If we’re having an honest discussion of who the best basketball player ever to come out of Bay City is, there are only two real options: former Bay City Central and Syracuse standout Eric Devendorf or reigning Mr. Basketball, Michigan State-bound Bay City Western big man Matt Costello.
Still though, to be fair to some other local legends I guess, when the Bay City Times ran a poll in March asking readers to name who they thought was the best of all-time, the Times had 10 names included. Costello easily won the unofficial poll, getting about 40 percent of the vote.
Well, Devendorf would like a recount. He was recently interviewed by SLAM Online and that vote came up:
SLAM: Recently I saw an article from the Bay Area in Michigan, which is where you are from, and they ranked you as the No. 2 player all-time from that area…
ED: They messed that up don’t worry about that [laughs].
SLAM: Yeah I do agree. Your junior year you averaged 30 points per game, right?
ED: Yeah I was averaging 30 and then I went to Oak Hill and I was a McDonald’s All American, and the dude they picked ahead of me wasn’t even a McDonald’s All American. It might be a popularity contest, you know what I mean?
It certainly might be a popularity contest. I do think, based solely on high school careers, the vote should’ve been closer, although I still might lean Costello. Costello not only played his entire high school career in Bay City while Devendorf played his final season at Oak Hill Academy, he also led his Western team to the state semifinals in 2011. Folks in Bay City aren’t accustomed to seeing their Class A basketball teams play deep into the postseason.
As for college careers and beyond, we obviously won’t be able to compare those for a few years. Devendorf had a solid college career, has played professionally overseas and averaged 10.3 points per game on 53 percent shooting this year for the NBA D-League’s Reno Bighorns. Costello should get a shot at earning minutes right away at Michigan State, so it will be interesting to see if he can make this ‘best of Bay City’ thing more than just a high school debate.