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Which 'little big man' played the biggest?

Just over three months ago, I used this space to spark a debate that would get a lot of attention and conversation when writing about who the greatest high school quarterback in the area I had eve
Mark Hazelwood
Aug 25, 2010

Just over three months ago, I used this space to spark a debate that would get a lot of attention and conversation when writing about who the greatest high school quarterback in the area I had ever seen play was.

The results didn't disappoint. Whether it was people at work, home, family gatherings and yes, even church, just about everyone had an opinion about it.

Now it's time to debate another subject, once again sticking with the cover story theme.

Who is the best "littlest big man" I've ever seen play in the high school area?

Let's get the ground rules out of the way, as well. The prerequisite height for this argument is the player must have been listed at 5-foot-11 or smaller during their final season of high school basketball.

For example, that eliminates names like Nick Dials, a 2,000-point scorer at Willard, or Scott Spettle from Norwalk, who was named Division II Player of the Year by the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association back in 1995.

Also remember I only go back 19 years to the 1990-91 season with my memory banks, so any top players from the 70s or 80s is a bit out of my range. And what a player did in college has no bearing on this argument as well.

Moving on, let's get right into it because this list of five only gets better as it goes:


5. Cole Prophet, Sandusky, 5-foot-5 (2005-08)

An official once told the Sandusky coaches before a game a few years ago that the ball boy wasn't allowed to be in uniform going through the pre-game layup drills.

That official soon found out Prophet was no ball boy as he developed into quite the sharpshooter for the Blue Streaks despite being the smallest player on the floor at all times.

Prophet shot his way to 839 career points at Sandusky, which is good for 10th all-time while his 15 assists in a game two years ago is also a school record. His 22.5 points per game last season led the area in scoring.

The true example of size not mattering, Prophet earned himself a spot on the Central State University basketball team, an independent Division II school in Wilberforce, OH.

At last glance, he was averaging over 13 points per game in 21 starts. Not bad for a ball boy...

4. Aaron Fries, St. Paul, 5-foot-9 (1996-99)

An integral part of St. Paul's best run in school history from 1996-98, Fries was on the varsity roster for three district championship seasons and as the lone player back as a senior, managed to lead the Flyers to a fourth straight district appearance and was named both second and first team All-Ohio during his career.

The owner of 1,237 career points, Fries will best be remembered for the single biggest shot in the history of the program when he connected on a mid-range jumper with just under two seconds left of a tie game in a Division IV regional championship game against St. Henry in 1997.

The win sent St. Paul to its first and only state semifinal and sent Fries into the waiting arms of his late grandmother, Ida.


3. Scott Endsley, St. Paul, 5-foot-10 (1991-94)

The all-time leading scorer in the City of Norwalk's history with 1,488 career points, Endsley found a way to score at all times, whether it was slashing to the lane or hitting perimeter shots.

Endsley averaged over 25 points per game as a junior and 27.8 points per game as a senior. His final season he led St. Paul to its first ever sectional championship and was named to the All-Ohio third team as a result.

After graduation, Endsley went on to play for Division III Mount Union, where he again reached the 1,000-point club with 1,030 career points from 1995-99.


2. Shawn Shriver, Western Reserve, 5-foot-11 (2001-04)

One of the most gifted athletes to ever play in Huron County, Shriver scored 887 points over his final two seasons for the Roughriders went 32-12 with a Firelands conference title in that stretch.

Also a star running back on the football field, the athleticism and perfect combination of the strength and quickness of Shriver was evident as a senior when he was able to dunk the ball during games despite his size.

Shriver was named to the All-Ohio first team in Division III as a senior and is also the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,382 career points.

After high school Shriver went on to be a four-year letter winner and 1,000 point scorer on Heidelberg's men's basketball team and helped lead the school to the 2008 Ohio Athletic Conference tournament title.


1. Jimmy Langhurst, Willard, 5-foot-11 (2003-06)

There was little debate for me on the top spot and the only reason there would have even been any type of argument at was if Dials had been listed under six feet tall.

I could go on about the accomplishments of Langhurst and fill this entire page and then some, but to keep it fairly concise Jimmy scored 2,199 career points in four seasons at Willard, the most in area history.

Langhurst was the part of three Northern Ohio League and district championship teams at Willard and finished ranked either first or second in 16 school record categories at the school.

I can still envision Langhurst putting on one of the all-time greatest performances in area history when he matched Ohio's all-time leading scorer, Jon Diebler, point for point at the Division II district championship in Ashland back in 2006, as both co-district players of the year scored 55 points each in Willard's 101-98 win.

Size also hasn't been an issue at the next level for Langhurst either, who is currently averaging double figures at Division I Robert Morris University.


Mark Hazelwood


I didn't see any of those guys play. That was the idea...I'm not going to cheapen my list by putting this guy or that guy on there because of what they did if I never saw them play to judge an opinion. That doesn't mean I don't think those guys were great players, as Fanning's career numbers speaks for itself.