Class A Picks

Team rankings don’t mean anything in March. It’s all about getting to the Breslin. Here are the four Class A teams most likely to make it nearly four months from now

Clarkston senior Dylan Alderson, dunking on West Bloomfield in this MIPrepZone photo, will try to avenge last season's two losses to Macomb Dakota.
Clarkston senior Dylan Alderson, dunking on West Bloomfield in this MIPrepZone photo, will try to avenge last season’s two losses to Macomb Dakota.

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Lansing Everett 1/4: Grand Rapids Christian This will be the first full season for the Eagles’ D1 trio of Mr. Basketball favorite Xavier Tillman, James Beck and junior Duane Washington. There’s some talent on the wings with senior Emmet Warners and junior Seth Milner both 6-5. Muskegon knocked the Eagles out of the regional last year and are better now with the addition of 6-5 seniors Grandville transfer Sam Cornett and Markell Jackson, who was on the team last year but on the bench after transferring from Loy-Norrix. He’s now the most talented player on the roster. Steady point guard play from junior Willie Shanks and/or sophomore DeAndre Carter will be crucial to the Big Reds.

The point is crucial as well for the third most likely team to emerge from the Westside, Kalamazoo Central. The onus will be on junior James Vallar there. And senior forward Isaiah Livers, headed to Michigan, needs to be closer to 24 a game than 14 to fit the model of players that have led teams to Class A titles. West Ottawa is a trendy name as they return all their key players notably bookend forwards Jake VanTubbergen and Tyler Bosma. The Panthers have never won a district and they’ll host one full of teams with guards who’ll break your heart — Holland, Jenison and Wyoming. The favorite to meet the Grand Haven regional winner is East Lansing. The Trojans return everyone from a team that went 20-0, with an assortment of upperclassman shooters around the state’s top junior 6-9 Brandon Johns. Another situation where point guard improvement, from junior Malik Jones, goes a long way.

U-of-D 1/4: Detroit U-D Jesuit  Cassius Winston has moved on, but the program endures for the defending state champion Cubs. All eyes will be on his successor at point guard, sophomore Julian Dozier. They have three D1 post players in 6-9 senior Ike Eke (Marquette), 6-8 senior Greg Eboigbodin (UIC) and 6-9 sophomore Jalen Thomas. They’ll have go get past the PSL’s most talented team, East English Village, in the Fordson regional. EEV graduated three D1 athletes, including Mr. Basketball finalist Karmari Newman, and sent another to a D2 power, but bring in a point guard likely to be on the 2018 Mr. Bball ballot, David Dejulius, and another junior D1 prospect 6-5 Zavon Godwin. Which makes all-state senior guard Greg Elliott the Jimmy Butler of this win-win scenario.

Nothing is guaranteed for EEV because they’re in the same district as teams with coaches who know the way to Breslin and have done it more than once, if not yet at Detroit King and Cass Tech respectively. Expect U-D’s opponent at Calihan to be Wayne Memorial. The Zebras have a JYD senior forward in Keion Epps and a talented backcourt featuring the scoring of junior Rashad Williams. It’s not inconceivable to picture any of the Ann Arbor schools in Wayne’s stead. Pioneer has a dangerous mix of seniors who have won and sophs with D1 talent. Huron lost a coach but not leading scorer senior Jack Smith as well as the Emory Bros. And at Skyline there’s the state’s most ESP backcourt juniors Brandon Wade and Jack Ammerman. Belleville will also be dangerous as the Tigers’ junior class is as talented as any.

U-of-D 1/4: Warren De La Salle  The Pilots have now seen three D1 players depart early but they continue to just win. The biggest hole to fill though will be the expected one of CMU’s Kevin McKay. DLS will have no superstar or exceptional size, but a healthy junior Justin Fischer at the point covers a lot of ills. This is a team similar is size, talent, temper to the one that lost to Detroit Redford in the 2007 semifinals. North Farmington remains in good shape for a repeat trip to East Lansing as they return one of the state’s most explosive guards senior Amauri Hardy. They’ll have to get past West Bloomfield in district play and the Lakers have a dangerous senior guard of their own Kevin McAdoo. For a darkhorse pick Novi which has a nice mix of athletes and skill.

