Much of Michigan’s young talent was represented at the Mustangs Summer Showdown, an NCAA live period event held at Hype Athletics in Dearborn, and the college coaches in the stands were a testament to the bright future. But it was an out-of-state team, Gary Harris from Indiana, that won the strong 15U field. The 16U field saw a major upset in the championship game when first-year program GreenWood beat the national top 10 Mustangs who earlier in the tournament had pasted Greenwood by 30+. The Mustangs won the 17U division. Here are some of the tournament’s standouts.
Corey Allen 6-3 Sr Mustangs (Ypsilanti): The guard position for the Mustangs has seen trial by error. In Allen they may have finally found the right fit for July. He saw significant minutes at point guard while also still being able to go to his aggressive, physical, creative scoring game. Changed speeds well on the dribble and has body control once airborne. Good half-court passing vision. Surprisingly athletic and he’s particularly explosive over short spaces which makes you like his defensive potential. His performance in Dearborn earned Allen an offer from Detroit. That’s the third he’s gotten in this live period alone, along with Cleveland State and Kent State.
Levane Blake 6-7 Jr GreenWood 16U (Flint Beecher): He can be up and down, but really earned his check in the 16U championship final when he fought defensively in the post against the Mustangs’ talented pair of Xavier Tillman and Isaiah Livers. At his best when he focuses on guarding the rim, rebounding and finishing. Can turn his own shots attempts into more complicated than need be. He’s one of the state’s top 10 junior prospects at the 4 position.
2017 Power Forwards
- Xavier Tillman 6-8 Jr Grand Rapids
- Ikechukwu Eke 6-9 Jr Detroit U-D Jesuit
- Greg Eboigdidim 6-8 Jr Detroit U-D Jesuit
- Isaiah Livers 6-7 Jr Kalamazoo Central
- Zach Niewkoop 6-7 Jr Wayland
- Jack Ballantyne 6-8 Jr Warren De La Sale
- Will Weems 6-8 Jr Detroit Edison
- Ross Koella 6-7 Jr Grand Haven
- Levane Blake 6-7 Jr Flint Beecher
- Ryan Gamm 6-6 Jr Rockford
Austin Davis 6-10 Sr Mustangs (Onsted): The Hype Athletic Center isn’t the Davidson Player Development Center, and their lighter baskets were in dangerous all tournament as Davis was doing chin-ups like it was boot camp. His fitness level is high and it shows in how active around and frequently above the rim he was. U-M’s head coach John Beilein and posts coach Bacari Alexander were at the event, and had to be excited with what they saw from Davis.
2016 Top 10
- Cassius Winston 6-1 Sr Detroit U-D Jesuit
- Austin Davis 6-10 Sr Onsted Michigan
- Karmari Newman 6-4 Sr Detroit East English Village
- Brailen Neely 5-9 Sr Detroit Western Oakland
- Spencer Littleson 6-3 Sr Rochester Adams
- Devon Daniels 6-5 Sr Kalamazoo Central
- Innocent Nwoko 6-10 Sr New Haven Central Michigan
- Justin Turner 6-3 Sr Detroit Renaissance
- Corey Allen 6-3 Sr Ypsilanti
- Jerry Ben 6-8 Sr New Haven Cornell
Jaron Faulds 6-10 Jr Family 16U (Holt): He missed a layup and one-handed dunk early in the tournament, but got wise and mean from there and it was a barrage of two-handed bangers. A defender, rebounder, rim-runner, post threat with the frame, hands and motor that will keep high majors watching and ultimately offering.
Myron Gardner 6-3 Fr Judge’s Court 15U (Southfield): He’s one of a number of 14-year-olds playing up for Judge’s Court. They may take a few lickings that way, but Gardner doesn’t hang his head and kept competing. For his age and big body, defenders aren’t expecting Gardner’s shooting touch. And then they aren’t expecting how he can then put it on the floor and create more when they start to play up on him. Uses his strength to get the shot off inside. He looks like one of the early top 10 2019 prospects in Michigan.
