Indianapolis was ground zero for college basketball recruiting this past weekend. Stephen Bell and Braeden Proctor were able to see games from seven different events — the EYBL, Nike Midwest Showdown, Adidas Silver Gauntlet, Adidas Spring Classic, Under Armour Circuit, Terrific 24 and PowerAde Platform. Here are some of Michigan’s standouts during the second and last NCAA live period of the spring.
Preston Ball 5-10 Fr Northern Exposure 16U (Elk Rapids): NE was having all kinds of trouble with defensive full-court pressure in its Saturday night game before bringing in this freshman off the bench. He was calmer than his elders because Ball seems to have more than just drill-work in his handle, but feel, poise and hoops IQ. Kept the ball hot. Knew when to back-dribble out of a trap or when to bust it with a pass. Made the one three-pointer he took. Physical profile will ultimately determine the level, but has the makings of a future college guard if he takes the right steps.
Austin Braun 5-10 Jr West Michigan Lakers (GR Catholic Central): With star guard Zach Goodline out with a broken hand, Braun’s been a valuable addition for the Lakers. Only caught the last dozen minutes of game Saturday, but he created some issues on defense and made some good unselfish passes to get his teammates open shots. Hit the extra man when opponents closed out on him. Gave up good shots for great shots. Also was hitting teammates running with him in transition. Almost seemed too passive when I watched, he hit his one open 3. Good mechanics on shot allow him to be a lethal spot shooter. Needs to continue working on his mid-range pull-up game and ability to create consistent separation.
Maliq Carr 6-6 So The Family (Oak Park): He made the most of his call-up to the bigs, earning offers from WMU, Oakland, LIU and Robert Morris thanks to his production on the 17U level. Carr was the best of the 2020 group for The Family most of the weekend. That includes Isaiah Jackson, who has been up all spring and is a top 25 player nationally in 2020. Crashed offensive glass hard all weekend long. Was one of the Family’s best interior defenders because of his strength and lateral agility. Usually defending opposing team’s best forwards, such as Indy Heat’s Keion Brooks and Meanstreets’ Romeo Weems. Carr’s strength and quickness gave many opponents issues. Attacked closeouts well with straight line drives and finishes. Quick first step with the ball helped him to get by his man on closeouts. Continued to show he was an effective grab and go forward who could make plays in the open floor for himself or finding teammates. Plus athlete who frequently caught lobs and passes cutting baseline and finishing. Nice combination of high-end production, and high-major potential.
Anthony Crump 6-6 Sr GreenWood Elite (Plymouth): Back on the 2018 market after getting out of NLI to UNC-Asheville. Crump has decent handles, especially for his height, but may not as a primary ball handler at next level. Passed well and did not turn the ball over. Saw the floor well in transition and hit the open man for three-point opportunities. Got to the rim quickly and with minimal steps when opponents tried pressuring him late in the game. Used his length to finish over smaller guards. Not a high level scorer. More of an auxiliary player who can handle and make plays from the wing. Was solid as a defender because he had a noticeable size and length advantage.
Parker Day 6-5 Fr GreenWood Elite 15U (Saginaw Heritage): Moves well for his size and age and looks at home with able to step into a smooth three-point release. Good defensive tools with a strong base to root out his man and the wingspan to challenge shots. Really liked the one time saw him attack the seam of the defense with a big step-through move, but more often he dribbled a lot without going anywhere.
Latrell Fordham 6-4 So GreenWood Elite 16U (Grand Blanc): Was a handful for Brothers Keeper at the rim. They had no answers for him when he slashed in the halfcourt, got the ball on the wing in transition or cleaned up the offensive glass when he crashed from the 3 point line. His size and length were effective defensively too. Quick acceleration allowed him to jump passing lanes against both Brothers Keeper and Ohio Nova. Fordham’s quick hands on ball allowed him to pickpocket his man a couple times. His handles in the halfcourt could use some work. The ball floats a little too high when he dribbles and it looked a little loose when he got going at full speed downhill. He did maintain control of the ball though. Could be an elite defender at the next level with his size and quick reflexes.
Nolan Foster 6-10 Jr MBA (Mattawan): Project big man who was followed by mid-majors all weekend and rarely left the court for MBA but was still producing at a high rate into Sunday. Foster has extended his shooting touch from the elbows to the arc, though still more of a 5 who can shoot it than a stretch 4. Does a good job of clearing space in front of them rim to finish in the post game. He’s clearly worked on his game, not just a big body running around getting looks on potential. Could be recruited at an even higher level if finished with dunks instead of sometimes horizontal and hard layups. Talks on D. Can be a better rebounder if he’d hit someone instead of just reaching for the ball.
Joseph Hahnenberg 6-7 Jr Parallel 45 (Williamston): Natural athlete who is just starting to come into his own as a basketball player. Can face up and attack, handle the ball in transition and defend out on the floor or in the post. Reminds one of Mark and Luke Lettinga who played at Bethel College via Forest Hills Central a decade ago. Hahnenberg has the grades to go with it. Has the instincts but needs to get more physical and nasty as a rebounder. Scholarship player when he starts finishing above the rim.
Trendon Hankerson 6-2 Sr Detroit Spartans (Novi): One of Michigan’s top 10 available seniors, with a recent offer from Northern Illinois, and looked like a college guard with increased physique to go with what was already a nice reach for the point guard spot. Uses both attributes defensively. Likes to push it with the pass and will usually choose expedient routes. Doesn’t rush, can change speeds, and can surprise with athleticism like when he caught up from behind to block a shot. Not spectacular, but competent, smart and able to run a team.
