Michigan is well-represented at the Chicago Summer Jam. Here are some of the Great Lakes State’s 17U standouts from the opening day of the tournament.
Brent Bosert 6-4 Sr Moneyball East (Bloomfield Hills): Isn’t going to be your leading scorer, but gets right down to the real nitty gritty to do the things you need to win. Which MBE did, twice on Friday. Blue collar in Bloomfield Hills? You betcha. Bosert got on the floor to corral 50/50 balls, or to save the ball and pass to a teammate for a shot. Lefty who can block shots and scored on the other end with a half-hook.
Sam Johnson 6-9 Sr West Michigan Lakers (Spring Lake): Great build for a rising senior with a solid base and some upper-body strength. Nice catch-and-shoot option from the short corners. Showed good hands working off of talented point guard Zach Goodline or high-low action with 6-8 Carter Nyp. Defensively more of a root out and wall off guy, than shot blocker. A little dainty finishing around the hoop, would like to see more attitude in the kill zone.
Traveon Maddox 6-4 Sr Warriors (Novi): Formed a potent Oakland County combo with West Bloomfield’s Tre Harvey. Had a dominant offensive stretch in the Warriors’ first of two wins where the refinement of Maddox’ offensive game was evident over four successive possessions. He drove and pitched to Harvey for a three-pointer; nailed a heavily defended fadeaway from 17 feet; made a three-pointer after going between his legs for a stepback; then another three-pointer pulling up from the top of the key. Still more wing than guard and needs to become consistent from college range and improve snap decision-making on the break. Given his rate of improvement, expect that to happen soon.
John Mason 6-4 Jr Playmakers (Detroit King): Strong kid who plays hard like you’d expect of a George Ward minion from MLK. Can score via the post up, attacking from the elbow or running down offensive rebounds. As just a rising junior playing up, one would expect his offensive repertoire and range to expand. Helped the Playmakers win both their Friday games.
Hunter Ruell 5-9 Sr Parallel 45-White (Manton): Turned college coaches’ heads with a three-point shooting display. Did it off the drive-and-pitch, coming off screens or pulling up in transition. Confident, smooth player with the range and skill to compensate for height at the small school level. Whom he can guard at his size will be a determining factor.
Lewis Willis 6-1 Sr Common Bond (Ann Arbor Huron): He led a short but scrappy CB squad to a 2-0 start. Can beat his man going right or left with hesitation moves then uses his strength to finish and draw fouls in the lane. Good enough shooter to also play off the ball.
Brian Snider 6-5 Jr 2G Cadillac: A number of fine guards have come from Up North recently, like Trevor Huffman (Petoskey/Kent State), Jason Rozycki (Boyne City/Oakland), John Flynn (Petoskey/Grand Valley) and Luke Johnson (Gaylord/CMU). Snider is bigger both physically and in reputation at the same age. He plays like a taller, left-handed Dane Fife, he competes and defends. A true triple threat from the free throw line extended. Snider’s a crafty faker with the vision to pass and the body to finish plays. He’s dangerous from three-point range though he doesn’t yet bring an entire game out to that perimeter. MVP of the 16U AAU state tournament playing for the GR Storm. Also plays nationally for the Storm 17U.
Michigan’s class of 2018 is one of the state’s deepest in a quarter century. And the book isn’t finished. Here are some of the Great Lakes State’s rising seniors with a chance to improve their college standing when the July evaluation period tips off this week.
Robert Carpenter 6-6 Sr Mustangs (Detroit Cornerstone): He wasn’t particularly memorable when I was coaching against GreenWood at the 16U level last year, then it was the Jamal Cain show in the winter for Cornerstone. That perception has all changed as Carpenter stole the show for the Mustangs at REACH’s July Tuneup tournament. Bouncy, active, finisher, shooter, rebounding outside area, doing so much you want from the forward spot.
Trendon Hankerson 6-2 Sr Detroit Spartans (Novi): The younger brother of Kameron Hankerson, who has a promising future at Wisconsin-Green Bay after closing his freshman season strong. Little bro is just that, a few inches smaller, but still has a nice winsgpan for the backcourt and is filling out through his upper body. Thinking, vocal point guard who does a good job getting the Spartans’ bigs involved, and can kill you with the catch-and-shoot.