Davison 1/4: Clarkston  The defacto quarterfinal game will come in a regional semifinal at Grand Blanc. Dakota won this game last year by two in double OT but won’t have the home court this time (though they also won at Clarkston in the regular season). The principles are back from that game, including Clarkston’s possible Mr. Basketball finalist Dylan Alderson and the state’s best point guards Dakota senior Jermaine Jackson and Clarkston junior Foster Loyer. Loyer and Dakota junior forward Thomas Kithier will be MSU teammates. Dakota added 6-9 senior Jack Ballantyne from De La Salle, Clarkston added 6-9 sophomore Taylor Currie from Ohio. Give the Wolves the slight nod this year on the strength of an underrated junior class full of guys with good chemistry who can shoot and grind on D. Saginaw is the pick to meet Clarkston in the quarterfinal. They have a fire and ice senior backcourt of Qua Southward and Chaz Woods. Traverse City West has some sleeper potential out of the North.

Preseason Class A All-State

Grand Rapids Christian senior Xavier Tillman is favored to give Michigan State another Mr. Basketball.
Grand Rapids Christian senior Xavier Tillman is favored to give Michigan State another Mr. Basketball.

Class A MVP Xavier Tillman  6-9  Sr  Grand Rapids Christian: Signed with Michigan State. Averaged 16.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting 68 percent from the floor in his first season with the Eagles.

Class A All-State

  • Amauri Hardy  6-3  Sr  North Farmington: Will decide from Georgia, Georgia Tech or Oklahoma State on Friday, Dec. 9. Averaged 21 points as a junior for state runner-up.
  • Jermaine Jackson  5-9  Sr  Macomb Dakota: Led Dakota to the state semifinals as a junior, averaging 21 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.1 assists per game.
  • Brandon Johns  6-9  Jr  East Lansing: Led the Trojans to a 20-0 regular season averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds as a sophomore.
  • Isaiah Livers  6-8  Sr  Kalamazoo Central: Signed with Michigan. Averaged 14 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.
  • Foster Loyer  5-11  Jr  Clarkston: Committed to MSU. Averaged 22.6 points and 6.7 assists as a sophomore.

Second team

  • Dylan Alderson  6-5  Sr  Clarkston: Signed with Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Averaged 16.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game as a junior.
  • Matt Beachler  6-4  Sr  Lowell: Signed with Central Michigan. Surpassed 1,000 career points as a junior while scoring 18.1 points a game.
  • Greg Elliott  6-4  Sr  Detroit East English Village: State’s top uncommitted senior after Amauri Hardy drops next week. Averaged 19 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists as a junior.
  • Thomas Kithier  6-8  Jr  Macomb Dakota: Committed to MSU. Averaged 11 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists per game.
  • Demetrius Lake  5-10  Sr  Holland: The state’s most prolific active scorer after averaging 33.1 points per game as a junior. Underrated defender also averaging 3.9 steals.

Third team

  • David DeJulius  6-0  Jr  Detroit East English Village: Transfer from Detroit Edison whose addition will make EEV a Class A contender when he’s eligible.
  • Jaron Faulds  6-10  Sr  Holt: Headed to Columbia. Averaged 12.1 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3 blocks as a junior.
  • Michael Flowers  6-1  Sr  Southfield A&T: Signed with Western Michigan. Averaged 25 points as a junior.
  • Brandon Wade  6-2  Jr  Ann Arbor Skyline: Averaged 17.2 points, 5.2 assists and 2.3 steals per game as a sophomore.
  • Duane Washington  6-3  Jr  Grand Rapids Christian: Averaged 15.5 points, 2.9 assists and 1.9 steals per game as a sophomore.

