Noteworthy Performers from the Izzo Shootout

The Breslin Center was one of four venues for the Izzo Shootout.
The Breslin Center was one of four venues for the Izzo Shootout.

Ypsilanti, boasting one of the state’s top backcourts with senior Mike Bruce, formerly of Belleville, joining their leading scorer the past two seasons, senior Corey Allen, won the tournament at the Michigan State team camp aka the Izzo Shootout. The Phoenix beat Jerome High School from Dublin, Ohio in the final game Saturday. With 80 teams, there was ample talent in East Lansing from Michigan and beyond. Here are some of the standouts from the weekend.

Dylan Alderson  6-4  Jr  Clarkston: Having had the ball in his hands so much coming up as a player, one part of Alderson’s game that lagged the other D1 bonafides was his spot-up shooting. Don’t tell that to Petoskey, as the transfer from Davison knocked down three straight three-point attempts from the left wing as Clarkston pulled away from the Northmen in bracket play. The Wolves have the potential to be devastating on the perimeter offensively, with the state’s top sophomore point guard, Foster Loyer, and a 6-4 senior, Tabin Throgmorton, who in stretches can look like the most talented of them all. When not on the catch-and-shoot, Alderson has low and explosive handles rare for a high school player his height. Mid-major lock with a chance for more.

Lowell junior Matt Beachler was one MSU's staff had eyes on at the Izzo Shootout.
Lowell junior Matt Beachler was one MSU’s staff had eyes on at the Izzo Shootout.

Matt Beachler  6-3  Jr  Lowell: You know you’re living right when you make 1-of-7 three-point attempts in a game but the Izzo Shootout’s namesake still wants to speak after the game. So it was for Beachler, as MSU was already one of the schools to have contacted him earlier in the week, along with Michigan, Stanford and Princeton, and VCU which was his first “mid-major +” offer. Anyone who has seen Beachler for more than one game isn’t worried about his shot, and when senior point guard Ryan Stevens is also hitting from deep Lowell is tough to handle as they beat Detroit Cornerstone, Detroit Pershing and River Rouge.  Beachler continues to trend towards high-major prospect as he’s added both physical maturity to endure physical off-ball defense and hit shots off the dribble, and the mental maturity to play through the misses.

Jamal Cain  6-6  Jr  Detroit Cornerstone: His talent is most on display when Cain is finishing in transition, as he has the skill, touch, feel and athleticism to recover and convert even poor passes. Ironic given his name, Cain lacks a killer instinct. When the game slows is when he needs to be more aggressive cutting to get the ball, and attacking once he has it. Shot is improving, an unselfish passer, and finds himself on the line because he’s such a tough matchup in high school ball.

Justin Fischer  5-11  So  Warren De La Salle: The Pilots look like they may have found the point guard they lacked last season after Chris Rollins hopped 8 Mile for East English Village. Fisher was efficient and understood his money’s going to be made setting up upperclassmen. He could push the ball or slow it down, connect with one-handed passes on the move and worked hard defensively to keep his man out of the lane.

Josh Long  6-6  Jr  Detroit Western: The Cowboys’ Class A state championship team had the luxury of three 6-8 seniors. They look more like a normal high school squad in pursuit of the title defense, but Long becoming eligible will make a frontcourt impact for Western. He appears to have bought into what Derrick McDowell asks of his bigs — defense, screens, rebounds — but with a dose of talent. Long is a quick, two-handed, high-pointing rebounder and showed good hands and finishing feel around the rim. His body, if not yet his game, suggest the 3 spot at the next level.

Karmari Newman  6-4  Sr  Detroit East English Village: Continues to perform like a top five overall prospect in the 2016 class. EEV’s veteran lineup reached the semifinals of Saturday’s tournament. With their wingspans, Newman and junior Greg Elliott — another D1 guard — can really cut down the court defensively. the older of the two is a sweet-shooting left-hander will get you 35 if on, and still cobble together 20 when he’s off. Made good decisions when asked to be EEV’s primary ball-handler. If Newman can show any kind of knack for gaining strength and keeping on weight, offers beyond his current mid-major opportunities could ensue.

