Ty Rodgers wins Michigan AP Division 1 Player of Year award
In three seasons as head coach at Grand Blanc, Mike Thomas has seen junior Ty Rodgers do it all on the basketball court.
That’s why Thomas calls the 6-foot-6 small forward, without a doubt, the best player in the state.
“I think he does the most,” Thomas said. “You can move him all over the court. I think he does what our team needs him to do for us to win, whether that’s play inside, outside, dominate, play good defense. He’s going to do whatever he needs to do for us to win.
“I think that’s what makes him magical. He does it all. He does everything on the basketball court. At the end of the day, he’s a winner. When you do those types of things, I don’t care what team you’re on, you’re going to put your team in position to win.”
Rodgers led Grand Blanc (15-2) to its first boys basketball state championship and a panel of 11 sports writers from around Michigan rewarded him by voting him the Division 1 Player of the Year.
The three-year starter is the nephew of former Michigan State and NBA star Jason Richardson, who won Michigan’s Mr. Basketball Award in 1999 while playing for Saginaw Arthur Hill.
Rodgers’ college offers include Michigan, Michigan State, Louisville, Florida and Houston, Ohio State and Syracuse.
In the final round of the tournament, Rodgers averaged 15 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists. That included 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists when Grand Blanc ended No. 1-ranked Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 27-game winning streak in the quarterfinals.
He had a career-high 34 points while playing fewer than three quarters in the regional opener against Flushing.
For the season, Rodgers led Grand Blanc in scoring with an average of 17.8 points. He was also the Bobcats’ top rebounder at 9.4 per game and averaged 3.7 assists, 2.1 steals, leading them to their first regional championship in 68 years.
“The athleticism is always going to be there for him,” said Thomas, who was voted Coach of the Year. “The toughness is going to be there for him. But doing the intangible things, I think that’s why he’s the best to be honest.
“You see him in the championship game, diving on the floor, guarding the best player, getting the bounds, doing all the dirty plays along with scoring.”
He was joined on the Division 1 All-State first team by senior Legend Geeter of River Rouge; senior Julian Roper II of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s; senior Ethan Erickson of Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern; sophomore R.J. Taylor of Grand Blanc; sophomore Sonny Wilson of Detroit U-D Jesuit; junior Chansey Willis of Detroit Martin Junior King; junior Kyler VanderJagt of Grand Rapids Northview and junior Thomas Kurowski.
Thomas was named Coach of the Year for the second time. He also won the award in 2010, when he led Kalamazoo Central to the first of two consecutive state championships.