Luke Hyde 6-7 Sr Elite Nation (DeWitt): He’s been a terrific addition to what was an already strong Elite Nation squad. Good length, smooth feet to defend or get to the rim, and rebounds at a good rate. Smart in the halfcourt able to back-door for easy hoops, and runs the lanes hard to finish. Hyde’s greatest improvement has been in his three-point shooting. Reminds me of Travis DuPree, who was a D3 All-American for Albion. Before that, the Dutch Dome serenaded him with chants of “Crazy Legs!” for a Holland team that went 20-0 in the 2001 regular season.
Avery Lewis 6-6 Sr 1Nation (Ann Arbor Huron): His stats may go down a bit with a similar player, Markeese Hastings, rejoining 1Nation, but he’ll continue to contribute across the board. He’s evolved from a blue-collar role player to versatile, left-handed offensive threat, without losing the toughness and energy that he had in the first place. Lewis is the kind of big wing coaches are looking for because of all the positions he can guard.
DJ Lundy 6-5 Sr Warriors (Romulus): The grinder complement to the Warriors’ highly athletic D1 wing Traveon Maddox of Novi. Looks like what we’ve become used to, a Romulus kid blowing up as a senior. Lundy has long been a productive, tough presence in the lane and on the glass, active blue-collar guy that always has to be accounted for with a block out. Now he’s shooting it well enough to transition from tweener to wing status.
Cassius Phillips 6-9 Sr Parallel 45 (Lakeland): One of the most productive bigs in the 2018 class because although somewhat raw he’s not settling for jumpers; instead athletic, runs the court, finishes and isn’t afraid to put his body on someone. Moves feet well so can get out to hedge and recover. Stylistically, plays like MSU (not Bay City Western) Matt Costello. High ceiling with reps and diversity of offense.
CJ Robinson 5-10 Sr North Oakland Wolfpack (Clarkston): Doesn’t get nearly the widespread respect warranted a starter and crucial cog in a state champion, nationally ranked team. Which he was as Foster Loyer’s baccourt partner for undefeated Clarkston. Rarely makes bad choices with the ball, will check up like a demon and in AAU can create and make his own shots. Lots of guards like this have thrived in the GLIAC.
Gary Solomon 6-5 Sr Family (Detroit Edison): From Cass Tech to Edison, from the Elite to the Family, the locales may change but Solomon’s m.o. doesn’t, he’s simply one of the toughest kids in the Midwest, a dog who is anathema to the iPhone generation. Big wing who is tough to keep out of the lane with his combination of strength and herky jerky moves, and counters with a jumper from mid- and three-point range. A10 type talent.
Blake Verbeek 6-10 Sr Grand Rapids Storm (Calvin Christian): A year ago at this time, was very similar to his then-AAU teammate Marcus Bingham. Bingham is now a consensus top 100 player in America. So there’s no reason Verbeek couldn’t approach double digit offers by the end of the summer. His shot and footwork at 6-10 are rare, and coveted by the modern game. Coaches want to see him get stronger and tougher.
Rashad Williams 6-1 Sr REACH (Wayne Memorial): Back with his old club after a spring stint with the Family. He’ll thrive with the ball in his hands here. Legit NBA range and more skilled as a playmaker than many realize. Could be huge college scorer with the right fit.
Al Horford 6-8 Jr Grand Ledge: Like most big men, his best basketball is a long way down the road. With an earlier start in the game, Alfred has a chance to be better than his father, Tito Horford, who went from the Dominican Republic, to Miami (FL), to the NBA for a minute. At the Spartan Shootout the younger Horford, despite giving up a couple inches and 40 pounds, played senior Drew Naymick no worse than even as Grand Ledge blew out North Muskegon. Then a week later he was getting schooled by regular high school players at the Aim High summer league. Such is youth. Horford has long arms and nimble feet. He gets to the ball quickly and doesn’t rush things.
The Bank Hoops Underclassman Camp has proven to be a launching pad for some of the most successful high school and college careers of any players in the Midwest in the past decade. In addition to the players above, camp alumni include Deleon Brown (Colorado), Seth Dugan (WMU), Austin McCullough (Cal), Austin Davis (Michigan), Algevon Eichelberger (DePaul), Matt Beachler (CMU), Trevor Manuel (Oregon/Loyola Marymount), Jaylin Walker (Kent State), Jaron Faulds (Columbia), Mike Edwards (Georgia), Spencer Littleson (Duquesne/Toledo) and Corey Redman (CMU).
