Posted On: 10/23/18 10:50 AM
Michigan has been saturated with talent and there is certainly no shortage of Big Men. We all remember Chris Kaman, Draymond Green, Al Horford and Robert “Tractor Traylor, to name a few. But there are many great names that may have been forgotten in the land of the trees. Here we take a look at some memorable players who stirred up memories of dominating the paint over the past few decades.
CHRIS CRAWFORD – 6-9 Comstock Class of 1992
Named to the Class B All-State second team in 1992, Crawford made the first team as a senior in 1993. He also finished fourth in the Mr. Basketball voting that year. Crawford finished as the Colts’ all-time leader in points scored in a season (646) and in a career (1,510). Crawford attended Marquette University before being selected by the Atlanta Hawks with the 22nd pick in the second round of the 1997 NBA draft. In his career, Crawford played in 252 games and scored a total of 1,654 points.
WINFRED WALTON – 6-8 Detroit Pershing Class of 1996
Edging Mateen Cleaves by just 13 points to win Mr. Basketball, Walton was a McDonald’s All-American and averaged 28 points, 16 rebounds and 6 blocks as a senior. Walton was one of the premier centers in the state during the mid 1990s. He led Pershing to state titles his junior and senior seasons. After high school, Walton attended Syracuse and played one year at Fresno State before leaving for professional basketball.
MIKE PEPLOWSKI – 6-10 Warren De La Salle Class of 1988
Peplowski finished second in the Mr. Basketball voting in 1988 and led his Pilots to a memorable run to the Class A state semifinals. At Michigan State University, Peplowski led the Spartans in rebounding three seasons and finished sixth on the career rebounding chart with 906. Hei also totaled 1,185 career points. After college, Peplowski played three years in the NBA.
SHAYNE WHITTINGTON– 6-11 Lawrence Class of 2009
Shayne Whittington was raw during his high school years, but he still dominated. As a senior, he averaged 17.2 points, 12.1 rebounds, four blocks, three steals and two assists per game. Lawrence set the school record for wins at 24-2 and Whittington was named the Kalamazoo Gazette C-D Player of the Year. Whittington continued his career at Western Michigan University, where he blossomed into one of the best players in the Mid-American Conference and a potential NBA prospect. After a senior year during which he averaged 16.1 points and 8.9 rebounds, Whittington signed with Indiana Pacers. He’s bounced around from the NBA and NBA D-League since.
ALOYSIUS ANAGONYE – 6-8 Detroit St. Martin dePorres Class of 1999
He finished third in Mr. Basketball as a senior, averaging 16 points, 11 rebounds and 4.1 blocks per game. He led dePorres to two state title as a junior and senior. As a junior, he averaged 15.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 5.0 blocks. He went on to play at Michigan State and has since been in an international career that started in 2003 and continues to this day.
A four-year starter in high school, “Big Red” brought plenty of attention to the small school of North Muskegon as one of the state’s top recruits. He scored in double figures every season and averaged 18 points, 10 rebounds and 5.5 blocks and led the Norsemen to a 24-2 record and a berth in the Class C state quarterfinals as a senior in 2003. His biggest fame came as a shot blocker and he remains the all-time leader in state history with 527 career blocks. Naymick signed with Michigan State and had a four-year career with the Spartans. He remains No. 2 all-time in career blocks at MSU. Since college, Naymick had played professionally overseas, most recently in Germany and Japan.
Finishing sixth in Mr. Basketball votitng, he earned all-state honors and led the Lumberjacks to a district title before losing to Flint Northwestern in the regionals. He averaged 28.7 points for College of the Sequoias, then played a year with Las Vegas in the International Basketball League before entering the NBA Draft. The 6-foot-8 guard was taken by Toronto in the 2000 NBA Draft. He played in the NBDL, the CBA and internationally.
ROY TARPLEY – 6-11 Detroit Cooley Class of 1982
His name should have been right up there with the greatest. Unfortunately, off court issues derailed Tarpley’s career. Tarpley was one of the finest all-around centers to ever come out of the state, An all-PSL player his senior year, Tarpley went on to the University of Michigan, where he was a two-time All-American and was the Big Ten Player of the Year in 1985. Tarpley was selected seventh overall by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1986 NBA Draft. He played five years in the NBA and averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds per game. He spent the bulk of his career playing in Europe and in various minor leagues.