About a month ago, I had an email in the inbox asking me who I would put on my “SVC Dream Team” in terms of the history of the conference for boys’ basketball. First, I would have to admit that I am only capable of going back to about 1990 in terms of picking, so I need some of our older SVC fans to finish the list by telling me who to take off the list and who to add to my team. Secondly, when you try to narrow down such an elite list over such a long period of time, it is important to set some guidelines. For example, should a player have to be in the SVC for more than one year (maybe you even think the player should have to play four years in our league)? There are also examples of players who were solid high school players who went on to become really good college players by the age of 20 or 21.
I think the player should be a four-year SVC player when it comes to an elite list such as this. I realize this eliminates some great players such as Anthony Hitchens, Eric Caudill, Doug Williams, and Kyle Vulgamore. From this list, Caudill would be an obvious selection if you are okay with him just playing in the SVC his senior season.
With my team, I start back on the 1990 Southeastern team and I take a pair of teammates in Aaron Skeens and Mike Adams. Obviously playing together limited their chance to post bigger career totals, but they still both scored over 1,100 career points. Another early 90s selection would be Unioto’s Matt Combs. Combs is still the conference’s all-time leading scorer with 1,726 points.
Another Unioto pick that is obvious is Jason Cruse. Cruse was a two-time SVC Player of the Year. Cruse finished his career with over 1,100 points and over 800 rebounds. Staying in the mid-90s, I think Zane Trace’s Chris Beard is another no-brainer. Beard was a big, versatile guard who led his Zane Trace team to a league title in 1996 while capturing the league’s POY.
In the post, Southeastern’s Chris Skaggs would be a member of my team for sure. Skaggs, a 2002 graduate, was a two-time POY who scored 1,499 career points. Skaggs was probably the single hardest player to game-plan for in the last 20 years. His size, his ability to score, and his ability later in his career to run the floor simply made him impossible to stop. Joining Skaggs in the post on my “Dream Team” would be another dominate post player in Tyler Schleich. Schleich was the 2000 conference POY as he led the Mustangs to the league crown that season. Schleich ended his outstanding career with 1,360 points.
Next, I go back to the perimeter and I go back to the early 90s with Paint Valley’s Craig Kerns. Kerns scored 1,047 career points and led the Bearcats to the 1993 SVC title – the school’s only league title in over four decades and only the school’s second SVC title in history. Staying on the perimeter, I start to look at the best point guards in the last 20 years, and in doing so, I did not have to go back too far. I believe Piketon’s Evan Legg and Huntington’s Josh Kellough would make my list. In four years, Legg led Piketon to two SVC titles and a trip to the Final Four. Legg scored 1,469 career points while rewriting several other pages of the Piketon record book as well. For Kellough, the Huntington star was a two-time POY while winning a pair of SVC titles as well. Kellough finished as Huntington’s all-time leading scorer with 1,319 career points.
At this point – like on any list, you can start to make a case for several players. I will complete my 12-man roster with two of the most underrated players in the SVC over the past 20 years. First, I will go with a former teammate (so perhaps I am bias) with Mike Fout. Fout is the 11th best scorer in the 50-year history of the SVC. Fout scored 1,375 points. Another great player that does not get enough credit in my opinion would be Southeastern’s Tyler Barbee. Barbee finished his career with 1,322 career points. Keep in mind both Fout and Barbee played most of their career with other 1,000 point scorers.
I know any list that tries to cover 20-plus years (can’t imagine what happens on this list when we stretch it to 50 years) is going to leave some great players off the list. I looked hard at a few Adena players such as Clay Roll as well as Huntington names like Chad Lytle, Scott Keller, Jeremiah Oates, and J.B. Edwards. In evaluating my own list, my biggest snubs probably come with at least one of these Huntington players. Lytle could easily replace Fout and/or Barbee, but that is why fans will get a voice as well.
Other names include PV’s Drew Bobb, Piketon teammates Jordan Brabson and Cody Smith, Southeastern’s John Danicki, Westfall’s Thom Patete and Tony Picklesimer, and Zane Trace’s Kirk Maxwell.
Lastly, even a Dream Team needs a coach. In the past two decades you could consider names such as Ron Lovely or Gary Kellough, but the obvious choice here would be Larry Jordan.
Now, you the fans – especially our older fans – are needed in a big way. As I said in my opening, due to my age my list only covers a few decades on a list that needs to cover 50 years. Please let me know through a phone message on the DBK answering service at 740-569-3254 or through email (email@example.com) what you think in terms of who needs added as well as who would come off the list.
Several fans would like me to get a list of seven or eight guys per decade to make a final ballot. We will then vote for a few weeks to determine the “Dream Team” for 50 years of SVC basketball. We hope to start our final voting sometime this week.
One last note…keep in mind the player must have played in the SVC. Pay attention with some of the older players to make sure they were members of the SVC.