Fourth team

  • James Beck  6-7  Sr  Grand Rapids Christian
  • Jacob Boonyasith  6-3  Jr  Jenison
  • Ike Eke  6-9  Sr  Detroit U-D Jesuit
  • Kevin McAdoo  6-1  Sr  West Bloomfield
  • Davion Williams  6-2  Jr  Belleville

Fifth team

  • Keion Epps  6-5  Sr  Wayne Memorial
  • Markell Jackson  6-5  Sr  Muskegon
  • Austin McCullough  6-5  Sr  Portage Central
  • Diego  Robinson  6-6  Sr  Lansing Everett
  • Rashad Williams  6-2  Jr  Wayne Memorial

 

Preseason Class B All-State

Godwin Heights junior Lamar Norman drives to the hole in this MLive photo.
Wyoming Godwin Heights junior Lamar Norman drives to the hole in this MLive photo.

Class B MVP Lamar Norman  6-2  Jr  Wyoming Godwin Heights: Broke out in the state championship game as a freshman and will try to get the Wolverines back to Breslin as a junior. Norman is the most gifted pure scorer in the state’s 2018 class and averaged 21 points a game as a sophomore.

Class B All-State

  • Zack Nieuwkoop  6-8  Sr  Wayland: Averaged 18.1 points and 8.1 rebounds for a 19-2 team. Fourth-year starter signed with Davenport.
  • Darian Owens-White  6-0  Sr  River Rouge: He averaged 24 points, 5 assists and 3 steals per game while leading the Panthers to their first regional crown in over 15 years.
  • Mark Watts  6-1  So  Old Redford Academy: The state’s top ranked sophomore guard will be immediately eligible at ORA after the closing of Detroit Allen, where he averaged 13.8 points and 3 assists per game.
  • Romeo Weems  6-5  So  New Haven: The state’s top 2019 prospect averaged 16 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists a game as a freshman.
  • Trevion Williams  6-8  Jr  Detroit Henry Ford Academy: Chicago native had a terrific debut at the School for Creative Studies, averaging 23.6 points and 10 rebounds per game as a sophomore.

Second team

  • Quinn Blair  6-6  Jr  Dearborn Divine Child: Third-year starter averaged 16 points and 8 rebounds per game as a sophomore.
  • Avery Hudson  5-10  Sr  Wayland: Signed early with Davenport after averaging 15.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 3.7 steals per game.
  • Demetri Martin  6-4  Sr  Big Rapids: Leading returning scorer and rebounder from Big Rapids team that reached state semifinals.
  • Christian Rodriguez  5-10  Sr  Wyoming Godwin Heights: Averaged 15.4 points, 6.8 assists and 2.3 steals as a junior.
  • Mario Whitley  6-4  Jr  Frankenmuth: Averaged 15.3 points and 8 rebounds per game as a sophomore.

Third team

  • Sy Barnett  6-2  Sr  Williamston: Averaged 17.3 points in an abbreviated season for Charlotte before transferring to Williamston.
  • Markese Hastings  6-5  Jr  Wyoming Godwin Heights: Leading returning rebounder for the No. 1 team in Class B.
  • Alex Ismail  6-10  Sr  Dearborn Heights Annapolis: A throw-back true center who averaged 15 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks a game as a junior.
  • Jalen Miller  6-3  Sr  Lake Fenton: One of the state’s top unsigned seniors with his combination of guard skills and ability to play big.
  • Eric Williams  6-4  Sr  New Haven: Leading scorer for a 22-3 team at 16.5 points per game as a junior.

Fourth team

  • Drequan Bell  6-4  Sr  River Rouge
  • Carl Bow  6-0  Jr  Hazel Park
  • David Hearns  6-0  Jr  Hazel Park
  • Delbert Redfield  5-11  Sr  Olivet
  • Deanta Ulmer  6-0  Jr  Detroit Henry Ford

Fifth team

  • Nick Dekkenga  6-1  Sr  Coopersville
  • Merritt Hamann  6-7  Sr  Montague
  • Delonte Peterson  6-5  Sr  River Rouge
  • Kyle Peterson  6-3  Sr  Charlotte
  • Troy Summers  6-8  Sr  Grayling

Preseason Class C All-State

Beecher's Malik Ellison celebrates in this Free Press photo his state semifinal game-winner.
Flint Beecher’s Malik Ellison celebrates in this Free Press photo after his semifinal game-winner.