For boys going into grades 8-10 (7th-graders accepted with director’s discretion), the 2017 camp will be held 10 am-5 pm August 5 at Aim High Sports in Lansing, Mich. It is $100, which includes lunch and jersey. Team rates are available.
The camp includes drill instruction from the Bank Hoops staff of current high school and college coaches, and college and professional with players; and competition under MHSAA sanctioned officials. Players are not just profiled at Bank Hoops, with reports sent out to over 150 college programs, but last year every scout in Michigan was at attendance including Nike’s director of youth basketball, Vince Baldwin.
From the D to Escanaba, some of the top talent in the state converged for the eighth-annual Up North Challenge. Including …
Harlond Beverly 6-4 So REACH 16U (Southfield Christian): He looked like a future high-major recruit during the winter and did nothing to dissuade that notion here as REACH won the 16U title. Tends to play upright so deceptively athletic; gets off the floor easily. Feathery jumper that he finds through a set of subtle but effective free-up moves. Comes from a winning program and it shows in AAU, not a jacker despite his talent and did a nice job feeding center Jalen Thomas in the post or finding a cutting Carrington McCaskill for dunks.
Quinn Blair 6-6 Jr REACH (Dearborn Divine Child): Made the all-tournament team from the 17U runners-up. Versatility and efficiency define Blair’s offense. He’s thick and strong so finishes in the lane or from the baseline, can pick-and-pop from 20 feet and gets to the rim with minimal use of the dribble. Great at attacking closeouts. Physical rebounder and defender. The level of athlete he can check away from the basket will determine upper level of college potential, but the kind of ready-made all-around forward who could help most Midwestern mid-majors.
Isaiah Bridges 6-5 So HoopGrind 16U (Midland): Did his best to lead an semifinal upset of Parallel 45 in the 16U semifinals but fell just short. Plays a lot of point because of his hoops IQ and passing, hit three-pointers in bunches, while still flourishing as the big-bodied rebounder and post defender we first saw a year ago at this very tournament. Bridges is one of the intriguing prospects in Michigan’s 2019 class.
Denver Cade 6-2 Jr Parallel 45-White (Buckley): No matter which guard REACH threw at Cade in their Saturday morning matchup, the Class D all-stater had an answer. Clever, versatile, determined scorer. 3.9 gpa sweetens the deal for schools recruiting him.
Dan Cluster 6-10 Jr West Michigan Lakers (Watervliet): There are seemingly endless 6-8 forwards in Michigan’s rising senior class. True posts are more rare, which makes Cluster intriguing. Spring Lake’s Sam Johnson has been out injured, and he’s taken advantage of increased opportunity. Did a good job of recognizing mismatches and going right to the blocks to take advantage of his go-to hook. Needs to do a better job chinning and securing the ball.
Zach Goodline 5-10 So West Michigan Lakers (Coloma): Parallel 45 had the blueprint to slow down Goodline the week before at the Camp Darryl Classic — beat up the underclassman with 190-pound guards then let him try to finish over a true-sized post. But neither of the Lakers’ 17U final four opponents, TEAM Basketball or REACH, have that kind of personnel, and the 1,000-point prep scorer was back in the Goodie Mob form we saw against “The Elite” back at Spiece. With Goodline having his way off the dribble, finishing at ridiculous angles and spacing the floor with his shooting, it opened things up for West Ottawa wing Drew Pedersen to go off against REACH and center Dan Cluster to have his best tournament to date. He is the most offensively gifted point guards in the 2019 class, with D2s praying he doesn’t grow.
Mason Gardner 6-4 Jr Parallel 45-Green (Boyne City): Showed his athletic bonafides with a pair of blocks against REACH’s Dujuan Seal, whom some were calling the most productive player on the NY2LA tour this spring. Something of a tweener, so Gardner needs to come with that kind of fire and motor all the time. Some above-the-rim finishes in July and the buzz will grow — don’t settle, attack relentelessly. 3.9 gpa.
