Class B Breakdown

Class B Final Four
New Haven
While No. 8 New Haven has two D1 senior big men, 6-10 Innocent Nwoko to CMU and 6-9 Jerry Ben to Cornell, it’s a guards’ game at this level and the backcourt will have to grow over the next three months. One option could be one of the state’s elite freshman prospects, 6-4 Romeo Weems. On the other side of the fence is defending runner-up No. 11 Detroit Henry Ford, which has an all-state guard in senior James Towns but saw their best frontcourt player, Antwan Johnson, move to Ohio. There are any number of Detroit teams who could also ride guard play through the bracket, like No. 9 Hazel Park with senior Cameron Boatmon and sophs Carl Bow and David Hearns; No. 13 Detroit Osborn and junior Armonee Felder;  No. 17 Detroit Consortium and senior Luster Johnson; and No. 23 Detroit Northwestern and senior Terrance Sewell.

Junior point guard Christian Rodriguez will face a stiff test leading Godwin Heights to a second state crown.
Junior point guard Christian Rodriguez will face a stiff test leading Godwin Heights to a second state crown.

Godwin Heights
Last we saw Godwin Heights, the Wolverines were wiping the Breslin floor with Detroit Henry Ford. Even after losing all-state guard Delaney Blaylock and their best forward Mike Williams, Godwin comes in again at No. 1. But it won’t be easy replacing either of those guys. Junior point guard Christian Rodriguez is a gifted playmaker who will have to look for his own shot, while sophomore guard Lamar Norman will have to produce while being targeted by defenses as a top option, as will senior guard Leon Redd who looked every bit as good as Henry Ford all-stater James Towns in the state final. 6-4 junior Calvin Valdez has the potential to replace some of Williams’ up front production. Norman is just part of what is one of the state’s strongest 2018 groups, so this program isn’t going anywhere. Godwin could be tested in districts by No. 10 Wayland, which has a strong junior class with 6-7 Zack Nieuwkoop, wing Michael Kelly and guard Avery Hudson, but must replace two of the best players in school history. It doesn’t get any easier at the regional level where No. 7 Williamston likely awaits. Williamston has an all-state senior guard in Riley Lewis, bruising big man in 6-7 junior Derek Nicholson, who in his best moments may remind coach Jason Bauer a bit of himself, and a future high major recruit in 6-6 freshman Sean Cobb. No. 5 Charlotte should await in the regional final. They have an athletic dunker/shooter in 6-2 junior Sy Barnett and another talented junior in Kyle Peterson, who is 6-4 and can shoot it. U-M is a fitting quarterfinal venue for a big-time matchup between Godwin Heights and No. 3 River Rouge. The Panthers graduated one D1 point guard, coach’s son Lamonta Stone to EMU, but bring in another, junior Darian Owens-White. Guys like 6-6 senior Javon Lawrence and 6-4 junior Delonta Peterson should thrive playing beside DOW. Between now and March the Panthers will have to figure out how to matchup in the regional with the most dominant player in Class B, 6-10 Michigan signee Austin Davis from No. 4 Onsted.

Before he heads off to play at U-M, Onsted's Austin Davis could play at Crisler Arena in the state quarterfinals.
Before he heads off to play at U-M, Onsted’s Austin Davis could play at Crisler Arena in the state quarterfinals.

Big Rapids
Could Big Rapids finally break No. 20 Cadillac’s hold on this Breslin berth? The Vikings did it for a third straight season last March, even with a new coach and having lost all-stater Jalen Brooks. Cadillac again won’t be the most aesthetically pleasing group, but remain a tough out. They’d meet No. 12 Big Rapids in the regional. Big Rapids has a sweet shooting senior guard in Ken Davis, a 6-4 athlete who looks like he should be at Ferris State and not the high school in junior Demitri Martin, plus the arrival of a talented 6-4 sophomore Braeden Childress. Grayling likely would await on the other side of the regional, though what looks like a down Lake Michigan Conference won’t have done them many favors. Two of Class B’s most talented players could meet in the other regional, No. 20 Alma’s 6-10 senior Dylan Carl and Frankenmuth’s 6-4 sophomore Mario Whitley.

Junior Demetri Martin is the top college prospect for Big Rapids.
Junior Demetri Martin is the top college prospect for Big Rapids.

