Regularly, BallinMichigan.com will look back at the yearly Mr. Basketball award with the benefit of hindsight. These posts will look back at the top five finishers at the time, provide updates on what they’ve done since and, for the fun of it, let readers re-vote to see if the results would be different if we include their full college and professional bodies of work. Thanks to Ron Pesch, MHSAA historian, for the great Mr. Basketball voting database he provides online.
The top five finishers:
- Marcus Taylor, Lansing Waverly
- Eugene Seals, Saginaw
- Maurice Searight, Orchard Lake St. Mary
- Ricky Paulding, Detroit Renaissance
- Chris Kaman, Tri-Unity Christian
The voting in 2000 was a runaway for Taylor. If we were to re-vote today based on careers since, it would probably be a runaway for Kaman, but that’s for you readers to decide below. Here are updates on each of the top five from 2000 since their high school careers ended.
I’m not exaggerating when I write that Taylor could’ve been one of the greatest basketball players Lansing ever produced. In fact, he was arguably the greatest non-Magic Johnson high school player out of Lansing. Taylor made the USA Today, McDonald’s, Parade and Naismith All-America teams.
He followed up with two seasons at Michigan State. As a sophomore, he became only the second player in Big Ten history to lead the conference in scoring and assists in the same season. He also was part of the United States’ gold medal winning U21 FIBA World Championship team in 2001.
Taylor declared for the NBA Draft after his sophomore season and was picked by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was part of one of the most talented second rounds in recent draft history — the 2001 draft’s second round produced an All-Star (Carlos Boozer) and several other players who’ve had long NBA careers (Luis Scola, Matt Barnes, Rasual Butler, Darius Songaila, Flip Murray, Roger Mason and Dan Gadzuric). Taylor, though, didn’t last long in the NBA and instead embarked on a professional career that took him to France, Greece, Germany, the NBA D-League and the CBA. Currently, he runs a basketball skills academy in Lansing.
A versatile, athletic forward, Seals averaged 24 points and 13 rebounds per game as a senior at Saginaw and turned that into a scholarship to play for the University of Miami (Ohio). He was the team’s Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore and a co-captain as a junior and senior.
Seals played professionally after college, including stops in the Dominican Republic, Amsterdam and Mexico.
Searight averaged 16 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals per game as a senior at Orchard Lake St. Mary and led the team to a Class B state championship.
Searight was originally recruited to Michigan by Brian Ellerbe. He played in 19 games as a freshman, averaging 2.6 points and 1.9 assists per game, but was later cut from the team by new coach Tommy Amaker for a team rules violation. Searight ended up at Grambling, where he played two seasons and averaged six points, five rebounds and five assists per game over that span.
After starring at Renaissance, Paulding played four years at the University of Missouri, including a memorable 36-point performance in a loss to Dwyane Wade’s Marquette team in the second round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament. Paulding was drafted in the second round by the Detroit Pistons, but didn’t play a NBA game in his career.
Instead, he’s had a highly successful career overseas. He’s averaging 11 points per game for EWE Baskets in Germany this season and has played with the club since 2007. He was featured by EuroLeague.net in 2009:
It’s no wonder that his was the biggest smile of Week 1 of the Euroleague regular season. Rickey Paulding had spent six years as a pro in Europe, on four teams in three countries, before both he and EWE Baskets Oldenburg, the current German champions, debuted in the Euroleague last week. Both made the most of the new opportunity, even without the presence of the team’s MVP last season, point guard Jason Gardner, who is out with injury. In his absence, Paulding stepped up with 23 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks to lead Oldenburg to an 81-87 road win at Asecco Prokom Gdynia in Group D.
Kaman is undoubtedly the player among the 2000 finalists who has had the most successful post-high school basketball career. Kaman led Central Michigan to a rare NCAA Tournament appearance and was a lottery pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in the historically good 2003 NBA Draft that featured LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh.
Kaman is a former NBA All-Star and averages 11.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game for his career. Plus, he’s a huge fan of fireworks.
As obvious a choice as Taylor was as Mr. Basketball in 2000, that’s how obvious Kaman is as the choice when it comes to who has been the most successful since. Paulding, Taylor and Seals all had lengthy professional careers and had good accomplishments since their high school days. But Kaman, who will be a free agent in the offseason, is about to get his third NBA contract and, based on the NBA’s constant need for talented big men, it will likely be another lucrative one. Here’s my remixed top five from 2000 based on what they’ve done since: 1. Kaman, 2. Paulding, 3. Taylor, 4. Seals, 5. Searight. You can vote for your top choice in the poll below.