All-State Camp: Underclassman First Team

MVP  Pierre Brooks  6-4  Fr  Detroit Douglass: Has to actually, you know, do something in high school. But for his age, Brooks has maxed out his resume. A winner in AAU, consistent standout at camps and exposure events and workouts with Micah Lancaster, one of the top trainers in the world. Brooks is a coach’s son with a big body for his age, so fit right in going against the camp upperclassman. Shots that may have been questionable at last year’s camp, were good looks this time around as he’s become more consistent. Was competitive, vocal and a leader in drills if not as much in games. While he can hit from three-point range, is at his best pulling up or posting up at the elbows. Good vision on the break, and the strength to deliver the ball. Able to bull his way into the lane, but would behoove Brooks to work the angles and glass instead of going over the top which is a much tougher shot — at least until he’s older and gets the bounce to make those dunks and not finger rolls. Once he learns the intensity needed daily at the varsity level, could claim status at the top freshman in the Mitten.

“Game that reminds you of a young Denzel Valentine,” a coach said. “Tough point guard whose eyes are always up the floor. Defends and plays the passing lanes very well, and seemed to be more aggressive defensively than at past camps. Once he goes from playing hard most of the time to playing hard all the time .. look out!”

William Dunn  6-7  So  Quincy: Had never heard of Dunn when he stepped onto the floor at the 2016 camp. This time around he came in ranked the state’s No. 5 2020 prospect and did nothing to dissuade the assessor that dubbed him such with how he produced against upperclassmen. Got beat up a little in the paint, but then paid ’em back pulling defenders out of the paint and dropping three-pointers over them. And unlike so many “stretch 4s”, Dunn has the footspeed to defend on the perimeter, not just shoot from it.

“Incredibly coordinated for his age and size,” a coach said. “Crashed the glass on both ends of the floor and has nice timing going up to block a shot. Showed the ability to defend bigs off the dribble. Good on the block, can knock down the open jumper and was the second-best passing big in the camp next to (overall MVP Luke) Maranka. He’s bouncier than one would first think and plays with a streak of toughness. Would like to see him be nasty all the time and also be more interactive with teammates. He makes the types of plays that can excite and build momentum, so the more energy he shows the more others will feed off it. Should be a D1 lock.”

Ta’vas Lawler-Showers  6-0  So  Marshall Academy: It wasn’t just seniors like Southfield Christian’s Bryce Washington and Buckley’s Austin Harris who were repping Class D at the camp. This kid was one of the big surprises.

“Extremely quick and drove it all over the floor during drill work,” a coach said.

“May have been the best ball-handler at camp — and with Drew Lowder there, that’s saying a lot,” another coach said. “Was very good in transition and could get in the lane with ease in the half-court. Sometimes over-penetrated and had nowhere to go with it so forced an off-balanced shot. Needs to know what he’s trying to do with the dribble at all times. Can shoot it well both off the catch and the bounce. Solid competitor on the defensive end.”

KJ Rai  6-4  Fr  East Lansing: Was bumped to the upperclassman games based on how he’d performed at past Underclassman Camps. He didn’t just it in, but excelled. Natural moving wing who can really shoot it off the catch. Would expect him to be an understudy to Noah Schon as a freshman at East Lansing, a top 10 Class A team.

“Becomes more and more of a complete player each time i see him,” a coach said. “Knocked down shots consistently in drills and in games. Has added a nice step-back, but doesn’t overuse it. Seems to be more versatile and athletic on the defensive end too.”

Julian Roper  6-2  Fr  Detroit Country Day: He and DCD sophomore Wendell Green are one of the top underclassman backcourts in Michigan. Considered an early top 10 2021 prospect based on his age group AAU career, and certainly did nothing to hurt that rep here.

“The second-best freshman I saw,” a coach said. “Can shoot it and get to the basket. Caught a nice alley in transition during games. Would’ve liked to have seen him play against the older players sometimes it was too easy for him with his age group.”

“Julian is an extremely talented and athletic guard with great size,” said another coach. “He can do just about anything he wants offensively. Very gifted scorer on all three levels. Rebounds well on the offensive end for a guard and is an improved pass from times I’ve seen him in the past. Doesn’t always sell out on the defensive end like he’s capable. Would also like to see a player of his caliber be more vocal.”

RJ Taylor  5-9  8th  Midland: He was the top middle schooler at the Underclassman Camp, and the same at the All-State Camp. He’s at an advantage to most kids his age coming from a family of basketball coach and players. But it’s one thing to know what to do do, and another to go out and execute and that’s where RJ separates himself because he has good physical tools for his age as well. Love the burst from the pack to start the fast break. Makes good decisions at speed. Gets “hockey assists” and encourages unselfish play with how he keeps the ball moving. Shot it consistently in drills. On a D1 trajectory

“Made tough finishes with either hand,” a coach said. “Plays hard and was not intimidated by anyone. Player to watch over the next four years as he’s only an 8th-grader.”

 

All-State Camp: 2019 First Team

MVP Drew Lowder  5-11  Jr  Ann Arbor Pioneer: He already has three D1 offers, a number that should continue to multiply. Strong enough, and a competitor, he held his own with taller players in drills. Can be a very good scorer off the drive or jumper, and can also be a pass-first point guard. As he continues to mature Lowder will be able to more ably mix the two and be that much more dangerous.

“Quickest player at camp,” a coach said. “He got into the lane whenever he wanted and finished over bigger defenders. He’s my camp MVP.”