Stevensville Lakeshore
The No. 3 Lancers will be challenged in district play by Benton Harbor and their senior guards Curtis Dawson and Jaton Gunn. Lakeshore counters with a big, talented frontcourt with 6-10 senior Braden Burke, 6-5 senior Alex Warman and 6-6 junior Max Gaishin. Logan Steffes is a solid senior guard. With a weak senior class in the Grand Rapids area, there are no obvious challengers to Lakeshore or Benton Harbor at the quarterfinal level.

Top 25 Class B Teams
1. Wyoming Godwin Heights
2. Stevensville Lakeshore
3. River Rouge
4. Onsted
5. Charlotte
6. Benton Harbor
7. Williamston
8. New Haven
9. Hazel Park
10. Wayland
11. Detroit Henry Ford
12. Big Rapids
13. Detroit Osborn
14. Yale
15. Dearborn Divine Child
16. Chandler Park Academy
17. Detroit Consortium
18. Detroit Country Day
19. Lansing Catholic
20. Alma
21. Spring Lake
22. Cadillac
23. Detroit Northwestern
24. Detroit Douglass
25. Leslie

Class B All-State
Braden Burke  6-10  Sr  Stevensville Lakeshore
Dylan Carl  6-10  Sr  Alma
Austin Davis  6-10  Sr  Onsted
Riley Lewis  6-0  Sr  Williamston
Tony Poljan  6-7  Sr  Lansing Catholic

Second team
Sy Barnett  6-2  Jr  Charlotte
Jerry Ben  6-8  Sr  New Haven
Jalen Martin  6-3  Sr  Chandler Park Academy
Innocent Nwoko  6-10  Sr  New Haven
James Towns  5-10  Sr  Detroit Henry Ford

Third team
Jaton Gunn  6-2  Sr  Benton Harbor
Luster Johnson  6-0  Sr  Detroit Consortium
Cody Kegley  6-0  Sr  Yale
Darian Owens-White  6-0  Jr  River Rouge
Terrance Sewell  6-2  Sr  Detroit Northwestern

Fourth team
Demitri Martin  6-4  Jr  Big Rapids
Dylan Patton  6-7  Sr  Leslie
Leon Redd  5-11  Sr  Wyoming Godwin Heights
Christian Rodriguez  5-9  Jr  Wyoming Godwin Heights
Zach Niewkoop  6-7  Jr  Wayland

Fifth team
Carl Bow  6-0  So  Hazel Park
David Hearns  6-0  So  Hazel Park
Nick Klingel  6-4  Sr  Paw Paw
Lamar Norman  6-1  So  Wyoming Godwin Heights
Mario Whitley  6-4  So  Frankenmuth

Class B Underclassman All-State
Quinn Blair  6-6  So  Dearborn Divine Child
Sean Cobb  6-6  Fr  Williamston
Braeden Childress  6-4  So  Big Rapids
Markese Hastings  6-4  So  Wyoming Godwin Heights
Romeo Weems  6-4  Fr  New Haven

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

College Alumni Fresh to Death

Looking a lot like his high school days, MSU freshman Deyonta Davis throws down against Boise State.
Looking a lot like his high school days, MSU freshman Deyonta Davis throws down against Boise State.

As we head into December, some college freshmen from Michigan’s 2015 high school class have already made an impact in their new homes.

Brad Brechting  6-10  Oakland (Cedar Springs): He’s been the first big off the bench for the 3-2 Grizzlies. In a win against Steve McNair’s alma mater, Alcorn State, Brechting made 5-of-9 shots for 12 points with six rebounds and three blocked shots.

Deyonta Davis  6-10  Michigan State (Muskegon): With Gavin Schilling injured, DD has taken advantage of early minutes to show his high school accolades were no joke. He’s averaging 10. 3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots while shooting .651 from the field and .750 from the line for the 6-0 Spartans.  Against Eastern Michigan, Davis had 16 points on 7-of-10 shots with five rebounds and five blocked shots.

Texas freshman Eric Davis explains how they shoot it in Saginaw.
Texas freshman Eric Davis explains how they shoot it in Saginaw.

