Jesse McGraw, Matt Carle and Andrew Friske pose for a photo after their induction into the Gold Medal Hall of Fame, Friday, March 24, during the Juneau Lions Club 74th Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé gymnasium. (Klas Stolpe/For the Juneau Empire)

Jesse McGraw, Matt Carle and Andrew Friske pose for a photo after their induction into the Gold Medal Hall of Fame, Friday, March 24, during the Juneau Lions Club 74th Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé gymnasium. (Klas Stolpe/For the Juneau Empire)

Friske, McGraw and Carle Inducted into Gold Medal Hall of Fame

Two teammates and one opponent share selection night together

  • By Klas Stolpe For the Juneau Empire
  • Saturday, March 25, 2023 3:20pm
  • SportsBasketball

Andrew Friske, Jesse McGraw and Matt Carle were inducted into the Gold Medal Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday evening during the Juneau Lions Club’s 74th annual tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé.

“It means a lot,” Friske said of the Gold Medal Tournament. “I mean, my whole life has kind of revolved around basketball. And living in Southeast Alaska is a big part of it with Gold Medal. Having your parents do it your whole life and having your own kids do it your whole life, it’s an essential part of living in Southeast Alaska, I feel. It is one of the best things, I think, about keeping communities healthy and strong rivalries, which keep communities also healthy between each other — having that common thread, you know, and it is all on the basketball court. I think Gold Medal has kept that together for 74 years. I know the importance, what it has meant to me in my life, and I think it means that to everybody who comes here and watches it and takes time out of their spring break and pays all that money to come up here and make it a priority.”

Attending members of the Gold Medal Hall of Fame pose for a photo on Friday, March 24, at the Juneau Lions Club 74th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé gymnasium. (Klas Stolpe/For the Juneau Empire)

Attending members of the Gold Medal Hall of Fame pose for a photo on Friday, March 24, at the Juneau Lions Club 74th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé gymnasium. (Klas Stolpe/For the Juneau Empire)

Friske said his favorite memory of the tournament was as a player on the Haines Merchant first B Bracket Championship team.

“It was against Hoonah,” Friske said. “When everybody was chanting, ‘Hoonah, Hoonah,’ and we beat them in overtime. And it could have gone either way but that was just the start of a great rivalry between Haines/Klukwan and Hoonah and Hydaburg… and the same thing tonight, we’ve got Hoonah and Klukwan, the same guys we have been playing against for years. But there have been a lot of memories. I still remember my dad (Terry), I got out of school a day to come watch him play.”

Friske hopes he can some day share court time at the tournament with his son Jacob, a junior on the Mt. Edgecumbe High School Braves basketball team.

“That is my ultimate goal,” he said. “Is that my son and I can play in the same division, and I can still be competitive… that would definitely be my goal and then maybe someday coach my daughter in it. I don’t think they are going co-ed any time soon but that would be my goals.”

Friske, the principal and athletic director at MEHS, flew out of Juneau after Friday’s Klukwan win over Hoonah to attend his son’s third place game in the state basketball tournament and the MEHS Lady Braves in the girls state title game. His daughter, Gracelynn, is a Sitka eighth grader and her team was playing in Saturday’s Juneau HoopTime “A” championship.

Friske has played 24 years in Gold Medal (1996-2011 with Haines Merchants, 2012-23 with Klukwan Chilkats). He has eight championships (1999-2001, ’03, ’07, 2016-18) and eight all-tourney selections (1998, ‘03, ‘05, ‘07-‘09, 2011, 2019). He has won MVP three times (2000-01, 2017), Best Defense (1999), the Dr. Walter A. Soboleff Award (2019), and has been an integral part of the Mt. Edgecumbe Invitational Tournament – including adding women’s, youth and junior divisions – and helped create the Baranof Ballers citywide basketball program for Sitka youth.

Jesse McGraw is playing in his 26th Gold Medal Tournament (1995-2023) for B bracket Haines and C bracket Klukwan, has eight championships (1999-2001, ’03, ’07, 2016-18) and four all-tourney selections (1999, 2000-01, 2016). He has won Best Sportsmanship (2004) and Best Defensive Player (2003, 2017). McGraw is noted as being one of the best on-ball defenders and help defenders, the “workhorse” of any team he plays on and is often a leading rebounder and assist man as well. McGraw is an active Little League baseball coach and basketball and volleyball referee in the Chilkat Valley.

“It means a lot as far as getting together with all the same guys year after year,” McGraw said. “Supporting the community. Seeing all the fans. It is great. It is the best time.”

The huge crowds and competitive games are some of his favorite memories.

“Probably the third championship in the B,” he said. “A long time ago… yeah, those were the battles back in the day. They were always fun. That was against mostly Hoonah and then Hydaburg was some battles, too, probably the most memorable games.”

McGraw also noted the support received from the Haines and Klukwan communities over the years.

“It has been really great,” he said. “Another person from the beginning has been current Mayor Doug Olerud. He was a huge supporter in the beginning, paying entry fees, flying players up from college, helping out with housing. It really helped us all stay engaged over the years. I also can’t say enough how awesome it was to be inducted with Andrew Friske. He is a very dear friend and a great person.”

Matt Carle played his first Gold Medal Tournament at age 17 (1993 Hydaburg) and has played in 14. He has eight championships (1995 B – Hydaburg; 2001 A – Tenakee; ‘03 A – Anchorage; ‘05-‘06, 2012 B – Hydaburg; 2015 C – Hydaburg, 2015 B – Hydaburg coach) and seven all-tournament selections (1994-95, ‘97, 2002-03, ‘05, 2015). He is also a board member of Alaska Sports Hall of Fame (2013-present), Alaska Pacific University (2017-present), Juneau Community Foundation (2021-present), Helping Hands Foundation (2021-present) and Blood Bank of Alaska (2022-present) and supports youth activities around southeast Alaska through a community outreach position at Sealaska.

“Gosh it honestly means the world,” Matt Carle said of the selection. “This tournament has meant so much to me over the years that it is really an honor to be inducted in, especially with Jesse and Andrew. It seems only fitting after all those years of us battling against each other in Hydaburg versus Haines. I have always wanted to be recognized as one of the better players to have played in this tournament so it means a great deal be inducted this year.”

Carle was able to briefly get on the court this tournament with his son Jaren during a Hydaburg win. The moment featured a friendly exchange on the court when his son did not pass the ball to his open father and the team and crowd laughed and cheered.

“Being on the court with my son was pretty special,” Carle said. “That was something that I always dreamed about since he was a baby. I always envisioned us playing together at some point in Gold Medal. It was pretty fun to be out there with him and I think he enjoyed NOT passing it to me when I was open.”

Aside from that, Carle said his favorite memory of Gold Medal was a first championship.

“We had a lot of really good battles against Hoonah and Nate Strong and those teams,” he said. “So that was a really great honor. That was one of my favorite memories. And the last one that we won, we were able to beat the Klukwan team in 2015, that was a really great highlight for me as well.”

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