NORMAN — The best player on Norman High’s 1999 state championship team was Nate Boylan. He was electric and everywhere, the kind of kid who could go get you 20 in a quarter.
There are two members of that team on the Wall of Fame that rings the NHS Gym. Boylan’s one, and Doug Tolin, the coach, who continues to have a good long run at Oklahoma Baptist, is the other.
The funny thing about it?
Some people swear there was a better player on that team than Boylan and it was Ian Boylan, Nate’s younger brother.
Ian was the better college player, spending four years as the best thing going at Cal-State Northridge and he’s still making his living playing basketball, averaging 33.4 minutes, 9.6 points and 6.3 assists for Kapfenberg of Austria’s top pro league. Three nights ago he dropped 10 assists on Oberwart.
Yet, here’s the deal.
Nate, I’m still convinced, was better than Ian. And, frankly, was better his senior season than Ian was his senior season, two years later. Still, there’s a debate. And, maybe, no right answer.
You’re probably wondering why we’re talking about 1999 NHS basketball the day after Norman North swept the Crosstown Clash at the NHS Gym.
Well, it’s funny what reminds you of what, and watching Marcus Dickinson and Lindy Waters play for Norman North reminds me an awful lot of watching the Boylan brothers 15 years ago.
The two Timberwolves are both sophomores. Dickinson’s clearly the more electric of the two. Rare is the game he’s not faster with the ball than the other nine players on the court without the ball.
If you absolutely need two points, clear out and let him work. Spot two guys up and have the other two cutting towards the basket at the last moment just in case Dickinson gets caught in the air.
Now, just for the fun of it, pretend he does get caught int he air and rather than dish, throws up a prayer.
You know who’s going to get that rebound? Lindy Waters is going to get that rebound and many more of them, too, because his anticipation for the ball is uncanny, to say nothing of the moments he goes and gets his team a basket when it needs one.
Dickinson is the livewire, Waters is relentless and constant. Together, they’re lethal.
They may be the two best high schoolers to share a court in this town since the Boylans, who were the two best to share one since Stacy Hansmeyer and Sarah Dimson were playing for Sherri Coale.
Friday night was North’s night at the old Tiger gym, with the girls prevailing 48-32 and the boys 68-52.
Nobody played harder than NHS’ Bethany Franks, though North’s Alexis Scott was right there with her.
If you’re a North girls fan, you had to like the way the Timberwolves closed on a 16-2 run. But, frankly, you can’t like how hard it was for North to score until that run, just 32, two more than NHS, until about 5 minutes remained.
If your preference, though, is the North boys, you have almost no worries.
The only lament is they haven’t taken down Midwest City or Edmond Memorial yet in three tries, because it looks like they might now, rolling along on a seven-game winning streak. Whatever, they get one more crack at the Bombers this coming Tuesday.
You have no real worries, first, because of Dickinson and Waters, their two best players, even if it’s unclear who’s the best of the two. And you have no worries, second, because their teammates are playing terrific basketball.
Waters finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds and I might have missed a couple boards. Dickinson went for 14 and six, but Trae Young, the freshman, added 15 on the strength of 13 in the third quarter. Also, Payton Prince, who’s really upped his game over the last month added nine and six, and I might have shorted him a board or two, too.
The tricky part for the North boys may be reaching the state tournament. They’re still so young. But if they can be the team they’ve been the the last few weeks, they should get there and, once there, count nothing out.
They clearly have the highest ceiling of any team in town. It might be debatable, but I’ll take them as the best one, too, just like I’ll take Nate over Ian, at least back in the day.
If I could only make up my mind between Dickinson and Waters. It’s just too tough.
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