Saturday, January 2, 2010

The best N.C. boys basketball teams ever

Got emails from a few readers today responding to our picks for the Silver Anniversary Sweet 16 team, the best teams for the 16-year history of the poll.

Several wanted to know who I thought were the best teams ever from Charlotte and the state on the boys side.

That is a very, very tough question, especially when you consider some of the powerhouse private school teams we've had over the years. My list is going to be public schools only because these teams, primarily, were made of kids from one geographic area and not a grouping of regional and sometimes national talent.

1. West Charlotte, 1999: All-American Jason Parker is one of the best players ever from this state, winning back to back Associated Press player of the year awards. This team was seriously deep, with Division I college talent coming deep off the bench and two future college stars -- Justin Gray (Wake Forest) and Curtis Withers (Charlotte 49ers -- had to stay on jayvee. Withers was voted one of the Observer's top players of the Sweet 16 era this week.

2. South Mecklenburg, 1972: Sabres coach Dave Price was born on Christmas Day 1929 and grew up wanting to be a football coach. His Sabres teams dominated the '70s, winning titles in 1970, 71, 72 and 76. In 1969, the Sabres won Price his first conference championship and the team lost in the playoffs to Greensboro Smith and future NBA and North Carolina star Bob McAdoo. In 1970, Bobby Jones developed into the state's best player and the Sabres (26-2) beat Wilmington Hoggard 59-58 for the state title. But in 1971 and '72, the Sabres lost one game, in 1971 to Hickory. The '72 team went unbeaten (26-0) and that's the best of the three.

3. Winston-Salem Reynolds, 2001: The school has won five state titles including three in a row from 2000-2002. I think the 2001 team was the best of the bunch. The team finished 28-3, led by Charlotte 49ers recruit Mitchell Baldwin. In 2001, Baldwin was runner-up to Raleigh Broughton's Shavlik Randolph for N.C. Associated Press player of the year. Reynolds beat Raleigh Leesville Road 94-73 in the state final.

4. Greensboro Page, 1983: Led by All-American Danny Manning, the team rolled to a 73-55 win over Goldsboro in the state final. Manning moved with his family to Kansas before his senior year of high school and eventually played at Kansas, where his father, Ed, later became an assistant for the Jayhawks. Ed Manning played for four NBA and two ABA teams. In 1983, Danny Manning averaged 18.9 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for a 26-0 team that also featured NFL star Haywood Jeffries.

5. North Mecklenburg (31-1), 4A, 2005: Led by junior All-American Jamie Skeen, a top 15 player from the past 25 years, the Vikings held 17 opponents to 50 points or less and finished with a 20-game win streak and a No. 15 national ranking. After starting out No. 1 in the Sweet 16 in 2004 and 2005, the Vikings - who won by an average of 23 points - finally brought home the school's first Sweet 16 and state championship.

6. Wilmington New Hanover, 1962: The last of three straight state championship teams beat Rocky Mount 42-40 in the 1962 state finals. The previous two teams, coached by the legendary Leon Brogden, won by 12 (66-54 over Myers Park in 1961) and 34. New Hanover absolutely dominated the state in the '60s. The team lost to Ashley in the 1967 state finals and beat West CHarlotte 61-58 in the '68 championship round.

7. West Charlotte, 1966: The team, which wasn't yet in the N.C. High School Athletic Association, finished 19-1 and won a state title for legendary coach Charles McCullough. Center C.J. Montgomery, a 6-6 center, led a talented Lions team, along with Daryl Cherry, who some believe was the best high school football, basketball and baseball player in Charlotte -- all in that same year.

8. Greensboro Dudley, 1996: Led by N.C. Associated Press state player of the year Vincent Whitt, who averaged 21 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, the Panthers (29-2) beat Richmond Senior 76-68 in overtime. Dudley rallied from 9 points down in the fourth quarter. Whitt, who played at Clemson, was joined on the team by future North Carolina center Brendan Haywood and sophomore Braxton Williams, who scored 24 in the championship final and was named most outstanding player of the final. Haywood led the state in 1996 with 186 blocks.


-- Langston Wertz Jr.

LINK: The top Sweet 16 era boys basketball teams

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

No Dudley teams? How about Greensboro Day in the 90's when they had Justin Gainey.

