VERSAILLES – Versailles senior Michael Stammen, the son of Bob and Ronda Stammen has been named OHSAA D-III First Team All-Ohio boys basketball.
“It meant a lot – it was one of my goals coming into the year,” said Stammen. “I didn’t know if it could actually be done because it’s such a prestigious award and without my teammates helping us to a 23-2 record it definitely couldn’t have been done.”
“Michael is one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever coached,” said Versailles coach Travis Swank. “You can tell he loves the game and is a student of the game. I truly think his IQ of the game is what separates Michael from many players. He knows what the right play is 9 times out of 10.”
At 5’11” Stammen is the lone player under 6’0” named D-III First Team All-Ohio, a team that included two 6’7” players, a 6’6” and a 6’4” player, four 6’3” members and one 6’1” player.
“You can’t teach size,” Stammen stated, “so I always thought I could just outwork people and have more skill than others.”
The All-Ohio award comes on the heels of Stammen already named 2019-2020 MAC Player of the Year, District 9 Player of the year and First Team All-Southwest District.
“That was also one of my goals coming into the season,” Stammen said of being named MAC Player of the Year. “I knew I had a chance, being the only junior on first team last year and to get it was pretty cool.”
“Last year I didn’t get District 9 Player of the Year, I got District 9 First Team,” Stammen noted. “This year I get District 9 Player of the Year so it shows improvement.”
“Last year I got Second Team Southwest District and to get first team this year makes me feel better about the season,” added Stammen.
The Versailles Tigers varsity boys basketball team was Ohio’s No. 1 ranked D-III team for most of the season before dropping their lone regular season game late in the season, a February 1st loss to the Anna Rockets. The team closed out season play with a 57-47 loss to Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy 57-47 in the OHSAA district title game.
“We didn’t like how it ended but I believe all in all it was a good season with MAC Champs and going 23-2,” Stammen said of his senior season.
“Michael was able to handle the workload that was placed on him in his last two years at the varsity level,” said Coach Swank. “During his sophomore year he was asked just to be a true point guard and run the team while other players scored more of the points.”
“After his sophomore season we asked him to make his teammates better and to get them involved,” Swank continued. “We also said you need to score for us as well. That is a tall task for a 16-17 year old kid but he never shied away from that moment, in fact he thrived.”
Stammen had his share of injuries during his high school career, including a football injury that had his senior season in doubt.
“I broke my ankle my sophomore year of football and then this past year of football I had a compartment syndrome surgery where I didn’t know if I was actually going to be able to play during the basketball season,” said Stammen. “I was out for a couple of months with that but I played every game (senior basketball season). I only missed one scrimmage.”
Stammen was quick to give credit to his success on the court to his teammates and coaching staff led by veteran Tigers’ coach, Travis Swank. Senior teammates include: Ryan Martin, Hunter Trump, Connor VanSkyock, Dakoda Naftzger and Austin Toner.
“A lot of it has to do with us growing up with one another,” Stammen noted. “We have been playing together since fourth grade and we knew where everyone was going to be at on the floor.”
“We are Coach Swank’s first class coming through,” added Stammen. “He came in as the head coaching position as we were freshmen and he changed the program around, the culture and he just teaches hard work, preaches defense – and we all bought into his system.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Versailles’ First Team All-Ohio, Michael Stammen drives to the basket for the Tigers in regular season play. (Gaylen Blosser photo)