When I launched my blog, I established a policy -- all postings that didn't include a legitimate return e-mail address would be deleted. I vowed I would respond to all readers, whether we agree or disagree, as I did during a 50-year career in newspaper journalism. I always have felt that it is beneficial to carry on an intelligent and rational dialogue with those who take the time to comment on my opinions. And so we shall, as long as you play by the rules.
It isn't too late to return to the two-class format in boys basketball. Marty Hickman, executive director of the Illinois High School Association, said at the outset of the four-class experiment that if it became clear that the new format wasn't working, he would have no regrets about returning to the two-class system.
Well, it may be too soon for the jury to render a final verdict. But after three years, there are no signs that the four-class system is working. Attendance is so embarrassing that the IHSA no longer announces the figures. With no clearcut champion (small or large) as there was in the two-class format, tournament fans are choosing to stay home.
One reader asked: "Who were the top 10 big men in state history?" My top 10 are Kevin Garnett, Russell Cross, Dan Issel, George Wilson, Juwan Howard, Jim Brewer, Eric Anderson, LaPhonso Ellis, Dave Robisch and Ted Caiazza.
But the list of candidates is long and distinguished. Critics could argue in behalf of Terry Cummings, Jack Sikma, Archie Dees, Terry Bethel, Roger Suttner, Bob Guyette, Lowell Hamilton, Jeff Wilkins, Owen Brown, Art Day, Deon Thomas, Ed Horton, Michael Payne and Rashard Griffith.
Another reader asked: "Who were the top 10 point guards in state history?" My top 10 are Isiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Shaun Livingston, Kiwane Garris, Bruce Douglas, Ronnie Lester, Glenn (Doc) Rivers, Sam Puckett, Paxton Lumpkin and Tracy Webster.
Again, the list of candidates leaves plenty of room for debate. Others are Maurice Cheeks, Tom Kivisto, Howard Nathan, Everette Stephens, Raymond McCoy, Larry Moore, Len Williams and JoJo Johnson.
Nationally known basketball recruiting analyst Van Coleman of Hoopmasters.com rates two Chicago Public League products among the top seven players in the class of 2013 -- No. 2 Jabari Parker of Simeon and No. 7 Thomas Hamilton of Whitney Young. The top-rated freshman is Nigel Williams-Goss of Henderson, Nev. De La Salle's Alex Foster is rated No. 27 on Coleman's list of the top 50.
Joe Henricksen, editor/publisher of City/Suburban Hoops Report, reveals his revised post-tournament list of the top 10 juniors in Illinois: Wayne Blackshear, Morgan Park; Mycheal Henry, Orr; Tracy Abrams, Mount Carmel; Chasson Randle, Rock Island; Ryan Boatright, East Aurora; Sam Thompson, Whitney Young; Nnanna Egwu, St. Ignatius; Mike Shaw, De La Salle; Bruce Baron, Carbondale Brehm Prep; and George Marshall, Brooks.
Experts? In Henricksen's last issue, none of the seven analysts or members of the media who were asked to predict the winners in the Class 3A and 4A picked Hillcrest or Simeon. In fact, none even had the two teams advancing to the state championship game.
Fans who are calling for DePaul to hire Simeon's Robert Smith as its new men's basketball coach are reminded of two things:
1. DePaul has made it clear that the school is only interested in hiring a person with head coaching experience at the college level.
2. It is a huge leap from high school to college coaching. Ask Gerry Faust. Can you name any major college basketball program in recent years that has hired a high school coach?
My fourth book, "Dusty, Deek, and Mr. Do-Right: High School Football In Illinois," will be published by University of Illinois Press on Aug. 1. There have been many books written about Illinois high school basketball -- I've written two of them -- but, to my knowledge, this is the first book devoted to Illinois high school football. In it, you'll be acquainted or re-acquainted with the great players, great coaches, great teams and great games in state history. I personally interviewed more than 350 former coaches and players. My first interview? Dick Butkus.