Coaches group in midst of 10-year ‘Retro’ project

MARQUETTE – The Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan is in the midst of a decade-long project to honor the best boys basketball players in the state from 1920 to 1980.

The Mr. Basketball award has been given out since 1981, when future Michigan State University star Sam Vincent of Lansing Eastern was named the winner.

Troy Mattson of Westwood High School, currently women’s basketball coach at Northern Michigan University, was one of the other 10 statewide finalists that year and has been followed by just one other U.P. player since – Todd Lindeman of North Dickinson in 1991.

“Retro” Mr. Basketball is being researched for earlier seasons, with a winner and a number of finalists, usually around a half dozen, named for each year.

Since this year, 2013, ends in “3,” the years 1923, 1933, 1943, 1953, 1963 and 1973 were announced in April. The project began in 2010, when the “zero” year winners from 1920-80 were named, and ends in 2019, when exactly 100 combined Mr. Basketball and Retro Mr. Basketball winners will have been listed.

“The goal of the ‘Retro’ Mr. Basketball project is to shine the spotlight on the state’s top prep players from 1920 to 1980,” said Michigan High School Athletic Association historian Ron Pesch in the news release announcing this year’s honorees. “Michigan’s past is stacked with great athletes. The ‘Retro’ award is designed to celebrate the rich history of high school basketball in the state by recalling the exploits of many of the state’s greatest players, and honor those who would have been candidates for such an award had it existed at the time.”

Names were chosen from lists of all-state, all-tournament and all-area teams, according to the BCAM. The Retro committee focuses on players’ athletic achievements during his high school playing days, spotlighting his senior year. The group met between sessions of the annual MHSAA boys basketball finals.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246. His email address is