Remembering Magic Johnson’s career in college and the pros. Video by Ryan Ford/DFP
The third round delivers another Cinderella. And no Wolverines. Go figure!
Michigan’s Jalen Rose was eliminated, and Calvin College legend Steve Honderd continues to stun bracketologists in his quest to shock the world in the third round of “After the Magic,” the Free Press’ NCAA bracket-style competition that lets readers vote for the state’s best college basketball player since Magic Johnson.
Let the Final Four madness begin.
Here’s how the competition works:
Thirty-two finalists were selected and ranked by the Free Press’ team of sports writers and editors. In the spirit of college basketball, we’ve separated the finalists into four regions for an NCAA Tournament-style bracket; Dave DeBusschere, Cazzie Russell, Spencer Haywood, and George Gervin are the namesakes for the regions.
The player who receives the most votes in a given matchup advances to the next round. The round of 32 ended Nov. 9 at 5 p.m. The Elite 8 begins today (Nov. 12) and ends Monday at 2 p.m. The final week of voting includes the Final Four (Tuesday-Wednesday) and the overall final (Thursday-Friday).
Readers may vote as many times as they want.
Now that you know the rules, let’s start the Final Four!
Read the bios and cast your votes below:
(1) Cleaves vs. (8) Honderd
G MATEEN CLEAVES
School: Michigan State | Years: 1996-2000 | Key stats: 123 games, 12.5 points, 6.6 assists, 2.1 rebounds
The buzz: Led Spartans to 2000 national championship. MSU’s only three-time consensus All-America (1998-2000). One of 12 players in Big Ten history to earn three first-team All-Big Ten honors (1998-2000). Big Ten player of the year in 1998 and co-Big Ten player of the year in 1999. Big Ten all-time assists leader (816). Most Outstanding Player in 2000 Final Four.
F STEVE HONDERD
School: Calvin College | Years: 1989-93 | Key stats: 119 games, 20.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.4 blocks
The buzz: NABC Division III player of the year in 1993. Led Calvin (31-1) to NCAA Division III national championship in 1992. Scored 25 points and eight rebounds in 62-49 win over Rochester in the championship game and was named most outstanding player of the tournament. School’s all-time scorer leader for a game (61), season (661) and career (2,469). Named player of the decade for the 1990s by DIII News.
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(2) Skiles vs. (2) Smith
G SCOTT SKILES
School: Michigan State | Years: 1982-86 | Key stats: 118 games, 18.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists
The buzz: Consensus All-America, Big Ten Player of the Year and Basketball Times National Player of the Year in 1986 after leading conference in points (school-record 850), assists (203) and field goals (331). He also was Big Ten scoring champion (29.1 ppg). Still among school’s career leaders in assists (645; second) and in points (2,145; third) and steals (175; third).
G STEVE SMITH
School: Michigan State | Years: 1987-91 | Key stats: 122 games, 18.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists
The buzz: First-team All-America (Sporting News) in 1990 and second-team All-America in 1991. Led Spartans to Big Ten championship in 1990. Big Ten scoring champion (23.2 ppg) in 1991. Ranks third in school history in points (2,263) and field goals made (826). Scored 32 points in heartbreaking overtime loss to Georgia Tech in 1990 NCAA regional semifinals.