“Smart and tough guard who can flat out score it,” another coach said. “He’s one of the best in the entire state at getting his own shot. He can score on all three levels and finishes at whatever angle necessary to get the job done. He also showed he could pass the ball pretty well too. He’s a pest on the ball when he wants to be, but sometimes gets lost on the ball. Improved body language will also help him, as he’ll need to be a leader of his team in the coming years.”

Isaiah Bridges  6-4  Jr  Midland: No one will confuse him with Dathan Ritzenhein, but a fall of cross country has Bridges getting up and down, and off, the floor easier than in AAU. Aggressive and hungry rebounder who high-pointed and two-handed the ball against taller opponents both in drills and in games. Scores in the paint with a well-practiced jump  hook. Despite those assets it’s a mistake to think of Bridges as an undersized floor, because when out on the floor and making decisions with the ball just looks like a basketball player. Passing ability allows you to invert the offense through him. Has worked on the perimeter shot but it’s still not easy and natural, which would bump him up a level as a recruit. 3.8 gpa.

Clayton Dykhouse  5-11  Jr  Zeeland East: It may not just be football success for the Chix.

“Very versatile combo guard,” a coach said. “Knocked down open jumpers and finished around the hoop a variety of ways. Did a nice job using deception to keep defenders guessing. Always seemed to make the right play in transition. Showed the ability to change direction with fluidity and change speeds effortlessly. Offensive game is complete, but needs to take advantage of his athleticism to play harder defensively.”

Jeremy Luciani  6-7  Jr  Marshall: Really liked him in July with the Prospectors, and backed that up here. Strong, tough 4 man similar to a Marshall forward from a generation ago, Patrick McClockey, who played at Oakland. Good feel and balance on the blocks. Not afraid to put a body on someone boxing out or setting a screen. Throw in a nearly 4.0 gpa, and Luciani will certainly have some options in a year.

Very good footwork in the post when he caught with his back to the basket and had a really nice looking hook shot over his left shoulder,” a coach said. “Very efficient at putting it on the deck as well. Needs to be more physical before the catch and create a bigger target. He does a nice job in help defense and rebounds on both ends like a man. He runs well in transition and has no problem catching and finishing on the move. Needs to continue to work on quickness and athleticism as it’s good for the high school level but will need to get better for college.”

Xander Okerlund  6-4  Jr  Maple City Glen Lake: After a breakout AAU July, came in a bit rusty to five-on-five after being cloistered on the Leelanau Peninsula, and didn’t shoot it as well as we’ve become accustomed to seeing. But Okerlund has to much talent and skill not to produce, and made plays with his length and hoops IQ.

“I’ve seen him play a ton and like his game too much not to have him on here,” a coach said. “Seemed like his shot was off and he knew it, so he became more of a facilitator this go around. Uses his length to create angles and made passing look easy. Can pass equally well with his let and right hands. Not looking to score as much may have been a blessing in disguise, because in my mind it allowed him to display his ability to play the point. Played hard defensively and seems like a really good kid.”

Sage Walker  6-9  Jr  Corunna: Making the transition from project to prospect to player. Much more productive than he was at last year’s Underclassman Camp. Walker caught the ball well, kept it high and finished efficiently often with dunks. Good straight-line speed for his size and caught and dunked on the move. 3.9 gpa.

“Lack of ability to finish may have been a knock in the past, but Sage finished with both hands around the hoop,” a coach said. “Also attacked the rim with numerous big dunks and consistently knocked down 15 footers. Active on the glass and does a good job protecting the rim. Played well in the pick-and-roll game. Needs to continue to work on having a lower pass and develop offensively with his back to the hoop. Awesome personality and very coachable.”

All-State Camp: 2018 First Team

MVP  Bryce Washington  6-4  Sr  Southfield Christian: Used to playing with talent both at Southfield Christian and The Family, and Washington brought the same unselfish ethos to camp. Transition menace with double-digit D1 offers and nearly 4.0 gpa. Finishes easily going both ways. Tall and athletic enough to get the rebound, then use explosive first step to clear himself of the crowd and push the ball. In the half-court, makes the extra pass, skip pass and attacks gaps with the dribble drawing fouls. Scrapped on the offensive glass. Needs to get stronger, tougher to finish through contact when defenses contract.

“Bryce is the equivalent of a five-tool player in baseball, as he does everything on the court pretty well” a coach said. “He’s best in the open floor, whether it’s with the ball or filling the wing. Scores it well and makes good decisions when in the lane. Very good overall athlete and seems like the type of kid who would’ve been good at whatever sport he dedicated himself to. Excellent teammate and very coachable. If there is a weakness to his game, it would be his ability to create his own shot in the half-court.”

Tevin Ali  6-6  Sr  Lansing Waverly: In his three years as a camper, has steadily evolved and improved, emerging as an athletic, versatile, legit college prospect. Gets off the floor really easily to dunk or block shots. But not just running and jumping around, a smart position defender too, who can also get out on the floor and check.

“One of the best rebounders I saw,” one coach said. “Ran the floor extremely well, finished in traffic and even threw one down over his defender.”

“Ali is a superb athlete,” another coach said. “A beast in transition that makes you think twice about drawing a charge. He runs the wings like a man on a mission and can lead the break off a rebound if he has real estate to work with. He’s a big guard at the next level in my mind. Can defend a variety of positions, in high school all five spots, and in college at least three. He’s a consistent jumper away from being a very recruitable kid.”

