Shooting Pool: Early standouts from the Brawl for the Ball

We’re midway through the Brawl for the Ball in Grand Rapids. Below are some breakout performers from pool play.

Tournament bracket play begins Saturday afternoon at MVP Fieldhouse and Cornerstone University.

Randy Gilbert  6-5  So  Superfriendz 15U (Detroit Cass Tech): One of the greatest shooters in Cass Tech history, Youngstown State assistant coach Steve Hall, was at Cornerstone University to see perhaps another. Gilbert his deep 3s off the dribble from the top of the key or the wings, with defenders draped all over him. Used a big first step and size to score at the rim easily when he was overplayed. Active rebounder. As incredible as Gilbert was, somebody forgot to tell him Parallel 45 hasn’t lost a pool game since April, and they pulled it out here when another 2018 D1 prospect, 6-8 Danny Kolp from Petoskey, scored the winning and-one layup with 10 seconds to play.

Jesse Hillis  6-0  Jr  Grand Rapids Storm 16U (Caledonia): Shouldered even more responsibility for the ball with Jason Majerle out and was up to the task. A true point guard and passer with a quick, long first step that gets it all going.

Treveon Orr  6-8  Jr  Playmakers 16U (Detroit King): True post with no qualms about throwing his weight around. Finds a body when a shot goes up, and takes up so much space teammates can get the rebounds he doesn’t. Has learned a number of moves, next is concluding them with true release and touch. If Orr can kick it out and walk his man down, would be layups galore instead of forcing bad shots. Does a decent job with the first defensive rotation but the quickness to recover is lacking.  More fitness and speed as he matures and he’s a top 10 overall prospect in 2017. He plays for George Ward at Detroit King, so expect there to be Percy Gibson comparisons.

Ben Ritsema  6-4  Sr  West Michigan Lakers (Zeeland East): He kept the Lakers in the game then poured on the gas to fire a big comeback win for the Lakers on the Storm. Shooter, slasher, dunker. Has the tools for it, but colleges will want to see what positions he can check at their level.

Ryan Schuller  6-10  Sr  ACB/Bank Hoops 17U (Sturgis): He’s improved significantly since spring AAU began. College coaches love his frame and enthusiasm for the game. A hard worker in games as in practice. Defensive lane clogger who is getting more comfortable with the ball; will still bring it too low. Can rebound outside his area.  Schuller was solid and 6-10 Stevensville Lakeshore senior Braden Burke showed a terrific offensive arsenal in ACB/Bank Hoops’ win over Triple Threat.

Brayden Smith  6-5  Jr  West Michigan Flight 16U (Byron Center): Great physical tools, plays above the rim. Uses live body to make plays on both ends of the court. Scholarship athlete in basketball or football. Consistent shooting touch from 20, but it’s a set shot. A MAC player if it becomes a jumper and Smith gets a creative, attacking game from the wings.

Richard Talley  6-0  Sr  Playmakers 17U (Detroit Renaissance): A key member of a Renaissance team that looks like preseason top 10 in Class A. It’s hell bringing the ball up against him. Explosive enough to score around the rim — when he chooses to look at it. As a point guard prospect, more facilitator than creator which may make him a defensive specialist at the next level. Will have to find some kind of a jumper to play in the modern college game.

NCAA July Open Period Commences in Grand Rapids

Brawl_for_the_Ball_largeMost of the state’s top programs and prospects, and college coaches from throughout the Midwest, will converge on Grand Rapids this week for the Brawl for the Ball, an NCAA sanctioned tournament. It runs Thursday, July 9 — Sunday, July 12.

Click here for the full schedule.

Read below to discover what are some of the best games for fans and coaches to check out. All are at MVP Fieldhouse unless otherwise noted.

17U Grand Rapids Storm vs West Michigan Lakers, 3:30 pm Thursday: There are always some healthy hard feelings when the two longest-running teams on the Westside hook up. Love the matchup of athletic, lanky, bouncy wings, the Storm’s 6-4 East Kentwood senior Micah Rosser and the Lakers’ 6-4 Zeeland East senior Ben Ritsema.

