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Hoops galore . . .

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POSTED March 18, 2016 12:49 a.m.

It’s funny sometimes the way you are reminded just how small a world — and more to the point the town we live in — really is. I was kicking around the idea of asking people who they considered Manteca’s all time best basketball player.
The Buffalo boys are currently on a historic run to the NorCal Championship game Satrurday night. It got me thinking back to my 8th grade year and watching that year’s Coach Henry squad win the section title. When you are a kid, you are certain that the players you are watching are the best ever. The first time I saw Chad Johnson pick someone’s pocket clean, and dish to John Gibson for a fast break dunk – I knew I was watching the best basketball players ever! But over time you realize that talent is all relative to your age, and what your eyes choose to believe in. I still think that 1987 Buff squad is the greatest in this town’s history, but would love to have the current group prove me wrong.
So I tossed the question out on good old Facebook, and got a great response. Unfortunately, it didn’t make much sense for me to put out a Reader Poll that simply said “Scott Brooks” thirty times in a row. It’s funny how often when you think of “the best” in any field or forum, that you end up omitting the top dog. Sort of a “You can’t see the forest because of the trees” scenario. Scott Brooks is hands down the greatest hoopster this town has ever seen. (12 -year NBA career and a couple of rings prove that) Yet when I was kicking the question around in my own head, I didn’t think of him. I reverted to the players I’d seen first-hand. So I decided the question would require an addendum — “Who is the greatest basketball player in Manteca history not named Scott Brooks?”
(I realize Scott grew up in Lathrop, but that other high school he attended is in Manteca)
It was no less than 20 minutes before the newly rephrased question received a peculiar answer. “Scott wants to know why his name has to be omitted?” — Michele Brazil...It was my cousin Michele, a sister-in-law to Scott, and who was apparently sitting at his house. Small world is an understatement. But now we are lucky enough to hear directly from the horse’s mouth who our town’s best ball player, considered the best he saw play. Scott Brooks tossed out names like Gary Kron and Reno Cook – even tossed in Russell Stewart who had the high single game score at EU....but that was before Scott came along. Thanks for playing along Scott. And as is the Manteca to a T way, I challenge you to a free throw shooting competition at the intersection of Main and Yosemite during the July 4th parade – loser never returns to town. I figure you’d be game, since Eric Simoni is not.
Here are a few of the names that Manteca to a T  readers kicked out – (not named Scott Brooks)

 Yvonne Lewis Carrillo: Mark Liles, Vic Liles, Al Betschart
Jennifer Barnwell Brogan: My husband Paul Brogan!
 David Ray Bowman: Olis Dockery. (Sorry, I grew up in Ogden, UT)
Brett Lewis: Kiwi Gardner has to be in the argument but Brooks is #1 for sure. What about Gary Kron? Mike Nunnally?
Darlene Griffith: Rick Inderbitzin And of course Scott Brooks
Johnny Aguilar: Mike Delmonowski
 Rob Gibson: Entire class of 1987 starting lineup. Wentworth, Cannon, Johnson, Gibson, VanDePol. Amazing team. If memory serves all were named to All Star game.
Sharon Handel and Lewis Rose: Gary Kron
Carol Shupe Howell: Kevin Allsup, MHS class of 1974, may he RIP. My brother Gary Shupe played with him and I was always impressed with his playing abilities and a real funny person.
Jennifer Schluer Ender: Reno Cook
Kurt Duren: Jody Ruble class of 81
Paul Brogan MJC basketball coach: For those that didn’t get to see Scott Brooks play in high school you missed out. I’ve been involved in basketball my entire adult life and I still haven’t seen a player around here that could dominate every aspect of a high school game like him.
Nancy Shearer-Glaze:  Tevani Scott

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