Caleb Cooper  5-10  Sr  Holt: He should thrive under new Holt coach Darren Zwick, who was one of the best in the business in his last stint in the Mitten at Lansing Catholic. Passes the most important point guard criterion — others want to play with him. Why? Cooper puts the ball right where teammates need it, whether bigs rolling to the hoop. shooters spotting up or runners and cutters on the break (even had a touch-past assist), hits ’em in the hands repeatedly. Is patient and will find post-feed angles. Very quick and can break down his man and finish naturally with either hand if there’s not a 6-9 waiting for him. Fast, aggressive, gambler on defense who works hard to get over screens.

“Super quick and crafty point guard who plays with confidence and knows how to create angles to score and pass,” a coach said. “He’s an efficient killer in transition who can score or kick it out on time. Knows how to get his shot off inside despite being smaller. Was good from 3 and in the lane, but didn’t observe much of a mid-range game. He’ll need to have one if he’s going to be effective at the next level with better rim protectors. Competes on defensive end and good communicator.”

Cole Kleiver  5-11  Sr  Williamston: All-state guard from Bank Hoops’ preseason No. 1 Class B team. Plays with a ton of confidence and you would too if you shot it like Kleiver. Also a slick handle and able to get into the lane to score or pass with either hand.

“Crafty guard who can kill you from deep,” a coach said. “Plays with swagger. Makes very good decisions with the ball in transition and does a good job of passing peole open. Plays tough defense but is limited somewhat by size and athleticism. Sometimes gets in trouble when he tries to do too much, so just needs to realize that sometimes simpler is better.”

Luke Toliver  6-2  Sr  Paw Paw: If it’s possible to be overlooked and slept on despite having a 50-point high school game as an underclassman, Toliver may qualify. Played very hard in drills and games. Lots of bounce and energy. Eager and tough defensive rebounder for a guard. More scorer than shooter. Smooth and confident and nice elevation, not always consistent, shot from deep and then can counter with pull-ups or create and go all the way in. Toliver will attack space and if closely guarded not explosive, but uses an assortment of fakes, look-offs to create opportunities. Ideal motion offense guy because he’ll pass, screen away, then is able to score from various spots, even post up. Unselfish on the break and doesn’t sit on the ball in the half-court. Would like to see him play lower on defense.

“Got buckets in drills and games,” a coach said. “Worked extremely hard. Very impressed by his tough shot-making ability.”

Javien Torrence-Jackson  6-2  Sr  River Rouge: The Panthers are becoming Point Guard U, as well as Hyphenated Name State, with Torrence-Jackson succeeding Darian Owens-White and Lamonta Stone, now at Wayne State and EMU respectively. JTJ is different than those guys, in that he’s physically imposing for the position, with strength and length. He was the defender who caused the most problems for Drew Lowder, a junior point guard with multiple D1 offers. Communicated on the defensive end. Offensively surprised smaller guards because he was still able to break them down off the dribble, and as a lefty already had them unbalanced. Looked like a real point guard running pick-and-roll, handling ball on the break and dishing off in the lane. Would like to see more legs, less upper body, on the jumpshot, and more right-handed finishes.

All-State Camp: Top Prospect Team

6-9 junior homeschooler Luke Maranka turned heads and impressed coaches with his all-around game at the 13th-annual Bank Hoops All-State Camp.

MVP  Luke Maranka  6-9  Jr  Hoop Heaven (home school): Intriguing combination of size and skills, defending the rim like a center and handling the ball like a wing. Can face up and use a big step to get from 20 feet to the rim similar to Bank Hoops Camp alumnus Holden Greiner, who was an all-league forward at Lehigh. Aggressive and active in drills looking to dunk. Soft touch on the turnaround jumper. Not a bevy of low-post moves, but was patient and did a good job staying patient and orientating himself to the rim when he did get post touches. Fun to play with, as he was more likely to find a cutter than jack a shot if catching the ball on the wing. If he’s going to play on the perimeter, needs to use that wingspan to close out on shooters.

“Long and athletic wing/post with the ability to put it on the deck,” a coach said. “Used his length well to create passing lanes off the drive or off the catch. May have been the best passing big at camp. Finished around the hoop. Hit the glass hard on both ends. Type of kid who can rebound and lead the break. Showed nice timing when coming over from help-side to block shots. Needs to hit the weights and get stronger, but overall I’d certainly rank him a D1 prospect with a very high ceiling.”

Pierre Brooks  6-4  Fr  Detroit Douglass: Big body for his age, so fit right in going against the upperclassman. Shots that may have been questionable at last year’s camp, were good looks this time around as he’s become more consistent. Was competitive, vocal and a leader in drills. While he can hit from three-point range, is at his best pulling up or posting up at the elbows. Good vision on the break, and the strength to deliver the ball. Able to bull his way into the lane, but would behoove Brooks to work the angles and glass instead of going over the top which is a much tougher shot — at least until he’s older and gets the bounce to make those dunks and not finger rolls. Once he learns the intensity needed daily at the varsity level, could claim status at the top freshman in the Mitten.

“Game that reminds you of a young Denzel Valentine,” a coach said. “Tough point guard whose eyes are always up the floor. Defends and plays the passing lanes very well, and seemed to be more aggressive defensively than at past camps. Once he goes from playing hard most of the time to playing hard all the time .. look out!”