Observer Sports said...

Dudley 2006 was probably the best of the school's recent teams, but I couldn't list them as best ever. Will Graves the star of the 06 team was our Mr. Basketball that year. The team beat Concord 79-75 in the state 3A final. Graves had 28 in the win and he averaged 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead his school to a second straight title.

The '64-65 Kinston 3A teams were pretty good too, winning back to back state titles.

As for Greensboro Day, I didn't want to get into private schools because of the players playing a fifth year and kids coming from multiple regions and states.

Some of the Greensboro Day/Christ School/Latin teams were pretty good, though. The old Durham Mount Zion teams were incredible, but I don't think it's fair to compare those teams with the NCHSAA bunch.

- Langston

E. Young said...

What happened to the 1986 West Charlotte Lions 29-0?

Anonymous said...

E. Young, the '86 team is in the all-time Sweet 16 rankings http://www.charlotteobserver.com/preps/story/1155854.html

and LW, I think you are pretty spot on with the all time state rankings. I dunno about Dub-C 66, but alot of the old black teams like them and AKins and Dudley would mop the public schools that won back then.

Anonymous said...

Recognition for 1964-65 Hickory High 3A WNCHSAA Champions, 22-0 record,averaged 23 points per game differential.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say this Langston, but I kind of agree with your Sweet 16 and your all time NC list. I was going to say Hickory's team too, but I played back then and those teams cannot compete with some of the teams we see now. better, stronger faster and EVERYBODY plays now, which wasn't the case back then.

Anonymous said...

South Meck three straight 4A state titles 1970 1971 1972 and 1976 . 1970 BJ top alltime and at UNC and NBA with Rockets and Sixers 12 yrs.

Anonymous said...

Its a good list but I'd have Page higher.

That team also featured Johnny Newman of Richmond and the NBA too didn't it?

Anonymous said...

South Meck definitely had an independence-like stretch of teams in the 70's. Then again went to state championship against New Bern and lost at the buzzer in 1993, I believe. Why not include Charlotte Christian from 1992 with Todd Fuller and Anton Hubert? They were state champions and beat all of their public school opponents that year. They only lost a small handful of games, mostly to Oak Hill which was stacked with D1 players.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte Latin 2003 with Anthony Morrow finishing 31-1 only loosing to Mount Zion by 4pts in the Dell Curry Shootout

Anonymous said...

What about the teams from Washington, NC back in the late 70s? They had Dominique Wilkins, and I know they won back to back state championships.

Anonymous said...

I saw the '83 Page team play Indy for the western NC championship. Amazing talent on those 2 teams. Along with Manning and Jeffries, Page also had an outstanding guard Michael Foster who went on to play for USC. Indy had Mark Maye (UNC QB), Vince Strom (NCSU football), and Tony White, who went on to TN to play basketball and eventually become SEC player of the year.

Anonymous said...

I saw both the 1972 South team and the 1999 West Charlotte team numerous times. 1972 South was better. Langston's West Charlotte bias shines through yet again.

Anonymous said...

The '72 South Meck team may have been the #1 team all-time with a young Bobby Jones, Walter Davis (MVP of NC State Championship game), Lew Massey (UNCC Final Four team in '77), and a G named John ??????? who was outstanding.

Brian said...

How about the 2007 New Hanover team, which featured Ty Walker (Wake), James Beatty (Rutgers) and David Pellom (George Washington), as well as George Bryan who plays football at NC State and Nick Becton who plays football at Virginia Tech? They reached the 4A Final Four in 2005 and 2006 also.

Anonymous said...

"along with Daryl Cherry, who some believe was the best high school football, basketball and baseball player in Charlotte -- all in that same year."

Who are the "some" that told you this? David Lemonds was a senior at Garinger in 1966. He went on to be named NCAA Player of the Year in 1968 at UNC. He then pitched in the big leagues for the White Sox and Cubs. Daryl Cherry was an outstanding basketball player at West Charlotte. But he WASN'T the best baseball player in town in 1966.

Anonymous said...

Mark Maye was all state also in 3 sports. Heck, he was all american in 2.

Anonymous said...