Reece Hazelton 6-6 So Northern Exposure 16U (Glen Lake): “Score from all three levels” has become a scouting cliché too often applied to a kid who can make a layup and open shots from the elbow and arc. It only really matters if they’re college-style shots and Hazelton can do that as he has moves inside and the toughness to finish through contact on up-and-unders or offensive rebounds; can extend over defenders for pull-ups; and shoot 3s off the catch. Versatile, jumps center for NE then is also one of their best passers. More eager on the offensive than defensive boards, and needs to work on a “next play” mentality now that he’s a rising upperclassman.
Tray Jackson 6-8 Sr Meanstreets (Sunrise Christian): He’s young for his class so doing a post-grad season at Sunrise, and the decision is already paying big dividends for the former Detroit Western star with recent offers from Xavier, Boston College and DePaul. Recognized he had a mismatch on the perimeter as Meanstreets’ 5 man and went at whomever was guarding him. Jackson drew fouls all weekend long and living at the free throw line. Shot very well when at the line. An above average help-side shot blocker because of length and mobility. Still needs to get stronger. He lost the ball on a rip through against The Family and occasionally got bumped off balance attacking the rim if fouls were not called.
Carlos Johnson 6-6 So The Family (Benton Harbor): He showed a wider audience why so many in Michigan love him. In his first game on 17u against Indy Heat, he caught fire from deep, going 4-6 and finishing tied with Rocket Watts for a team high 16 points off the bench. Shot was falling like in the Class B state final. Continued to show he could rebound at the highest grassroots level. High points rebounds and went after them with both hands. Like Maliq Carr, played as a grab-and-go forward who pushed the ball himself if teammates were not open. Great outlet passer who did not hunt for his own stats. He continues to be an uber productive player regardless of if he is the number 1 option or not. Still needs to improve his handles in the halfcourt. Not a lot of shift in his handles. More straight line drives or going through his man.
Jamoni Jones 6-0 So GreenWood Elite 16U (East Kentwood): Started the game versus Ohio Nova on another level. Went for 10 quick points and scored from three levels — a mid-range pull-up in the half court, a left-handed finish in transition and a pair of 3s. Showed great control of the ball and was regularly getting into the paint in the first half. JJ was face-guarded the entire second half which was a testament to how dominant he was in the first, and it slowed him down considerably. Needed to utilize screens and continue to go at his man when he did get the ball. He was still getting to the rim when he went at his man but only attacked a couple times in the second half. 2020 is strong with guards and Jones looked again like one of the best in both games when he was in attack mode.
Joshua Lynn 6-5 Jr Michigan Blazers (Franklin Road Christian): Big body who can fill the lane or spot up and shoot the three-pointer. Looks like he should be an all-state type at the Class D level next season.
Isaiah Phelps 6-6 Jr Parallel 45 (Napoleon): Last year’s breakout sleeper 6-6 Parallel 45 forward, Boyne City’s Dylon Williams, will play at Michigan Tech. Now comes a relative unknown who was discovered by his AAU coaches at a track and field meet. A strong, old school 4 who would thrive in the MIAA and has already caught the attention of some of its coaches. Not afraid to max out his effort even if it comes with mistakes. A developing post game. Soaks up coaching and the best is yet to come.
Vinson Sigmon 5-10 Jr MBA (Canton): In high school, he’s half of the dynamic backcourt with B. Artis White that will again have Canton a top team in the state. With MBA, Sigmon looks really dangerous pushing the ball with Mattawan’s Dexter Shouse and North Muskegon’s TJ McKenzie running the lanes. Sigmon isn’t just able to go fast, but execute moves and make decisions while at full speed. Hits some tough shots in the lane that bely his size. Will have to expand his perimeter for the next level, good from mid-range pulling up but inconsistent shooting from deep.
Karvon Stigall 6-4 Fr Downriver Bad Boyz (River Rouge): While fellow forwards Didier Ngabo, 6-4 from Taylor Prep, may be bouncier and more active and Jimmy Breaux, 6-6 from Wyandotte, taller and longer, Stigall can be a load in the frontcourt for the 15U level. Between the inherent funkiness of a left-handed post game and ability to hold ground, gets to the line a lot. Shoots the jump-hook with either hand. Finishes off of one foot, would like to see him explosive off of two.
Brock Stevens 6-0 So Impact Elite (Calvin Christian): Coach’s son who plays like it with his steady disposition and the way he values the ball. Not rattled by traps or when the lane starts to converge and things get hectic. Saw him get knocked down, maintain his dribble, get back up and feed the post for an assist. Not a burner but keeps defenders honest with how Stevens can change speed and direction. Has the runner point guards needs for the next level. A better shooter off the catch than dribble.
Ryan Wade 6-2 Jr 1Nation (Ann Arbor Skyline): A returning 17U veteran on the UAA Circuit. Crafty. Consistently got to the rim. Wasn’t rattled by Louisiana Elite’s size advantage and ball pressure. He scored 15 of 1nation’s first 19 points I believe. Just a smart player who put himself in the right spots. Got loose balls off the rim or tipped passes for easy put-backs. Hit shots out of pick-and-rolls from three-point range. Still takes a high volume to get his points.
Charlie Woodhams 6-3 So MBA 16U (Otsego): He had a big game shooting the ball in the 16U semifinals of the Midwest Takeover, before a foul-fest debacle ended MBA’s hope in the championship game. Woodham’s in heaven playing with one of the state’s purest point guards Max Perez, because both have high hoops IQs, Woodhams creating opportunities moving off the ball or setting screens. By no means just a finesse shooter, he’s pretty rugged and will compete defensively. Invites physical play and will finish against contact. Scholarship player as his own ball skills and creation and free flow come to the fore.