Austin Harris  6-4  Sr  Buckley: Came into camp known as one of the state’s top available seniors, and did nothing to dissuade that notion. Exploded in the second game against fellow Class D all-stater Bryce Washington, hitting six consecutive three-pointers. Not just a spot-up shooter, can handle and get into the lane where he’s patient, crafty, married to his pivot foot and uses his 200-pound frame to his advantage. Point guard skills and vision leading the break. Did a good job attacking a ball-handler’s lead foot on closeouts, but needs to get his hands up.

“One of the most solid perimeter participants at camp, and can flat out stroke it!,” a coach said. “Played hard all day, and played well all day. Knocks down the open shot and drives it well enough to draw fouls, or use his body to finish when he has the space. Plays very hard on defense and uses angles well, which makes up some for his lack of elite quickness. Needs to continue to work on athleticism, but overall one of the better players I saw.”

Christopher Haut  6-8  Sr  Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central: Just scratching his potential and 4.0 gpa sweetens the deal for college programs. Long, bouncy forward who blocks shots, is agile enough to get out on the floor and defend and gives multiple efforts on the glass. Shoots the closest thing to a one-footed, full hookshot of anyone in the state. Has a long, quick first step that could be really dangerous with a foundation of rudimentary jab step moves. Left-handed, so Haut will be that much more problematic to defend as his offense evolves.

“Big man with a nice and efficient handle,” a coach said. “Fantastic rebounder. He’s very active on both ends of the floor, which is the biggest reason I feel CJ is a consistent jumpshot away from being a potentially great player. Would make the perfect stretch 4, but right now guys could play off him and limit his driving ability due to an inconsistent jumper.”

Drew Lowder  5-11  Jr  Ann Arbor Pioneer: He already has three D1 offers, a number that should continue to multiply. Strong enough, and a competitor, he held his own with taller players in drills. Can be a very good scorer off the drive or jumper, and can also be a pass-first point guard. As he continues to mature Lowder will be able to more ably mix the two and be that much more dangerous.

“Smart and tough guard who can flat out score it,” a coach said. “He’s one of the best in the entire state at getting his own shot. He can score on all three levels and finishes at whatever angle necessary to get the job done. He also showed he could pass the ball pretty well too. He’s a pest on the ball when he wants to be, but sometimes gets lost on the ball. Improved body language will also help him, as he’ll need to be a leader of his team in the coming years.”

Bryce Washington  6-4  Sr  Southfield Christian: Used to playing with talent both at Southfield Christian and The Family, and Washington brought the same unselfish ethos to camp. Transition menace with double-digit D1 offers and nearly 4.0 gpa. Finishes easily going both ways. Tall and athletic enough to get the rebound, then use explosive first step to clear himself of the crowd and push the ball. In the half-court, makes the extra pass, skip pass and attacks gaps with the dribble drawing fouls. Scrapped on the offensive glass. Needs to get stronger, tougher to finish through contact when defenses contract.

“Bryce is the equivalent of a five-tool player in baseball, as he does everything on the court pretty well” a coach said. “He’s best in the open floor, whether it’s with the ball or filling the wing. Scores it well and makes good decisions when in the lane. Very good overall athlete and seems like the type of kid who would’ve been good at whatever sport he dedicated himself to. Excellent teammate and very coachable. If there is a weakness to his game, it would be his ability to create his own shot in the half-court.”

Haney takes on Dawkins case

Michigan native Christian Dawkins, a centerpiece in federal charges from what some are calling the biggest scandal in college basketball history, one which has already cost Louisville’s Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino his job, has turned to the Great Lakes State for his legal representation, with attorney Steven Haney.

“Much has been said about fraud and corruption in college basketball,” Haney said in a press release. “Anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of the reality of the business of college basketball and the NCAA would question the scope, timing and targets of this investigation. One shouldn’t be prematurely condemned based on speculation, accusations and misinformation. There is a story to tell here and that story is one decades long.”

Dawkins is charged in connection with an undercover investigation that commenced in 2015, resulting in federal charges levied against college basketball coaches, sports executives and financial planners.

Haney, a Lansing native whose practice is based out of Southfield, is a former college basketball player himself and in the past an agent and attorney for NBA Hall of Famers Earvin Johnson and Dominique Wilkins.

Underclassman Camp Class of 2021 Second Team

Cade Conley  5-10  Fr  Williamston: Looked like a junior member of his brother Case’s Parallel 45 16U team knocking down flurries of three-pointers in drills and games. Has a shooters’ mentality that the next one is going in. Moved well off the ball but has to quick-finish because isn’t yet explosive ot the rim. Spaced the floor not just with his shooting and cutting but also ball movement, made smart skip passes. If anything Cade’s game is more similar to another Williamston player Cole Kleiver, whose tough off the dribble repertoire he’ll want to emulate. His brother’s a lanky 6-6 wing, so expect a jump in size and athleticism.

“Makes up for athleticism with a lethal jumpshot,” said one coach. “As they say, if you can shoot it we can use you. Plays hard on defense, just seems to lack physical attributes to stay in front of quicker players. Makes good decisions, plays at his pace and isn’t easily sped up. Very steady and doesn’t get too high or low.”