17U Mustangs (Woodruff) vs Impact Elite, 4:45 pm Thursday: This is a rematch of the championship game of the Camp Darryl Classic in May. It may be on Court 4, but small schools and D2s need to be all over this matchup.

16U ACB/Bank Hoops vs 1Nation, 6 pm Thursday: If these two guys played at different local schools, they’d be household names. But 6-5 ACB/Bank Hoops junior Riley Fairfield is at North Muskegon and not Muskegon High, and 6-4 1Nation junior Austin McCullough is at Portage and not Kalamazoo Central. Both are athletic, tough wings and top 20 overall prospects in the 2017 class. The similarities don’t end there, as both could be scholarship football receivers if they chose that route, and they play for Michigan’s two Under Armour-sponsored teams. Fairfield’s ACB/Bank Hoops squad is coming off a strong spring in which they won gold bracket titles at King James and the Chicago Classic.

17U ACB/Bank Hoops vs REACH 2:15 pm Friday: These programs played two great 17U games in 2014, and all the perimeter talent and athleticism from both teams promises another fun one on Court 1.

15U Family vs Mustangs, 8:30 pm Friday: Any time the state’s most storied programs meet, it’s appointment viewing. The Mustangs are bolstered by the arrival of one of the state’s top sophomore guards Davion Williams of Belleville. The two early candidates for the state’s top 2019 recruit will be in the 15U field here, the Family’s 6-4 Romeo Weems and Mustangs (Haney) 6-5 Sean Cobb from Williamston.

16U Family vs Triple Threat, 11:45 am Saturday: Lansing area big men seem to come in pairs. Grand Ledge’s Al Horford and Everett’s Goran Suton were the real deal. Jon Horford and Eaton Rapids’ Alex Gauna were a flimsy facsimile. Hopefully the newest pair, 6-9 Holt junior Jaron Faulds of the Family and 6-8 East Lansing sophomore Brandon Johns of Triple Threat, trend towards the former.


Oakland Team Camp: State’s top junior point, senior combo guards in the crowd

With teams from all over metro Detroit and beyond, and with all six courts under one roof, Oakland’s team camp has been an annual Bank Hoops venue for over a decade. Here are some of the standouts from the 2015 version.

Corey Allen  6-2  Sr  Ypsilanti: While Ypsi’s new guard, Belleville transfer Mike Bruce, has the flashier first step, Allen is more of a bottom line guy. Can shoot it but also can cobble together a 20-point line using his strength to get into the paint and onto the line. Produces enough to keep MAC and Horizon schools on him.

Matt Beachler  6-3  Jr  Lowell: Lived up to his shooter’s rep with Oakland coach Greg Kampe watching, with a six three-pointer game. Beachler has an Oakland offer, along with CMU, Northern Illinois, Toledo and VCU

Braden Burke  6-10  Sr  Stevensville Lakeshore: He may have had a wake-up call, and played with direction and focus for Lakeshore. Took no mercy matched up against normal sized high school posts, burying and finishing over them; used his length over them in pursuit of rebounds. Burke has the hands and feet coaches’ covet in their bigs. The key is getting them in synergy with his heart and head.

Jermaine Jackson  5-9  Jr  Macomb Dakota:  Tum Tum Nairn with a jumper. Keeps constant pressure on defensive opponents, and does it with the next-level gear you need to become a high major point guard. Explodes into lane and will be even more dangerous there when he uses the backboard more consistently than trying to go over the top. Jackson does a good job of setting up Dakota’s standout big man, 6-8 sophomore Thomas Kithier, while also playing well off of his post. Passes with either hand and is smart about feeding the hot hand. There are a number of D1 guards in the 2017 class, but at the point Jackson is on a tier by himself.

Troy Lattimore  5-11  Fr  Walled Lake Northern: Northern was due, having lost Tabin Throgmorton to Clarkston. A year later here comes an influx of talent in Lattimore, another freshman 6-5 Spencer Brown and Ethan Ancick a 6-5 sophomore who played last season in Manton. Lattimore looks like a top five 2020 guard as their high school careers commence. He’s able to create and hit shots and the ball usually got to teammates crisply.