Eric Davis  6-2  Texas (Saginaw Arthur Hill): After needing the opener with Washington to warm up (in China), Davis has shot it very well for first-year coach Shaka Smart in Texas. He’s scoring 11.4 points per game on .464 from the floor including .389 from three-point range. The Mr. Basketball runner-up scored 19 points on 6-10 shooting in Texas’ defeat of then No. 25 Texas A&M. Davis then avenged his debut in a repeat game with Washington scoring 15 and the Longhorns winning that one, this time in the Bahamas.

Freshman Rob Edwards scored 14 for Cleveland State against No. 2 Maryland.
Freshman Rob Edwards scored 14 for Cleveland State against No. 2 Maryland.

Rob Edwards  6-3  Cleveland State (Detroit Cass Tech): He’s leading the Michigan alumni freshman contingent at over 30 minutes a game, most recently scoring 14 points with three assists against No. 2 Maryland. Edwards scored 17 against Rider and 16 against Rhode Island and is averaging 10.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 2.2 steals while shooting .429 from the field (which includes 1-for-12 from range).

Austin LeVan  6-2  Rockhurst (Millington): He’s the sixth man but second in minutes played for Rockhurst, a D2 in Illinois. Through six games LeVan is averaging 13 points while shooting .405 from the field, .419 from three-point range and .947 (18-of-19) at the stripe.

Josh McFolley  6-0  Detroit (Detroit Western): He went from winning a state title with Detroit Western to Horizon League freshman of the week with the Titans. Never shy about firing, McFolley is taking over five shots a game from behind the arc. He made three of them against Central State en route to a 17-point performance and is averaging 12.3 points in three games.

Nick Perkins  6-8  Buffalo (Milan): The 2014 Class B state champion is getting 20 minutes a game for first-year coach Nate Oats in the Upstate. Perkins’ 15-point, five-rebound effort against Canisius was punctuated by a dunk to give the Bulls a 98-96 win for the the city championship. Click here for video of the two-handed game-winner.

Frank Vukaj  6-8  Lewis (Davison): He’s been productive seeing 15 minutes a game for Lewis, a DII in Illinois. The Albanian Hammer is averaging 7.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2 blocks a game while making .581 from the field.

 

Michigan’s Class of 2016: What Their College Coaches Are Saying

“What I’ve enjoyed about Cassius as much as anything is his ability to distribute the ball. I think he has as good court vision as anyone who has played at Michigan State. He sees things ahead of time” — MSU coach Tom Izzo on Cassius Winston

“We got our point guard of the future; he’s really good. He’s unbelievably fast, which for the ‘blacktop’ is going to be great.” — Oakland coach Greg Kampe on Brailen Neely

“He is a natural scorer with deep range and the ability to score in bunches. His best days are ahead of him as he continues to mature physically. He has a high basketball IQ and a very strong work ethic.” –George Mason Coach Dave Paulsen on Karmari Newman

“He plays the game with emotion and is highly-regarded as one of the best shooters in the state. We are excited to get another player from the successful Arthur Hill program.” — Ferris State coach Andy Bronkema on Billy Burton

“He’s going to be a very versatile player for us, as he brings in great size at the guard position. His upside has him just scratching the surface of the type of player he can be.” –Wisconsin-Green Bay coach Linc Darner on Kameron Hankerson

“Chris is an athletic, creating point guard that makes those around him better.  He has a great knack for getting into the paint and setting up his teammates. ” — IPFW coach Jon Coffman on Chris Rollins

“Dylan is a great fit because of his combination of skill and versatility.  He can stretch defenses with his range, score in the post and passes at an extremely high level.” — IPFW coach Jon Coffman on Dylan Carl

Spencer Littleson is an outstanding shooter who will help us fill the Micah Mason role.” — Duquesne coach Jim Ferry

“I think when you recruit size at any level you’re looking at and projecting how good they can be down the road. And anything they can give you in year one is a bonus.” — CMU coach Keno Davis on Innocent Nwoko

“He finishes well around the rim, rebounds well and has excellent passing skills. He has exceptional length and has really put in the work to improve his strength and physical conditioning. We love his great attitude and passion for the game.” U-M coach John Beilein on Austin Davis

“He is very skilled and athletic for his size and fits in nice for the type of forward we like to have here.” — Kent State coach Rob Senderhoff on Danny Pippen

“Jason is a prolific scorer and a hard-nosed competitor.” — East Tennessee State coach Steve Forbes on Jason Williams

College Alumni Legacies on Line

Feb 26, 2015; Bowling Green, KY, USA; Western Kentucky Hilltoppers guard Chris Harrison-Docks (51) keeps the ball away from Florida Atlantic Owls guard Justin Massey (4) and center Justin Raffington (11) during the first half at E.A. Diddle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports
Okemos High School 2012 graduate Chris Harrison-Docks led Western Kentucky in minutes played for his sophomore season.