Reece Hazelton 6-5 Fr Northern Exposure 15U (Maple City Glen Lake): A mismatch problem at the 15U level because he shoots it and moves like a guard, but for his age is built like a rangy forward. As much as he didn’t enjoy the travel calls in his late Sunday game, it will benefit Hazelton in the long run as Glen Lake has a good chance to make it downstate next March and this was some exposure to real officiating, a rarity in the hinterlands of Northern Michigan.
Devin Holmes 6-4 Jr REACH (Detroit Renaissance): This was his first tournament with REACH and he fit right in because Holmes doesn’t need plays run for him to make an impact. Hustling, well-built blue-collar type who always seemed to be around the ball. Made smart passes on the break.
Seth Mann 6-4 Jr Parallel 45-Green (Petoskey): Made the all-tournament team for a P45 team that was back-and-forth until the last horn in the 17U semifinals with REACH. Did yeoman’s work handling the ball against the pressure of REACH’s quicker, smaller guards. The in the halfcourt Mann made them pay in the halfcourt with his perpetual motion and three-point shooting. And like Cade above, makes life easy for his coaches off the court with a 3.9 gpa.
Jiovanni Miles 6-3 So REACH 16U (Novi): Strong, compact, athletic guard in the Terry Rozier mode. What I loved about Miles was that even when playing with a big lead, he competed defensively with active, high hands. Gets good elevation on his jumper, needs to get the same release point/timing for it to become a more consistent weapon.
Goliath Mitchell 6-1 Jr REACH (Goodrich): Can sometimes be forgotten with all the guard depth in Michigan’s rising senior class but he can get baskets in bunches, as Mitchell did in a couple games of the UNC. Changes speeds and directions well to get space to drive or shoot. Looks to score first but delivered some dimes in the lane. Needs to work in his left hand finishing.
Tristen Mysen 6-7 Jr North Oakland Wolfpack (Clarkston): Given the talent level of Clarkston’s roster last and next season, Mysen could be one of those rare kids who posts higher stats in college than high school. Well-school defender who goes about it with physicality. Has grown into a nasty finisher, when able to catch the ball cleanly. Very good free throw shooter.
Matt Nicholson 6-9 So North Oakland Wolfpack 15U (Clarkston): With the way Taylor Currie has been playing with All-Ohio Red’s 16U and Nicholson’s continued improvement with the Wolfpack, Clarkston may have the state’s top centers in both the 2019 and 2020 classes. Nicholson is long for days and embraces his height — doesn’t disappear and let his shorter, stronger teammates takes his rebounds, or hide out in the corner like a “stretch 4.” The Wolfpack made a concerted effort to get him the ball in good position, and he proved to be able to catch it, keep it high, and finish, with consistency. Another young big to remember is the one who faced off with Nicholson in the 15U championship game, Impact Elite’s Ryan Corner a 6-8 freshman from Allendale.
Xander Okerlund 6-4 So Parallel 45 16U (Maple City Glen Lake): Dominated the 16U semfinals, leading a comeback, overtime win over HoopGrind with 28 points, then looked right at home against the studs from REACH in the championship game. Many of those were clutch, as Okerlund carried P45 in the second half with three-pointers, drives and pullups. So smart, plays angles and sees the game two plays ahead, so he was able to get space for those shots even when the whole gym knew the ball was coming to him. D1 recruit if he starts playing both higher (on his jumpshot) and lower (explosive drives) with the ball.
Luke Pfromm 6-5 Jr TEAM Basketball (Warren De La Salle): With fellow forward Danny Sully injured, TEAM needed the increased production courtesy Pfromm. He proved a tough cover because he’s just awkward enough to keep a defender unsure, while at the same time having good footwork and orientation once he catches the ball, and knows how to use uses his rear end to clear space. Shot it easily and consistently from three-point range. The question will be what spot(s) Pfromm can check in college.
Cameron Ramos 6-0 Jr Camp Darryl (Charlotte): Keyed Camp Darryl’s win over the North Oakland Wolfpack. Handled both guard spots because he can shoot it, or find shooters off his own drives. Another one with a nearly 4.0 gpa.
Ryan Robinette 6-2 Jr Great Northern Elite (Escanaba): Started out the tournament on fire, dropping three-point bombs off the catch or dribble. Has range beyond the arc, which helps because the lefty is shooting more of a set shot than jumper. Uses the shot to make way for an effective Euro finish. Not a breakdown point guard or anything, but sees the floor well and has nice placement with his passing.