Orlando Little  6-4  Sr  Kalamazoo Central: The Maroon Giants played well even without their top player Devon Daniels. Little is a great high school player who can beat you up on the blocks and hit shots from various spots on the floor. Coaches may fret his tweener status, but production should win over enough of them.

Spencer Littleson  6-3  Sr  Rochester Adams: He earned an offer from the home team, and has been shooting it like we’ve come to expect from Oakland guards. Because he has tools at his disposal and is assertive and confident, Littleson is able to still score it with defenses geared at him. Better point guard than some may realize.

Jaylin McFadden  6-5  Sr  Detroit East English Village: It’s tough to find a team that’s clicked quite like East English Village in June. They have four players any of whom can be the star on the floor for stretches. McFadden is one of them because he can rebound like a forward and push the ball like a guard, but is even more dangerous running the lanes. High IQ team player who has a radar for the ball and cuts down the floor on defense.

Karmari Newman  6-4  Sr  Detroit East English Village: Fearless shooter who hasn’t seen a line or landmark on a court he didn’t want to test as a launching pad. Long lefty and versatile streak scorer with some Mo Pete in him. Some coaches prefer Spencer Littleson to Newman because of his consistency, while I still give the latter a brief edge as the state’s top senior combo guard:

  1. Karmari Newman  6-4  Sr  Detroit East English Village
  2. Spencer Littleson  6-3  Sr  Rochester Adams
  3. Trishton Jackson  6-2  Sr  West Bloomfield (MSU-fb)
  4. Justin Turner  6-3  Sr  Detroit Renaissance
  5. Terrance Sewell  6-3  Sr  Detroit Northwestern

Danny Pippen  6-7  Sr  Detroit Allen: He’s one of the most enigmatic talents in the state, and showed the full spectrum at Oakland getting better as the weekend went on. Pippen is a rare athlete who can guards the rim and also step out on the floor and defend. Will have to get bigger to be a college forward, because he’s not a natural with the ball such as a slender guy like Paris Bass. At times settled for turnarounds and 3s instead of attacking.


Michigan Prospects Making Most of Toledo Elite Camp

Ypsilanti junior Darian Owens-White earned a scholarship offer from Toledo after their elite camp.
Ypsilanti junior Darian Owens-White earned a scholarship offer from Toledo after their elite camp.

Being just south of the border, Toledo’s elite camp always attracts talent. Here are some of the best Michigan prospects who competed there Sunday, including one who earned his first D1 offer afterwards.

Collins  6-7  Sr  Adrian Lenawee Christian: Does enough good that he’ll have various small college options. Very good going to get the ball, needs to get stronger with it once there. Most often shot from the elbows but when he found a couple unselfish teammates in 5-on-5 Collins also started cutting to the hole. Mastering basic post and finish moves would double Collins’ scoring.

Austin McCullough  6-4  Jr  Portage Central: Stood out with size, athletic ability and aggressive play. Hitting three-pointers while going to his left was a nice addition and one of the more big-time looking plays of the camp. Can turn the corner and used those same physical traits to compete on the defensive end. Trending like Taylor Perry was going into his 16U July, when he received an offer from WMU. If he keeps producing McCullough could pull a mid-major offer next month himself.

Darian Owens-White  6-0  Jr  River Rouge: He’s been delivering through the college camp circuit and cashed in on the final weekend with his first offer, from the Rockets. While he didn’t shoot it as well as he has recently, Owens-White executed in drills and when it opened up in 5-on-5 he really thrived running a team. A rare vocal leader and defender for these type of games.

Logan Ryan  6-7  Sr  Canton: Interesting because he has length, offensive potential and consistently produces in the one category that often translates he rebounds. A newly sheared stretch 4 who produced from the high post and hit an occasional three-pointer. Guards the rim and moves well enough that he could defend more of the court but doesn’t utilize his wingspan away from the basket, allowing opponents to shoot over him just as easily as Ryan does on his turn.