Class C MVP  Malik Ellison  5-8  Sr  Flint Beecher: An already storied career turned nearly too good to be true when Ellison saved Beecher’s season with a winning three-pointer as time expired with Detroit Loyola in the state semifinals. The shot made Sports Center’s top 10 plays. Beecher went on to win another close one over Calvin Christian in the championship game, Buctown’s third straight Class C title. Ellison averaged 21.5 points and 5 assists as a junior.

Class C All-State

  • Jamal Cain  6-7  Sr  Detroit Cornerstone: He signed with Marquette after averaging 27 points and 14 rebounds as a junior.
  • Caleb Hodgson  6-9  So  Dansville: D1 prospect is poised to dominate after averaging 16 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks as a freshman.
  • PJ Mitchell  5-11  Jr  Detroit Edison: CMU commitment is a transfer from state semifinalist Detroit Loyola, where as a sophomore he scored 11.1 points with 4.6 assists per game.
  • Blake Verbeek  6-10  Jr  Grandville Calvin Christian: Averaged 12 points for Calvin’s runner-up team. Made 5-of-6 three-pointers in the state final.
  • Carson Wonders  6-4  Sr  Iron Mountain: Northern Michigan commitment averaged 24.6 points and 7.8 rebounds last season.

Second team

  • Davion Bradford  6-1  Sr  Detroit Cornerstone: Shines even alongside Jamal Cain as he’s a great athlete who can finish above the rim, run the show and defend.
  • Blake Dunn  6-0  Sr  Saugatuck: All-stater in four sports averaged 26.6 points his junior year.
  • Charles Harris  5-10  Sr  Flint Hamady: Averaged 15.4 points and 4.8 assists for a Hamady team that played Beecher tight in districts.
  • Craig Sterk  6-7  Sr  McBain: Averaged 15.4 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocked shots per game for 26-1 team.
  • Nick Welch  6-7  Sr  Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central: He signed with Northwood. Welch averaged 14.6 points and 9.7 rebounds as a junior.

Third team

  • Trent Bell  6-7  Sr  Negaunee: He signed early with Michigan Tech. Bell averaged 11.3 points and 8.4 rebounds as a junior.
  • Kylen Brown  5-8  Sr  Michigan Center: Is this the year Michigan City gets by Hanover? Brown averaged 15 points and 5 assists as a junior.
  • Logan Eling  5-11  Sr  McBain: As a junior averaged 14.8 points for the state semifinalist Ramblers.
  • Hunter Gallagher  6-4  Sr  Sand Creek: Averaged 19.1 points per game as a junior.
  • Deante Johnson  6-7  Jr  Detroit Edison: “Spider” is an impact defender with his wingspan and activity, and a versatile, improving offensive player.

Fourth team

  • Kaleb Barrett  6-3  Sr  Carson City-Crystal
  • Levane Blake  6-8  Sr  Flint Beecher
  • Jayden Perry  5-8  Jr  Manton
  • Elijah Smith  6-5  Sr  Melvindale ABT
  • Zach Trent  6-2  So  Burton Bentley

Fifth team

  • Wyatt Baker  6-4  Sr  Manton
  • Riley Fairfield  6-4  Sr  North Muskegon
  • Ronald Hill  5-10  Jr  Detroit Pershing
  • Carter Frantz  6-0  Jr  Dansville
  • Xander Okerlund  6-2  So  Maple City Glen Lake

Preseason Class D All-State

Jason Whitens and Powers North Central are poised for a third straight Class D state title.
Jason Whitens and Powers North Central are poised for a third straight Class D state title.

Class D MVP  Jason Whitens  6-4  Sr  Powers North Central: Easy preseason MVP pick,  the leading scorer from two state championship hoop squads. Also, QB of 8-man state championship football team. He became North Central’s all-time leader in points last season while averaging 23 a game.

