Commentary

New York, Michigan clash in semifinals

Updated: March 2, 2009, 11:33 AM ET
By Mark Tennis and Doug Huff | ESPNRISE.com

Michigan pulled a Great State Debate upset last week, eliminating a Philadelphia-led Pennsylvania squad headed by Wilt Chamberlain and Kobe Bryant.

Can the Wolverine State make it two in a row? If it does, No. 5 seed Michigan will need to get past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and top-seed New York in this week's semifinal round.

Michigan's argument that it is more of a statewide basketball power instead of just one city might still fly, since New York is dominated by New York City.

Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson of Lansing and current NBA player Jason Richardson of Saginaw are among the all-stars who hail from outside of Detroit helping Michigan's cause.

New York and basketball, meanwhile, go to go together like ice cream and apple pie.

New York City playgrounds alone have produced enough talent to arguably win any Great City Debate. When Abdul-Jabbar was known as Lew Alcindor, he led Power Memorial High to back-to-back unbeaten seasons and a 71-game win streak from 1963-65. Earlier, Hall of Famer Connie Hawkins was the king of the playgrounds in the Big Apple. The list goes on and on.

Voting in this week's semifinal Great State Debate ends on Wednesday night. Next week's semifinals will be between No. 2 Illinois and No. 3 California.

New York's case

New York's all-time best players
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Power Memorial, NYC)
[+] EnlargeElton Brand
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty ImagesPeekskill's Elton Brand and New York will be a tough match for Michigan.
Kenny Anderson (Archbishop Molloy, Briarwood)
Nate "Tiny" Archibald (DeWitt Clinton, Bronx)
Elton Brand (Peekskill)
Roger Brown (Wingate, Brooklyn)
Bob Cousy (Andrew Jackson, Bronx)
Billy Cunningham (Erasmus Hall, Brooklyn)
Julius Erving (Roosevelt)
Lloyd "World B" Free (Canarsie, Brooklyn)
Connie Hawkins (Boys, Brooklyn)
Mark Jackson (Bishop Laughlin, Brooklyn)*
Bernard King (Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn)
Christian Laettner (Nichols, Buffalo)
Bob Lanier (Bennett, Buffalo)
Felipe Lopez (Rice, New York)
Stephon Marbury (Lincoln, Brooklyn)
Jamal Mashburn (Cardinal Hayes, Bronx)*
Chris Mullen (Xaverian, Brooklyn)
Lamar Odom (Redemption Christian, Troy)
Sam Perkins (Shaker, Latham)
Dolph Schayes (DeWitt Clinton, Bronx)
Kenny Smith (Archbishop Molloy, Briarwood)
Sebastian Telfair (Lincoln, Brooklyn)
Dwayne "Pearl" Washington (Boys & Girls, Brooklyn)
Lenny Wilkins (Boys, Brooklyn)
*Current ESPN NBA analyst.

New York's all-time winningest coaches
(Top 3 active coaches, wins through 2008)

Jonny Flynn
Christopher Pasatieri/US PresswireJonny Flynn stayed in state to play for the Orange.
1. Jack Curran, Archbishop Molloy, Briarwood, 898
2. Ed Petrie, East Hampton, 723
3. Chuck Granby, Jackson/Campus Magnet, New York, 651

New York's all-time best teams
1. Power Memorial, New York, 1964 (30-0)
2. DeWitt Clinton, New York, 1966 (21-0)
3. Power Memorial, New York, 1963 (27-0)

New York's best current NBA players
1. Lamar Odom, L.A. Lakers (Redemption, Troy)
2. Ben Gordon, Chicago (Mt. Vernon)
3. Stephon Marbury, Boston (Lincoln, Brooklyn)

New York's best current college
1. Jonny Flynn, Syracuse (Niagara Falls)
2. Paul Harris, Syracuse (Niagara Falls)
3. Levance Fields, Pittsburgh (Xaverian, Brooklyn)

Michigan's case

Michigan's all-time best players
Shane Battier (Detroit Country Day, Birmingham)
Derrick Coleman (Northern, Detroit)
Mel Daniels (Pershing, Detroit)
[+] EnlargeJalen Rose
John McDonough/Icon SMIJalen Rose starred in high school and college in Michigan before going on to the pros.
Dave DeBusschere (Austin, Detroit)
George Gervin (Martin Luther King, Detroit)
Spencer Haywood (Pershing, Detroit)
Earvin "Magic" Johnson (Everett, Lansing)
Antoine Joubert (Southwestern, Detroit)
Chris Kaman (Tri-Unity Christian, Wyoming)
Dan Majerle (Traverse City)
Glen Rice (Northwestern, Flint)
Jason Richardson (Arthur Hill, Saginaw)
Jalen Rose (Southwestern, Detroit)
Steve Smith (Pershing, Detroit)
Ralph Simpson (Pershing, Detroit)
Rudy Tomjanovich (Hamtramck)
Chet Walker (Benton Harbor)
Chris Webber (Detroit Country Day, Birmingham)

Michigan's all-time winningest coaches
(Top 3 coaches inactive)
1. Lofton Greene, River Rouge, 739
2. Paul Cook, Eastern, Lansing, 635
3. Bernie Holowicki, Catholic Central, Detroit, 612

Michigan all-time best teams
1. Pershing, Detroit, 1967 (21-1)
2. Southwestern, Detroit, 1991 (27-0)
3. Everett, Lansing, 1977 (27-1)

Michigan's best current NBA players
1. Jason Richardson, Charlotte (Saginaw)
2. Shane Battier, Houston (Detroit Country Day, Birmingham)
3. Chris Kaman, L.A. Clippers (Wyoming)

Michigan's best current college players
1. Kalin Lucas, Michigan State (St. Mary's, Orchard Lake)
2. Manny Harris, Michigan (Redford, Detroit)
3. Durrell Summers, Michigan State (Covenant, Redford)

Mark Tennis is the deputy sports editor for ESPNRISE.com. Doug Huff is a senior editor for ESPNRISE.com.