1. Benton Harbor 7-0 (Class B): The Tigers haven’t been tested yet, winning by an average of 37.5 points per game, and may not be until they face No. 3 Hazel Park February 3 at Grand Rapids Union. What distinguishes Benton Harbor is the unselfishness and passing ability up and down the lineup; and the superstar, 6-6 sophomore Carlos Johnson, is a dog with no prima donna leanings.
2. Detroit Cass Tech 7-0 (A): The defending PSL champion has no superstars or true big man (though 6-6 senior Randy Gilbert, a Ferris State signee has elevated his game closer to realizing his underclassman potential), but has a plethora of future college players and size throughout the roster. With its loaded 2019 class and possible high-major point guard in sophomore Tyson Acuff, the Technicians won’t be going anywhere soon but up.
3. Hazel Park 6-0 (A): The Vikings continue the theme here of playing great team basketball, as you can’t shut down just one player and beat them. The senior backcourt of Carl Bow and David Hearns has seemingly been around since the latter’s dad was fighting Hagler and the third senior guard, Devin Pettus, can play as well. Up front HP has two big-time athletes in 6-3 senior Kyle Washington and 6-5 senior Khari Adams. This group has wins over East English Village, U-D Jesuit, Pershing, Detroit Edison and Detroit Henry Ford. It may get tougher in the non-exhibition season as familiarity and scouting tend to make it, against the likes of Clarkston and Troy in the OAA-Red.
4. Ann Arbor Skyline 6-0 (A): Already on Skyline’s resume’ are double-digit wins against quality teams like AA Huron and Belleville, and a one-point victory eeked out against Pershing behind 23 points from Duquesne-bound point guard Brandon Wade. There’s all kinds of perimeter firepower here with Brandon Wade, Ryan Wade, Jack Ammerman and Christian Knox.
5. Clarkston 5-1 (A): There was so much attention being paid to Thomas Kithier not playing that few were looking at the product on the court — which wasn’t up to the standard of last year’s state championship team and was exposed with a dominant performance from East English’s David DeJulius. Prior to the loss the Wolves had beaten two strong teams, Wayne Memorial and Carman-Ainsworth, by a less than comfortable 15 points combined. That said, this is still as talented as any team in the state, even without its depth fully utilized.
6. East Lansing 6-0 (A): Michigan signee Brandon Johns made his Mr. Basketball bid with a 51-point performance and is the type of talent that can carry a team. A third-straight 20-0 regular season is certainly a possibility for the Trojans. But it’s also the third-straight regular season in which they don’t play any school East of Okemos, while Detroit-area contenders are getting battle-hardened beating up on each other. Eight-to-ten years ago that would have been less of a concern as Lansing area talent was stronger then.
7. Detroit East English Village 5-2 (A): After rough early-season outings against Hazel Park and and MLK, East English proved capable of beating anyone knocking off Clarkston last week at North Farmington.
8. Romulus 3-0 (A): Romulus hasn’t played often, but has two quality wins in that sample, over Ann Arbor Pioneer and Saginaw.
9. Detroit King 5-2 (A): The Crusaders started out 4-0 including victories over East English Village and DEPSA before dropping two of their last three. They’ll get a talent injection in the second semester when senior guard Marcus Gibbs, a transfer from rival Cass Tech, becomes eligible.
10. Canton 7-0 (A): Canton cracks the top 10 thanks to coming out of the 2017 portion of its schedule clean including some quality competition from Country Day, Belleville, Westland John Glenn, Troy and Divine Child. Junior point guard B. Artis White has long had the skill and hoops IQ, now he’s closing in on 6-feet and no longer has the physical limitations of his youth.
11. Detroit Edison 3-3 (C): At first blush it may seem odd to have a .500 Class C team ranked this high. Two of those losses were to top 10 teams, Hazel Park and King, and this is no ordinary Class C squad with three seniors already signed D1 — point guard PJ Mitchell to CMU, wing Gary Soloman to LIU-Brooklyn and center Deante Johnson to Cleveland state. Edison’s three wins weren’t against chumps either — Southfield Christian, Arthur Hill and Belleville.
12. Southfield Christian 4-2 (D): Similar to DEPSA, a small school with D1 talent and a serious schedule. In Southfield Christian’s case there are a pair of guards with high-major offers, junior Harlond Beverly (MSU, Ohio State, Xavier, Mizzou) and senior Bryce Washington (Pitt plus over a dozen mid-major offers). The best win to date was over No. 9 MLK, with losses to Pershing and DEPSA.