Owen Lobsinger  6-4  Fr  Flint Powers: There were flashes of a smooth skill level for his height and age, that were really intriguing. Nice feel, balance, touch around the rim. Gets to bucket easily, predicated on a long, deceptive first step. Did get enveloped a few times by Matt Nicholson’s 7-2 wingspan, but who didn’t? On the same camp team as Hudsonville soph Max Perez, one of the elite point guards in the building, and no dummy he Lobsinger cut and moved off the ball hands ready.  Surprised with one play where he showed a quick step to drive the baseline, then dished it off behind his ear to a cutting teammate. Could invert and find angles with the bounce pass to enter the post. Tended to play upright and coast defensively, escorting his man to the basket instead of getting nasty and in his way. Would expect that after a year with Greg Burks at Powers, those flashes will be extended stretches of dominant play at next year’s camp.

“Versatile big kid,” a coach said. “Showed flashes of being one of the best players in camp, but lacked consistency. Very good player off the baseline. Can knock down the open 3 and will go by and finish if you close out high. Was an adequate passer and had good vision for the position. Will need to improve his motor and toughness to reach his full potential. Didn’t really run to score in transition or get after it on the glass. The tools are definitely there, just need some heating and sharpening!”

Kaleb Mitchelson  5-11  Fr  Muskegon Reeths-Puffer: GVSU assistant coach and Rockets legend JR Wallace will be happy reading this to know that Mitchelson ws one of two R-P standout guards here, with sophomore Emcee Williams. Kaleb was a ball boy spending formative years on the Muskegon Heights bench where his dad Tim Mitchelson was an assistant coach with Keith Guy, so he’s been absorbing hoops forever. Loves to initiate the contact whether getting his shoulder into a defender, or dragging the dribble in the open court and letting his man run into him. Did more as a passer than scorer in the lane. Was able to square his body and keep quicker guards from getting into the lane. Needs to get lower and more explosive himself when coming off screens, with our without the ball.

“Heady and scrappy point guard who may lack elite quickness but makes up for it by using his body well to protect the dribble and working in straight lines once he gets an angle,” a coach said. “Can knock down the open jumper and showed a nice floater in the lane. Sometimes got too deep in the paint and was forced into difficult shots. Although physically he doesn’t look like the ‘cut out’ version of a ballplayer, the effort he gave during drills shows why he is able to compete with whoever was on the floor. Seems like a kid who isn’t afraid of hard work.”

KJ Rai  6-4  Fr  East Lansing: Stood out at the 2016 camp with his fundamentals, and a year later he’s added strength and athleticism, making him a threat to crack the lineup for a top 10 Class A team in East Lansing. Most dangerous as a catch-and-shoot threat from various angles and distances. Used body, creative release points to score over taller defenders inside. Quick release, and nailed a corner three-pointer over the closeout of 6-10 Matt Nicholson.  Consistently ran the court both ways, getting wide on offense, getting back and matching up on defense. Had a hard time defensively staying in front of Kenowa Hills sophomore Isaac Warning, a fitting name as it’s a warning to Rai of what sort of talent he’d face at the varsity level, wide, strong, and a load off the dribble.

“Seems to be steadily improving,” a coach said. “Solid footwork was on display when he was in the post and also showed a respectable perimeter game. He competes hard on both ends of the floor. He was very active and vocal in drill sessions, which tells me he values the opportunity to get better.”

Brendan Sullivan  6-1  Fr  Davison: Did a lot of good work off the ball. Like another Davison wing, junior Bryce Lott, plays hard and with winning intentions. Consistently beat the defense down the court for long receptions and layins. Quick to run down rebounds and loose balls, but was rare kid here for whom that didn’t mean he thought it earned him the right to multiple dribbles. Sullivan just got the ball to a point guard and was on his way. Hit some tough turnaround shots with defenders right there. Conversely was hard to shoot against as Sullivan closed out with high hands. Needs to work on keeping chin to rim even with contact, because even if he did draw a foul Sullivan would find himself spun off balance with no chance of a three-point play.

“Seems like the ultimate glue guy, not afraid to do the dirty work,” a coach said. “Athletic power wing who rebounds strong on both ends, defend the 3 and the 4, set solid screens and finished around the hoop. Hit consistently from mid-range in drill sessions. Didn’t shoot a lot during games and could be more aggressive. Need to continue to develop his perimeter skillset to maximize his effectiveness on the offensive end.”

Underclassman Camp Class of 2021 First Team

Elijah Beil  5-7  Fr  Linden: What this camp is all about, as this kid came in as a relative unknown and exited mentioned in the same breath as the top 2021 guards here like Brody Parker and Trey Gardette. Seemed to always be seeking an advantage. A lagging transition defense, he’d push the ball right past them for a layup. A fresh ball-handler, Beil would pounce him on the in-bounds. Size was a factor when he’d penetrate too deep and disappear among defenders, but one-on-one against bigger players he attacked them and kept them guessing all day. Skilled, crafty and fearless are good attributes for the position. Unlike too many kids didn’t just chuck the ball up to the bigs, but used a bounce pass post entry to feed them moving in rhythm; also gave them catchable balls from the screen-and-roll. Looked long and delivered to guys in stride in transition. Was similarly efficient handling the ball using shoulder fakes and changes of pace to beat his man. Still had his legs and was knocking down jumpers through the very end of his final game.

Trey Gardette  5-7  Fr  Ann Arbor Huron: For the second year in a row, turned in a strong camp performance. Quick and competes, the aggressor with the basketball or checking it.

“Smooth penetrating guard,” a coach said. “Plays hard on both,  ends of the floor. Finishes through contact in traffic with either hand. Made the right pass when defenses collapsed. Better in transition than in the half court, and consistency from behind the arc is a point of improvement.”

