Best of the best

To the Journal editor:

I have followed Upper Peninsula high school basketball for over 60 years. I thought now was a good time for me to name the elite players whom I have observed over the years.

A big difference exists between an elite player and one who is good. Here is my top 12 list of the elite U.P. basketball players starting with the best of the best:

1. Pat Miller-Menominee

2. Don Mattson-Chassell

3. Mel Peterson-Stephenson

4. Gary Fors-Ewen-Trout Creek

5. Terry Thompson-Ishpeming

6. Pete Kutches-Escanaba S. Joseph

7. Bob Gale-Trout Creek

8. Bill Koski-Champion

9. Eddie Lester-St Ignace

10. Con Yagodzinski-Escanaba Holy Name

11. Tom Villemure-Newberry

12. Al Inkala-Wakefield

Two of the best players to come out of Marquette County were Bill Koski and Terry Thompson. These players were all capable of taking over a game; you don’t see this in today’s players. In addition to the list of elite players, I have compiled a list of the top eight coaches over the years. They are:

1. CC Watson-Ishpeming

2. Bruce Warren-Trout Creek

3. Ed Helakoski-Chassell

4. Jim Daniels-Wakefield

5. Gus Lord-Stephenson

6. Karl Parker-Newberry & Brimley

7. Dave Hallgren-Negaunee

8. Gordy Leduc-Marquette Bishop Baraga (Leduc succeeded wherever he coached).

The caliber of U.P. high school basketball played today is poor to mediocre at best. I haven’t seen an elite player or team in a long time. U.P. coaching leaves much to be desired also.

The one bright spot in U.P. high school basketball is in girls’ basketball. In St. Ignace Doreen Ingalls has put together a solid program.

Sorry guys, but the best basketball player, I watched last year was Lexi Gussert from Forest Park.