13. Wayne Memorial 5-1 (A): The Zebras have won five in a row since dropping their season opener to Clarkston by 10. Everyone knows about their big-time scorer, Cleveland State-bound Rashad Williams, but there’s more here, with talented junior point guard Isaiah Lewis and two-way, blue-collar senior guard Terrence Williams. Wayne can move up in the rankings as there are home games coming up against top 10 teams Canton and Skyline.
14. New Haven 6-0 (B): Even after graduating an impact D1 player in Eric Williams, the defending Class B state champion Rockets have yet to come down. 6-6 junior Romeo Weems is a dominant high school player with a high-major future. Their best win to date came in the season opener, beating De La Salle by 20 on a neutral court.
15. Ann Arbor Pioneer 3-1 (A): The Pioneers have beaten No. 9 MLK and their only loss is to No. 8 Romulus. When junior guard Drew Lowder is on he’s as good as anyone in Michigan and 6-8 junior Kasean Pryor has serious talent himself. We’ll find out just how real Pioneer is shortly, as the next three games are on the road against Belleville, Skyline and Huron.
16. River Rouge 5-0 (B): One of the state’s top coaches, Mark White, has the Panthers getting it done on the defensive end, where they’ve held opponents to 38 points per game.
17. Flint Carman-Ainsworth 4-1 (A): Lone loss is to Clarkston on the road by five. Very solid “up the middle” with senior point guard Ja’kavien Lewis and junior Mike Fletcher in the post.
18. DeWitt 5-1 (A): Underachievers last season, DeWitt is making up for it this time around behind a pair of GLIAC seniors, Luke Hyde and Tanner Reha, and a heady junior point guard, Nate Flannery. Other than their season-opening loss to top 10 East Lansing, the Panthers have held every opponent to fewer than 50 points.
19. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 5-1 (A): Detroit Western transfer Lorne Bowman, a sophomore guard, has been terrific for the Eaglets, whose only loss is to Clarkston.
20. Novi Catholic Central 5-0 (A): Many had the other team in town, Novi High School, ranked preseason, but it’s been CC getting it done, averaging 79 points a game over a 5-0 start. The Shamrocks should only get better thanks to a strong junior class with their top college prospect, 6-6 Davis Lumkowski, 6-5 leaper Brendan Downs and guard Keegan Koehler. The Catholic League schedule comes fast, opening at No. 19 OLSM on January 9.
21. Wyoming Godwin Heights 4-1 (B): After a 4-0 start with quality wins over West Ottawa and Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Godwin took its first loss last Friday, on a neutral court to Forest Hills Central. Seniors Lamar Norman and Markeese Hastings are the top duo on in the state, though they were below their averages with a combined 47 against the Rangers.
22. Detroit Pershing 2-3 (C): Another school that is small in enrollment only, as one of the state’s most storied programs still runs some talent out there with seniors like point guard Ronald Hill, prime GLIAC target D’juan Seal and 6-5 Charles Brown. All of Pershing’s losses are to teams ranked higher — Skyline, Hazel Park and OLSM — and there’s also a win against a higher-ranked team, Southfield Christian.
23. West Ottawa 3-1 (A): Last season’s team was the best in Panthers’ history, but this one isn’t too shabby either thanks to elite two-sport athletes like 6-5 Tyler Bosma and point guard Xavier Wade. WO’s lone loss was the season opener to Godwin Heights. The primary challenge in the O-K Red should come from 5-1 Grand Haven.
24. Troy 4-1 (A): Led by a strong senior class, Troy’s only loss came to top 10 Canton by five points.
25. Warren De La Salle 3-2 (A): The only loss to an in-state team was the season opener to New Haven, by 20 which can be partially attributed to football hangover and also to New Haven being a damn good team. This looks like a classic Greg Esler team, won’t wow you with talent but have solid parts all around starting with slick passing point guard Justin Fischer, who is headed to Lake Superior State.
MVP Myron Gardner 6-6 Jr Detroit Loyola: A top 10 player in Michigan’s 2019 class and the most highly regarded prospect in the field for Corunna’s Battle of the Midway, Gardner had 29 points and 16 rebounds in a loss to Hazel Park and 32 points and seven rebounds in a defeat of Rochester Stoney Creek. Gardner is a big kid, and is at his best finding daylight on the baseline and attacking the hoop with one dribble. He’s a horse on the offensive glass and that pays off because of his soft foul touch — he made all eight attempts from the stripe against Stoney Creek. Knocks down corner three-pointers. There’s still a lot of work to do to become a high-major recruit, most noticeably with ball-handling and footwork on the perimeter to help Gardner either get to the basket or create space for his shot. As of now it’s too often going to be a turnover when pushed away from the basket, either losing the ball, traveling, five seconds or getting a charge trying to bull his way into a defender. He also needs to play lower and quicker defensively, because though listed on the roster as a “guard/forward,” he’s not able to check guards right now.
