MVP Markell Jackson 6-5 Sr Muskegon: No senior has come as far as Jackson over the past six months, from the bench to a college scholarship prospect and one of the state’s top 10 available prospects for 2017. A year in the Muskegon program has really toughened up a kid who began at Loy-Norrix. He used his length and motor to dominate games at the Bank Hoops All-State Camp as a rebounder and finisher. Long stride covers a lot of space on offense or defense. At times looked like a long lost Clyburn Brother. One of four at least D2 seniors for Muskegon, a top 5 Class A team, along with fellow all-tournament pick Jermayne Goliday, 4.0 transfer Sam Cornett and NMU signee Anthony Bethea. Jackson’s a mid-major lock with improved range and consistency on the jumper.
“(Jackson’s) an athletic finisher who can lead or finish the break with the best of them,” a coach said. “Had the best first step in camp when going right. Can score off the wings and even saw him go to the post when guarded by smaller players. Finishes with contact and was consistent from 17 feet and in. Improved shooting will open up the drive even more. Played hard-nosed on D as Muskegon kids will usually do.”
Lamontae Ellis 5-9 Sr Flushing: Size isn’t ideal, but gives you everything else you want as a leader and competitor from the 1. Tough Flint kid.
“Competes all the time,” a coach said. “Seems to have a fire in his eyes when he plays and leaves it all on the floor. True pass-first point guard who knows how to get into the lane. Also a good enough scorer to hit the open shot and finish around the hoop if you don’t respect him as a scorer. Has a nice floater game off the dribble. Rebounds well for a guard and isn’t afraid of contact. Seems to like playing defense on the ball. Limited only by height.”
Jermayne Goliday 6-4 Sr Muskegon: The second member of Muskegon’s squad to make the all-camp team. Goliday is a streak scorer, so when he sunk a three-pointer on his first touch of the camp games, it was a promising sign. And fortuitous it was, as he continued to pile up points. Shot selection is forgiven when he’s on. Goliday can shoot off the catch, or break his man down off the dribble. Can pull up or get all the way to the rim, where he surprised with his athleticism finishing chest-to-chest. A solid but not exceptionally explosive athlete, but such a tough cover because of his assortment of unorthodox, creative and seemingly counterintuitive moves. If it’s buckets you want, Goliday is one of the top remaining senior prospects in the state.
Jalen Miller 6-3 Sr Lake Fenton: Aggressive guard who is a tough cover with his combination of strength and skill. Gets going downhill and in attack mode but not out of control and makes smart, confident plays with the ball. Intriguing, relatively unknown prospect, part of the Flint diaspora which has high-end talent emerging in new places. Similar to former SVSU guard Damon Bozeman. Or …
“Eso Akunne 2.0,” said a coach. “Jalen is a big-bodied guard who uses it very well. He has a spin move and all-around game reminiscent of the former Mr. Basketball nominee from Ann Arbor Richard. While Eso was a better jumper and slightly more consistent shooter, they have identical guard skills. Jalen sees the floor very well, and communicates well. When he decides to really check, can be a very capable defender.”
Deric Murray 6-4 Sr Ann Arbor Pioneer: NAIA offers are flowing for this athletic, versatile, two-way guard. Murray is the top senior prospect for one of the state’s top 10 Class A team.
“High motor kid who is dangerous in the open court,” a coach said. “Easy jumper who finishes about the rim regularly. Anticipates well in the passing lanes, but his gambles sometimes cost his team buckets. Very good on-ball defender. Needs to work on being shot-ready off the catch.”
Derek Nicholson 6-8 Sr Williamston: He unfortunately tore his ACL in an open gym after the camp. A 2016 state finalist, Williamston would’ve been a top 5 team in Class B with Nicholson back in the middle. He’ll likely play spring AAU and would get a lot of looks since he’s young for his class, has improved rapidly, and is a rare retro 4 who likes to dirty. A strength, leverage, position worker in the lane, rebounder, screener, finisher. Soft hands. Doesn’t play above the rim. Consistently hit a hook over taller, longer defenders in big man drills.
“Tough!,” a coach said. “He is a banger who finds a body to seal in the post and once he catches down there it’s over. Does a great job getting to his strength, which is a an almost-unstoppable jump hook he takes going into the lane. Solid rebounder on the defensive, but didn’t get after it like he could on the offensive end. Nice job walling off and boxing out whenever a shot went up. Would scratch D1 if he had a higher motor. Hit some shots from the high post, but an improved jumpshot and quickness could also help him take his game to the next level.”