When REACH came to the 2014 Up North Challenge, the Detroit team full of college prospects fell short in the 17-under bracket after giving up over 100 points to the West Michigan Lakers. Another top Motor City team, Detroit Showtime, had a better fate in Mt. Pleasant a year later. Like Camp Darryl/Bankhoops.com Classic 17U champion Impact Elite, Showtime is a grassroots team that has kept its roster intact and this group has been one of the state’s best for years. They defeated 2014 champion and Under Armour-sponsored ACB/Bank Hoops in the title game to complete a clean run through the 17U field.
With both teams’ roster full of college-caliber guards, it was a frontcourt matchup that proved indefensible for ACB/Bank Hoops in the 17U final. A recent football commitment to Iowa, a 6-5 junior defensive end moonlighting at power forward from East English Village, Showtime’s Cedrick Lattimore didn’t miss a first-half shot. Lattimore is one who, after he’d realized football would be paying the bills, could’ve gotten by on the court on just his physique and motor. But he didn’t, showing a continuing improving skill level hitting shots from various depths and angles, from spots ACB’s 6-10 Sturgis junior Ryan Schuller though one of the state’s fastest-climbing prospects, couldn’t get in time. Look out for East English Village in the Detroit PSL, as Lattimore was joined on the Up North Challenge all-tournament team by Showtime and high school teammate Karmari Newman., and EEV junior point guard Chris Rollins also played well. The 6-4 left-handed junior did nothing to dissuade one of his top 10 overall ranking in the state’s 2016 class. His rise in value as a recruit has coincided with increased efficiency and diversity in Newman’s offensive game. He’s both a shooter and a scorer, one-on-one or off the ball.
- Up North Challenge 17U MVP: Cedrick Lattimore 6-5 Jr Showtime (East English Village)
- Anthony McIntosh 6-2 Jr ACB/Bank Hoops (Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills)
- Karmari Newman 6-4 Jr Showtime (East English Village)
- Ryan Patton 6-1 Jr TEAM Basketball (Rochester Hills Christian)
- Kyle Woodruff 6-2 Jr Mustangs (Holly)
Newman has offers from Cleveland State, Detroit and Kent State. He’s one of three Division I caliber guards for Showtime. 6-4 Warren De La Salle junior Kevin McKay has an offer from Central Michigan. Though he struggled some to finish in the final, he had a strong tournament overall showing the all-around game on both ends that makes him one of the state’s top 25 seniors. Rollins doesn’t have an offer, the catching point being his flyweight frame. Yet in a 2016 class full of talented guards, few have the feel for when to attack and when to pull out or compete on the defensive end like Rollins.
ACB/Bank Hoops has a talented backcourt in its own right. The question has been its consistency. When 6-2 Ottawa Hills junior Anthony McIntosh is dialed in, he can beat you as a shooter or athletic playmaker above the rim. This was his best tournament of the spring. There’s no guard quicker with the ball or more astute at creating space for his shot than 5-10 Muskegon junior Michael Littlejohn. He had the game-winner in the lane in ACB’s win over Triple Threat (with college backcourt prospects of its own in 5-9 Haslett junior Brandon Allen, 5-11 Williamston junior Riley Lewis and 6-2 Midland junior Payton DeWildt). Curtis Dawson is quieter than you’d like from a point guard but the 5-10 Benton Harbor junior got the ball where he wanted against Showtime and scored it from mid-range and at the rim. It hasn’t been the kindest spring for 6-0 Elk Rapids junior Shae Somers, but if he can match the shooting of earlier games with the break-down finishes and dishes for dunks of the final, he has a chance in July.
Others making the 17U all-tournament team were 6-1 Rochester Hills Christian junior Ryan Patton from TEAM Basketball and 6-2 Holly junior Kyle Woodruff from the Mustangs. Patton is something of an anomaly for TEAM Basketball, which traditionally draws from from of the state’s largest high schools. Rochester Hills Christian is a state power … in the Michigan Association of Christian Schools. Patton dominates at that level, with games of 44 and a school-record 52 points last season. He’s no bully though, with skills that translated to a 20-point game for TEAM Basketball in a semifinal loss to Detroit Showtime. Woodruff’s reputation as one of the state’s elite shooters remains intact after making 58-percent of his three-point attempts in the tournament as the Mustangs reached the semifinals before losing to ACB/Bank Hoops. He had a 28-point second half in a win over TEAM Basketball.