Class D All-State

  • Gunnar Libby  5-9  Sr  Hillman: Scored 22 points a game as a junior, with the talent and experience to carry both ball-handling and scoring loads.
  • Gabe Meriwether  6-3  Sr  Bellaire: Graduation losses will lead to increased production for Meriwether, who averaged 17.6 points a game as a junior.
  • Mason Pline  6-6  Jr  Fowler: A solid double-double threat as a soph who exploded in AAU as an active dunking, three-point shooting forward with D1 physical tools.
  • Jaylon Rogers  6-1  Jr  Frankfort: The Panthers gave him the keys as a sophomore and he scored 19 points a game. May be the toughest cover in Northern Michigan.
  • Bryce Washington  6-4  Jr  Southfield Christian: Elite open court slasher and finisher who has offers from CMU, Colgate, Detroit and Oakland. Scored 17 a game as a sophomore.

Second team

  • Dawson Bilski  6-3  Sr  Powers North Central: Sweet shooter averaged 15 points for repeat state champs. Signed with Michigan Tech.
  • Denver Cade  6-2  Jr  Buckley: College-caliber shooter who scored 17 points a game as a sophomore.
  • Derrick Edington  6-7  Sr  Pickford: Scholarship sleeper who can score above the rim or from 20 feet. Averaged 27 and 17 as a junior.
  • Daniel Everhart  6-0  Jr  Marine City Cardinal Mooney:  Momentum from a strong off-season and was no slouch as a sophomore scoring 18 points a game.
  • Trey Helinski  5-11  Jr  Lenawee Christian: Led state quarerfinalist team in scoring as a sophomore at 14 points per game.
  • Brock Washington  6-4  Sr  Southfield Christian: Leading scorer the past two seasons for Southfield Chrsitian, which will challenge Powers Central in Class D after moving down from Class C.

Third team

  • Preston Granger  6-4  Sr  Lansing Christian: Clever post scorer led the Pilgrims scoring 16.9 points per game.
  • Austin Harris  6-4  Jr  Buckley: Versatile guard averaged 13 points as a sophomore.
  • Matt Havey  6-1  Sr  Lansing Christian: Averaged 16.4 points per game for regional finalist.
  • Matt Loney  6-3  Sr  Frankfort: Athletic playmaker on both ends of the court for what was a 20-win team.
  • Matt Malcolm  6-4  Jr  Plymouth Christian: Great leaper who can also get hot from deep. Averaged 18 points as a sophomore.
  • Jacob Witt  6-7  Jr  Ewen Trout Creek: Good athlete at 230 pounds who averaged 19.6 points as a sophomore.

Fourth team

  • Harlond Beverly  6-2  So  Southfield Christian
  • David Binder  6-2  Sr  Owendale-Gagetown
  • Forest Bouyer  5-11  Sr  Lansing Christian
  • Blake Dockery  6-2  Jr  Baldwin
  • Thomas Hursey  6-0  Jr  Suttons Bay
  • Jeremy Pung  6-6  Jr  Fowler

Fifth team

  • Caleb Hunter  5-10  So  Southfield Christian
  • Micah McLain  6-2  Jr  Parkway Christian
  • Daniel Nocerini  6-2  Sr  Crystal Falls Forest Park
  • John Paramski  6-2  Sr  Newberry
  • Noah Robak  6-1  So  Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes

No. 1 Clarkston Sending 2018 PG Foster Loyer to MSU

Clarkston junior Foster Loyer, the leading returning scorer on the state's No. 1 team, has committed to Michigan State.
Clarkston junior Foster Loyer, the leading returning scorer on the state’s No. 1 team, has committed to Michigan State.

Tom Izzo doesn’t miss often when he chooses to hand the keys to an in-state lead guard recruit. The two-decade track record as MSU’s head coach has seen “wins” like Flint Northern’s Mateen Cleaves, Lansing Waverly’s Marcus Taylor, Wyoming Park’s Drew Neitzel, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Kalin Lucas and Detroit Pershing’s Keith Appling; a likely winner in freshman Cassius Winston of Detroit U-D Jesuit; and only one bad miss Brandon Cotton the McDonald’s All-American from Detroit DePorres who transferred to Detroit.

