When you talk about the greatest basketball players to put on a Redwood Valley uniform, the name Mike Busack has to be included in the discussion.
The past 20 years of Cardinal hoops – or as I call it ‘the Golden Era’ – has seen some good ones.
I mean think what Markus Okeson could do with a line-up of Luke Jimenez at point guard, Mike Felt at the two, Mike Busack and David Homan at forward and Aaron Busack at center.
He’d probably rule the world.
The old-timers sitting around the table at afternoon coffee might have a few other names for me, but again, I’m talking about just the last 20 years.
I didn’t even mention names like Josh Preusse, Jason Busack, Seth Breitkreutz, JT?Radel or Tim Madson.
Bottom line, Mike Busack is going to go down as one of the best to put on a Cardinal uniform.
“I think what I’ll remember most is the relationships I’ve been able to build with everyone on the teams, staff and community,” Busack said. “That’s what I’m gonna miss the most, not the wins, losses or stats.”
His stats speak for themselves. His 1,736 career points put him in the top five all-time, and he finishes with 690 career rebounds, 265 assists, 157 steals and 150 blocked shots.
As a senior, Busack averaged 26.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 4.0 apg, led the team with 112 assists, 51 steals and had 55 blocked shots.
He shot 56 percent from the floor (42 percent from downtown) and had 95 made three-pointers for a team that went 26-2 and won the SWC championship.
The three time All-SWC selection led the Cardinals to within four overtimes of a state title berth as a junior and to the Section 3AA title game as a senior.
His game-winning three-pointer against Montevideo in the Section 3A-North Sub-Section title game in 2011 is going to be talked about for years to come, and he did it again to the T-Hawks this year scoring 29 points and grabbing eight boards in the Cards 48-46 Sub-Section title victory.
“I thought we had a great run this season, but it didn’t end up how we wanted,’ he said. “As a whole though I think we can be proud of what we accomplished the last couple years, and I really want to thank Coach Okeson and the rest of the staff for everything they’ve done for me. They’re the reason why we were as successful as we were.”
What knowledgeable hoops fans are probably going to remember most though about Busack was his unselfish play and how he made average talent around him better.
I’m not knocking the role players the Cardinals have had the past two seasons (it proves what a solid coach Okeson is), but if you look at the roster of some of the teams before Busack (especially ’96-98 and in ’02) the overall talent is not even comparable.
From a sheer athletic standpoint, Busack is arguably one of the most gifted we’ve seen come through in a long time.
He could easily play college football, and if he wanted to go the baseball route, as a 6’5” left-handed pitcher, he would gain instant attention from scouts.
Then there was his high-flying dunk act that is probably never going to be duplicated.
I can remember a four or five year stretch where I didn’t see a single dunk in a game, and Busack had four alone in one game against Windom Area.
He just recently captured the slam dunk title at the Minnesota?All-Star Series in St. Cloud.
This is an event that features numerous All-State players including teammate and Minnesota Mr. Basketball winner Siyani Chambers of Hopkins who is going to play at Harvard.
His 24 points and six boards in a 105-90 win and 18 points and eight boards in a 112-101 loss proved he belongs with the rest of the Minnesota elite.
“It was some of the most fun basketball I’ve played in my life,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to play with the best talent in the state and see where I measured up.”
Busack’s basketball ceiling is high. He has the opportunity now to go to MSU-Mankato and make his mark at the collegiate level.
“I’m extremely excited to get to play for the Mavericks,” he said. “They are bringing in a lot of new talent, and I get along with the team very well so far.”
“I think the Maverick program is going to push me to my limits to get bigger, faster, stronger and all around better at the game of basketball, and I’m looking forward to the next four years.”
Good luck down the road Mike.
Cardinal Nation is definitely gonna miss you.