Top 10 Incoming Freshmen
- Terry Armstrong 6-4 Fr Flint Carman Ainsworth
- Sean Cobb 6-5 Fr Williamston
- Julian Dozier 5-8 Fr Detroit U-D Jesuit
- Myron Gardner 6-3 Fr Southfield
- Caleb Hodgson 6-8 Fr Dansville
- Dreyon O’Neal 6-5 Fr Detroit Edison
- Zach Trent 6-2 Fr Flint Powers
- Ryan Wade 5-10 Fr Ann Arbor Skyline
- Mark Watts 5-9 Fr Detroit Allen
- Romeo Weems 6-5 Fr Detroit Country Day
Danny Kolp 6-8 So Parallel 45 15U (Petoskey): He’s starting to embrace the physical game, which combined with his skill, length and comfort with the ball out on the floor caught the eye of Big Ten, Horizon and MAC coaches. Kolp throwing an elbow coming up the floor in a chippy silver division championship game with the Markham Gators also got nods of approval from the upper deck. He blocks shots and rebounds like you’d expect of a 6-8 15U player, then will hit shots from the blocks or corner 3s on the other end. The addition of a jump-hook and drop-step will do him wonders. He’s one of the top five forwards in the state’s 2018 class.
- Brandon Johns 6-8 So East Lansing
- Thomas Kithier 6-8 So Macomb Dakota
- Danny Kolp 6-8 So Petoskey
- Jalen Tobias 6-6 So Detroit Renaissance
- Tristen Mysen 6-6 So Oxford
Kevin McKay 6-4 Sr Detroit Showtime (Warren De La Salle): While the buzz was about John Beilein coming in to watch McKay’s teammate, the state’s No. 3 senior Karmari Newman, McKay saw his stock rise as well. He’s a slasher and finisher who will also beat you with the pass, has become a more consistent three-point threat and improved his off hand. But as always what will get him free college are the intangibles, versatility and will for the 50-50 balls.
Christian Rodriguez 5-9 Jr GreenWood 16U (Godwin Heights): As is his wont, when the dust settled Rodriguez found himself posing with a trophy. He teamed up with another state championship point guard, Beecher’s Malik Ellison, and a former state championship coach, Mike Thomas, to beat the heavily favored Mustangs in the 16U final. A true point guard who, as one coach said, “makes passes most kids can’t.” Has a lefty runner but not yet a knock-down 3 ball. Rodriguez’ ability to run a team and his Just Win Baby resume are particularly impressive since by age he should be in the 2018 class. He’s one of the top 10 point guards in the junior class.
2017 Point Guards
- Jermaine Jackson 5-9 Jr Macomb Dakota
- Darian Owens-White 5-11 Jr River Rouge
- Christian Rodriguez 5-9 Jr Wyoming Godwin Heights
- Shonte Suddeth 5-10 Jr Jackson
- Armonee Felder 5-9 Jr Detroit Pershing
- Jesse Scarber 5-8 Jr Detroit King
- Malik Ellison 5-6 Jr Flint Beecher
- Jesse Hillis 6-0 Jr Caledonia
- CJ Wilson 5-10 Jr Orchard Lake St. Mary’s
- Gunnar Libby 5-8 Jr Hillman
- Armari Hardy 6-2 Jr Southfield
- Matt Beachler 6-3 Jr Lowell
- Dylan Alderson 6-4 Jr Clarkston
- Greg Elliott 6-2 Jr Detroit East English Village
- Demetrius Lake 5-10 Jr Holland
- Sam Cornett 6-4 Jr Grandville
- Jermaine Goliday 6-3 Jr Muskegon
- Gabe Meriwether 6-2 Jr Bellaire
- Jason Majerle 6-1 Jr Rockford
- Troy Brown 6-1 Jr Flint Northwestern
Xavier Tillman 6-8 Jr Mustangs 16U (Grand Rapids): After missing the first day of the tournament with Adidas commitments, Tillman made a rare Eastside appearance and showed the crowd why he’s one of the country’s most widely recruited forwards. A frame that could rebound in any era, hands that catch everything and a vastly expanded offensive arsenal are the why. The one-two of his strength and improved footwork led to a dominant performance in the Mustangs’ blowout of the Family in what many had hoped would be a showcase game. Tillman has a Kentucky offer, and is perhaps closer to Chuck Hayes than the typical Coach Cal 4 recruit.
Ryan Wade 5-10 Fr Gators 15U (Ann Arbor Skyline): Playing up on a squad that was the AAU national runner-up less than a week earlier, but fights right in, and more. Teams that focused their defense on the Gators via Skyline backcourt of Jack Ammerman paid the price as Wade calmly drained three upon three. Not the physical drive threat his older brother Brandon is, but we’ll see how that comes as Ryan matures and gets more chances with the ball in his hands.
Mario Whitley 6-3 So GreenWood 15U (Frankenmuth): An absolute load for the 15U level. He’s physically assertive on the baseline but then brings the next dimension of hangtime and creativity out of that big body. A horse on both ends of the glass. When he shoots it from three-point range like he did in Dearborn, there’s not a lot you can do with him. Over the next three years Whitley will have to add the in-between game.