Vidakovich column: My picks for the Demon Dream Team
The ending of one year, and the beginning of another, always brings about lists and rankings of various events and topics — especially in the world of sports. The best of, or the worst of, adorn newspapers and television shows, charting those who ascended to great heights during the year, or those who plummeted to new, and sometimes unthinkable, lows.
With this being said, I decided to put together my own list. Mine is a compilation of not just one year in time, but an entire lifetime of observation as a young fan, a player, a coach, and finally, as a newspaper sportswriter. What you are about to read is my well-thought-out tribute to the 15 best basketball players that have graced the hardwood at Glenwood Springs High School from the year I was born, 1960, until now.
Picking this group of players, which constitutes nothing but my opinion of the ability to play a game at a very high level, is certainly up for debate. I believe that the first four names on this list can’t really be questioned, based on accolades alone. What follows the first four is a gray area of all-state Demons that helped build, and carry on, the rich tradition of Glenwood basketball.
So, without any further introduction, or explanation, here are my first, second and third teams of Demon elite, with position played, and year of graduation listed.
Kevin Flohr, forward, 1979: I’m an authority on this pick because I played with Flohr on the 1979 state championship team, and I had to try and guard him at open gyms and Sayre Park pickup basketball. He was virtually unstoppable. Flohr was the state’s 2A Player of the Year in ’79 and went on to a decorated career at Mesa College in Grand Junction. The best I’ve seen. Flohr is the manager of the Glenwood City Market.
Tom Vidakovich, guard, 1962: I was too young to remember watching this person play, and many may say I am biased because he is my older brother, but the accomplishments speak for themselves. Three year all-state player for Bob Chavez, starting point guard at Colorado State University from 1964-1966, played for the Rams in two NCAA tournaments. Invited to Detroit Pistons rookie camp following senior year at CSU. I’d say he belongs. Retired after 30-year teaching career in Buena Vista.
Bruce Vanderhoof, post, 1969: The stories of Vanderhoof’s leaping ability are the stuff of legend. An all-stater for the Demons, Vanderhoof signed a full scholarship to play for the Buffaloes of Colorado. Things didn’t work out at CU for him, but his status among the best of the best is secure.
Robbie Chavez, guard, 1976: The son of coach Bob Chavez, Robbie led the Demons to the 2A state championship in 1975 and a runner-up finish in ’74. Went on to a solid career as point guard at Mesa College. Excelled in the college head coaching ranks at Maryland Eastern Shore and the University of Portland. Lives in Portland, working for an investment firm.
Albert Blanc, guard, 1968: Blanc was a scoring machine for the Demons in a two year all-state career. Went on to play at Western State College in Gunnison. Blanc’s successful career as a high school coach has landed him fourth on the all-time Colorado coaching victories list. He is currently the head boys basketball coach at Discovery Canyon High School in Colorado Springs.
Kirk Lyons, post, 1972: Lyons was an all-around force in the middle for Glenwood as he led the Demons to the ’72 state schoolboy tournament at 22-0. GS lost in the opening round to Fountain, but this team is still considered one of the best in school history. Lyons continued the Glenwood pipeline to Mesa College.
Rick Sorensen, guard, 1985: Sorensen, the state’s 2A player of the year in 1985, gave coach Chavez his third and final state title in 1984. Sorensen could do it all on the basketball court. Played at Adams State College in Alamosa, and currently teaches at Glenwood Elementary.
Eli Haskell, guard, 1989: Many folks may not remember Haskell, but I got to see him up close while coaching at GSHS. Silky smooth playmaker, and a great shooter. Haskell helped the Demons to the state semis in 1988 and went on to play at Colorado College. Works as a golf teaching professional on the front range.
Fred Heisel, post, 1988: All-stater who played collegiately at Mesa College and Regis College. Heisel was a gifted big man and a physical force on the blocks. Another in the long line of Chavez-coached all-state players. Fred is now the P.E. teacher at Sopris Elementary.
Jon Swartzendruber, guard, 1972: One of the greatest leapers in Glenwood history, Swartzendruber didn’t put up flashy numbers in terms of points, but he did everything exceptionally well on that super ’72 team. This pick could be argued by many, but go ahead, I won’t change my mind on this one.
Bob Barrows, guard, 1982: Bobby “Speed.” The nickname says it all. Barrows’ teams at Glenwood High weren’t as talent-laden as many others, but as an individual, Barrows was a rocket on the court and a stingy defender. Yep, played the point guard position for Doug Schakel at Mesa College. Currently heads the special education department in the Colorado Springs school district.
Sean Flohr, guard, 2005: An all-stater who holds the GSHS school scoring record, Flohr played for his father, and could pretty much light things up at will for the Demons. Another alum who played for the Mavericks of Mesa College.
Mike Schubert, guard, 1994: Schubert transferred to Glenwood from Basalt and had a very successful run as a Demon. High basketball I.Q., Schubert was first team 4A all-state in 1994. Works as an electrician in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Scott Bolitho, post, 1979: Not flashy, and like Swartzendruber, didn’t put up big numbers, but he did it all for a state championship team. Bolitho was surrounded by arguably the best starting five in GS annals; otherwise, he would have had the eye-popping averages. A pure talent. Owner of Glenwood Insurance Agency.
Trent Peabody, post, 1992. Ron Nadon, guard, 1975. Rick Eccher, guard, 1979. Jon Baranko, post, 1985. Cameron Horning, guard, 2016: There were too many possibilities to list just one name at this pick. These guys are good, and so were about 20 other Demons I could have listed that garnered all-state honors and played collegiately.
I left off the names of some good friends, and kids that I coached in the past that I truly love. Really, to do justice to the Demon Dream Team, I would need a few more pages of space. I’ll stand by my picks, though. I started my enthusiastic treks to Glenwood games when I was old enough to walk, so I’ve seen them all and enjoyed every moment.
And they have all been pretty darn good.
Mike Vidakovich writes freelance for the Post Independent.
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Area prep basketball teams begin their 2019-20 campaigns with tournament action both home and away this weekend.