As any fan of “Friends” knew, no one told you life was gonna be this way. These players have taken circuitous routes to this point, but they’re still standing, now upperclassmen trying to transcend on- and off-court disappointments and finish right.

Dwaun Anderson  6-4  Sr  Wagner (Suttons Bay): He was Wagner’s only returning starter going into last season, but broke his foot in November causing his season to consist of a six-minute experiment in January. A member of Michigan’s 2011 high school class, Anderson will be the old head on a Wagner team that played five freshman in his absence. The one-time Mr. Basketball winner and MSU signee averaged 5.5 points and 3 rebounds per game on .363 shooting in 2014. As always, those numbers included some highlight dunks.

Carlton Brundidge  6-1  Sr  Detroit (Southfield):  His minutes were halved in his second season in Detroit. Brundidge, who signed with Michigan out of Southfield in 2011, had one double-digit scoring game, against Aquinas.

Percy Gibson  6-9  Sr  Oakland (Detroit Southeastern): Former Iowa State assistant Cornell Mann hit a three-run homer while recruiting his home state to Ames, Monte Morris, which followed a pair of groundouts in Gibson and Sherron Dorsey-Walker, who followed Gibson’s exodus to Oakland. In his final season at Iowa State Gibson appeared in 14 games to average 1.2 points and 1.4 rebounds per game. There won’t be a repeat in Rochester Hills, where there are Corey Petros’ 36 minutes to fill at center.

Chris Harrison-Docks  6-0  Jr  Butler (Okemos): Harrison-Docks followed up his Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year campaign by leading WKU in minutes to average 11.1 points. This needs to be the season his assist-turnover ratio reaches college point guard caliber. Harrison-Docks signed with Butler out of Okemos, but like Dwaun Anderson above in his abbreviated tenure at MSU, left the school before ever playing a game.

JD Tisdale  6-5  Jr  Bowling Green (Swartz Creek): Maybe a third coach in as many years at Bowling Green, Michael Huger, will help Tisdale turn it on at the midway point of his career. Once a member in good standing of Michigan’s loaded 2013 class, he scored less than a point a game as a sophomore while racking up 16 DNPs to 17 games played.  The numbers were down all around, but for his free throw percentage improving from .356 to .636.

College Alumni Sophs Step Up

Louisville's Jaylen Johnson, a sophomore from Ypsilanti, may have more to personally celebrate in his second college season.
Louisville’s Jaylen Johnson, a sophomore from Ypsilanti, may have more to personally celebrate in his second college season.

Michigan’s class of 2014 has already had players start in the NCAA Tournament, and win an NAIA championship. Here are some of them ready for breakout college campaigns.

Darrell Davis  6-4  So  Dayton (Detroit Douglass): Like fellow Michigan 2014 high school grads who left the state like Yante Maten and Deshaun Thrower, Davis saw over 18 minutes a game as a freshman. He scored 4.8 points per game while shooting .383 overall on the strength of a .452 three-point percentage. That gave him a true shooting percentage of .57 and a .55 effective field goal percentage. Davis made all five three-point attempts against Boston U for a season-best 19 points and in A-10 play made 4-of-6 3s and scored 12 at St. Louis.

Jaylen Johnson  6-9  So  Louisville (Ypsilanti): He didn’t get started until late because of an NCAA clearinghouse issue, then had 13 DNPs. An opportunity arose for Johnson when Montrezl Harrell passed up his senior year for the NBA Draft. In Louisville’s exhibition win against Bellarmine he had 14 points and 10 rebounds on 6-of-8 shooting.

Yante Maten  6-8  So  Georgia (Bloomfield Hills): He played consistently and got better as his freshman season progressed highlighed by 13 and 10 against South Carolina in the SEC tournament. He averaged 5.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots. Now Maten is Georgia’s top returning big after losing Marcus Thornton and Nemi Djurisic.