Brody Parker  5-8  Fr  Troy: Ballyhooed playmaker from REACH lived up to his reputation. Similar to class of 2020 first-teamer Max Perez, an all-in point guard constantly putting pressure on the defense with penetration and shooting; also comparable to one of last year’s Underclassman Camp stars, Zach Goodline.   When Parker’s and Perez’ team played the younger player a couple times was baited in trying to answer a score with one of his own no matter what getting caught in bad spots. Still, loved the confidence when after missing his last two shots, Parker pulled up on the break and nailed a 3 from nearly the same spot as his previous attempt. Hit shots off the dribble and catch, does it confidently and percentages should go up with strength and reps. He was often faster with the ball on the break than the transition defenders without it. Unlike the majority of high school guards who become statues after passing it, Parker’s already an active cutter. Touched the ball every trip but didn’t let it ripen, got teammates involved via various routes. That’s good practice for this winter, as Troy has three college-caliber seniors who’ll need chances. Needs to offer more defensive resistance — decent habits and fundamentals, but executed with more conviction.

Dereck Sackitt  6-6  Battle Creek Pennfield: He was the most regular dunker on the day after only Clarkston’s  6-10 Matt Nicholson and Detroit Western wing Connor Bush, who are both a class older and legit D1 prospects. Sackitt looks like a stretch 4 in the making because he was much more comfortable putting it up from the short corners with his unorthodox shot, sans guide hand, than posting up. Not soft though, did his work on the glass, played up to his height. Defended well around the rim, walling off, extending to block shots without overindulging. It’s a long day especially for the big guys and Sackitt was dragging by the time we saw him in the third game, but he’d already won us over with how he competed and his energy in drills.

David Wilkerson  5-6  Fr  DeWitt: The best thing you can say about Wilkerson is his camp team ran smoothest when the ball was in his hands and not some of his better known, older teammates. And just wait until his jersey number, 26 in this case, isn’t wider than his torso. A blur of arms and legs pushing the ball, weaving through the defense calling to mind former Underclassman Camper Darian Owens-White, now a freshman at Wayne State, at the same age. Nice up court vision and delivered passes on the money that surprised given his size, to lay them in over that distance. Made basic point guard plays consistently, getting into the lane and pitching out for shots. Knew when to pull it out, when to get rid of it, when to attack. His eyes lit up when checked by similarly small guards and showed a nice jumper of his own. Looked from some screen-and-roll situations, but didn’t have an experienced post player to run it off. Pretty tricky picking his spots and was able to influence the game defensively jumping it with ball pressure. Also saw him create a turnover by drawing an offensive foul. Had trouble when bigger guards would get a shoulder into him and operate into the lane. In two years there won’t be many schools with better point guards than DeWitt with a then sophomore Wilkerson and senior Nate Flannery, an Underclassman Camp standout last summer.

Underclassman Camp Class of 2020 Second Team

Here are more of the top rising sophomore performers from the Bank Hoops Underclassman Camp that didn’t already make the top prospect team. The class of 2021 and middle school teams, and other player evaluations, are forthcoming.

Lee Almore  6-0  So  Detroit Public Safety: Came in perhaps lesser known than many, but it was impossible to miss this energetic two-way guard. Lanky, live body he pushed defensive rebounds the other way time and again fast and loose with the ball but somehow it would come together to convert as layups. Wingspan and active hands gets to balls, tipping passes, tipping in misses. Took pride in his defense, playing low, with attitude, fighting over screens. May not have all of the skill or acumen of many from Michigan’s deep guard class in 2020, but those can be learned. Almore’s athleticism and enthusiasm can’t be taught, which make him a must follow long-term recruit.

Ryan Corner  6-9  So  Allendale: A rare young big man who was actually better in games than drills. The most valuable trait he showed, that he couldn’t really in station work, was his ability to catch and finish on the run. Was efficient doing the same in the lane in the halfcourt. Got all the rebounds you’d expect of the second-tallest player in camp. Challenged, blocked and changed shots while avoiding body fouls or swiping downward. In real life games he’s going to want to hedge, and when switched onto guards Corner was in trouble but did a good job staying in front of and challenging the 6-4 types away from the basket. Needs to work on footwork, body control, not lunge on the closeouts. Thousands of dunks, jump hooks and short corner shots, and he’ll be pondering scholarship offers in two years.

Dallas Green  6-3  So  Flint Carman-Ainsworth: Looks like the heir apparent to Omari Duncan in Carman-Ainsworth’s frontcourt, and Green already has the mentality to contribute this winter for a top 5 team in Class A. That was evident here, as he was the most unselfish player in the camp. He looked to get teammates involved in various circumstances, pushing it up on the break, post feeds, kicks to shooters, and he did it democratically. Set ball screens, would cut after he passed. Used size, athleticism, motor on the glass. Created second opportunities when he ran to the rim in transition instead of drifting to the arc. Showed a nice three-point touch stepping into it when ball went inside-out. Ideal free throw line target against a zone with how he shoots and passes from that range. When he looked for his own points Green had a strong first step splitting defenders, but needs to finish more consistently at the rim. Didn’t see him post up often, but had a nice up-and-under and knew how to use the glass when he did.  Sometimes got caught upright defensively, but also got quickly to 50/50 balls and had similar bursts on the offensive glass.

