Basalt basketball’s Michael Glen eyes 1,000 career points
There was a moment for the Basalt High School boys basketball team in Saturday’s home opener against Vail Christian when junior guard Justin Henderson connected with senior Michael Glen for an alley-oop.
Henderson admitted after the game how fun it was, especially considering Glen wasn’t tall enough to make that happen just a few seasons ago.
“I came into high school at about 5-11, pretty unathletic, and every basketball season I seemed to grow two to three inches, and here I am now at 6-6,” Glen said. “After freshman year when coach had me play quite a bit of varsity time, I realized how much the sport means to me and how it is pretty much my passion.”
Glen has become the centerpiece of Basalt’s basketball resurgence. The team, which has a proud tradition, hasn’t had much success over the last decade and only won nine combined games during Glen’s freshman and sophomore seasons. Then, last season, BHS went 17-6 and made the Class 3A state tournament.
Much of that success came with the emergence of Glen as a force on the court.
“His dominance came last year. He fell in love with the game and decided that was his thing and took advantage of it,” said fourth-year Basalt coach Danny Martinez. “Mike, he’s just a basketball player. He can go in and post you up. He can come out and shoot threes. He can drive by you. He’s just someone hard to defend.”
And further proof of Glen’s impact on the court could come this weekend when the team travels to a two-day tournament hosted by Montezuma-Cortez. Entering Friday’s 7 p.m. game against Cortez, Glen has 969 career points, leaving him 31 shy of 1,000, a milestone number in high school basketball.
He is averaging 23.4 points per game through the Longhorns’ 4-1 start this winter, meaning he is likely to top the four-figure barrier in points this weekend.
The school record for scoring is held by Paul Cain, who was an all-state player for Basalt in 1984, ’85 and ’86. Cain, who also went on to become one of the best players in Colorado Mesa University history, scored 1,665 career points while at Basalt.
“I didn’t care about that,” said Cain, a former athletic director at BHS who has been the Mesa County Valley School District AD for the past decade. “My goal was to win a state title. We lost in the state championship twice, and it’s still hard for me that we didn’t win one. We were ranked No. 1 all year and to lose in the finals, we had a bad night.”
Much like Cain, who said he never paid attention to the statistics, Glen was barely even aware of the 1,000-point milestone he was approaching. Martinez — a 2001 BHS graduate who played a season under Cain when he was at Basalt — also had no idea, but was hardly surprised.
“I probably didn’t even realize it was on my radar until after junior year when I realized I was on track to get the achievement,” Glen said. “It will feel good, because it’s definitely a milestone I do plan on achieving. But once it happens, it happens, and you just move on and focus on the next game.”
According to his stats on MaxPreps, Glen played in 22 games as a freshman, scoring 112 points. In only 20 games as a sophomore, he scored 320 (16.0 points per game) and in 23 games as a junior scored 420 (18.3 ppg). So far this season, he has 117 points and is shooting a career-best 58 percent from the field.
Glen has 484 career rebounds entering the weekend, which is well short of the school record 1,010, also held by Cain.
“In seventh grade I saw some talent in him. I told him he was going to be a great basketball player,” Martinez said of Glen. Martinez was the middle school coach when Glen was in seventh and eighth grade. “I haven’t seen a kid like Mike in a long time. It’s just nice to have him on our team.”
Glen, who also is one of the top students in his class, is receiving attention from college programs, especially at the NCAA Division II level. Most of this is in the back of his mind right now, however. The points don’t mean a whole lot without wins, and after a disappointing 72-59 loss to Del Norte to open the season, the Longhorns have won four straight games and are determined to finish what they started last year.
“The first couple of years were rough, but our coach really told us to stick with it. He really pushed us hard,” Glen said. “I think it really woke us up to push even harder. We have a chip on our shoulder now a little bit.”
Following Friday’s game with Cortez, the Longhorns will face either Grand County or Ignacio on Saturday. It will be the final game for Basalt until it returns from winter break to host Roaring Fork on Jan. 10.
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A ski season surrounded with uncertainty kicks off on Wednesday. The six inches of new snowfall Tuesday will allow opening of an additional 62 acres on Aspen Mountain, bringing opening-day total to about 160 acres.