Darian Owens-White  6-0  Jr  River Rouge: When Owens-White was named 2017 MVP of the 2014 Bank Hoops All-State Minicamp, the consensus amongst coaches was that if he continued growing, he’s at least a MAC player. A transfer from Ypsilanti, Owens-White has in fact grown and looks like the heir apparent to EMU freshman LaMonta Stone at River Rouge. He’s long had the right instincts and skill, now DOW, the son of Adrian College coach Mark White, has the strength and upperclassman chutzpah to consistently create and complete his own shots. While he scored in bunches in his new role, it wasn’t at the expense of others as he’s a true point guard who makes things simpler for teammates when he has the ball.

Saginaw's Qua Southward may be the most prolific streak scorer in the state's junior class.
Saginaw’s Qua Southward may be the most prolific streak scorer in the state’s junior class.

Qua Southward  5-11  Jr  Saginaw: Very dangerous when he is creating his own shot and knocking down three-pointers in rhythm. Combination of talent and practice time is on display when Southward hits tough shot after tough shot. Can also beat you from mid-range, and resembles a young Calvin Wooten when the hand is hot. When the game slows down and he has to be a more traditional point guard is when Southward can struggle, as at times he sits on the dribble too long and forces the ball into double and even triple teams. Saginaw High had an interesting lineup at MSU. One-time Trojans star Algevon Eichelberger, a 6-6 senior, played last season for Prolific Prep in California but is with the old squad at least for summer ball. 6-2 junior Henry Speight was the state’s most productive scoring/rebounding sophomore last season for Carrollton. Eddie Thigpen is a 6-5 left-handed junior with potential.

Brandon Wade  6-1  So  Ann Arbor Skyline: He seems to like Big Ten venues, as Wade helped Skyline to the Final 4 at MSU’s team camp, two weeks after excelling at UM’s college practice camp. In between? He picked up an offer from father Keith Wade’s alma mater, Toledo. The younger Wade doesn’t play much like an underclassman, he’s physical, fast and aggressive with the ball, and has some high-end skills on the move. Skyline has an assortment of shooters that he keeps happy. His own shot? It can get better. Even still, Wade is a top 10 in-state prospect for 2018.

Evan Whitmore  6-3  Sr  Petoskey: Petoskey has an interesting mix of three seniors who can play college ball — Whitmore, 6-4 Jason Bur and 6-2 senior Aron Lee — and a strong sophomore class with similar aspirations. Whitmore was particularly valuable against the aggressive defense of the downstate teams because he has the strong build to hold them off (he’s also a standout football player) and make smart decisions with the ball despite the pressure. Good-looking shot, though he doesn’t take a lot of them.

Standouts From Grand Valley’s college exposure camp

The Grand Valley State University prospects camp featured some potential recruits for the home school, and more playing in front of various small college coaches for whom it was a smorgasbord. Here 10 are some of the standout prospects from GVSU (not including a couple of top seniors, Rockford’s Michael Peterson and Lowell’s Ryan Stevens, who we discussed earlier in the week from Grand Valley’s team camp).

Caleb Drumm  6-3  Sr  Homer: He caught the eyes of coaches and scouts in drills when he was dunking off one or two feet. Drumm has a nice wingspan and took advantage of it keeping scoring chances alive on the rim. Physical tools an MIAA coach can work with.

Justin Gibbons  6-4  Sr  Northville: Last year another Northville player, Nate Kellum, distinguished himself at Grand Valley’s camp. While probably not destined for the D2 level like his older teammate, Gibbons is an attractive prospect himself passing the look test with a 6-6 1/2 wingspan, and the off-court test with some of the best grades at the event. He knocked down 3s, setting up defenders to then get beat with a long first step. More athlete than guard and needs to finish more consistently and stronger given his physical advantages.

Riley Lewis  5-11  Sr  Williamston: Slithery natural scorer who beat a number of good defenders off the dribble. Plays with bounce and energy. Can beat you with the jumper too when the footwork is in order. While a good athlete, slight frame has Lewis destined for D3, where he has the game and grades to thrive.

Matt Loney  6-2  So  Frankfort: The top underclassman at camp, and there was another good one from Frankfort of all places, 2018 point guard Jaylon Rogers. The youngest of six, including a brother and sister who played at WMU, Loney plays with the energy of a kid who has been waiting to get in the game all his life. Rebounded in traffic with an in-state, camp-best 6-7 wingspan. A five-position high school player who ran the court hard and made layup after layup past older players.