Jaden Akins 6-3 Fr Farmington: While Farmington lost by a bucket to Parkway Christian, it wouldn’t have been that close without the efforts of Akins. Ninth-grade status be damned, he took his game up a notch in the fourth quarter and finished with 21 points, four assists and four steals. Akins is a smooth left-hander who made good decisions on the break, knocked down clutch three-pointers, had focus and hang-time to finish through contact and had stretches of strong defense. With maturation could be recruited at a very high level by the time all is said and done.
Ben Davidson 6-3 Sr St. Clair: This Ferris State signee was the picture of efficiency in St. Clair’s win over Detroit Public Safety, scoring 24 points while shooting 10-of-14 from the floor and making both his foul shots. Plays at his own pace, not getting rushed into bad decisions. Scores from various spots on the floor. Patient and strong with the ball, active and smart off the ball, hard to cover because he doesn’t stop moving. Won’t be the primary ball-handler or go-to scorer at the next level, but fills in the gaps and will help you win.
Logan LePage 6-4 Jr Corunna: He looks like Sam Cornett, a Lake Superior State freshman guard via Muskegon and Grandville, and for stretches played like him. LePage will get college looks on physique alone, but he skills are catching up and he plays very hard. Filled up the stat book in a win over Parkway Christian with 20 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. Did a great job finding Corunna big man Sage Walker in his sweet spots for easy finishes. Range on his jumpshot has improved. Can get to the rim, but needs to work on his left hand in there.
Kyle Hensley 6-6 Sr Sterling Hts. Parkway Christian: Showed his versatility going against a bigger player, Corunna’s 6-9 junior Sage Walker, and then being able to stay on the court and dominate the glass against Farmington’s five-guard lineup the following day. Hensley had 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting and six rebounds in the loss to Corunna and 21 points and 16 boards in the win against Farmington. He’s a strong, below-the-rim post who can step out to not just his the three-pointer, but pass from the top of the key, wing or out of post double-teams. He’s a good rebounder because while he may not jump particularly high, Hensley jumps quickly. Good balance and base as a post scorer. Can help at the small college level.
Kyle Washington 6-3 Sr Hazel Park: This could have been any number of players from Hazel Park, which has been as impressive as any team in the state with wins over East English Village and DEPSA. The Vikings beat Loyola at Corunna, running them out of the gym for many stretches. Which makes Washington all that more impressive — standing out for his athleticism, on a team of athletes. Has a college frame and physique and can really get out on the wings and finish. Does a good job getting into the passing lanes and turning ends. Washington is joined on an undersized but productive frontline with 6-5 senior shot-blocker Khari Adams.
Though one of the state’s most storied programs, a state title has eluded Benton Harbor for over a half-century. After losing to eventual state champion New Haven in last year’s Class B semifinals, Benton Harbor looks like it could go all the way in 2018. They’re 3-0 on the young season winning by an average margin of over 40 points a game, most recently an 89-44 annihilation of Lansing Everett Saturday in Grand Rapids.
Long-time friend of Bank Hoops Yazeed Moore breaks down a pair of talented Tigers:
Benton Harbor is one of the best passing and sharing high school teams I’ve seen. I don’t think I saw one bad or forced shot. 6-6 sophomore Carlos Johnson is a stud. Looks and walks like a ballplayer. He’s smooth and fluid athlete with an out-of-this-world basketball IQ. He was a terror when he got the ball at the high post with seasoned ball/head fakes to go right around or up-and-under. He worked the baseline well and was active around the basket. He has kind of an LBJ setup on his jumpshot (tight windup) but still had a nice tough on the shot. The ones he missed were all front rim so it looks like Carlos is trying to get comfortable launching from the outside. Has a competent and purposeful handle too.
Berrien Springs transfer TJ Jones is a 6-3 senior and deadeye shooter. Whenever the ball was reversed it was cashed, and he showed the ability to create and make a shot off the dribble as well as get to the bucket. They’re deadly in a two-man game. 6-3 senior Shawn Hopkins and point guard Elijah Baxter look like future college players in their own right.