Langston, I'm 72 years old and followed prep sports around here for a long time. This is a good list. I think '72 South Meck is th right South team and I think that team and '99 West Charlotte were great. I saw that Page team and they're right with them. I think Parker, as a former prep basketball coach, was the best player this town ever produced and one of the best ever in the state. Too bad things didn't work out for him. I might put one of those West Rowan teams on your all time state list. They were special, too. Competition is a question mark, though.

Anonymous said...

1990 Page High School team. Undefeated 4-A state champions and a Top 10 final ranking in USA Today.

We can talk individual talent all we want -- where they played in the NCAA and NBA -- but if we're talking about high school basketball teams (and limiting it to public schools) it seems that the two most important hurdles to overcome for consideration would be an undefeated season, and thus, a state championship. Doing it at the 4A level adds points still.

Case rested. 1990 Page.

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coach said...

Watch for Mount Zion to once again be one of the yop programs in the country. They are recruiting for there post grad program, under the direction of new Head Coach Anthony Barnett.
mtzionbasketball@yahoo.com

coach said...

MT ZION CHRISTIAN ACADEMY POST GRAD BASKETBALL PROGRAM.
August 28 2010 - March 26 2011
www.mzcadurham.org

george said...

This site says prep basketball insider.... Yeah right! In 1999 there was a team across town from west charlotte high school that was better. Much better but was in a smaller conference and didnt get the recognition. That school was victory christian center. That year there were 4 transfers from newark nj and had over 6 potential d1 caliber players including the no. 2 point guard in the state walter harris ( clifford crawford was 1 ) and went 38-12 in a nation schedule that included oak hill twice, mount zion, montrose christian, just to name a few. We went from unranked to be rank no.3 in the sweet 16 by bob smith before playing a game. We won the spaa confrence, state championship, n 4 other tournaments that year. So do your homework.

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Anonymous said...

The best NC Basketball Team ever assembled was the 1960-61 Dudley High School Panther team. The team coached by William Furcron was led by Louis Hudson (Sweet Lou), Adrianne Saunders and Robert Myers (Nene). Two Southmores, Everett James and Reginald Hodges made up the starting lineup. Will Perdue was the sixth-man and occasionally started. The team won 28 consecutive games and the NC State 3A championship during a time when NC schools were still segregated.

Anonymous said...

The best NC Basketball Team ever assembled was the 1960-61 Dudley High School panther team. The team coached by William Furcron was led by Louis Hudson (Sweet Lou), Adrianne Saunders and Robert Myers (Nene). Two Southmores, Everett James and Reginald Hodges made up the starting lineups. Will Perdue was the sixth -man and occasionally started.The team won 28 consecutive games and the NC State 3A championship during a time when the schools were integrated.

duffy westmoreland said...

what about 1966 morehead 26-0 team

Anonymous said...

Washington High School in the late 70s with the human highlight reel. do ya research.

BlueAggie81 said...


I think that one team that should
be considered is the 1969 Atkins
Camels of Winston-Salem. What a
team: Steve Joyner, Teddy East,
and Willie Griffin (played at
Wake Forest). Griffin came off of
the bench.
The coach was Robert Moore. That
team defeated R.J. Reynolds of
Winston-Salem. The Reynolds team
had a legit 7-footer in Danny
Traylor who played at Univ. of
South Carolina.

Anonymous said...

Great article and I like to read the comments from some of those who have been following NC high school bball for a long time. I was in high school in greensboro at the time and I will say that 1990 team was the best definition of a 'team' i may have ever seen in the game of basketball. They surgically dismantled every team they played. Mac Morris would probably show up in a greatest coach list for NC bball.

Did you get to see that team Langston?

Anthony Pace said...

I can't believe I'm going to agree with an Aggie, but he's right. 69 Atkins could beat them all. I was in HS and 72 South Meck was very good. They had to beat a very good Burlington Williams in the championship. Williams had to beat a very good Greensboro Grimsley team in their own gym to get to the playoffs. I worked at Page and know the 83 team was strong. Glad someone mentioned Michael Foster.

Anonymous said...

I believe the 1992 Charlotte Christian State Champs have to be listed as one of the best prep teams in NC High School History. They were magical to watch. Todd Fuller, Anton Hubert, Nate Shiflett, et al. Great athletes all.