Gabe Meriwether  6-1  Jr  Bellaire: Small-town kid with talent that transcends geography, Meriwether played hard in both drills and games. Always in attack mode with the ball, hitting 3s and finishing fast-break dunks. Improved defensively. Generally keeps a respectable shot-pass balance, but sometimes still gets ahead of himself.

Perry junior Reese Middleton distinguished himself with his jump shot at Grand Valley State University’s exposure camp.

Reese Middleton  6-4  Jr  Perry: College wing size, with college wing shot. Puts it up with confidence and can get the ball off over defenders. While one might dismiss him as a catch-and-shoot arc dweller largely reliant on the other four guys, Middleton acquitted himself well in one-on-one play. His size enabled his scoring knack to carry over to the lane. A lower, attacking game from the wing both offensively and defensively would help his stock.

Deric Murray   6-2  Jr  Ann Arbor Pioneer: The Pioneers had three 2017 prospects see significant time last season, and two of them found their way to Allendale, Murray and 6-5 Jordan Currie. Murray had the highest vertical leap at camp — 38 inches — and it wasn’t just for show, as he finished well in games. He’s a left-handed combo guard who competed in drills and was in attack mode once the game opened up. Needs to balance his attack going to the right and get an up-and-down jumpshot with a higher release point.

Jeremy Pung  6-5  Jr  Fowler: The tallest players at camp were out-of-staters. Pung nevertheless made his presence known in the post with physical, consistent play. Rebounded, ran rim-to-rim and showed good hands. A strong power leaper, but it takes him some time to get wound up.

Adam Reed  6-4  Jr  Three Rivers: Athletic, productive tweener with the frame of a guy who could be playing MIAA basketball or football. Versatile defender who could push around inside and also get onto the floor and close out. Able to score with his back-to-the basket when matched up with wings.

Kyle Woodruff  6-2  Sr  Holly: In camp games the teams are made up of mostly strangers and there’s the pressure of wanting to impress in a brief window of time. That can make for selfish play. Woodruff is such a good shooter, his new teammates actually liked getting him the ball because an assisted three-pointer was likely to ensue. The up-and-down game was particularly to his liking as he was able to find soft spots in the lax transition D. Needs to finish stronger with his chin to the rim.

Isn’t it Grand? Bucs Win GVSU Team Camp

So far so good in the brief Grand Haven coaching tenure of Greg Immink. After coaching the 2014-15 season at Traverse City West, the former Hudsonville and Hope standout guard finds himself closer to home. He was on the sideline as the Buccaneers were the surprise winner of a loaded tournament field for Grand Valley State’s second team camp session, knocking out Class B state champion Wyoming Godwin Heights in the final 60-56.

Grand Haven doesn’t have a dominant D1 player, but does have depth and size. 5-10 senior Drew Hewitt is both a shot and penetration threat at point guard. 6-5 senior Zach Sinke is burly enough to impact in the lane and has an easy touch from 20. He banked in the game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer as the Bucs got past Muskegon in the tournament semifinals. Sinke gives Grand Haven bookend posts along with 6-7 junior Ross Koella. Koella is athletic and pursues tough rebounds. He’s like former Bucs center Nate VanArendonk in that he has rare physical tools, you just wish there was always the motor to match. 6-4 Zac Holman gives Grand Haven a smooth, athletic wing, and some length along with 6-5 junior Drew Van Andel.

Here are more outanding prospects, from other teams competing at Grand Valley.

Sy Barnett  6-2  Jr  Charlotte: He was dominant against Allendale, and even against Muskegon it was Barnett who flashed the most athletic play of the game when he threw a Big Reds shot attempt off the backboard. Can shoot well past the arc. At 6-2, strong and vertical, he’s more wing than guard right now.

Jacob Boonyasith  6-1  So  Jenison: As a freshman he was probably already Jenison’s best player but didn’t want to rock the boat. Now he’s the clear leader with the ball in his hands and when at his best, Boonyasith favors his coach David Kool in more than just the haircut. He plays with a nice shot/drive/pass balance and consistently beat older players one-on-one. Jenison was knocked out of bracket play by Lowell as the Wildcats’ young guard got looks but struggled to finish. Jenison starts two sophomores, as 6-4 Colton Ritsema at times looks like a young Matt Kingshott at the 4.