Taevion Rushing  5-9  So  Flint Southwestern: One-on-one scorer with a quick flick shot with a soft ending of shooters’ rolls in and out. Good at creating space, particularly with his step-back jumper. Particularly dangerous as the pace increases and he can attack downhill. Played with hands by side on defense, yet scrappy and would get on the floor. Liked that Rushing was still playing hard, competing and running the court through his third game.

“Flint guard who shot it from deep and knows how to fill the lane,” a coach said. “Didn’t see much of a mid-range game and that needs to develop as bigs will get better at protecting the rim. Got into the lane at will when I saw him and would like to see him use that skill to create shots for others more. Good on-ball defender but sometimes gambled too much off it.”

Brock Stevens  6-0  So  Grandville Calvin Christian: Didn’t handle the ball as much in games as perhaps he’s used to, which ended up showing Stevens’ versatility as he was able to find his spots and knock down three-pointers. One of the most physical guards in camp, on both ends of the floor. Active and vocal on both ends too, not sitting on the ball, screening, cutting; talking as a help defender. Won a lot in AAU and is poised for a breakout season for top 10 Class C Calvin Christian.

“Jack-of-all-trades, high motor guard,” a coach said. “He is a very good defender on and off the ball and isn’t afraid to mix it up. I saw him dive on the floor for loose balls and take a charge, in the same game. Offensively does everything well, but isn’t great at any one thing. Passed up open shots and would like to see him more aggressive, but is ‘system’ type player.”

Bank Hoops Underclassman Camp Class of 2020 First Team

Here are the top rising sophomore performers from the Bank Hoops Underclassman Camp that didn’t already make the top prospect team. The 2020 second team, 2021 team, middle school team and other player evaluations forthcoming.

Jon Brantley  6-2  So  Birmingham Brother Rice: Brantley’s is a name you’ll hear more over the next few years as one of 2020’s elite point guard prospects, as middle school phenoms start to drop off. Because meanwhile Brantley’s size advantage and feel for the game aren’t going anywhere. Didn’t just pass to get rid of the ball, but hitting teammates at the right pace and place. Looked like a vet operating from the foul line on 3-of-2 opportunities. Big first step to accelerate and get to the rim and score himself. Able to finish through contact. When Justus Salaam would handle the ball for their team, Brantley ran the lane hard for transition buckets and in the halfcourt showed motion tendencies without the ball, curling and diving. Good motor matching up in transition D and made smart plays to force turnovers off the ball. Smooth when stepping into the jumpshot with the dribble, needs work off the catch.

Connor Bush  6-4  So  Detroit Western: No one wanted to get in his way when he got a little steam going. And no fun when he put it in triple threat. Caused havoc getting into the lane repeatedly in the hunt for dunks, then kept defenders guessing by pulling up for three-pointers. If he wasn’t finishing over the rim, Bush was jump stopping and going through defenders. Played with toughness and an edge. The hops weren’t offense-only as he also blocked shots. Can’t wait to see what three years playing for Derrick McDowell will do to refine his game to go with the physical tools. Everything about this kid says D1 wing recuit.

Justus Salaam  5-11  So  North Farmington: All the movements and mannerisms of a Detroit guard — a propensity to check 94 feet, rebounds like a taller player, loves to turn his back and create, and is tough and crafty around the rim. A fitting last name as he’d peace out defenders, lulling to sleep with an inside-out dribble then leaving them with a deceptively quick first step. Moved the ball along at the right time on the break. Liked that he had energy defensively too, with quick feet and active hands. The kind of leader who you want to have the ball, as even in camp games full of new faces his teammates responded to his direction. Salaam was patient finding the angles to feed the post, then was effective in the two-man game because he could also hit the with three-pointer from the kick-back. Can’t get casual with the one-handed passes, and needs to get stronger in the lane to finish directly to the rim and get a reliable runner, pull-up.

Jarvis Walker  6-1  So  Muskegon Mona Shores: Relentless scorer who had his radar in tune to mismatches and repeatedly attacked or posted up smaller guards. Walker, already with a Ferris State offer, has a nice assortment of finishing and counter moves when he gets into the paint, and uses his strength to create space for clear looks. Similarly got good looks away from the basket with consistent footwork and elevation on his jumpshot. Able to create some havoc when dialed in defensively able to square and use body and leverage to push his man off the ball. Explosive finishes and point guard instincts would be areas for improvement.

Charles Woodhams  6-2  So  Otsego: One of the few kids with the size and athleticism to go against Connor Bush, and he had a few defensive stands in their matchup. On the other end Woodhams did a lot of good work off the ball, cutting for his own jumpshot, setting screens, hunting down rebounds. And what a jumpshot it is, with a tight pocket, quick release, and a follow through that expects them to all go in. Not the fastest kid but plays hard, is smart and fundamental and will still beat you to the spot. Feel and touch with the ball and able to turn the corner and use his strength to finish and draw fouls. Plays the game of a 6-4/6-5 college player so he’ll want to keep going up.

Wonders Never Cease: UPer First Rising Frosh Camp MVP since Josh Jackson

The Bank Hoops Underclassman Camp held Saturday in Lansing was at capacity, and as always some of Michigan’s premier young talent stepped to the fore. Here are the top overall performers, highlighted by Iron Mountain’s Foster Wonders, who came all the way from the central time zone to be the first rising ninth-grader to be named camp MVP since the Phoenix Suns’ Josh Jackson did it in 2012.