Darohn Scott  6-9  So  Central Michigan (Grand Rapids Christian): He appeared in 29 games for CMU and averaged 2.0 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game. An active and aggressive dunker for years, Scott’s touch and the polish on his post game in the Chippewas’ exhibition win over Ferris State pointed to an expanded offensive future.

Kyle Steigenga  6-6  So  Cornerstone (Holland Christian): A throwback to when West Michigan high school stars spurned D1 opportunities for the local colleges and proved he was a lot more than just the best dunker in the state’s 2014 class. Steigenga was an All-American and Tournament MVP for Cornerstone’s NAIA D2 national championship team after averaging 20.3 points and 7.7 rebounds on .682 shooting (the second-best mark in the country).

Deshaun Thrower  6-1  So  Stony Brook (Muskegon): Like many freshman guards, Thrower couldn’t find the hoop. At first. Then the still just 17-year-old Mr. Basketball from Muskegon’s 2014 state champion found himself in the starting lineup of a Stony Brook team that was a miracle shot from playing in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. He had season/career-highs of 18 points and seven rebounds in the America East semifinal with Vermont. Thrower made 7 assists against Maine and had a 2.8 assist-turnover ratio in conference play. He shot better in league play than overall, .333 to .301 field goals and .367 to .311 on three-pointers.

Justin Tillman  6-7  So  VCU (Detroit Pershing): After initially asking for his scholarship release when coach Shaka Smart left for Texas, Tillman is back at VCU.  This after a freshman year in which he flashed the motor and athleticism that made him Mr. Basketball runner-up as a Doughboy,  averaging 3.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1 blocked shot in over a dozen minutes per game. As well as he shot from the floor, .538, Tillman was bad from the line, .484.

Always one of the toughest dudes on the court in his time with Pershing and REACH, little has changed for VCU's Justin Tillman.
Always one of the toughest dudes on the court in his time with Pershing and REACH, little has changed for VCU’s Justin Tillman.

 

Bank Hoops College All-American Team

Michigan State's Denzel Valentine is winning in college just like high school.
Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine is winning in college just like high school.

The top Michigan high school grads playing Division I basketball.

MVP Denzel Valentine 6-5 Sr Michigan State (Lansing Sexton): Another guy who, like Iowa State’s Monte Morris below, just wins. Valentine was the star of two state championship teams at Lansing Sexton, then helped MSU reach last spring’s Final Four as the only Spartan to start all 39 games along the way. He has seven career double-doubles and Valentine’s complete game is reflected in the 2015 numbers, as his junior season saw Valentine average 14.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists while shooting .443 from the field, .441 from three-point range and .826 from the stripe — an improvement of 15 percentage points. Physicality, passing, improved shooting make him a legit NBA prospect.

Kahlil Felder 5-9 Jr Oakland (Detroit Pershing): A unique talent who has thrived in Oakland’s player-friendly offense. Despite his size, Felder is as complete a player as anyone on this list. He was Horizon League Freshman of the Year in 2014, and first-team all-league in 2015. As a sophomore he averaged 18.9 points, 7.4 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals per game, all while averaging over 39 minutes per outing. No other player in the country averaged over 17 points and 7 assists together.

Chris Fowler 6-1 Sr Central Michigan (Detroit Country Day): All-MAC and the vanguard of CMU’s renewal. His scoring was down but wins were up for the Chippewas, who tied for the MAC regular season title as Fowler averaged 16.8 points and 5.9 assists per game. He’s already the school’s all-time assist leader. Pro chances may hinge on his shooting as his three-point field goals dipped from .382 to a .303 percent. It’s hard not to root for Fowler, who went through six knee surgeries to get here.

Chris Hass 6-5 Sr Bucknell (Pellston): The third all-time scorer in Michigan prep history from his Pellston days, Hass is on pace to become top 10 on Bucknell’s career list. Showed up big regardless the level of competition with 32 points at Villanova, 21 at Michigan and 26 at Wake Forest. Averaged 16 points per game as a junior and efficiency stats put him among the top 5 senior shooting guard draft prospects along with fellow class of 2012 Michigander Drew Valentine.