Jermaine Goliday  6-2  Jr  Muskegon: Microwave scorer off the bench for the Big Reds. Not especially skilled and a good not great athlete, yet Goliday gets into the paint at will and is a layup machine. His deep shot continues to improve and what really impressed was the number of easy layups he got for his teammates from his penetration and dishes. He’s strong through the shoulders and shows some toughness on the glass. Right now some of his older teammates may be more vested defensively, when Goliday finds the fire on that end too really good things could ensue.

Anthony McIntosh  6-2  Sr  Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills: Ottawa Hills may have lost its highest ranked prospect, junior forward James Beck, to Grand Rapids Christian but their best player right now regardless would have been McIntosh. He’s a sneaky dunker but one defenders will remember once he does, and sets it up with a sound if not pure three-point shot. Not a point guard but an unselfihs passer. When Mac is full auto on the defensive end is where he really starts to separate himself from the typical high school 20 ppg kid.

Lamar Norman  6-1  So  Wyoming Godwin Heights: Godwin has a good chance to repeat in Class B because of an elite high school backcourt: senior slasher Leon Redd, lefty junior point guard Christian Rodriguez and this sophomore star. The heir apparent to Delaney Blaylock at Godwin, Norman has been on fire ever since the Class B state championship game, which carried over all spring for the Mustangs in 15U AAU. No one in the 2018 class has more hair, and there aren’t 10 with more game. In the closing minute against East Kentwood, Norman made the go-ahead bucket on put-back then chased Rodriguez’ two ice-time free throws with a pair of his own. There has been an uptick in his athletic ability, as he could dunk on the break and now he’ll catch alleyoops. Thrives in the pitch-and-shoot setups Godwin is known for, but also has the ability to create and shoot off the dribble. Tends to float and leak too much on defense, and will have to become a leader on that end, too, as an upperclassman.

Michael Peterson  6-6  Sr  Rockford: He didn’t play Saturday when Rockford was knocked out by Godwin, but looked good Friday.  Mike Pete has some heretofore unknown meat on his frame which made his curls that much more dangerous. He’s strong off the ball overall and cuts with purpose. Peterson has a significant wingspan making him a poor man’s Chris Hass, pullup shot his most reliable weapon. Could easily see him playing again in the Lakers gym, for the home team or GLIAC opponent.

Tony Poljan  6-7  Sr  Lansing Catholic Central: Minnesota’s answer to Ben Rothlisberger, if he stuck to hoops Poljan would be a top 10 senior and he was the best individual 2016 talent at GVSU. Despite how big and strong he’s gotten, he hasn’t lost his shooting touch. He’ll beat you as a passer under physical duress not just at Ford Field, but from the low or high post.

Micah Rosser  6-4  Sr  East Kentwood: He can make so inspiring and then equally frustrating plays in such a short period of time. Mike Ross will hit an impossible scoop shot, then short-arm an easier layup. This roller coaster climaxed at the end of EK’s elimination loss to Godwin Heights. Rosser has all kinds of length on defense, and is fast and effective pushing the ball. He needs to play lower in the halfcourt and gain not just physical but overall toughness for the next level.

Ryan Stevens  6-1  Sr  Lowell: Vastly underrated player whose physicality, athleticism and confidence show wrestling isn’t the only winter sport where the benefits of being Lowell’s QB carry over. He and junior guard Matt Beachler give the Red Arrows one of Michigan’s elite backcourts as both can stretch defenses and beat you off the bounce to score or pass. They led Lowell to the semifinals at Grand Valley, where they fell in a close one to Godwin Heights. Stevens plays like David Krombeen, a former Hope standout via Grandville, with an offensive game based on a big first step, easy direction changes and  the right choices once his man his on his hip … or even further behind. And you gotta love the money entry passes.

Jordan Weber  6-1  Sr  East Jordan: While EJ may have been the most obscure in-state school in the field, the talent at Grand Valley was such that even the Red Devils featured a college prospect. Coach’s son is a volume shooter with the results to justify it. Still undetermined which will give out first, Weber’s shooting range, or shooting conscience? Playing in the middle of East Jordan’s zone doesn’t alleviate concerns of his ability to check players in the MIAA or WHAC.