MVP  Foster Wonders  6-3  Fr  Iron Mountain: “No position, but did everything well. Reminded me of Jason Whitens, his toughness and versatility, and Jacob Boonyasith, how he can score it,” one coach said. “He was out there playing for a scholarship.”

Which is ironic, because Wonders has to be the only rising ninth-grader with a scholarship offer. That’s from Northern Michigan, where his brother Carson is a freshman and his parents played. It will be far from the last by the time he’s an upperclassman. Brought energy with how he rebounded and went to the hole with resiliency and touch. Played angles well and understood how to get his shot off inside, and would seek out mismatches to post up. Was in constant motion and scored on off-ball cuts as well. Just like another Yooper, Gladstone’s Reece Castor, did at last year’s camp. Then Wonders would take you outside and knock down a three-pointer, or blow past a bigger defender’s closeout for a layup or dish. Wasn’t rushed with the ball when handling it against smaller guards. Biggest concern going forward may be his playing upright on defense.

Top Prospect Team

Jayshawn Moore  6-4  So  Detroit East English Village: All positive energy from the moment he stepped on the court. Worked hard on the glass and consistently snatched the ball outside his area. Huge wingspan helped him haul in a bunch of boards. Great in transition because he could rebound then get wide and finish, or more often push the ball himself showing a nice sense of where everyone was. Unselfish passer in the halfcourt as well. Needs to not settle for three-pointers when there are lanes available, but still made more from deep than he missed. Attacks with long strides and extends well with a nice release point in he lane. Productive already with so much potential yet to realize, Moore could be a special prospect in the 2020 class. Looks like he’ll be the next D1 big guard out of East English, following Karmari Newman (George Mason) and Greg Elliott (Marquette), and we could be talking about a 6-7 point guard when it all shakes out.

Matthew Nicholson  6-10  So  Clarkston: Rare physical tools for having turned 15 just in May, at 6-10 sans shoes and a 7-2 wingspan. With the soul of a basketball player inside, a kid who likes to play and compete. Coordinated, an ideal rim protector and lob finisher. Swallowed up the lane defensively. Dunked easy and often all day from drills through games. Smart, patient passer both to the entry man or weak-side cutters. Often threw more catchable passes to his guards than vice-versa, as they tended to often just toss the ball up high in the vicinity of Nicholson and though he retrieved them it was often then off balance. Sometimes Nicholson chased the ball instead of space and position and ended up with it in areas he was less effective. Moves easily enough, so would like to see more rim-runs and dunks. Sometimes dribbled it out instead of making the outlet and running the lane. Similar to Tom Herzog, which doesn’t sound great in retrospect but for the former Flint Powers Mr. Basketball finalist it was from the neck up at MSU keeping him from realizing his talent. And unlike Herzog, Nicholson will have the luxury of banging heads with future Big Ten forwards Thomas Kithier and Taylor Currie in practice, before emerging as one of the state’s best players as a junior.

Max Perez  5-9  So  Hudsonville: “Just dynamic all day,” a coach said.

Always on the attack whether miss or make and will just as gladly blow by everyone for a layup as set up a teammate for one. Kept the ball hot and everyone involved, running through the third game because they’d get the ball back. There were stretches where he was just really dealing and was fun to watch. Perez may be the best point guard finisher in the 2020 class not named Jalen Terry, he’s able to come in at full speed on but under control to avoid contact and finish soft at the rim. You rarely see his momentum taking him over the baseline after a shot. The main point of improvement is consistency on his shot particularly the pull-up on the break because like John Beilein says if you can’t make that, you can’t play college basketball.

Noah Pruitt  5-8  So  Okemos: There wasn’t a quicker player in the gym, and certainly not one making the right decisions at speed like Pruitt did. This was already his third Underclassman Camp, and performed like you’d expect from a ‘vet’ point guard. He and camp MVP Foster Wonders were on the same team and were productive complements to each other when in the same rotation, same kind of ‘PTR’ shared values. While he looked to pass first, got nice separation and elevation when Pruitt did find his own points, from myriad spots on the floor. Shoots a true jumpshot and was confident enough to even let fly pulling up on the break.

“An old school point guard who kept his teammates involved,” a coach said. “You could tell they respected him and wanted him to have the ball, because they knew they were getting it back for good shots.”

Small, but very sound defensively shading his guy out of the lane, and staying centered and not falling for the funk when checking other talented point guards.

Edwin Victory  5-9  So  Grand Rapids Christian: He was considered the top 2020 performer at last year’s Underclassman Camp, and lived up to his reputation with an expanded offensive repertoire. Shot it in rhythm and with confidence throughout the day, three-pointers to pull-ups and fadaways closer in, and layups via either hand. As improved as the shot was, he did short arm it sometimes as the day progressed. EJ has the quickness to break free of the pack, but whereas he got by largely on just quickness last year, really does a nice job of changing speeds now. All this while maintaining a shot-balance that kept his teammates engaged, as for a guy with a bunch of moves rarely set on the ball or overindulged. Nice touch on the move to make life easy for his frontcourt teammates. In the halfcourt also showed he could be a traditional motion guy, passer and unafraid to lay a screen into bigger defenders. All that practice time with Xavier Tillman and James Beck must’ve worn off on Victory, because he also  occasionally got in there and hit guys to get rebounds. Showed the same mentality when picking up defensively, but would like to see more consistent defensive engagement off the ball in the halfcourt.