The celebration of 100 years of state basketball tournaments continues with the announcement of the top players in the history of the boys' state tourney. As with all of the announcements in this series, these lists have been compiled with the assistance of a committee of basketball historians and experts from around Minnesota.
In the coming weeks, similar listings of the top teams, best shots, best games and best finishes in state tournament history will be announced. These announcements and other activities related to 100 years of state tourneys will lead into this year's tournaments; the girls will play at Williams Arena and Target Center March 14-17 and the boys will do the same March 21-24.
TOP FIVE BOYS' BASKETBALL PLAYERS
|Khalid El-Amin – Minneapolis North|
State appearances: 1995, 1996, 1997
State championships: 1995 Sweet Sixteen champion, 1996 Sweet Sixteen champion, 1997 AAAA champion
El-Amin became a starter at Minneapolis North as a 14-year-old freshman and became one of the best players in Minnesota history. In leading Minneapolis North to three straight state championships, El- Amin was named a McDonald's All-American, three-time Minnesota State Player of the Year and the 1997 Minnesota Mr. Basketball award winner. El- Amin went on to receive a scholarship to the University of Connecticut, where in 1999 he helped lead the Huskies to the first NCAA championship in school history. Following his historic run with the Huskies, El- Amin entered the 2000 NBA draft where he was selected in the second round by the Chicago Bulls.
|Jim McIntyre – Minneapolis Patrick Henry|
State appearances: 1944, 1945
State championships: 1944, 1945
McIntyre was a 6-foot-7-plus player who was one of the first stars of the "modern" era of Minnesota basketball; in fact, he has been called the Babe Ruth of high school basketball. When Patrick Henry made its first state tournament appearance in 1944, McIntyre became the tallest player in state tournament history. He was his team’s go-to guy, breaking state tournament scoring records both years. McIntyre received a scholarship to the University of Minnesota where he became one of Minnesota’s first true "big men" at 6 feet, 10 inches tall. McIntyre scored 1,223 points in his career with the Gophers and set a single-season scoring record. While playing for the Gophers, McIntyre became a two-time first-team All-Big Ten Conference selection and two-time All-American.
|Mark Olberding – Melrose|
State appearances: 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974
State championships: 1971, 1974
Known as one of the most dominant big men in state tournament history, Olberding set tournament records with his 112 points in 1974 and 228 career points in helping lead Melrose to four straight tournaments. Following his senior season, Olberding received a scholarship to the University of Minnesota. He left for the ABA draft after his first season with the Gophers. Olberding went on to play 12 seasons in the ABA and NBA.
|Randy Breuer – Lake City|
State appearances: 1978, 1979
State championships: 1978, 1979
Breuer, a 7-footer in high school, scored 68 points as a junior in leading Lake City to the 1978 state title, including 36 in a semifinal victory over Butterfield-Odin. In 1979 he scored 42, 30 and 41 points in three games at state as the Lakers repeated as champs. Breuer was named the Minnesota Mr. Basketball award winner in 1979. Breuer went on to play for the Minnesota Gophers for four years. After his collegiate career, Breuer entered the 1983 NBA draft and was selected in the first round, 18th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks. Breuer played 11 seasons in the NBA.
|Isaiah Dahlman – Braham|
State appearances: 2004, 2005, 2006
State championships: 2004, 2005, 2006
Dahlman led the Braham Bombers to a 95-4 record over a three-year period, including 65 straight wins in one stretch with three consecutive state championships. In 2005 Dahlman averaged 28 points per game as the Bombers went 33-0 and earned a No. 19 spot in USA Today’s Super 25 national high school rankings. Dahlman was the all-time leading scorer in boys’ basketball history with 3,366 points until his record was broken two years later by Ellsworth’s Cody Schilling. Following his senior season, Dahlman was awarded the 2006 Minnesota Mr. Basketball award. He played for four years at Michigan State.
OTHER NOTABLE PLAYERS:
Ron Johnson – New Prague
State appearances: 1955, 1956
State championships: none
The 6-foot-6 Johnson led New Prague to a third-place finish in 1956 and he set a single-game tournament record with 48 points. He played at the University of Minnesota for four years before entering the 1960 NBA draft where he was selected as the 12th overall pick by the Detroit Pistons.
Bob Zender - Edina
State appearances: 1966, 1967, 1968
State championships: 1966, 1967, 1968
During Zender’s three-year varsity run he helped lead the Hornets to 69 consecutive wins and an overall record of 79-1. The record of 69 consecutive wins still stands as the longest winning streak in Minnesota high school basketball history. Zender played college basketball at Kansas State.
Bob Bruggers - Danube
State appearances: 1961, 1962
State championships: none
Bruggers finished his prep career with 2,364 points, which ranked second all-time. After leading Danube to consecutive state tournaments, Bruggers played for the Minnesota Gophers, where after his freshman year he decided to play football for the Gophers instead. In 1966 Bruggers entered the NFL draft and was selected by the Miami Dolphins. Bruggers played linebacker in the NFL for five seasons.
