Mr. Basketball “Mt. Rushmore”

Let’s revive the term “Mt. Rushmore”. It was a buzzing topic for awhile and was applied to everything from basketball teams to favorite foods.

I know there are a lot of exceptional high school basketball players that did not get crowned Mr. Basketball, however, for consistency’s sake, that’s the list I’m choosing from.

#1 Darrell Griffith
#2 J.R. VanHoose
#3 Allan Houston
#4 Darius Miller


Darrell Griffith, a.k.a. Dr. Dunkenstein (seriously!) or The Golden Griff, was arguably one of the most dominant high school players to grace the court. Elected Mr. Basketball in 1976, he is a member of the KHSAA “Sweet Sixteen Fab 50” and the KHSAA Hall of Fame (1990). Griffith attended Male High School in Louisville and was heavily recruited by schools all across the country. He chose a school in his own backyard — the University of Louisville. Griffith is attributed with popularizing the dunk in college sports, and led the Cardinals to their first NCAA Championship in 1980, where he was voted Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. Griffith was selected 2nd overall in the 1980 NBA Draft. His jersey is retired with the Utah Jazz, where he had a remarkable career, scoring 12,391 career points, all in Utah, and he lead the Jazz to the playoffs for their first time in franchise history.

J.R. VanHoose, the small-town superman, hails from Paintsville High School. J.R. led his team, and the tiny town of Paintsville (population 4,000+/-), to the Sweet 16 four consecutive years. In 1995, Paintsville fell to Montgomery Co. in the first round. In 1996, after a 10-loss season, Paintsville’s team rallied around VanHoose and won it all. In 1997, the Tigers were top of their region once again, making it all the way to the Sweet 16 Final Four, only to fall to Ft. Thomas Highlands. 1998 was a heartbreaker — Paintsville’s Todd Tackett suffered an injury and fell to the Scott County Cardinals, led by 1999 Mr. Basketball, Rick Jones. VanHoose was voted Mr. Basketball in 1998, is in the KHSAA Hall of Fame, the KABC Hall of Fame, and named a member of the Sweet 16 “Fab 50” — all deserving accomplishments. J.R.’s name still paints the record books today: 1st all-time in career blocks (541), 3rd all-time in career rebounds (2,069), and a member of the 3000-point club with 3095 career points. VanHoose attended Marshall University, starting all four years; He was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2008, rightfully so, as he finished his career 2nd all-time in rebounds and 5th all-time in scoring.

Allan Houston, another member of the Sweet 16 “Fab 50” and KHSAA Hall of Fame, led the Ballard Bruins to a State Championship in 1988, shooting 89.1 percent from the charity stripe (6th in the books for KHSAA Single Season record.) He is second all-time in scoring at Ballard and was named 1st Team All-State two years in a row. Allan attended the University of Tennessee, where he leads the school in all-time scoring, and is currently second to 2004 Mr. Basketball Chris Lofton in three-point field goals made. Tennessee retired Houston’s jersey in the March 26, 2011 Kentucky-Tennessee game. He was selected 11th overall in the 1993 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, where he spent two seasons, averaging 19.7 points per game with the Pistons. In free agency, he joined the New York Knicks. Allan led them to the NBA Finals, the first time in history a #8 seed beat a #1 seed to reach it. He was voted an NBA All-Star in the 2000 and 2001 seasons and Houston is also an NBA Shooting Stars Champion. Allan was selected as a member of the 2001 Olympic team and is a gold medalist in basketball.

Darius Miller, 2008 Mr. Basketball of Mason County, carried the Royals to a Sweet 16 championship his final year at the helm. Darius was labeled a 4-star recruit and ranked number 42 in the nation as a high school Senior.  Recruited by schools across the nation, Miller chose to be a University of Kentucky Wildcat. The decision proved to be a sound one, as Darius and the Wildcats went on to win a NCAA Championship in his final season at Kentucky. Darius holds the record for number of games played for UK (152) and is tied for 3rd in career games in Division I NCAA Men’s Basketball. Miller is the only player to be named Kentucky Mr. Basketball, win a Kentucky High School State Championship, and a National Championship with the University of Kentucky. Miller went on to be drafted 46th overall by the New Orleans Hornets in 2012 and is currently playing in Germany for the Brose Baskets.
Note: this is personal opinion. You may have reasons or arguments as to why another four Mr. Basketballs are better. Let’s hear them. I’ve chosen my favorites — who are yours?

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