Brock Stevens 5-11 Fr Impact Elite (Calvin Christian): He’s steadily improved every time we’ve seen him … from the Underclassman All-State Camp, to the College Guard Workshop, to the regular season, and now in AAU where Stevens helped lead IE to championships at the Camp Darryl Classic then Up North Challenge. He and Reeths-Puffer freshman Emcee Williams are interchangeable, scoring point guards who give Impact Elite one of the top 15U backcourts in Michigan. Brock has a nice mix of knowing how to run a team as the son of a coach, a confident shot, and will mix it up and get dirty defensively and for 50/50 balls. Impact Elite won both the 15U and 14U titles, so be prepared to hear a lot more of that name in the future.
RJ Taylor 5-9 6th Northern Michigan Drive 15U (Midland Dow): For a kid who turned 13 a month before the tournament, really held his own playing 15U with his court sense and skill level. It’s less surprising knowing he has an older sister playing D1 ball, another who will, and his dad, Bob Taylor, was a 30-year college coach.
Jalen Thomas 6-9 So REACH 16U (Detroit U-D Jesuit): A rare young AAU big men that is actually utilized by his team. REACH’s guards looked for Thomas regularly, and to his credit he would pay them back not forcing shots into double teams but finding shooters in the corner or cutters over his shoulder. Surprisingly good foul shooter. No nonsense, plays like a true post, finishing on one end and defending the rim on the other. In an early Saturday game REACH’s coach, Marcus Webster, called a timeout just to make sure Thomas could dunk, after his young center finessed in a layup.
Isaiah Williams 6-3 Jr Tri-City Heat (Unionville-Sebewaing): Strong kid who can finish inside or step out and shoot. Good high school player, especially at the Class C level; explosiveness will determine if there’s a next-level future.
If you believe the stereotype that there’s no defense in AAU, you missed Parallel 45-Green’s run to the 17U championship of the 16th-annual Camp Darryl Classic. Only one team in Kalamazoo broke 50 points on their aggressive halfcourt man-to-man, and the Macomb County Cougars lost in the final 60-51. The West Michigan Lakers averaged 96 points in a pair of pool play wins, but saw that output halved in the semifinals with P45 prevailing 65-48.
Austin Harris was named the tournament MVP. The 6-4 Buckley junior averaged over 20 points per game through the semifinals, including his team’s first 16 in a 69-47 quarterfinal win over West Michigan Elite. He shot the ball with the confidence the entire state saw back in the Michigan Class D state finals, and ends the spring AAU season firmly back on college coaches’ radars as one of the most skilled, versatile big guards in the 2018 class.
Joining Harris on the all-tournament team were a pair of Frankfort juniors 6-1 Jaylon Rogers and 6-3 Matt Loney. Not many point guards are as strong and athletic finishers as Rogers, who comes in fast but drops in soft shots at the rim. He was a load in the semifinals attacking the West Michigan Lakers’ 6-8 Carter Nyp and 6-10 Dan Cluster, while taking it personally and competing hard defensively against his ballyhooed point guard opposite Coloma sophomore Zach Goodline. Loney is an aggressive two-way guard Jerry Sloan sort of throwback. Between his wingspan and hoops IQ beats people to the ball defensively and on the glass. He thrived offensively with an old school array of mid-range jumpers and pull-ups off the glass.
The addition of 6-9 Lakeland junior Cass Phillips has been a God-send to a Parallel 45 lineup that’s lacked a true post both in its 16u season then again for most of the spring. That had created a ceiling for what was still a talented team, in 2016 they were eliminated in six straight tournaments by the ultimate champion. But here’s Phillips to trigger the running game off the glass, collapse defenders to open up shooters, defend the rim so the defense can be extended, score off the catch and finish, tips and free throws. Separates himself from a lot of young bigs by how he runs hard and competes consistently. Showed athletic ability when got out on the court to make plays out on the floor for loose balls, a couple times taking it all the way for a score. Similar to Matt Costello, stylistically. Another downstate newcomer this season has proved invaluable. 6-0 Cardinal Mooney junior Daniel Everhart gives P45 another strong, aggressive driver when Rogers isn’t on the floor, or allows him to play off the ball as a scoring wing when paired together. Everhart is a smart A to B point guard who knows when to pick his spots offensively and hit pull-up jumpers throughout the weekend in the halfcourt and out of transition.