Such is the storied lineage Foster Loyer places himself after accepting a Michigan State scholarship offer before playing the first game of his junior season at Clarkston. Loyer is an elite shooter from three-point land or on mid-range pullups who sees, anticipates and executes like a much older player. While the in-state guard recruits could all score in bunches while still involving teammates, they all had different physical profiles and strengths to their game. Nor does he slide into any prefab Spartan template. A closer fit might be similarly sized Kyle McAlarney, who scored 15 ppg as a Notre Dame uppderclassman. Loyer’s not just an all-state player, but one who has produced in some of the world’s most talented youth basketball venues like the Nike Peach Jam, where his All-Ohio Red team won the 16U title, and NBA Players Association Top 100 camp.

Loyer’s Clarkston team is the slight favorite in a top-heavy Class A field when the season tips off in December. The Wolves are far from a one-man show. 6-5 senior Dylan Alderson is one of the toughest matchups in the state, and a key early recruit for LaVall Jordan at Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“Dylan brings toughness, athleticism and a versatile skill set to the court and has a high ceiling and work ethic to match,” Jordan said when Alderson signed.

The third returning All-OAA starter is 5-10 junior guard CJ Robinson. He was a standout defender who didn’t make a lot of mistakes as a sophomore, and now sticks it consistently enough that Robinson and Loyer can be a fluid pair of point guard shooters in the same backcourt. Clarkston has two shooters who thrive playing off those two, 6-2 junior Nick Wells and Chase Wasilk, a 6-5 junior who is just figuring out his game but has a tremendous upside.

Clarkston is intriguing if unproven in the post. The most varsity-ready looks like 6-6 junior Tristen Mysen because he can grind on the defensive class, run the court and finish on the other end. A pair of 6-9 underclassmen, sophomore Taylor Currie and freshman Matt Nicholson, means that with the upperclassmen Alderson and Loyer, Clarkston has a top 10 in-state college prospect in each class.

Bank Hoops All-State Camp Top Prospect Team

MVP  Gabe Brown  6-7  Jr  Belleville: When he played hard on both ends, checking the ball full court, running and finishing with authority, he was the best player at the Bank Hoops All-State Camp. But coaches’ reactions were mixed, and some questioned if Brown was always giving 100. As quickly as he’s risen in the recruiting ranks, can’t get away from what’s gotten him this far, being a full-court impact guy, versatile all-around wing forward, and great teammate. Not being a “superstar.” Brown has a lot of mid-major offers and is getting high-major looks. In the transfer era big schools can lack patience, so if he goes that route will need to find a program that is. All the tools to be a terrific long-range prospect.

Justin Fischer  6-2  Jr  Warren De La Salle: Showed what we all missed when he was injured and not out there as a sophomore for De La Salle. Kory VanDussen clone with white chocolate dimes and a push shot he sinks to 25 feet. Best pure passing point guard in the state’s 2018 class.

“One of the most efficient point guards in the junior class as a whole,” a coach said. “He was solid and played hard all day, even in drills. Very good point guard in transition or the half court. Drives it well enough to pull in defenses and make decisions off of it. Not the most fluid mechanics on his J, but showed improved consistency knocking down more open ones. Plays very hard on defense and uses angles well, which makes up for lack of elite quickness. Needs to continue to work on athleticism, but overall one of the best prospects I saw.”

Jalon Rogers  6-1  Jr  Frankfort: Tough, athletic, self-made player hoping to follow the footsteps of similar guards from the North like Jason Rozycki, Robbie Harman, Trevor Huffman, John Flynn and Sander Scott. A much more mature, secure, refined player than he was at camp a year ago. All kinds of free-up moves with the dribble, and may have had the best mix of pass/shot/drive of any guard in camp. Not particularly long but a quick, physical defender on the ball.