Shae Somers  6-0  Sr  Elk Rapids: He’s played to a draw the past three guards with D1 offers he’s faced, Haslett’s Brandon Allen and East English Village’s Chris Rollins at the Up North Challenge, and Sunday a nice 3-on-3 matchup with Darian Owens-White. Somers used his strength against the length of the junior (though they’re the same age). He was the best guard at camp at getting to the rim and drawing fouls. That’s not as easy to do when the shot’s not falling.



Rollins’ Commitment Caps Flurry of Offers

East English Village senior point guard Chris Rollins, at his future home IPFW.
East English Village senior point guard Chris Rollins, at his future home IPFW.

Mastodons could reach nearly basket height and weighed up to five tons. Chris Rollins is 5-10, 140. But his heart is mammoth sized which helped give him the chance to rep the Mastodons of IPFW, where the Detroit East English Village senior point guard committed Sunday. That came after another at times dominating camp performance by EEV, at Oakland, where Rollins gets it rolling a great brand of fast, unselfish ball. His is tempered aggression on both ends of the floor. Rollins is an embarrassment of point guard cliches, but the overall theme is, his teams win. Detroit Showtime has been the most consistently successful team in their age group for years with Rollins in the lineup along with other D1 basketball recruits EEV teammate Karmari Newman and former Warren De La Salle teammate Kevin McKay. It’s been a good recruiting season for small point guard, with Rollins joining Detroit Western’s 5-9 Brailen Neely who is pledged to Oakland, and Haslett’s Brandon Allen who is 5-9 with an offer from Long Beach State.

Oakland offered a couple of players this weekend. The Gospels say no prophet finds honor in his hometown. So it seemed to play out with Rochester Adams’ 6-3 senior Spencer Littleson, who emerged a year ago as a D1 prospect at a school just a couple miles from Oakland’s campus. His first offer came in the spring from St. Joseph’s, and now Littleson finds Oakland on board after he held his own against the best guards their team camp had to offer. Not just an unrepentant scorer, the Grizzlies envision him seeing time at point guard too. Behind Cassius Winston he’s as, if not more, consistent than the other guards in the seniors class and could have double-digit offers by the end of July.

Oakland’s other offer was to Jamal Cain. It was a busy weekend for the 6-6 top 10 junior from Detroit Cornerstone, who also received an offer Sunday at Kent State’s elite camp. He’s a rare finisher with hands, balance and smooth steps,  a Jason Morehead like swooping wing who could end up the next Vincent Hunter out of the Detroit Stars program.

Another junior with an Oakland offer is 6-9 Jaron Faulds from Holt. His second came from Central Michigan last Thursday. No big man puts it all together quite as often as Faulds, which is why he’ll get significant high major looks the next two summers. He played well at Oakland’s camp, as did 6-3 Lowell junior Matt Beachler. The Grizzlies are one of four offers to date. He made six three-pointers in a game watched by Oakland coach Greg Kampe.

6-7 senior Danny Pippen produced inside and outside both offensively and defensively for Detroit Allen at Oakland’s camp. He earned an offer Friday from Northern Kentucky.

Like Cain a 2017 prospect who received his first offer was Darian Owens-White. A 6-0 junior point guard from River Rouge, his came from Toledo following his performance Sunday at their prospects’ camp.


Calihan Call-Outs: Strong Performances at U-D Elite Camp

The University of Detroit's venerable Calihan Hall played host to the Titans' elite camp.
The University of Detroit’s venerable Calihan Hall played host to the Titans’ elite camp.

The University of Detroit’s Elite Camp has annually provided a spotlight for prospects on the verge of securing their future. Louisville’s Jaylen Johnson and Georgia’s Yante Maten in 2012; two years ago it was Paris Bass, not an NBA prospect for the Titans; last June Josh McFolley, now also at U-D, and Mike Edwards, like Maten now a UGA Bulldog. Here’s who got it done this time around at Calihan Hall.

Calvin Blaydes  6-5  Sr  Belleville: After his performance at the Izzo Shootout and now Detroit, Blaydes has solidified his place as one of the state’s top forward prospects. Athletic and plays hard, which can cover any number of flaws. Can guard the rim or check on the perimeter. A motor and quick second bounce on the glass. Lacks a back-to-the-basket game and struggles to multi-task when he puts it on the floor. Can see him fitting on probably half the GLIAC teams.