MVP Seth Mann 6-5 Sr Petoskey: He scored 21 points against Manton and 13 against Marquette as the Northmen went 2-0. Mann is a motion offense savant with a quick release, one of the best catch-and-shoot prospects in Michigan’s senior class. Seems to add something to his game by the week, and can also counter close-outs by putting it on the floor and attacking the rim. Competes on the glass. Needs to player lower, wider on defense and off the ball. Add in Mann’s high-end grades and pedigree learning from one of the winningest coaches in state history, Dennis Starkey, and you have one of the most recruit-able available players in the 2018 class. One college coach has compared him to Brad Buddenborg, who was a key player for Oakland out of Garden City at the turn of the century as the Pioneers/Grizzlies transitioned to the D1 ranks.
Ethan Ancick 6-7 Sr Manton: Traverse City West’s Ryan Hayes, headed to Michigan for football, wasn’t the only power forward in the tournament coming off an outstanding fall spent playing tight end. Ancick, a transfer from Walled Lake Northern who is originally from Manton, had a strong football campaign catching the ball for the Rangers. He’s a college prospect on the hardwood too, with a strong base and soft mid-range touch. The key is to think less and just let himself go, free the animal within!
Danny Kolp 6-9 Sr Petoskey: He had 19 points, six rebounds and two blocks against Manton and 13 points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots against Marquette. Healthy and playing with confidence make Kolp a different level player than most have seen the last couple years. There aren’t many 6-9 kids who move with such ease. A natural athlete with a versatile offensive skill set. With the surplus of in-state talent in the 2018 class GLIAC schools filled up early on guys with D1 physical profiles, and should he stay healthy Kolp certainly fits that bill for Northwood.
Marius Grazulis 6-10 Jr Marquette: He’s one of the biggest players in the 2019 class, every bit of 6-10. Hoops are in his blood, as a third-generation Lithuanian — one of just three countries where basketball is the No. 1 sport — whose dad played at Kalamazoo College, sister at Davenport and brother AJ plays for Michigan Tech. Grazulis is still figuring out his body, but is one to remember when he does.
Jayden Perry 5-7 Sr Manton: He was without his longtime backcourt partner and fellow diminutive gunner Hunter Ruel, but has the toughness to handle the extra burden. Perry scored 20 against Petoskey. Combines both speed and quickness. Perry will pull from deep but can also stop his penetration abruptly to nail pull-up shots, a crucial skill at his height. Size will scare off some, but speed and skill package will put him on a college roster next year.
Brady Stoerkel 5-10 Sr Traverse City West: One of three capable ball-handling guards for West, it was Stoerkel’s turn to shine in P-town. One has to respect and embrace his fearlessness, penetrating and attacking. Sometimes that can get him in over his head, put a plus player overall and you don’t want to limit the aggression.
Here are some of the best bets for some exciting early season action in the opening week of Michigan’s high school season.
Tuesday, Dec. 5
Ann Arbor Skyline @ Novi: Shots will be flying between these two top 10 Class A teams. Novi’s Traveon Maddox is going to Oakland and Skyline’s Brandon Wade to Duquesne, but the guard talent goes well beyond that with Novi senior Trendon Hankerson and for Pioneer senior Jack Ammerman and juniors Ryan Wade and Christian Knox.
West Ottawa @ Godwin Heights: After Class A runner-up Grand Rapids Christian, these were the two best squads in West Michigan last winter. WO graduated all-state forward Jake VanTubbergen to Grand Valley State, where he recently sunk 7-of-8 shots against Davenport, but has three high-end starters back: Versatile 6-5 forward Tyler Bosma who is headed to Miami-OH for baseball, 6-2 all-state receiver Xavier Wade at point guard and 6-2 shooter Drew Pedersen on the wing. Godwin may not have the depth of recent teams, early on at least, but with Lamar Norman at guard and Markeese Hastings up front, firepower won’t be an issue.
Clarkston @ Wayne Memorial: All-state transfer Thomas Kithier won’t be suited up for this one. The Zebras aren’t shedding any tears though for the defending Class A champs who will suit up only two Big Ten recruits. Senior guards Foster Loyer and Rashad Williams could net 75 points between them.
DeWitt @ East Lansing: East Lansing has posted back-to-back 20-0 regular seasons. So Brandon Johns will have to wait until March to put an exclamation mark on his prep career with a trip to the Breslin Center to complement the regular season success. DeWitt underachieved last year but regroups with a pair of GLIAC seniors, Tanner Reha (Northwood) on the wing and Luke Hyde (GVSU) up front.
