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BOYS BASKETBALL: Rochester's Young finishes third in Mr. Basketball voting

As expected, Rochester senior boys basketball player James Young sure said all the right things when he found out the news.

But you can bet there was a lot of disappointment and maybe even some anger inside.

Young, one of the top high school players in the country who has signed with Kentucky and is the only player from the state who will compete in the McDonald’s All-American game, finished third in the voting for the Mr. Basketball award that was handed out on Monday.

Flint Beecher point guard and Iowa State signee Monte Morris won the award, while Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy point guard and Michigan signee Derrick Walton, Jr. was second in what as close of a voting process as there has been in the 33-year history of the award.

Morris finished with 2,130 points in the voting process, narrowly ahead of the 2,086 Walton received and the 2,030 garnered by Young.

"Not really," Young said on whether he was disappointed. "Monte is more like my family. I grew up playing with him and I'm glad he won it. I'm just worrying about our team."

For those wondering how the most highly-regarded recruit in Michigan finished third in the Mr. Basketball voting, it should be noted that it’s not that unusual.

In 2004, Drew Neitzel (Michigan State) won the award over what were the consensus two best players in the state that year, Joe Crawford (Kentucky) and Malik Hairston (Oregon) of Detroit Renaissance.

Two years later, David Kool (Western Michigan) of Grand Rapids South Christian was named Mr. Basketball even though Flint Powers 7-foot center Tom Herzog (Michigan State) and Detroit Pershing power forward DeShawn Sims (Michigan) were more acclaimed recruits.

In 2008, Frankenmuth’s Brad Redford (Xavier) won the award, finishing ahead of second-place Draymond Green, last year’s Big 10 Player of the Year at Michigan State and current member of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

More often than not the most decorated player has won the award, but when it doesn’t happen, there can be several theories why.

The most evident one is the voting process, where coaches on different sides of the state can often vote for the player they see most often.

Case in point was in 2004, when a majority of voters on the west side of the state and up north voted for Neitzel, while Crawford and Hairston split the votes of those on the east side who saw them regularly, thus giving a big edge to Neitzel (who arguably had the best college career of the three anyway).

It was more of the same when Kool won it in 2006 when he won based on having a huge majority of the votes from the west side of the state.

Another theory is that the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan likes to reward players who stay in-state to play college basketball.

Morris became just the third player since 1998 (not counting Dwaun Anderson of Sutton’s Bay, the 2011 winner who originally signed with Michigan State before asking for a release from his scholarship the following summer) who signed with an out-of-state school to win the award.

A more outlandish and political theory is that coaches have biases against certain players because they don’t like their conduct off the court, feel they aren’t team players, etc.

There might be a small bit of truth to that theory during the voting process, but more often than not it doesn’t affect who wins and is sour grapes.

None of this makes it right that Young finished third in the voting when he is the only player to be chosen for the McDonald’s All-American game, is the consensus top recruit in the state, and has put up great numbers this year, but that’s how the system works sometimes.

Regardless of the reasons why, it’s forever in the books that Young finished third in the 2013 Mr. Basketball voting, but he does have bigger and better things to focus on now.

Rochester is one win away from advancing to the state’s final four in East Lansing, and a win over Detroit Southeastern on Tuesday in a 7 p.m. quarterfinal at Calihan Hall would put the Falcons in the semifinals for the first time in a long time, if not ever.

If that wasn’t enough reason to get fired up, Young will have more flames coming from inside given the results of the Mr. Basketball vote.

"It's my first time going to something like this," Young said. 'I'm excited and our team is excited and we're just going to try and go out and get a 'W.'"

I’m starting to feel pretty sorry for Southeastern right about now.



Keith Dunlap is the high school sports coordinator at The Oakland Press. E-mail him at keith.dunlap@oakpress.com ; Twitter: @kd2578

Last Updated: 3/19/2013 3:36:57 AM EST

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