EC Matthews 6-5 Jr Rhode Island (Romulus): His Rhode Island tenure has mirrored his Romulus career writ large, as Matthews continues to be a versatile and talented left-handed shooter, but remains frustratingly erratic (PER of 11.6). After sharing A-10 Rookie of the Year honors in 2014, despite some foot problems as a sophomore he averaged 17 points (third in the A-10), 4.6 rebounds and 2 assists per game. If the Rams return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the Lamar Odom days and Matthews, now up to 200 pounds, halves his 3.6 turnovers a game, he could be drafted in the spring.

Monte Morris 6-3 Jr Iowa State (Flint Beecher): Steve Prohm in his first season as Iowa State’s coach inherits from Fred Hoiberg one of the nation’s elite point guards. In 2015 Morris had an assist-turnover ratio of 4.63:1 — the gold standard in college ball — while averaging 12 points, 5.2 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game. Outstanding shooter for a point guard with a true percentage of .590, though his free throws fell from .847 as a freshman to .753 percent. The final measure of a point guard is in the W-L column, and Morris delivers there again. Michigan’s 2013 Mr. Basketball had two state titles at Flint Beecher and in two seasons at Iowa state is 53-16.

Detroit's Paris Bass, seen here against Oregon, is already on NBA scouts' logs.
Detroit’s Paris Bass, seen here against Oregon, is already on NBA scouts’ logs.

Second Team
Paris Bass 6-8 So Detroit (Birmingham Seaholm): He apparently made good use of his redshirt year, as Bass emerged in 2015 as the Horizon League Freshman of the Year after averaging 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. A sleeper recruit who played 17U AAU for the Michigan Warriors after graduating from Seaholm, after that debut and his performance at the Nike Basketball Academy, Bass is now a legit NBA prospect thanks to his length, bounce and handle.

Bryn Forbes 6-3 Sr Michigan State (Lansing Sexton): Last season was his first at MSU after two at Cleveland State, and the hometown kid quickly became a shooting specialist for a surprise Final Four team. While averaging a career-low 8.5 points, Forbes shot a career-best .447 overall and .427 from behind the arc. His true shooting percentage of .610 and effective field goal percentage of .590 are nationally elite for a guard. After learning how to defend at MSU’s level and packing on muscle up to 190 pounds, Forbes could do even more in his second and final season in East Lansing.

Jalen Reynolds 6-10 Jr Xavier (Livonia Stevenson): He took a big step in year two in Cincinnati, to 10 points and 6 rebounds a game and played well in the postseason. Though he no longer has the luxury of playing off twin tower Matt Stainbrook, those numbers could improve another 50 percent, and Reynolds fulfill his All-Big East and NBA Draft potential, if he’s able to stay on the court — he fouled out of five games and had nine technical fouls — and improve on .663 from the line. With his frame, finishing ability and defensive versatilty, as a pure pro prospect Reynolds may be No. 1 on this list.

John Simons 6-8 Sr Central Michigan (Cadillac): Like first-teamer Chris Fowler, Simons’ career has coincided with CMU’s return to relevance in Keno Davis’ tenure. In that time, Simons has started all 94 games. The stretch 4 position was made for Simons, or vice versa — his true shooting percentage of .710 was the best mark in college basketball. He also led the nation in points per 100 possessions, 144. His name is all over the Chippewas’ record book for three-point shooting, and his .455 percentage from range was fourth-best mark in the nation in 2015. He averaged 12.3 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting .498 from the field and .843 from the line. Despite those amazing stats, Simons’ junior season will also be remembered for his barely escaping death via falling basket.

Derrick Walton 6-0 Jr Michigan (Chandler Park): A November toe injury was the bane of Walton’s sophomore campaign. With Walton when not hobbled out of the lineup entirely for six weeks and Caris Levert injured as well, Michigan hobbled to a .500 season. Over 19 games as a sophomore, Walton averaged 10.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3 assists per game.

All-State Camp 2018 Second Team

Jack Ammerman  5-9  So  Ann Arbor Skyline: Confident and knows how to play. Can beat you with or without the ball, and with the shot or pass.

“Knockdown spot-up shooter,” a coach said. “At his height, would have liked to see take on more of a point guard role during the game on my court.”