Phillips in the lineup allowed a pair of 6-4 juniors Boyne City’s MasonGardner and Petoskey’s Seth Mann to play their natural wing forward position. Gardner had rededicated himself with a great practice earlier in the week and played hard and produced the entire tournament. A hybrid player who can check out on the floor or block shots; athletic yet may still underestimate physical advantages and could more often go over/through a defender at the rim than around him. Mann gives a clinic on moving without the ball, popping open for timely three-pointers or curling for looks at the rim. Good fundamentals as a defender and rebounder but will take more strength and weight for it to work at the college level. With a true center, 6-6 Boyne City junior Dylon Williams has thrived in his minutes as the backup post, getting better seemingly by the game. He’s raw, eager and just figuring things out, but D3s have expressed interest because he’s built like a college player and puts on a dunk show in warmups.
According to tournament director Darryl Matthews this was likely the best entry the Macomb Cougars have had in the 17U division and was the only team in bracket play to come back and take a second-half lead on P45. Their backcourt carried them for stretches, and were all-tournament picks. 5-11 Arthur Asberry of Warren Cousino and 6-0 Jaylen Blackwell from L’anse Creuse. The Mid-Michigan Lakers won the silver title. Division MVP was their three-point threat guard 6-0 Isaiah Franklin from Holly.
While Tulip Time engulfed Holland proper, the Northside once against played host to the Wes Leonard Strength & Honor Tulip Tipoff. TEAM Basketball defeated the home team West Michigan Lakers in the 17U final, Parallel 45 beat the Grand Rapids Storm in the 16U championship game, and in 15U the Storm beat Impact Elite for the crown. These players stood out.
Mason Bakker 6-5 So Grand Rapids Storm 16U (Zeeland West): Looks cut from the John Shillito lineman quarry in Zeeland. He was a tough cover for Parallel 45 in 15U when they beat the Storm at last summer’s Brawl for the Ball, and nothing had changed when they met again in the championship game here. Horsed kids on the glass but not just a banger, with soft hands and shooting touch.
Isaiah Bridges 6-5 So HoopGrind 16U (Midland): A mismatch at the high school level. His versatility point towards interesting college possibilities as well. Strong kid who invites contact. Few players in Michigan’s 2019 class can match his post repertoire, motor on the glass or how he triggers the transition game. But he can also step out and keep defenses honest with the shot or pass or pick-and-roll game. Coaches will want to figure out what positions he can guard.
Justin Fischer 6-3 Jr TEAM Basketball (Warren De La Salle): Coming off a tough weekend at Spiece, TEAM was short-handed to start the tournament, and looked sluggish even as the bracket played out. But by the championship game against the host team they were humming and as always Fischer has a lot to do with it. TEAM Basketball has a wider array of options this season and Fischer knows the personnel and is able to find their sweet spots whether underneath or spotting up. One of the two best passers in the 2018 class along with Trevion Williams. College coaches want to see more consistent scoring threat. You want your ponit guard to win and Fischer does that. With victories over the Storm and Lakers in both teams’ home tournaments, TEAM has solidified its rep as one of the top three unaffiliated 17U teams in Michigan, along with REACH and the Michigan Warriors. TEAM Basketball and REACH will play May 27 at the Up North Challenge in Mt. Pleasant.
Justin Fox 5-11 Jr MBA (Grand Rapids Union): Did a lot of things you want from the 1 controlled tempo, was a threat to score from different spots, created in the lane good looks with dishes to his big Hayden Stauffer or pitches to spot up shooters. Union is in a run of seeing guards break out as college prospects during their senior seasons, and Fox is poised to be next.
Bryce Lott 6-3 So Parallel 45 16U (Davison): One-time hustling tweener and role player who continues to flourish on the wing with offensive confidence. Can shoot it off the catch and also finishes with ups and toughness on the break and halfcourt drives or cuts.
Vernon Nash 5-7 Fr Grand Rapids Storm (Muskegon): Terrific pushing the tempo. There are a lot of fast 15U guards. Nash is different because he makes smart decisions at full speed. He’s not at a loss as a halfcourt guard either despite his size, tough to find out there. When he and another quick, clever point guard Max Perez were out there together the Storm was hard to handle.
