Horky's Scoring Helps Manchester Take Flight

By Doug Donnelly
Special for MHSAA.com

January 31, 2019

MANCHESTER – The night before the highest scoring game of Tyler Horky’s life, one of his closest friends was involved in a car wreck.

“It was bad,” Horky said. “He was hit right on the driver’s side door. It was a pretty bad accident. It was life-threatening.”

When Manchester went on the road the next night to play at Vandercook Lake, the 6-foot-1 junior wrote “RH” on his wrist tape in honor of his friend, Michigan Center standout Roger Hayward, the teenager in the crash. Hayward reportedly required multiple surgeries in the days after the wreck.

“We played AAU basketball together,” Horky said. “I was really motivated that night. I thought about the accident a lot that night.”

Once he hit the basketball floor, though, there was little stopping Horky. Manchester fell behind, but Horky led a valiant comeback to push the game into overtime. Although Manchester lost, Horky finished with 47 points and showed he was going to be a force in the Cascades Conference this season.

“Believe it or not, it was a quiet 47,” said Manchester head coach Mike Ahrens. “He also contributed three assists, had six steals and only turned the ball over once. It was a unique, fast-paced game.”

Horky has showed the 47-point outburst wasn’t a mirage. Through 13 games, he’s averaging 26 points a game, and has had nights of 36, 31, 31, 27, 25, 25 and 24 points. Even coach Ahrens was a little surprised at how well Horky is scoring this season.

“I envisioned this kind of game could happen next season,” he said.

Horky has always had the talent. As a freshman, however, he broke his arm and missed the entire season. As a sophomore, coming off the injury, he lacked confidence but still averaged 12 points a game.

“I put in a lot of work in the offseason,” Horky said. “I worked a lot with the team, my travel team and my dad. It’s been a climb. This year it has really opened up for me.”

Horky’s scoring spree began with the season opener when he scored 25 against Clinton.

“Since then, I’ve been facing double and triple teams almost every game,” he said. “Some teams start denying me the ball as soon as I cross halfcourt. My teammates have taken a lot of the pressure off me, both by scoring inside and with ball-handling.

“Our coach does a great job of just letting us play, run the pick-and-roll with our bigs and coming off screens.”

Ahrens said while Horky is a great scorer, that’s not his only strength.

“He gives 110 percent effort in all of our drills,” Ahrens said. “He takes pride on defense and leads by example. He listens really well, which is an underrated skill.”

Ahrens, in his first year coaching at his alma mater, picks a defensive player of the game for all of the Dutchmen contests. Horky has earned that honor four times.

“I sincerely believe he is getting better and better at every practice and every game,” Ahrens said.

This past summer Horky, who plays travel basketball with the Ann Arbor Basketball Academy, attended camps at Grand Valley State University and Central Michigan University.

Horky said his AAU experience – particularly the speed of the game and frequent fast breaks and man-to-man defense – helped prepare him for the Cascades Conference this season.

The league is rugged with state-ranked Hanover-Horton (12-1), Michigan Center (11-2) and Vandercook Lake (10-4). Horky’s Dutchmen check in fourth at 7-6 overall with games against Michigan Center (Feb. 5) and Hanover-Horton (Feb. 8) coming up.

Horky is a three-sport athlete at Manchester and carries a 3.9 grade-point average as a member of the National Honor Society. He is the quarterback on the Dutchmen football team.

“Basketball is probably my favorite but when it’s football season, then it’s only football on my mind,” he said. “Football is special.”

Horky is the son of Corey and Abbie Horky. His father is in the Blissfield High School Athletic Hall of Fame and his mother was a high jumper at the University of Michigan following a multiple-sport career at Onsted High School. He has two younger brothers, ages 9 and 12.

He wants to play college basketball. “My ultimate goal is to try to play basketball at the highest level I can,” he said, noting U-M is his dream hoops destination.

Horky still has to finish out this season and has his senior season ahead of him to continue his scoring and filling out as an all-around basketball player. Ahrens, who has coached at various levels for nearly 40 years, said Horky has what it takes to get to the next level.

“He not only pushes himself, but will push teammates as well,” he said. “He truly understands there is more to the game than just scoring.”

Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTO: Manchester junior Tyler Horky brings the ball upcourt. (Photo by Doug Donnelly.)

St. Clair County Celebrates 1st Mr. Basketball Winner, PHN's Jamison

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

March 29, 2023

The Jamison family has spent plenty of time over the years driving long distances as Tyler chased his basketball dreams.

Bay & ThumbAfter the Port Huron Northern senior achieved one of the biggest ones, they had to put some more mileage on the family vehicle.

As the newly-crowned Mr. Basketball, Jamison was invited to a special presentation during the Boys Basketball Finals this past Saturday afternoon at the Breslin Center. It was an invitation Tyler and his family didn’t hesitate to accept, and the drive from Port Huron to East Lansing was nothing.