U-M College Practice Camp: In-state Underclassmen

From a straight rankings perspective relative to class, the underclassman session of Michigan’s College Practice Camp had superior in-state talent than the afternoon run of older players. Here are some of those young standouts.

Sean Cobb  6-5  Fr  Williamston: He has a soft touch but more surprisingly for his age the footwork as well to comfortably shoot it from 18 even receiving the ball by various methods. It was the all-around skill level that gave Cobb the slight knod over 6-4 Terry Armstrong from Flint as the lone rising freshman to make this list. He made good decisions with the ball, passing from up top or on the break, and didn’t force shots; finished with feel and balance but can still get more powerful in there. Armstrong, Cobb and 6-8 Caleb Hodgson from Dansville gave U-M’s camp attendance from three of the state’s top five incoming ninth-graders.

Thomas Kithier  6-8  So  Macomb Dakota: Give him an inch or two, and Kithier could be playing for a scholarship offer at this camp a year from now.  His solid base gave him an advantage rooting out most of the other underclassmen, while still being agile enough to either get back or extend to challenge and block shots. He’s both a lane blocker and rim defender. An efficient scorer because he cuts strongly, has hands, keeps the ball high and keeps it going downhill. Kithier gave U-M two of the state’s top five 2018 prospects in attendance along with 6-5 Zavon Godwin from Roseville.

Pierre Mitchell  5-10  So  Detroit Loyola: He’s the type of player who always stands out in camp environment. PJ has the fundamental chops and competitive spirit to excel in drills, then he’s a positive force with the ball, a type O universal point guard who pushes it and gives energy to a disparate group. Has the speed, skill and vision you want for the position, able to push the ball and get into the lane to create or score. Shot will need to improve.

Skyline's Brandon Wade is one of the state's top rising soph point guards.
Skyline’s Brandon Wade is one of the state’s top rising sophomore point guards.

Brandon Wade  6-1  So  Ann Arbor Skyline: Local kid whose strong play from the AAU season carried over to June. Dangerous when he gets the defender on his shoulder to make point guard plays in the paint. An airball aside shot it well from three-point range. Sometimes he’d get caught too high, but overall liked how Wade was dialed in and aggressive defensively. He and another U-M camper, Jack Ammerman, give Skyline two of the state’s best point guards in the 2018 class.

Davion Williams  6-1  So  Belleville: He worked hard defensively while attacking when he had the ball. Both athletic and strong to go with aggressive and tuned in, and it’s easy to see how Williams did damage all day. Pulled the neat trick of keep the pressure on when he had the ball, while knowing when to slow down and pull it out. Top 10 sophomore in Michigan with top five potential as the shot improves.



In-State Talent at U-M College Practice Camp

The University of Michigan played host to the College Practice Camp.
The University of Michigan played host to their annual College Practice Camp.

As it has been since its inception upon coach John Beilein’s arrival, Michigan’s College Practice Camp was once again a prime venue to observe some of the state’s top prospects in both drill and game conditions. Here were notable performer’s from Saturday’s upperclassman session.

Dylan Alderson  6-4  Jr  Clarkston: Apparently he’s a quick learner. After going end-to-end only to be blocked by another of the state’s top 10 2017 prospects, Jamal Cain, on his next chance Alderson put the ball down with two hands.  He’s pushing 6-5 and it’s that frame and athleticism plus his comfort with the ball that make Alderson such an attractive prospect. He can shoot it from 20 or mid-range. Not a true wing or pure point guard, but there are good things to work with for the school that figures out what to do with him.

Austin Davis  6-10  Sr  Onsted: Michigan’s posts of the future were putting in some of their first amongst many hours at Crisler and the player development center, as Davis was joined at camp by Ohio 7-footer Jon Teske. A rare in-state recruit for the Wolverines, Davis was his typical hard-working, productive post presence. He got off the floor and finished quickly, if not above the rim, and moved well defending and recovering from ball screens.

