MACwood Squares: Who's The Best Toledo Basketball Player Ever?

It doesn't get any purer than Greg Stempin's dunk against Ohio State in 1999.

MACwood Squares is our summer reading series on the best athletes in Mid-American Conference sports history. This week features Toledo. Looking for your MAC school? Consult our schedule for other teams and please submit your nominees as well.

How spread out are all these people? None of them played together. There's quite a good sampling of players dating back to the '30s. That's what makes their recent inept team so harrowing. These guys used to be great. Not "national powerhouse" great, but one of the top-tier teams any given year.

It was hard to narrow down the list to even seven people, but here we go. The case for each is after the jump.

Chuck Chuckovits (1937-39) — So, his name is Chuck Chuckovits. If you need more persuasion, then I don't know what to tell you. But here are some basketball reasons: he was the school's first All-American and scored 1,189 career points, at the time a school best. He would go onto play in the ancient National Basketball League which eventually merged with the NBA but also had some goofy-as-hell named teams such as the Toledo Jim White Chevrolets. Kinda wish that team was still around.

Larry Jones (1960-64) — Before he was a great ABA player, Jones played for good-but-not-great teams at UT. Jones was the lone highlight, whose 20.9 average is second-best in school history. But his ABA career is what defined him. Jones averaged 21.9 points in six ABA seasons, playing in four All-Star games and being named to three All-ABA teams.

Steve Mix (1966-69) — Sixth all-time with 1,676 points, fourth in rebounds. Earned an All-American nod by Converse & Helms in '69. His 23.0 points per game is the also a school record. He also played for 13 seasons with the Pistons, 76ers and Lakers, scoring 16 minutes per 48 and playing in one All-Star Game. Definitely one of the most visible faces in Toledo today as he continues to run a basketball camp in town.

Tom Kozelko (1970-73) — In this whole group he's the only one to win the MAC Player of the Year twice. In a third year he was named first team All-MAC. He'd go onto play three years for the Capital Bullets.

Ken Epperson (1981-85) — All-time school leader in points (2,106) and rebounds (960). Earned two First Team All-MAC awards.

Craig Thames (1992-96) — Earned two First Team All-MACs. He's second behind Epperson with 1,964 points and fourth in steals (207). Negatives: his name rhymes with Craig James. 

Greg Stempin (1997-2001) — Here's a personal secret: in my entire lifetime, I never enjoyed watching a basketball player — ANY basketball player — as much as I did Stempin. He is fourth on the points list (1,705) and seventh in rebounds. He also was named to three first team All-MACs from '99-'01. But most of all I'm enamored with this dunk.

I'm going to leave out Keith Triplett for obvious reasons. But you can consider anybody else, including Harvey Knuckles, Tyrone Kent, Larry Cole and Casey Shaw.

Who are your nominees for Toledo's MACwood Squares? Comment below, tweet us at @HustleBelt or submit a FanPost making your case. The final nine will be revealed Friday.

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