But it did cause a pretty big change to some other travel plans.

Tyler and his family were scheduled to fly to Florida on Friday for spring break. That flight had to be canceled, though, and instead, the family made the drive down later.

“There were some jokes about just leaving me and letting me find my own way down there,” Jamison said.

While they joke, there’s nowhere the Jamisons would have rather been Saturday than at the Breslin. As a true basketball family – Tyler’s dad Brian is also the coach at Northern, and his brother Alex was a standout freshman for the Huskies – they have a great appreciation for the Mr. Basketball Award and its significance.

“I had said a while ago, ‘Hey, if we’re still in the tournament, we’ll be playing Friday,” Brian Jamison said. “I even mentioned that it would be a miracle, but Tyler could win Mr. Basketball. Now we’re eating plane tickets and driving down to Florida. But it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we’re not missing this.”

Jamison was the overwhelming winner of the award, which is named after Hal Schram and given out by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan. He received 3,058 points in the vote to become its 43rd winner. Curtis Williams of Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (2,004 points), Kaden Brown of Grand Rapids Catholic Central (1,918), Sonny Wilson of Detroit U-D Jesuit (1,883) and Ryan Hurst of North Farmington (1,811) were the other finalists.

“It was just insane,” Tyler Jamison said. “I can’t even really put into words how I felt – it was just a dream come true, a culmination of all the hard work that’s been put in over the years. My mom was in the other room (when his dad called to tell him), and I just hugged her and we were kind of screaming. The dog was getting riled up. It was fun. There were a few tears shed.”

Jamison throws down a dunk.Jamison, who signed with Fairleigh Dickinson in December, finished the season averaging 26.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.3 steals per game. He was named the Macomb Area Conference White division MVP after leading Northern to the league title and a 20-4 overall record.

Even with all that, winning the most prestigious individual basketball award in the state didn’t seem like a reality.

“We purposely try to play a tough schedule, and we purposely got into some showcases because we wanted people to see, not only him play, but us play,” Brian Jamison said. “We had beaten Skyline and Hamtramck, and went up to Croswell-Lexington and won up there, and I thought, ‘OK, now he’s done it against some of the better teams.’ Up to that point, when we played those tougher teams, he’s always showed out well, but it’s different when you’re not winning them. But at that point, I thought he had a chance. Really, I was just hoping he would get on the list. To win it was kind of above and beyond what I had hoped for.”

On the court, Tyler’s impact on the program was pretty obvious and immediate.

He’s the program’s all-time leading scorer – a record he set as a junior – with 1,763 career points. He also holds Northern records for career rebounds (825), points in a game (59), rebounds in a game (28), career field goals made (638) and career free throws made (439). As a junior, he was named MAC Blue MVP.

Northern did not lose a league game in either of the past two seasons.

But Northern is likely to see future success because of Tyler’s non-statistical impact.

Leading a young team, including a group of star freshmen – his brother Alex, Cam Harju and Amir Morelan – was a major part of Tyler’s job this season.

Northern’s home games were must-see events this winter, as the Huskies were one of Division 1’s top teams, and Tyler was providing nightly highlights and must-see performances. Even in his final game, a loss against Macomb Dakota in the District Final, Jamison treated the standing-room crowd with a 46-point performance and a halfcourt shot at the third-quarter buzzer in a valiant effort.

“That’s the big thing, you want the students and the school community to support you, and they did an amazing job,” Tyler Jamison said. “We also had people from the community that wanted to support us and watch us play. Port Huron High had a really good season, too, and I think both schools in the city had that public support. That’s huge. It makes you feel like you’re playing for more than yourself.”

Among those crowds were the next generation of Huskies, some of whom were coached by Tyler in youth basketball. As he’s the first Mr. Basketball winner from St. Clair County, those kids now have a hometown example of someone who has reached the highest heights.

“I think interest gets sparked when the little kids come to the gym, like, ‘Hey, I want to do that,’” Brian Jamison said. “They want to play for Northern or (Port Huron) High. And with him winning Mr. Basketball, I think it gives kids a little bit of ‘Hey, why not me?’ I do think it helps motivate younger people. We’ve had great crowds at our games. I think the area is excited about basketball. It really is a great basketball area.”

With all of that excitement surrounding him, Tyler had one more challenge after the season – keeping the secret that he had won. He found out six days before the award was announced.

“It was terrible – especially when it’s something of that magnitude,” he said. “You want to tell everyone. You want to tell your friends and family. It was hard to be like, ‘No, I don’t know.’”

Paul CostanzoPaul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Tyler Jamison, second from left, with his parents and brother, stands with his newly-received Mr. Basketball Award trophy during the ceremony at the Detroit Free Press. (Middle) Jamison throws down a dunk. (Photos courtesy of the Jamison family.)