By Terry Foster
Chris Webber placed himself on the All-Time Detroit basketball team during a Sports Illustrated broadcast. Good choice. He belongs. Webber averaged 29.4 points and 13 rebounds his senior season and was named Naismith Prep player of the year his senior season in 1991.
He also included former buddy Jalen Rose, guard Steve Smith, George Gervin and Derrick Coleman. I have no problem with his list, because it is difficult to decide on an all-time Detroit basketball team.
Once upon a time Detroit was a basketball hotbed and national power that competed with Flint for state championships and accolades.
One time Sam Washington invited me to St. Cecelia to see a young high school sophomore breaking down and crossing over people at his desire. The kid’s name was Jalen Rose.
Here is one name Webber forgot. Forward Dave DeBusschere who played at Austin Catholic High School. He became an eight-time NBA All-star and made the All-Defensive team six times through his career. DeBusschere scored 14,053 points and made the basketball Hall of Fame.
I once was in charge of an All-Area photo shoot with the Free Press at Calihan Hall. Here is who showed up that day.
** Terry Mills played at the University of Michigan and several seasons in the NBA.
** Derrick Coleman left Detroit Northern for Syracuse and had some of the softest hands and nicest inside moves of any big man. He mostly played with the New Jersey Nets.
** Willie Burton played at St. Martin de Porres and was one of those dangerous slashers.
They all played in the NBA and were part of the heyday of Detroit basketball.
You must include Spencer Haywood on the list. He played at Detroit Pershing and one season at the University of Detroit. He challenged the NBA’s policy of now allowing players in early and is one of the legends of the game on and off the court.
Antoine “The Judge” Joubert played a key role at Michigan and played professionally overseas. In the grand scheme he was not the best player to come out of Detroit. But he was one of the most exciting players in high school.
Two of my favorites were Larry Fogle (Detroit Cooley, 1971) and Terry Deurod (Highland Park, 1975) who start shooting when they crossed half court. There was an epic game when Deurod played against Berkley’s Bruce Flowers in a highly anticipated playoff game that had the entire community buzzing. And every time Deurod shot, which was often, the entire gym would scream “Dooooooooooo.”
Basketball isn’t the same any more. Players have moved from the city to suburban teams in both Detroit and Flint. Others have moved out of the community in general. Some folks are working to bring the buzz back in prep hoops. But it will never be the same and that’s a shame.
Here is my All-Time Detroit area basketball team
Chris Webber, Detroit Country Day, 1991
George Gervin, Detroit Martin Luther King, 1970
Dave DeBusschere, Detroit Austin Catholic, 1958
Spencer Haywood, Detroit Pershing, 1967
Antoine Joubert, Detroit Southwestern, 1983
Coach: Perry Watson, Detroit Southwestern