Jaron Faulds  6-9  Jr  Holt: The most striking difference between Davis, with the Big Ten offer, and Faulds a year younger and playing for one, is how much more filled out is the U-M commit. Faulds didn’t seem to notice though as he willingly mixed it up. He’s ahead of the curve in that he rebounds outside his area and can score with either hand in the lane — the hook shot drills were his crowning camp moment. A top 10 2017 prospect and mid-major lock, if Faulds can extend his shooting perimeter and is knocking down 20 footers at this time next year, he’ll have offers beyond that.

Anthony Johnson  6-5  Jr  Detroit Southeastern: He arrived late due to a team obligation, but left an impact in the afternoon session. Johnson flashed talent on dunks that drew reactions as if it were a national prospect with a U-M offer. Looked like the next Terrell Riggs out of Detroit. AJ was especially good defensively, vocal and aggressive, able to check guards and forwards. Detroit Cornerstone’s 6-6 junior Jamal Cain was also at U-M. If he’s a top 10 prospect in 2017 — and he is — then Johnson is top five.

Justin Turner  6-3  Sr  Detroit Renaissance: Outstanding when running the wings to finish in transition, stepping into his three-point shot or passing on the break. Turner’s efficiency slipped when the game went into halfcourt situations as he forced shots and passed only as a last resort. Good MAC or Horizon recruit.


Showtime in Mt. Pleasant: A Motor City Win for 17U Up North Challenge

Up North Challenge 17U champion Detroit Showtime.

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/ 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.

Showtime's all-tournament selections Karmari Newman and MVP Cedrick Lattimore.
Showtime’s all-tournament selections Karmari Newman and MVP Cedrick Lattimore.

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  6-1  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.

17U all-tournament pick Anthony McIntosh of ACB/Bank Hoops.
17U all-tournament pick Anthony McIntosh of ACB/Bank Hoops.

ACB/Bank Hoops has a talented backcourt in its own right. The question has been its consistency. When 6-1 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.

17U all-tournament selection Ryan Patton of TEAM Basketball.
17U all-tournament selection Ryan Patton of TEAM Basketball.

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.


Storm Claims Camp Darryl 16U Crown

The Grand Rapids Storm defeated Battle Creek Elite to win the 16U title of the 14th-annual Camp Darryl Classic.
The Grand Rapids Storm defeated Battle Creek Elite to win the 16U title of the 14th-annual Camp Darryl Classic.

Though HQ’d in Kalamazoo, only in the 16U bracket did the 14th-annual Camp Darryl/ Classic feature a semifinal with only West Michigan teams. The Storm beat Battle Creek Elite in the championship game, after both knocked off various incarnations of the West Michigan Lakers in the semis.

The Storm featured perhaps the most complete player in the division, long, athletic and defensively versatile 6-4 Cedar Springs sophomore Jameson Pavelka, who was named MVP. He  It seems every team in West Michigan has an East Kentwood kid making an impact, and the Storm was no different as Pavelka was joined on the 16U all-tournament team by 6-4 EK soph Jalen Buress.

  • CDBA Classic 16U MVP  Jameson Pavelka  6-4  So  Storm (Cedar Springs)
  • Tyler Black  6-0  So  West Michigan Lakers-Purple (Forest Hills Northern)
  • Jalen Burress  6-4  So  Storm (East Kentwood)
  • Jake VanTubbergen  6-4  So  West Michigan Lakers-Black (West Ottawa)
  • Jeremiah Vincent  6-2  So  Battle Creek Elite (Kalamazoo Central)

Everyone knows about Kalamazoo Central’s top 10 sophomore, Isaiah Livers. But the Maroon Giants have other college prospects in the 2017 class, and helped Battle Creek Elite make the championship game. 6-2 Kazoo Central soph Jeremiah Vincent is athletic enough to score in the lane but also made four straight three-pointers against the Lakers in the semifinals.  6-3 Kazoo Central soph Roger Stein is burly but athletic with good hands.

The Lakers future is bright. They already have two sophomores, Wayland’s Zack Niewkoop and Avery Hudson, playing 17U, and still made two semifinals in 16U. Their Black team has a strong frontcourt in 6-4 West Ottawa soph Jake VanTubbergen, 6-6 Rockford soph Ryan Gamm and 6-6 Lowell soph Austin Branagan.

