Prep basketball: Marquette’s Mark Pap eyeing return to hardwood for U.P. All-Star Classic

MARQUETTE – Mark Pap has been regularly lifting weights at the PEIF on the campus of Northern Michigan University.

But the Marquette Senior High School basketball star hasn’t been working on his shooting lately in preparation for the Upper Peninsula All-Star Classic in St. Ignace on Saturday.

“I guess I’ll have to take a few shots (beforehand),” Pap said. “I don’t want to be embarrassed.”

Off his 2012-13 season, that isn’t likely.

Pap, a 6-foot-6 senior forward named the Great Northern Conference’s Player of the Year and a U.P. “Dream Team” member, averaged 13.3 points for the Redmen.

He also hauled in 9.5 rebounds a game while shooting 61 percent of his two-point shots and 65 percent from the free throw line.

Pap, 17, said he’s “really excited” about playing in the Classic, with the girls playing at noon and the boys at 2 p.m. at LaSalle High School.

“A lot of the guys who are playing I’ve played with and against before,” he said. “It’ll be fun to spend some time with those guys. It’ll be a good experience.”

He said he didn’t know the Classic – now in its 28th year – existed until just before the beginning of last season.

“I thought, ‘sweet, it would be nice to participate in the game,'” Pap said.

Other Superiorland players expected to take part in the Classic Saturday are:

Boys – AJ Grazulis, Marquette; Tanner Uren, Negaunee; Gage Webster, Munising; Derek Reetz, Gwinn; Matt Verbrigghe, Superior Central. Coach: Mike O’Donnell, Negaunee.

Girls – Samantha Beaulieu, Newberry; Kyra Lauzon, Manistique. Coach: Ben Smith.

Headed for the University of Michigan and its School of Business, Pap said he just wants to have fun at the Classic.

“It’ll be competitive. There will be some great players there,” Pap said, “like Wade Schetter (of Carney-Nadeau), Brett Branstrom (of Mid Peninsula) and Tanner Uren (of Negaunee). But I’m sure it will be fun.”

He added there will be “so many players there capable of scoring,” he won’t have to carry any load offensively like he did at times at MSHS.

“It’s almost a weight off your shoulders,” Pap said. “There will be some great shooters and passers there.”

He added he likes to work within a team concept, anyway.

“I try to work well with all my teammates and keep them focused,” Pap said. “I love the team aspect of the sport.”

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.