Nate Davis  5-11  So  Rochester Stoney Creek: “Doesn’t do any one the great,” a coach said, “but does everything well and always gives 100-percent effort. In doing that he is a very productive player, who will be a stat book stuffer as he develops. The kind of kid that any coach would want on his team.”

Daniel Everhart  5-10  So  Marine City Cardinal Mooney: A “grower,” a coaches’ player who the more you watch, the more you like.

“A quiet scorer,” said a coach. “Knocked down the open jumper and showed the ability to shoot well off the pull-up.  Plays tough and not afraid to stick his nose in the scrum.  Needs to work on lateral quickness in order to stay in from of more athletic guards.

Nick Jungel  6-4  So  Olivet: Intrigues with his physical tools, as Jungel has a good wingspan and finished above the rim.

Jacob Polakovich  6-7  So  Grand Rapids Catholic Central: A high-low forward, who can shoot or pass from the elbows and is big enough to bang inside. Needs to be more assertive when the double-team shoots down at him.

“A standout from the underclassmen camp, he looked like he has improved his ball handling and shooting since then,” a coach said.

Colton Ritsema  6-4  So  Jenison: One of two good Jenison sophomores at camp along with guard Jacob Boonyasith. Can score off either shoulder from the blocks, and will surprise with dunk finishes. Chases down rebounds. Will need to work on fluidity, flexibility, especially if he remains a 6-4 forward.

“Solid big-bodied post player who also can knock down the 15 to 17-foot baseline and elbow jumper with consistency,” a coach said. “Uses his body well to create space in the lane and to rebound on both ends of the floor. Needs to work on athleticism. Also can’t afford to play behind and allow bigger, more athletic players to catch in the post.”

Jaylon Rogers  5-10  So  Frankfort: In this camp just like in AAU, was going up some of the elite guards in the 2018 class and in terms of quickness and skill level doesn’t take a backseat. Plays with confidence. Shot selection, seeing the whole floor, understanding game situations are growth areas.

“Quick, solid guard who proved to be very difficult for defenders to stay in front of,” a coach said. “Got into the lane at will, but sometimes overpenetrated and got in trouble. Struggles at times with defending bigger guards.”

Ashton Sherrell  6-5  So  New Haven: Very good in transition. Showed some defensive versatility. As he gets older and stronger will be more of a threat in the half-court.

Dallas Slager  6-3  So  Grandville Calvin Christian: He was on the same team as one of the top point guards in camp, Shae Somers, and soon discovered the more he moved, the more buckets he’d accumulate. A big sophomore, he was able to carve out deep position for easier finishes. Showed shooting range to 20 feet. He’ll need to keep diversifying his game off the dribble, add a counter move and become comfortable attacking off either foot.

Zach Winston  6-0  So  Detroit U-D Jesuit: One of the better defenders of the underclassmen, Winston consistently closed out high and recovered with hustle. On the other end hit some tough pullups.”

“Gets a little better each time I see him,” a coach said. “Not going blow you away with his athleticism, but can do a lot of things well. Improved shot from the mid-range was noticeable and he also played harder on defense than I had seen in the past. Needs to play hard all the time.”

Where They’re Headed: Class of 2016

Michigan’s 2016 class lost the country’s No. 1 player, Detroit’s Josh Jackson; a national top 10 prospect and MSU commitment, Flint’s Miles Bridges; an athlete with multiple high-major offers, Battle Creek’s Devon Daniels; and a surefire D1 forward, Saginaw’s Algeveon Eichelberger, to prep school, turning an elite class to a below average one. But there is still some emerging talent, and smart college recruiters will make the most of it at the mid-major levels. Here are the seniors off the board, thus far.

Corey Allen  6-3  Sr  Ypsilanti … Detroit: He has been Ypsi’s leading scorer since he was a sophomore, and solidified himself as a D1 recruit adding everything else he brings to the floor, physical defense and ability to step over and play some 1.

Jerry Ben  6-8  Sr  New Haven … Cornell: All kinds of raw, but plays with energy, athleticism and embraces the dirty work of a 4 man. A project but with big upside for the Ivy League.

Braden Burke  6-10  Stevensville Lakeshore … Robert Morris: Coach Sean Schroeder does a great job coaching forwards at Lakeshore, and Burke doesn’t disappoint with his skill level in 6-10 form. While his game can still be erratic, he’s a nice fit for the NEC.

