EAST LANSING (AP) — Monte Morris is ending a four-year varsity career at Flint Beecher that began with immense hype but was verified with sustained greatness.
The senior point guard is the Player of the Year for the Associated Press Class C All-State team — just the latest award in a career for a player who will be remembered as one of the all-time greats ever to wear a Bucs uniform. He also has been named Michigan’s Mr. Basketball.
“Everybody around here waited for him ever since he was a young kid,” said Beecher coach Mike Williams, who is the Coach of the Year for the Class C All-State team.
Williams led the Bucs to a 19-1 regular season and another deep postseason run.
“They were waiting three or four years to see this kid play. I’ve known him since he was a fourth-grader and it was like that, so the anticipation for his career and the buildup to it was extreme.
“I think one of the greatest things he’s accomplished is that he was able to surpass that hype.”
Morris led Beecher this season with 23 points, 10.3 assists, five rebounds and six steals per game. Williams said he can count with his fingers how many games the Iowa State-bound star didn’t lead the Bucs in scoring during the past four seasons: Seven.
That run includes a trip to the Breslin Center during Morris’ first three seasons and an undefeated 28-0 state championship run as a junior last year. Throughout his career, Morris had countless people in his ear suggesting he transfer and leave his neighborhood school for what they told him were bigger and better programs.
Yet, the kid everyone in town simply refers to as “Man-Man” stayed — and left a legacy in doing so.
“I’m happy I came to Beecher,” Morris said. “I grew up wanting to play here, and it’s a good feeling knowing that I was successful here with Coach Williams. All my teammates and the run we’ve had these last four years, we did it the right way I feel like. Beecher left a good legacy for me to keep the tradition going so there’s a lot of pride in that for me. It’s been an amazing four years.”
“To be able to do everything he’s done with as much class as he’s done it with is remarkable,” Williams added. “He’s going to be sorely missed because he’s a player that only comes around once maybe every 10 or 20 years.”
Joining Morris on the Class C All-State first team are Detroit Consortium’s duo of Vincent Hunter, a senior, and Josh Jackson, a freshman. Hunter averaged 26.5 points and 14 rebounds per game while Jackson emerged on the scene with an average of 17 points and six boards.
Schoolcraft senior Luke Ryskamp is a repeat selection for the team. Ryskamp closes out a four-year varsity career with an average of 23 points and nine rebounds per game. He’s headed to Grand Valley State next year.
Flint Hamady senior point guard Erick Layton, Morris’ top competition and conference rival in Class C, also made the team with an average of 24 points per game.
Other members of the Class C All-State team are Melvindale Business and Tech Academy senior Taron Ramsey, Grandville Calvin Christian senior Brad Visser, Negaunee junior Tyler Jandron, Ottawa Lake Whiteford junior Colin Lake, Addison junior Luke Meyer, Traverse City St. Francis senior Kody Kleinrichert and Maple City Glen Lake senior Mike O’Brien.