Brent Davis  6-2  Sr  Canton: There was a seemingly endless lineup of guards going one-on-one trying to get theirs. Davis was one of those with the actual size and athletic pop to most likely continue doing so in college. Slasher who turned heads with a big two-handed dunk. If he keeps playing like this, could see him again doubling his scoring average for Plymouth, where his clutch play helped give them their first district title last March.

Tray Jackson  6-6  So  Ypsilanti Lincoln: The surprise breakout prospect. He has the body, athleticism and shooting range of an older player. I coached 40 15U AAU games in the spring and rarely saw a member of the 2018 class who had Jackson’s combination of size and shot. Missed a dunk attempt but on another showed good hands and coordination to bring it in and put it down. You’d like to see him discover a post game and consistently embrace the dirty forward work, though his length provides a defensive presence.

Deante Johnson  6-6  Fr  Detroit Edison: It was pretty easy to forgive his faults when you look at the roster and see he’s just entering high school. Moved easily for his size and age. Needs some rudimentary post footwork, to remember to keep the ball high from the guards, go downhill and not fade, and figure out how hard you have to play at the varsity level … if that happens by March, Johnson could be turning in double-double efforts for what is one of the state’s top 10 Class C teams.

Luster Johnson  6-0  Sr  Detroit Consortium: He looks poised for the all-state campaign many were predicting following his state tournament run as a sophomore. Does some of everything and has springs, you just wish he were 6-3. Gets 50-50 balls, can score on the drive or shot and has vision to kick out for jumpers.

Reese Middleton  6-5  Jr  Perry: A former NBA player said he was the best shooter in the camp. Middleton certainly looked it in drills. When it was time for games someone should have given his teammates the memo, as in a one-on-one environment he was often left on the outside looking in. He was one of the biggest players at camp but more a de facto than passionate rebounder. Scholarship wing shooter, best case scenario Corey Redman.

Tristen Mysen  6-6  So  Oxford: He runs with a bunch of Clarkston kids in AAU, so Mysen may be more comfortable with some structure, particularly as a forward who builds his offense from the block outward. When his teammates did get him the ball, and cashed in with a patient and skilled game around the rim. Nice touch on the offensive glass. Sometimes goes too daintily or short-arms it, would like to eventually see a two-footed, above-the-rim power game. Good fundamentals rebounding in how he hits and pursues, and changes ends quickly.

Darian Owens-White  6-0  Jr  River Rouge: Picked right up from his outstanding Izzo Shootout performance, and is one of the state’s fastest climbing 2017 prospects. Has an Appling-esque quality where he’ll lull his defender then beat him with smooth over explosive moves. High-end point guard skills and he gets the ball where he wants. Lots of subtle, sophisticated stuff going on here, like just a look-off to give DOW an instant to stick a three-pointer. MAC or Horizon teams would love this kid running their team.

Miguel Priest  6-4  Sr  TBD: This was the second year in a row he’s been really good here. Shadowed the passing lanes leading to a number of breakout dunks. With a good frame and wingspan and no fear of physicality, Priest worked on the glass and proved able to push the ball and finish it himself. More than just an open court slasher, in one game he sank back-to-back left-handed three-pointers. Could see him eventually finding a mid-major roster. But via where? Priest played last season at Southfield, last week with Detroit Loyola and has been rumored to be headed to South Carolina.

Davion Williams  6-2  So  Belleville: Looks like the next coming of Rico Harris and is the most likely high-major prospect in the field. No player in camp had more dunks. Nice combination of size, playmaking, athleticism and a nose for the hole. Aggressive on defense and rebounds like you’d want from an athletic 6-2 kid on a high school court. Is the best guard in the 2018 class Clarkston’s Foster Loyer or Williams? It’s looking more and more like a dead heat.

2018 Guard Rankings:

  1. Foster Loyer  6-0  So  Clarkston
  2. Davion Williams  6-2  So  Belleville
  3. Brandon Wade  6-1  So  Ann Arbor Skyline
  4. David DeJulius  5-10  So  Detroit Edison
  5. PJ Mitchell  5-10  So  Detroit Loyola

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.