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.
- Glen Rice, Flint Northwestern
- Roy Marble, Beecher
- Mark Brown, Hastings
- Terence Greene, Flint Central
- B.J. Armstrong, Birmingham Brother Rice
How good was the senior class in Michigan in 1985? Well, two future NBA players, Negele Knight of Detroit DePorres and Loy Vaught of East Kentwood, couldn’t even crack the top five in Mr. Basketball voting. It was also obviously a good year for Flint basketball, as three of the top five vote-getters were Flint area players.
Despite the overall depth of talent in the 1985 senior class, Rice would still win convincingly in our Remix award. He had a fantastic NBA career, spending his prime years with Miami and Charlotte, and winning a championship late in his career with the Kobe/Shaq Lakers. Rice made the All-Star team three teams with the Hornets and he’s one of the best 3-point shooters in NBA history. All of that came after he had an outstanding college career at the University of Michigan and led the Wolverines to a national title. He also … *ahem* … has another claim to fame from his college days.
Simply put, if we were picking a ‘most accomplished player’ to come out of Michigan high school basketball for each decade based on their entire career body of work, Rice would be the runaway winner for the 1980s. He’s one of this state’s all-time greats.
Perhaps the best basketball player Beecher has ever produced (although current Beecher player Monte Morris will have something to say about that once his high school career is over), Marble was a scoring machine who helped instill Beecher’s famed ‘District of Champions’ mantra.
He went on to a standout career at the University of Iowa (he’s the Hawkeyes’ all-time leading scorer) and was a first round pick by the Atlanta Hawks, although he only lasted parts of two seasons in the league. He played professionally overseas, started a business in Iowa and has done analyst work for the Big Ten Network since his playing career ended. His son, Roy Devyn Marble, currently plays for Iowa. A book featuring Marble discussing Iowa basketball was released earlier this year.
Brown was a legit small school superstar and one of the most pure scorers in the history of Michigan high school basketball. Check out this Grand Rapids Press story that details some of his accomplishments:
And all of his scoring came before the three-point shot, which was implemented when he was in college.
“People want to apply that retroactively to my career and try to figure out how much I would have scored with the 3-point shot,” Brown said. “I hear maybe seven or eight more points per game.
“But I don’t think of it that way. I would drive more and get to the free-throw line more (than with the 3-point shot). I think that shot changed how you scored points, not how many you scored. Anyway, when I tell my third-grade son we had no 3-point shot, he can’t comprehend it.”
Brown played collegiately at Michigan State for a season, then transferred to Western Michigan. He now runs an AAU program which, according to the Grand Rapids Press, boasts children of some pretty successful players:
In that program, he has coached the children of, among others, Shaquille O’Neal, Sedale Threat, Mike Bibby and Tim Kempton.
Greene was part of a 1980s Flint Central powerhouse program and averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds per game as a senior. He played collegiately at DePaul University, where he had a solid four-year career and played with future NBA star Rod Strickland.
Greene is a former assistant coach with Eastern Michigan and the University of Michigan.
Most seasons, Armstrong’s post-high school accomplishments would shoot him to the top of these revised Mr. Basketball lists, but he’s still a distant second to Rice. Armstrong was an excellent role player on three championship teams with the Chicago Bulls. Then, during Michael Jordan’s first retirement, Armstrong stepped into a more prominent role and became a one-time NBA All-Star.
He bounced around a bit after Chicago, playing for Golden State, Charlotte and Orlando, but, if we were giving revised Mr. Basketball awards for post-playing career profession, Armstrong might win that in a landslide. From the New York Times:
Derrick Rose, the baby-faced Chicago Bulls point guard, is similar to nearly every other N.B.A. player in that he talks with his agent, B. J. Armstrong, about everything from the meaningful to the mundane. Their relationship diverges only because they discuss not only signatures on endorsement deals but also signature plays. Once, Armstrong was also a baby-faced point guard for the Bulls.
Armstrong was also recently appointed to the Park District Board of Commissioners by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
- 2003 Michigan Mr. Basketball Remix
- 2000 Michigan Mr. Basketball Remix
- 1983 Michigan Mr. Basketball Remix
- 1994 Michigan Mr. Basketball Remix