Austin Davis  6-10  Sr  Onsted … Michigan: Improved fitness and maturity have really helped Davis’ stock, as he’s now finishing above the rim with regularity and some nastiness. And at still just 16-years-old, he should just continue to get better on that front. Old school big man who won’t wow you but embraces the physicality of it all.

Kameron Hankerson  6-4  Sr  Novi…Wisconsin-Green Bay: Combination of length and explosion make him intriguing, as he contributes across the board despite averaging single digits as a junior. Maturation into a multi-level scorer saw Hankerson transform from sleeper to D1 recruit.

Cody Kegley  6-0  Sr  Yale … Northern Michigan: From the Thumb to the U.P. Kegley is a gym rat and pure point guard who competes from tip to horn. Good in the pick-and-roll because he can get in the lane or shoot it. Athleticism and strength will need to develop.

Spencer Littleson  6-4  Sr  Rochester Adams … Duquesne: One of the state’s most improved players over the past 18 months. Can play off the ball and knock down shots, or handle the ball and carry the load himself. Doesn’t yet look like an A-10 defender.

Jaylin McFadden  6-5  Sr  Detroit East English Village: … Ferris State: Do-it-all x-factor for what should be the top team in the PSL. McFadden rebounds like a forward and can handle like a guard while checking up and down an opposing lineup. Strong GLIAC recruit.

Kevin McKay  6-4  Sr  Warren De La Salle … Central Michigan: No one defining skill, but is just a versatile player that you want on the court because he wins, both with De La Salle and in AAU with Detroit Showtime. All-around game will complement the smaller out-of-state guards CMU is bringing in for 2016, along with current freshman shooter Corey Redman, a likely redshirt.

Brailen Neely  5-9  Sr  Detroit Western … Oakland: A prototypical Derrick McDowell guard who helped the coach to his first state championship. Fearless shooter and much-improved defender. While even 5-9 may be generous, he picked the right program in Oakland where another little PSL guard, Khalil Felder, could be the best player in the Horizon.

Karmari Newman  6-4  Sr  Detroit East English Village … George Mason: A one-time streak shooter with no conscience, Newman has matured into a a much more efficient guard and a top five overall player in the senior class. He’ll follow the likes of EC Matthews and Chris Hass, recent Michigan guards who went out East for school and thrived.

Innocent Nwoko  6-10  Sr  New Haven … Central Michigan: Rim defender who has had athletic ability, but now it’s more apparent as he gets more comfortable with the game. More aggressive offensively, looking to dunk. Far from a finished project, but great tools with which to work.

Danny Pippen  6-8  Sr  Detroit Allen … Kent State: The Flashes will look to replace one athletic Michigan 4, Khaliq Spicer, with another, Pippen. Finishes on one rim, defends the other, and can really run between them. Could be an elite, versatile defender in the MAC. A healthy Pippen should help take Allen from one of the state’s biggest underachievers in 2015 to a state contender … if they can get out of Michigan’s roughest Class C district at Loyola.

Rahsaan Pope  6-4  Sr  Romulus … Saginaw Valley State: College wing size, long and smooth if not explosive, can handle, pass and shoot it off the catch or dribble. Decision making and situational awareness are growth areas.

Chris Rollins  5-10  Sr  Detroit East English Village … IPFW: Pure point guard who is fast, fearless and unselfish. Put him on a college weight program, and watch out.

Ryan Schuller  6-10  Sr  Sturgis … Michigan Tech: Vastly improved over the past six months. Already has a strong frame and isn’t afraid to use it. Mechanical and a project, but he embraces the process and by age 21 could give Michigan Tech a MAC-caliber center in the GLIAC.

Jason Williams  5-10  Sr  Detroit Allen … East Tennessee State: Prolific scorer, the faster the game, the more he flourishes. No fear as a driver and an improving shooter. Should really flourish with college coaching as he develops as a point guard and defender.

Cassius Winston  6-1  Sr  Detroit U-D Jesuit … Michigan State: A household name in the state since his freshman year, and has already led U-of-D High to its two greatest seasons. A YMCA game for the 21st century and the perfect passer for the kind of high-flying talent already in and coming to East Lansing. Underrated as a scorer — Winston was tops in the EYBL last spring.