Drew Pedersen 6-3 Jr West Michigan Lakers (West Ottawa): One of the reasons West Ottawa will contend for a return to top 10 status. Wing shooter is perfect for the Panthers’ pretty passing offense. Pedersen plays similarly off the ball for the Lakers. Perpetual motion, he wears down defenders working both sides of the offensive court searching for screens and jumpers. Similar to a player he faced in the 17U final TEAM Basketball’s Jason Dietz tough to close out on with their deep releases. Will also beat you with the backdoor. Neither his high school nor AAU teams play full-time man so coaches will want to learn what he can do on that end.
Cass Phillips 6-9 Jr Parallel 45 (Lakeland): Resurfacing post prospect fit in smoothly, running to the rim, cleaning up the offensive glass and providing a post threat off the left block. Moves easily and should be able to get out on the floor and check stretch 4s. Doesn’t shy from contact and can target the ball outside his area; started rebounding with an attitude as the tournament went on. Spacing, timing, instinct, tentative feet need to improve, but there were enough flashes of potential to intrigue as a next level prospect.
Zach Trent 6-2 So Parallel 45 16U (Burton Bentley): Broke free of a slump a comeback which found Trent the leading scorer in the 16U final. Even when his shot wasn’t falling found ways to contribute as a physical defender and rebounder. Has the size to bully his way to free throws, and 1s if he looked to complete drives more often. Low risk recruit who will max out talent and star in the classroom.
Solomon White 6-0 Fr Grand Rapids Storm 15U (Forest Hills Eastern): Complements Storm point guards Max Perez and Vernon Nash. White keeps the court spread for them with his shooting threat, but isn’t stationary will also cut and score has nice feel and is tough around the rim. Probably projects as college point guard so needs to keep working on ball skills.
Dlano Woods 5-11 Jr Michigan United (Chippewa Valley): He was a dangerous lefty scorer as a 16U player who has really improved and will now eat you up with passes if overplayed. Battle tested not exactly doing it at Podunk U., Chippewa Valley is one of the state’s 10 largest schools.
We’ve been covering the Spiece Run-n-Slam since before it was the Hensley Memorial, and before there was a Spiece Fieldhouse in Ft. Wayne, when the tournament was played on campus at Purdue. Even back then it was a proving ground for Michigan players. Though the field lacks the national scope of its peak years, with 250 high school age teams from the Midwest it’s still one of the strongest spring events going outside of the EYBL.
Michigan’s top performing 17U team was the Family, which was knocked out by eventual champion All Ohio Red in the platinum semifinals. The Mustangs won the silver bracket. In 16U GreenWood and the Mustangs reached the platinum quarterfinals .In 15U the Family made the platinum quarters and the West Michigan Lakers the gold final. Here are some local players who performed well.
Marcus Bingham 6-10 Jr Spiece Indy Heat (Grand Rapids Catholic Central): The Hoosier state has been kind to him. Bingham entertains offers from Butler and Purdue, he became a national name at the Indianapolis EYBL stop, and then came out and furthered his reputation at Spiece. Got the better of ballyhooed 6-9 NBA scion Pete Nance of the Akron Bobcats, who is too stiff and unnatural when pushed away from the basket but was dwarfed by Bingham’s wingspan when he tried to do what he is good at, scoring in the lane. Meanwhile Marcus shot it easily from various spots and even showed flashes of an off-the-dribble game. Later on in the tournament he was reminded even if this isn’t the Nike circuit, talent will always run deep in an event full of Midwestern teams. Watch out below, Darweshi Hunter dunk show coming through.
Maliq Carr 6-6 Fr Family 15U (Oak Park): Has a Syracuse offer for football so not surprisingly doesn’t shy from contact. One of three Family forwards who can suck down rebounds. Talks and competes with a hoops IQ you don’t necessarily expect at that size and age, but do given his basketball pedigree. Smart, deliberate passer. Loves knocking down shots from the elbow.
Nigel Colvin 5-11 So GreenWood 16U (River Rouge): Looks like a running back, 5-11 and fast. Uses that speed to get open off screens, close out on shooters and even sprint back on defense after his own misses. Plays more off the ball with River Rouge teammate Khalid Fleming or 6-6 Cade Coleman the most likely point guards, and Colvin is dangerous shooting or slashing from the wings.