Intriguing Saturday Matchups from Up North Challenge

Nearly 60 teams from throughout the state will converge on the Mt. Pleasant area Memorial Weekend for the sixth-annual Up North Challenge. Games begin 6 pm Friday at Mt. Pleasant High School. Following are some of the tournament’s scheduled games that have entertaining fan potential. And all before lunch Saturday!

ACB/Bank Hoops vs. JDIA 17U, 9:40 am Saturday @ MPHS: This game comes a week after one of the biggest upsets of the 2015 AAU season, with Grand Rapids-based JDIA not just beating the West Michigan power, but at one point putting a running clock on ACB in the first round of bracket play at the Camp Darryl Classic. The best player on the court wasn’t wearing the same jersey as three of the past four Mr. Basketballs, but JDIA’s in 6-2 Ottawa Hills junior Martell Phillips. This time, however, ACB will have its full complement of post players, with Stevensville Lakeshore’s 6-10 junior Braden Burke joining Sturgis’ 6-10 junior Ryan Schuller.

Mustangs (Woodruff) vs. West Michigan Lakers 17U, 9:40 am Saturday at MPHS: This is another rematch from the CDBA Classic. In the semifinals, the Mustangs had a running clock on the Lakers to start the second half, only to see the Lakers come all the way back to tie it at 60 … then watch the Mustangs win on a last-second 3.

Elite Nation vs. West Michigan Flight 16U, 9:40 am Saturday at Sacred Heart: The Flight caught some teams by surprise at last year’s Up North Challenge but won’t this time around after winning the Tulip Tipoff a couple weeks ago. They have a number of college prospects, including athletic 6-5 Byron Center sophomore Brayden Smith and Brady Boothe, a 6-6 soph shooter from Hudsonville.

Detroit Showtime junior Karmari Newman is the state's to streak shooter. He'll get it rolling this weekend at the Up North Challenge in Mt. Pleasant.
Detroit Showtime junior Karmari Newman is the state’s to streak shooter. He’ll get it rolling this weekend at the Up North Challenge in Mt. Pleasant.

Detroit Showtime vs. TEAM Basketball 17U, 10:50 am Saturday at MPHS: A couple of lanky 6-3 guards with three-point touch and college futures, from Showtime East English Village junior Karmari Newman and from TEAM Basketball Clarkston junior Tabin Throgmorton.

Detroit Spartans vs. West Michigan Lakers 16U, 12 pm Saturday at West Intermediate: Really like both these teams’ post players. For the Spartans it’s a trio of wide bodied sophs in Detroit King’s 6-6 Quinton Maxwell, Brother Rice’s 6-6 Larry Borom and Dearborn Heights Annapolis’ 6-9 Alex Imail. The Lakers counter with 6-6 Lowell sophomore Josh Branagan and 6-6 Rockford sophomore Andy Gamm.

Mustangs vs. Parallel 45 15U, 12 pm Saturday at MPHS: The Mustangs won the 14U division of the Camp Darryl Classic last weekend, as did Parallel 45 in the 15U division. They’re young but you just know college coaches will soon be all over the Mustangs’ Caleb Hodgson, a 6-8 8th-grader from Dansville, and P45’s Danny Kolp, a 6-8 freshman from Petoskey.

CGR vs. ACB/Bank Hoops 15U, 12 pm Saturday at Sanford Meridian: It’s been oh so close for both these squads in May. CGR was the runner-up at the Tulip Tipoff, ACB was runner-up last week at the Camp Darryl Classic.



Up North Challenge May 22-24 in Mt. Pleasant

The sixth-annual UpNorth Challenge will be held Friday-Sunday in the Mt. Pleasant area, with games beginning 6 p.m. Friday at Mt. Pleasant High School.

Teams in this year’s field include ACB/Bank Hoops, Camp Darryl, Detroit Showtime, Detroit Spartans, Elite Nation, HoopGrind, Impact Elite, Mustangs, North Oakland Wolfpack, Parallel 45, TEAM Basketball, Triple Threat, West Michigan Flight and West Michigan Lakers.

Winter is Coming: Parallel 45 snows over down-staters at CDBA Classic

Parallel 45 went undefeated through pool and bracket play to win the 15U title of the Camp Darryl Classic.
Parallel 45 went undefeated through pool and bracket play to win the 15U title of the Camp Darryl Classic.

