3-4 senior year D2, Led City scoring 2007 (65) + 2009 (67)
PG – Herm Senor (Quincy, Overseas) 5-11; 12-3-6 senior year QU; D2 All-Conference, 2013 CS8 Male Athlete of Year
Lish “Rennie” Johnson, led city in scoring 1972 with 21.6 ppg
Henry Felton, 2nd (?) points 1,385, 4th Team All-State 1980
G – Eric Gilchrese (New Hampshire); 6-0; Class of 2005; 10-2-3 senior year
F – Frank Iguodala (Dayton) 6-5, 2-2 rpg final year
SG - Mike Chandler-Dorsey (Illinois Central College) 6-5; CS8 POY 2010; 16-8 senior year and .584; Only 2nd team ever to get to a sectional championship game
Kevin Kyes, Led City in scoring 1970 (71)
David Morgan, Led City in scoring 1975 (61)
Dan Sescleifer, Led City in scoring 1980 (55)
G – Ty Johnson (SIU-Edwardsville) 5-11; 12-2 All-GLVC D2 2nd Team; Class of 2003
PG – D’Angelo Hughes (Ferris State) 5-11; 11-2-4 senior D2; Class of 2016
G – Jaccoby Anderson (Chicago State) Class of 2011
G – Jagger Anderson (North Central) 6-0; 11-3-3 senior year D3; Class of 2013
SF - Asa Clayborne (SIU-Edwardsville) 6-5; 7-4rpg senior year D2; Class of 2003
SG - Stepheon Sims; Helped Spartans to 3A championship game
SG - Kobe Medley; Helped Spartans to 3A championship game
G – Travis Norris (Alcorn State) 6-2, Class of 2000
F - Chris A. Davis (Blackburn) 6-4 Class of 2012
G - Tives Gardner, Jr. (Millikin) 5-9, 11-2-2 best year at MU; Class of 2012
G – James Ballard (Arkansas track) Tied for scoring lead at City 1992; US T&F trials qualifier; Two years at Lanphier too; SE Class of 1994
Lincoln James, 1996 First Team All-CS8, 41 points in one game
Marlo Matlock, 44 points in one game
Chris Wallace, tied for City lead in points 1988 (48)
(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: Would LT not love to coach this group? This lineup reflects what it means to be a Southeast basketball player: stay calm, don't talk, skip the hype. Just get it done. That's a reflection of classy head coach Lawrence Thomas.
Upside of roster: Gamers who will never get frantic. And ridiculous depth on this roster. I mean just look at the point guards on the "bench". What the Spartans lack in size they make up for in sheer headiness at the guard position. Terrion Murdix made folks look foolish while being the smallest player on the floor at times. Herm Senor II kept improving in college and parlayed that into a multi-year pro career. Anthony Fairlee dunked his way to respect against the much larger forwards of Illinois. Jalen Henry was a statistical monster at SIU-Edwardsville while being one of the smaller power forwards in the nation and is playing overseas as a result. Versatility, sharing the ball and surgical precision. Yep, this is an LT team.
Downside of roster: Size. Other teams (Mt. Zion comes to mind) will be able to get physical down low with this group. But that's never stopped the Spartans before, who have never depended on big men.
Highlights of bench: Where do you start? I mean seriously. Eddie Smith played in the Big 12 with Texas A&M! And he's off the "bench"! LT II is No. 1 all-time in points with 1,941! Senor played professionally! Fairlee was Area Player of the Year! Some older members of the community think that Lish "Rennie" Johnson, a 1970s star, is the best player ever. Or Henry Felton (1,385 points) from the late 70s and early 80s. Eric Gilchrese averaged double digits at the D1 level with New Hampshire! Frank Iguodala was a key part of Dayton! Mike Chandler-Dorsey, on and on and on. Marlo Matlock once scored 44 points in a game! Shoot, the Fourth Team would compete for a spot in All-Time 5!
Best season: The 2018 squad was a ton of fun to cover and it came one Ayo Dosunmu- and Adam Miller-led Morgan Park win away from winning the state championship in Class 3A.
Enrollment: 1,221 (2020)
GOAT: Rob Dye. His 1,453 points and two-time All-Missouri Valley accolades are incredibly impressive. Jalen Henry had an incredibly strong college career as well. Was Murdix the best high school player? Let the debate begin.
Music: Smooth. That's what this team is. They R&B other teams to death. Good luck trying to get under their skin. They're Teflon, courtesy of their unflappable coach Lawrence Thomas.
Controversial decision: Did I get the lineup 100% wrong? That's the funny-but-true question I have to ask myself! What if the "starters" had to play Eddie Smith, LT II, Herm Senor, Lish Johnson and Anthony Fairlee? Wow, would that be fun to watch. All of these guys deserve to be a starter.
Bonus: Kids in Springfield should look up to McKay Smith, who studied computer programming and informatics at Illinois State. Sharp as a tack. He interned at State Farm in college while playing for the Redbirds. A perfect example of a man who used basketball as a tool to improve his overall life. Bravo.
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