Class A Breakdown

Class A Final Four

Cassius Winston is poised to lead U-D Jesuit on another trip to Breslin.
Cassius Winston is poised to lead U-D Jesuit on another trip to Breslin.

Detroit U-D Jesuit
Expect the Cubs to make their third straight trip to Breslin. This time they’ll be the favorite to win it all, returning four starters from the team that lost to eventual state champion Detroit Western in the Class A semifinals. Senior guard Cassius Winston is already the best player in school history and he’s working with one of the state’s tallest front lines with 6-10 junior Ike Eke and 6-8 junior Greg Eboigbodin. One of Michigan’s best 2018 guards, elite defender Elijah Collins, replaces his brother Gary in the first five. No. 8 Detroit Renaissance is in the same district and U-D will likely have to get past the No. 2 team in Class A, Detroit East English Village, in the regional then the typically dangerous 94 Corridor representative in the quarterfinal, an even tougher route with all three Ann Arbor teams on the upswing. EEV, with D1 recruits like George Mason’s Karmari Newman and IPFW’s Chris Rollins, was the best team we saw this summer when Cassius Winston was hurt. But their district is brutal with defending state champion No. 6 Detroit Western and their returning all-state guard Brailen Neely, No. 22 Detroit King and Detroit Cass Tech.

Dakota's Thomas Kithier (right) is one of the state's top sophomore prospects.
Dakota’s Thomas Kithier (right) is one of the state’s top sophomore prospects.

Macomb Dakota
No. 4 Dakota gets the slightest edge on No. 5 Clarkston since they host the regional. Dakota has the best point guard-big man combination in the state with junior Jermaine Jackson and sophomore Thomas Kithier. Clarkston has a pair of D1 recruits itself, sophomore point guard Foster Loyer and junior wing Dylan Alderson. Not to be left out, Dakota has some new talent of its own with Brendan Sackey, a 6-6 junior from Toronto. The other half of the regional will likely feature two of the state’s top senior shooters, No. 21 Rochester Adams’ Spencer Littleson and No. 24 Holly’s Kyle Woodruff. Dakota’s surprise opponent in the quarterfinals could be No. 18 Petoskey, with three college prospects in both their senior and sophomore classes, though the Northmen would have to find a match up for No. 12 Saginaw’s prolific scoring guard, junior Qua Southward.

North Farmington
If Raiders’ coach Todd Negoshian can match all their parts, they’re coming out of the West Bloomfield regional unscathed. Senior Billy Thomas had a bizarre junior season which ended up, briefly, with No. 3 North Farmington. Given a full season he’s ready to remind everyone why he’s one of the most feared scoring guards in the senior class. Southfield transfer Amari Hardy is a junior guard and one of the state’s top 10 overall prospects in 2017. 6-7 junior Nate Brooks from Georgia already has an offer from Detroit. Jacob Joubert is the opposite, far from a newcomer but a four-year starter at guard. NF’s most probably quarterfinal opponent is No. 7 Warren De La Salle, where the emergence of soph point guard Justin Fischer will just make CMU signee Kevin McKay and 6-8 junior Jack Ballantyne even better.

Hudsonville
The oddball pick of the lot, but in a year when there’s not a D1 senior in Grand Rapids, Muskegon or Kalamazoo, the Eagles could make it through this war of attrition. No. 9 Hudsonville returns senior guards Bryce Elliott and Riley Costen and a tough all-around senior in Adam VanLaar. 6-6 junior Brady Boothe can shoot it but will have to be a presence under the rim with this group. In the regional semifinal Hudsonville will probably have to figure out how to slow down the state’s top shooter, No. 23 Lowell junior Matt Beachler. On the other half of the Caledonia regional Grand Rapids Christian looms large if junior transfer forwards Xavier Tillman and James Beck can mesh and they get past No. 14 East Kentwood or Ottawa Hills and their superior guard play. No. 11 Muskegon doesn’t have a Mr. Basketball for the first time in three years but a bunch of solid players though Grand Haven will be confident in district play having knocked out Muskegon at Grand Valley State’s team camp in June. Playing for the chance to play Hudonville in the quartefinal will be No. 10 Kalamazoo Central, which will have to survive a solid Lansing contingent in the regional. Even with Devon Daniels leaving the state, this should be coach Ramsey Nichols’ most talented team in Kalamazoo particularly with 6-7 junior Isaiah Livers assuming a leadership mantle.

Class A Top 25
1. Detroit U-D Jesuit
2. Detroit East English Village
3. North Farmington
4. Macomb Dakota
5. Clarkston
6. Detroit Western
7. Warren De La Salle
8. Detroit Renaissance
9. Hudsonville
10. Kalamazoo Central
11. Muskegon
12. Saginaw
13. Ypsilanti
14. East Kentwood
15. East Lansing
16. Romulus
17. Grand Rapids Christian
18. Petoskey
19. Holt
20. Saginaw Arthur Hill
21. Rochester Adams
22. Detroit King
23. Lowell
24. Holly
25. Ann Arbor Huron

Class A Preseason All-State
Corey Allen 6-3 Sr Ypsilanti
Jermaine Jackson 5-8 Jr Macomb Dakota
Brailen Neely 5-8 Sr Detroit Western
Karmari Newman 6-4 Sr Detroit East English Village
Cassius Winston 6-1 Sr Detroit U-D Jesuit

Second team
Matt Beachler 6-3 Jr Lowell
Jaron Faulds 6-10 Jr Holt
Spencer Littleson 6-4 Sr Rochester Adams
Kevin McKay 6-4 Sr Warren De La Salle
Justin Turner 6-3 Sr Detroit Renaissance

Third team
Dylan Alderson 6-5 Jr Clarkston
Trishton Jackson 6-3 Sr West Bloomfeild
Brandon Johns 6-8 So East Lansing
Isaiah Livers 6-8 Jr Kalamazoo Central
Xavier Tillman 6-8 Jr Grand Rapids Christian

Fourth team
Ty Groce 6-7 Sr Ypsilanti Lincoln
Thomas Kithier 6-8 So Macomb Dakota
Foster Loyer 6-0 So Clarkston
Chris Rollins 5-10 Sr Detroit East English Village
Kyle Woodruff  6-2  Sr  Holly

Fifth team
Brandon Allen 5-8 Sr Haslett
Demetrius Lake  5-10  Jr  Holland
Qua Southward  6-0  Jr  Saginaw
Brandon Wade 6-1 So Ann Arbor Skyline
Davion Williams 6-1 So Belleville

Class A Underclassman All-State
Terry Armstrong 6-4 Fr Flint Carman-Ainsworth
Trayvon Jackson 6-7 So Ypsilanti Lincoln
Justin Fischer 5-11 So Warren De La Salle
Danny Kolp 6-8 So Petoskey
Tanner Reha 6-4 So DeWitt

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