“True floor general,” a coach said. “Guys liked to see the ball in his hands because if they worked to get open he found them. Very nice handle with some craftiness when necessary. He also used the dribble well to create passing angles. Was one of the best post feeders at camp. Defensively get gets after it. The biggest improvement to his game was added range and consistency on his jumper. You can’t play off him now.”

Nate Verbeek  6-10  Jr  Grandville Calvin Christian: Not just putting up 3s, which he’s good at, but has actual perimeter footwork as well as when he catches it on the blocks. Really high skill level for his size and age, combined with wingspan and how he moves is a low risk, high reward recruit. Must more aggressive putting the ball on the floor than in the past. While still thin, improving as a rebounder and strong enough to not lose the ball.

“A stretch 4 in every sense of the word,” a coach said. “Showed range well beyond the three-point line and also knocked down mid-range shots from the short corners and elbows. Very good footwork in the post when he caught it with his back to the basket and displayed a nice looking hook shot. Needs to be more physical before the catch and create a bigger target. Defensively he is quick enough to guard just about any 4 man out to the three-point line, but doesn’t always show it. Very mindful when he’s the help on D, so penetrating guards better get it up quick. He will need to add strength and grit which will allow him to better match up with true bigs; or keep improving his handle and lateral quickness so he can slide into the 3 spot. Length and skill make him a D1 lock, improved strength and toughness will improve what kind of burn he gets once there.”

Rashad Williams  6-2  Jr  Wayne Memorial: A certified bucket getter by his reputation, but also showed the mindset and skill to be a traditional point guard as well. When he got the shot/pass balance really going, kept defenders off balance and was able to operate.

Trevion Williams  6-8  Jr  Detroit Henry Ford Academy: Outside of Deyonta Davis, could end up the most talented frontcourt prospect to have attended a Bank Hoops camp. Unique combination of bulk and passing ability, building his game outside-in at 6-8, 250. Easy to see how Williams has offers from the likes of MSU and Xavier.

“The best rebounder and passer at the camp,” a coach said. “The rebounding wasn’t a surprise, but I haven’t seen a big pass that well in Michigan high school basketball since Chris Webber. Very active off the ball and crashed the O boards every time a shot went up. Runs in transition well for his size and is smooth when he catches the ball going downhill. Shoots it well, but takes some bad shots. Although he plays on the perimeter a lot, isn’t afraid to bang. Could be scary (NBA) good if he ever truly gets in shape. The top overall prospect at camp.”

2017 Camp MVP Markell Jackson Big Reds’ Big Riser

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.”

2017 Early Signees: What Their College Coaches Say

The Grand Rapids Christian duo of James Beck and Xavier Tillman signed their D1 letters-of-intent on Wednesday.
The Grand Rapids Christian duo of James Beck and Xavier Tillman signed their D1 letters-of-intent on Wednesday, to Oakland and Michigan State, respectively.

We’ve got a guy who loves his teammates. X is a vocal guy, always pushing his teammates. Xavier can play the 4 or 5. He’s getting better at expanding his game, and with his worth ethic who knows by the time we get him where he’ll be.

-MSU coach Tom Izzo on GR Christian forward Xavier Tillman

He’s 6-7, he’s long, he’s athletic, tremendous length and can really run the floor. He’s developed from a post player to a guy who can go out and make a jumpshot.

-Oakland coach Greg Kampe on GR Christian forward James Beck

Mike is a combo guard who can play both the 1 and the 2. He can really score the ball in a variety of ways. He can really handle it, shoot well and is all-around a good offensive player

– WMU coach Steve Hawkins on Southfield AT&T guard Michael Flowers

His constant development over those three years has been fun to watch and makes us believe that he has a chance to be a terrific player. He is a great athlete for his size, has been well coached and will only get better because of his work ethic.

-Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski on U-D Jesuit center Ike Eke

Jamal’s athleticism and versatility are exceptional and he impacts the game in a variety of ways.

-Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski on Cornerstone wing Jamal Cain

Our staff identified Matt at an early age as someone who can make a big impact on the game with his shooting ability from 3-point range and beyond.

-CMU coach Keno Davis on Lowell guard Matt Beachler