While the 15U end game was just the warmup act of championship Sunday on court 1 of  the Camp Darryl/ Classic, the shootout between Parallel 45 and ACB/Bank Hoops proved to be more entertaining and competitive than the 17U final to come. Parallel 45 held on for a two-point win, avenging an April loss to ACB on this same court.

After missing Saturday’s games and their quarterfinal win over Game Time Elite, Parallel 45’s Denver Cade returned from a track regional to turn in a first-half shooting performance for the ages in the championship game. If he stays healthy, the 6-1 Buckley freshman could be a 2,000-point high school scorer. Those instincts carry over to AAU, as he nailed three-pointers pulling up on the break and kick-outs from the paint, then showed his ability to create mid-range shots when the defense over-engaged. In the second half Cade did most of his damage on the break as he finishes at a high rate for a young guard. He was good enough in the final four to earn the 15U MVP nod on the all-tournament team.

  •   CDBA Classic 15U MVP: Denver Cade  6-1  Fr  Parallel 45 (Buckley)
  • Danny Kolp  6-8  Fr  Parallel 45 (Petoskey)
  • Willie Shanks  6-1  Fr Muskegon Futures-Black (Muskegon)
  • Luke Toliver  6-1  Fr  ACB/Bank Hoops (Paw Paw)
  • Eonte Tornes  6-0  Fr  Muskegon Futures-Silver (Muskegon Heights)

Parallel 45 needed all of Cade’s points, as ACB’s Luke Toliver, a freshman guard who played on Paw Paw’s varsity, had a very hot three-point hand himself and is improved putting it on the floor. Toliver, 6-1 Plainwell freshman Luke Morrell and Portage Central point guard Zach Hernandez spread the floor for ACB, who also had a strong championship game performance up front from 6-5 Jenison freshman Colton Ritsema. Ritsema is sturdy on the glass and has both interior and mid-range touch. He gave ACB a pair of grinders with 6-9 Harper Creek freshman Ryan McCafferty. Morrell is a big-time shooter himself with the ease and quickness that’s unsurprising given he’s a college soccer prospect.

Parallel 45’s frontcourt wasn’t as big or strong but countered with superior skill and athleticism. 6-3 Baldwin freshman Braeden Childress has great passing vision and proved he could play physically when challenged. 6-2 Frankfort freshman Matt Loney is a slasher on the break or halfcourt with energy on the glass. 6-8 Petoskey freshman Danny Kolp made the all-tournament team after a weekend of playing like a defensive center on one end, and a point forward on the other. His fluidity, feel and versatility are scarce amongst players his size and age, and Kolp solidified his rep as a top 10 prospect in the state’s 2018 class.

Childress, Loney and Kolp all handled the ball on the break, which is a trademark for the Northern Michigan squad where everyone can get it and go. Cade’s Buckley teammate, 6-2 freshman Austin Harris, was back at 100% after suffering a concussion in the Warriors Jamfest, and does a good job both handling and defending against smaller, quicker guards and is a dangerous spot-up three-point shooter. 5-10 Frankfort freshman Jaylon Rogers rebounded from foul trouble in the semifinals against Muskegon Futures with a strong final, he’s just very tough to keep out of the lane. 6-1 Cadillac freshman Kegan Brooks can check the 1-4 positions and finishes well from the fast break. Despite being just an 8th-grader, 5-10 Xander Okerlund from Maple City Glen Lake was on the floor for the end of the championship game because he doesn’t make mistakes and has an uncanny basketball IQ for his age.

It was a true team run for Parallel 45 to go through the weekend undefeated. Never was that more evident than in the quarterfinals as the run-and-gun small school kids got lost in the fog of the zone defense and stall offense of  the Motor City’s Game Time Elite. But with less than 10 minutes to play Traverse City Central freshman guard Zeke Turner came off the bench to hit back-to-back 3s and resurrect his team. Had Game Time not been eliminated in that quarterfinal game, Keith Johnson certainly would have made the all-tournament team. He’s a burly 6-1 freshman from Detroit Loyola who is dangerous from 20 feet and can also get things going downhill.