Martin Norton – Minneapolis Central
State appearances: 1921
State championships: 1921
Norton, who was one of the early legends of the game, led Central to a fourth-place finish at a national high school tournament in Chicago in 1920.
Cody Schilling – Ellsworth
State appearances: 2006, 2007, 2008
State championships: 2007, 2008
Schilling helped lead the Panthers to three state finals appearances and won back-to-back championships in 2007 and 2008. Schilling set the all-time scoring record for boys’ basketball with 3,428 points (which has since been broken) and still has the record for most free throws made with 797. Schilling is currently a senior at Augustana College in Sioux Falls.
Dave Tschimperle – Hopkins
State appearances: 1951, 1952, 1953
State championships: 1952, 1953
Tschimperle, a three-time all-state player, helped lead the Royals to 65 consecutive wins and two state titles. He was the leading scorer among all players in the 1951 and 1953 tournaments.
Tommy Nordland – Minneapolis Roosevelt
State appearances: 1956, 1957
State championships: 1956, 1957
Nordland led Roosevelt to two straight championships with his incredible shooting ability. Nordland helped lead Roosevelt to a 28-0 record his senior season and averaged 27 points. He played collegiately at Stanford and now markets "pure shooting" clinics and DVDs at swish22.com.
Barry Wohler – Bird Island-Lake Lillian
State appearances: 1980, 1981
State championships: 1980, 1981
Coached by his father Jerry, Barry played on teams that won back-to-back Class A championships. Barry Wohler also played on state championship football teams in 1979 and 1980. He is now the coach at Orono which won the Class AAA state title last season.
Ronnie Henderson – Minneapolis Marshall-University
State appearances: 1976
State championships: 1976
Henderson set a tournament record with his 14 assists in the tournament's semifinal contest against Windom, a record that stood until 2006. He scored 18 and pulled down seven rebounds with his 5-foot, 6 and-a-half foot frame in the final 64-59 overtime win against Mankato Wilson. Henderson played college ball for Augsburg and later played in leagues in Australia and Mexico after graduation.
Steve Lingenfelter – Bloomington Jefferson
State appearances: 1975, 1976
State championships: 1976
After leading Bloomington Jefferson to the consolation championship in 1975 and the school’s first boys’ basketball championship in 1976, Lingenfelter played for the Minnesota Gophers for two years, transferred to South Dakota State, and played three years in the NBA.
Bill Simonovich – Gilbert
State appearances: 1951
State championships: 1951
Simonovich helped lead Gilbert to 33 consecutive wins in 1951, along with a state championship. He played collegiately at Minnesota.
Jim Fritsche – St. Paul Humboldt
State appearances: 1949
State championships: 1949
The 6-foot-6 Fritsche was the second boy in state tourney history to score at least 20 points in all three games. After playing at Hamline University, he was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers.
Jake Sullivan – Tartan, Oakdale
State appearances: 1998, 1999, 2000
State championships: 2000
Playing varsity basketball since eighth grade, Sullivan was a legendary player around the turn of the century. He played collegiately at Iowa State.
Frank Wachlarowicz – Little Falls
State appearances: 1975
State championships: 1975
The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Wachlarowicz was sometimes called "Frankie Alphabet" because of all the letters in his last name. He outscored NBA Hall of Famer Kevin McHale 19-10 when Little Falls defeated Hibbing in the 1975 tournament opener.
Mark Landsberger – Mounds View
State appearances: 1972, 1973
State championships: 1972
The 6-foot-8 Landsberger led the Mustangs to the 1972 Class AA championship and to the consolation title a year later. He still holds most rebounding records at Mounds View.
Hal Haskins – Alexandria
State appearances: 1943
State championships: none
Haskins set a state tournament scoring record as a senior in 1943 before joining the military. He later led Hamline to the 1949 NAIA national title.
Terry Kunze – Duluth Central
State appearances: 1961
State championships: 1961
Kunze was known as a deadly outside shooter and ball handler who went on to play for the Minnesota Gophers and NBA’s St. Louis Hawks.
Kevin Lynch – Bloomington Jefferson
State appearances: 1985, 1986, 1987
State championships: 1986, 1987
Lynch led the Jaguars to a perfect season and state championship in 1987 before being named Minnesota Mr. Basketball. He played at the University of Minnesota before an NBA career.
Blake Hoffarber – Hopkins
State appearances: 2003, 2005, 2006
State championships: 2005, 2006
Hoffarber is best known for a highlight-reel shot made while he sat on the court during the Class AAAA championship game in 2005, a shot which earned him an ESPY award. He later played for the Gophers.
Lawrence McKenzie – Minneapolis Patrick Henry
State appearances: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
State championships: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
McKenzie led the Patriots to an astounding four consecutive state championships, began his college career at Oklahoma and later transferred to Minnesota.