When I was 10, I saw my first Bangor High School boys basketball game in 1947 at the old Bangor Auditorium. I’ve been a Bangor fan since and was proud to play (1952-55) and coach at Bangor (1969-77).
During the summer, I met with seven former Bangor High players, fans and knowledgeable basketball folks to pick our all-time Bangor High School boys basketball team. We each had five votes for the all-time team as well as one vote each for the purest shooter and most valuable player in the same time period. Thirteen players received votes.
Here is our all-time Bangor High boys basketball team and votes:
Dan Drinon (5-10 guard): He was the best-skilled guard to play at Bangor High and one of my teammates. The late Drinon led the Rams to 1955 state Class L championship and third-place finish in 1955 New England Schoolboy Tournament held at the old Boston Garden. He was named to the All-New England tourney team and was a member of the BDN’s first All-Maine team in 1956. He played two seasons at the University of San Francisco. 8 votes.
John Norris (6-7 center): He was the starting center on 1947 State Class L champions and 1948 state Class L runner-up as a senior. He was one of the first Mainers ever to go big time in Division I basketball as he played at Georgetown two years before finishing his college career at UMaine as a junior and senior. 7 votes.
Joe Campbell (6-foot-5 forward): He helped Bangor win the 2001 Class A state championship by upsetting heavily favored Deering of Portland. He hit a reverse layup after grabbing a rebound off a missed 3-pointer at the buzzer for the big upset. Campbell went on to walk on and then earned a scholarship at the University of Maine where he was a starter his last two years. 6 votes.
Leroy Patterson (6-2 forward): He guided Bangor to the 1962 Eastern Maine championship and state runner-up to Morse of Bath. The late Patterson is one of the best all-around athletes ever to attend Bangor High where he starred as a running back in football and center fielder in baseball. 5 votes.
Mark Reed (6-3 guard): He helped lead Bangor to its first Eastern Maine championship in 1992 after a 30-year drought and state runner-up to South Portland in a famous five-overtime game. The next year he led the Rams to their first state Class A title since 1959 as they avenged the loss to South Portland. He was a BDN All-Maine first-team selection and went on to play four years at Division I Liberty University. He is now the varsity boys basketball coach at Hermon where his dad and high school coach, Roger Reed, is a volunteer assistant. 4 votes.
Purest shooter: A three-way tie: Dickie Russell (1954), Scott Davis (1975) and Bruce Withington (1977).
Those casting their votes with me for the above selections were an esteemed group:
— Paul Graffam, a Bangor High basketball historian from the Class of 1947. His son, Ben, was a star point guard for Bangor in the mid-1970s.
— Bob Kelley, Bangor Class of 1954, who coached the Bangor High baseball team to eight state titles, and a veteran basketball official.
— Wayne Lawton, also a veteran basketball official and Bangor High basketball player from the Class of 1958.
— Clint Van Aken, another great all-around Bangor player in football, basketball and baseball who went on to coach basketball and baseball at Hampden Academy.
— Bob Beatham, a fellow BDN blogger who graduated from Bangor in 1990 and coached freshman basketball at John Bapst.
— Dick Stacey, a 1955 Bangor High grad who played baseball and managed the basketball team. He went on to become a successful area businessman and sponsored the locally famous TV show, Stacey’s Country Jamboree.
— Keith Mahaney, a former Fort Fairfield High School and UMaine basketball standout who is a longtime Bangor High fan.