Though lacking some of the national teams and prospects of past years, the Hensley Memorial Run-n-Slam at Ft. Wayne’s Spiece Fieldhouse continues to be the elite travel event in the Midwest. It’s long been a proving ground for Michigan prospects, and this year’s was no different. There was one gold division champion from the Mitten, as the Mustangs defeated the King James Shooting Stars for the 16U crown. REACH won the 17U title in silver.
Here are 10 Michigan standout prospects from Spiece.
Austin Davis 6-10 Jr Mustangs (Onsted): You’re not going to win the Spiece marathon with just seven players, so the Mustangs acquitted themselves well given that circumstance by at least making it to Sunday. A recent U-M commitment, Davis struggled Friday night but got stronger as the weekend progressed. When he’s able to establish deep position and catch the ball cleanly, he scores consistently. He has a nice touch from the line, always a bonus for a big man. The Mustangs had two guys up front up aren’t afraid to hit you or take a hit, Davis and former Saginaw star Algevon Eichelberger. Plays hard and has a Big Ten body, so he has a chance as his skill and fitness levels continue to improve.
Marlon Dorsey 6-2 Jr ACB/Bank Hoops (East Kentwood): He was a standout on Kentwood’s O-K Red championship football and basketball squads, a ballhawk defender on both the turf and wood. Dorsey can defend all three perimeter positions, knock down 3s, make the smart extra pass and rebound like a forward. He looked right at home matching the Illinois Wolves shot-for-shot Saturday night as ACB/Bank Hoops took the Under Armour flagship program to OT before the Wolves ended up reaching the 17U championship game.
Julian Dozier 5-8 8th Family 15U (Ypsilanti): The Family 15s may not have a superstar, but they have a number of smart, mature players, and it starts with point guards like Detroit Loyola’s PJ Mitchell and Dozier, despite the latter being just a middle schooler. Dozier isn’t one of those puberty cases who dominates when young because he’s just bigger and stronger, he does it by knowing how to play. Their Family team was knocked out of the gold bracket by eventual champion Iowa Barnstormers.
Jermaine Jackson 5-8 So Mustangs 16U (Macomb Dakota): Plays with the upbeat confidence you want from your main ball-handler, and has matured to meld his own scoring ability with creating opportunities for all his talented teammates. The Mustangs just run smoothly when Jackson is out there, he refuses to get flustered. His height becomes irrelevant offensively because he’s a quick triple-threat on the move. Picks and chooses his spots and shows some guts when he decides to take it and and finish through the trees. Clearly one of the top 2017 point guards in the Midwest.
Trishton Jackson 6-2 Jr REACH (West Bloomfield): After losing their first game Friday night, REACH ran the table to win the consolation bracket. The team if rich with hard-working role players. It’s Jackson who can be the difference-maker when he’s dialed in, because of his natural talent level. He’s a handful to defend when he gets rolling, because he’s a slasher, scorer, passer and shooter.
Demetrius Lake 5-9 So Mustangs 16U (Holland): It’s impressive how Lake has been able to transform from a volume shooter in the winter to a defensive stopper and instant offense off the bench in AAU. Strong, aggressive and athletic, he plays similarly to another one-time West Michigan guard, J.R. Wallace. He competes.
Michael Peterson 6-6 Jr Grand Rapids Storm (Rockford): One of Peterson’s most appealing traits is how he’s able to get his shot off even against high-end competition thanks to his extension and high release point. Can pass it too and makes smart decisions on the move. If he were beefier and knocked it down from 20 consistently, a MAC player.
Zack Nieuwkoop 6-7 So West Michigan Lakers (Wayland): He had his moment of truth against Indy Elite’s taller, older frontline, but continued to produce just as he has all spring playing up on the Lakers’ 17U. Nieuwkoop has a body built to bang yet gets it off the floor quickly to rebound. He has a nice shooting touch, from mid-range and the foul line, but as a post scorer is still a work in progress.
Tony Poljan 6-7 Jr One Nation (Lansing Catholic): While One Nation’s rotating forward position has become a running source of amusement on the circuit, Poljan’s game is pretty serious. The state champion QB is huge and doesn’t mind using that body to leverage, grind and go get rebounds. Despite his increased bulk he’s retained his soft shooting touch. Don’t be surprised of Poljan pursues both basketball and football in college, possibly at CMU.
Henry Speight 6-2 So GreenWood 16U (Carrollton): No sophomore in the state averaged more points/rebounds than Speight this past winter, and he continues to produce in age-group competition. It’s easy to see why, as he looks closer to 26 than 16. Gets off the floor reasonably well for his size which makes him just a load to deal with in the lane. Will have to re-do his body to be a college guard.