Taylor Currie 6-9 So All Ohio Red 16U (Clarkston): He’d left a favorable impression as the starting center on Clarkston’s state championship team, and did nothing but help his cause here particularly with a 33-point performance against the Family. Particularly with Romeo Weems in and out of the lineup and not 100 percent with cramps, the Family didn’t have anyone who could handle Currie’s post play scoring off either shoulder. He also made 3-of-4 three-pointers and handled his business on the glass, active and keeps the ball high. The best big in Michigan’s 2019 class, and easy to see the U-M, Wisconsin interest.
Jason Dietz 6-4 Jr TEAM Basketball (Troy): While TEAM was up and down, Dietz shot it well throughout the weekend. D2 coaches like how he has college wing size.
Zach Goodline 5-10 So West Michigan Lakers (Coloma): Last we saw the Lakers’ 17U, they were beating the Family in the July 2016 Brawl for the Ball. That group was led by a small guard with a ton of chutzpah, Avery Hudson. The 2017 Lakers turn to a new small but fearless point guard, Goodline. We found them in the gold playoffs against The Elite. And with Elite’s Lamar Norman, Terry Armstrong, Julian Dozier and Anthony Crump on the court, it was Goodline leaving mouths ajar as he controlled tempo while creating space and knocking down shots at will. He scored 28 in the Lakers’ win over Elite, a group which had been playing well nationally on the Adidas “gauntlet.” Goodline is the most skilled score/pass/create point guard in Michigan’s 2019 class. Size will determine his college level.
CJ Haut 6-8 Jr Mustangs (Monroe St Mary): Really coming on, and it looks like SMCC’s streak of all-staters might continue. Natural shot blocker, changes ends, surprised with shooting touch. Shoots jumphook with either hand. Coachable and quick learner. With academic side will have a lot of options; NAIA floor that GLIACS weren’t saying no to.
Jamoni Jones 5-11 Fr GreenWood 15U (East Kentwood): Part of a potent three-guard lineup with speedy, slight Edwin Victory and versatile scoring muscle guard Jarvis Walker. Jones is at his best when it gets a bit messy and hectic, jumping passes, turning the ball over for layups and his preferred three-point shot out of transition. Passes on the break when the dribble isn’t necessary and makes smart decisions even if doesn’t always look like a natural playmaker. Needs to work on getting space against bigger defenders to get the same quality looks in the half court. Does have the requisite point guard runner.
Thomas Kithier 6-8 Jr All Ohio Red (Macomb Dakota): A statement tournament for AOR, which turned to its depth in winning the 17U title without the services of stalwarts Foster Loyer and Vincent Williams. This was Kithier’s chance to step up with his newest AAU team, and he was particularly good against’s last year’s squad the Family. He looked like a prototype MSU inside/outside 4 who could bang in the post and the glass while having the feet to get out on the floor and defend.
Devin Marshall 5-11 So MBA-King (Portage Northern): The quickest guard on what will be a 16U team coaches want to see in July. They also have one of 2019’s sleeper recruits 6-9 home schooled sophomore Luke Maranka.
Lamar Norman 6-2 Jr The Elite (Wyoming Godwin Heights): From Grand Rapids and free from the Detroit media mafia echo chamber, Norman may have been the only one from The Elite who knew what he was getting into against the Lakers, a program of tough Lakeshore kids who love nothing more than to knock off hyped up Eastsiders. Which is exactly what they did. But Norman played hard the whole way. Didn’t let the game come to him, went out and forced the issue and created points by winning 50-50 balls, getting rebounds.
Mark Watts 6-2 So Family 16U (Old Redford Academy): Even shooters as good as Watts can have their flow go off stream. In two Family losses, he scored two second-half points. As he matures will find ways to make his coach keep him on the court even when he’s not scoring; the rarefied air of the finisher, winner and champion.
Trevion Williams 6-8 Jr Family (Henry Ford Academy): Finding his wind and touch, coming back from an ankle injury. Williams looked more active than the prior weekend in Indianapolis. The mitts never left and there were flashes showing why he may be the best passer in Michigan regardless position. Williams seemed to find it easier to power and tip his way to points than against EYBL bodies and peaked with a vintage 20-20 effort against C2K.