Wednesday, Dec. 6
Detroit U-D Jesuit @ Detroit Edison: Both these teams were hurt losing transfers to out-of-state schools. But the cupboards are fare from barren. U-D Jesuit guard Daniel Friday is among the most improved prospects in the state’s 2019 class, while Edison has three D1 seniors and is our pick to win the Class C state title.
Thursday, Dec. 7
Flint Carman-Ainsworth @ Clarkston: More Clarkston? Well yeah, as this one features two top 10 teams in Class A. While Carman’s junior center Mike Fletcher is a big-time football recruit, he’s really good on the hardwood too. D2 coaches would be wise to check out two of the top remaining point guards in Michigan’s senior class, Clarkston’s CJ Robinson and C-A’s Jakavien Lewis. There very similar, leaders and lockdown defenders, with Robinson getting the edge as a shooter.
Friday, Dec. 8
Davison @ Grand Rapids Christian: This one looked better on paper six months ago, before Terry Armstrong left for Arizona without ever playing a game for Davison and Duane Washington moved to California but with at least a very accomplished high school career in GR to look back upon. Some consolation at least as two of the state’s top available wing prospects suit up, Eagles 6-5 senior Seth Millner and Davison’s 6-5 junior Cade Coleman.
Holland Christian @ Grand Rapids South Christian: Homecoming for first-year Holland Christian coach David Kool, who won two state championships and Mr. Basketball when he played for the Sailors over a decade ago. It won’t be a friendly welcome, on the court at least, as South Christian has a junior class full of length, skill and shooters and could contend in Class B in 2019.
Manton vs. Traverse City West @ Petoskey: These are two of the best teams in the North. Manton has the explosive backcourt of Jayden Perry and Hunter Ruel from last year’s state Class C semifinalist and bring in 6-7 senior Ethan Ancick. West has won three straight Class A district crowns and has two talented guards of its own, junior Miigwaanhs Barrientoz and senior Brady Stoerkel, and Michigan football commitment 6-7 senior Ryan Hayes.
Saturday, Dec. 9
Flint Beecher @ Detroit Cass Tech: This is the nightcap of what could be the nightcap of six hopefully entertaining games with approximately 20 future D1 players at Cass, starting at noon with Detroit Western vs. River Rouge; Renaissance vs. Carman-Ainsworth; East English Village vs. Hazel Park; Pershing vs. Southfield Christian; and Belleville vs. Detroit Edison.
Benton Harbor vs. Goodrich @ Lakeland: 2020 talent abounds in this one, the second of four games at Lakeland starting at 2 p.m. with Detroit Loyola vs. Grand Rapids Union; Detroit Osborn vs. Dansville; and Lakeland vs. Henry Ford Academy.
The state finals are three-and-a-half months from now. Here are the teams most likely to be holding the MHSAA hardware in all four classes.
To accommodate the future availability of arenas used to host the Michigan High School Athletic Association girls and boys basketball championship weekends, the Representative Council approved during its Fall Meeting last Friday in East Lansing a switch in schedules for girls and boys basketball for the 2018-19 season.
Currently, and since girls basketball season moved to the winter from fall in 2007-08, the Girls Basketball Semifinals and Finals have been played first followed by the Boys Basketball Semifinals and Finals a week later, usually during the final two weekends in March. Both utilize a format of Semifinals on Thursday and Friday and all four Finals on Saturday.
However, in March 2019, Michigan State University’s Breslin Center will not be available for the traditional MHSAA boys championship weekend because of the possibility of the MSU women’s basketball program hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Breslin Center is the only available arena in Michigan large enough to host the boys Semifinals and Finals; for that reason, the Council voted to switch the schedule for that season only so the boys tournament can finish at Breslin during the weekend of March 14-16, 2019.
The girls Semifinals and Finals, played most recently at Breslin as well, are moving to Calvin College’s Van Noord Arena for this 2017-18 season and with this switch will be played at Calvin College during the weekend of March 21-23, 2019.
This switch in calendars for 2018-19 also includes a switch of starting dates for when practices may begin and first games played. Typically, practices for both begin girls and then boys during the first two weeks of November, with girls basketball teams allowed to play their first games the Monday after Thanksgiving followed by the first boys basketball games a week later. In 2018-19, the boys will begin practice first and the first boys basketball games will be able to be played that Monday after Thanksgiving, followed by the first girls games a week later. The boys District and Regional tournaments also will start a week earlier than those for the girls.
“Although it is not our preference to change schedules of events that continue to run smoothly, switching girls and boys schedules in this way allows us to keep the current tournament format and traditions that help make these two of our most popular Finals every school year,” MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts said. “This will keep the boys at the venue most capable of hosting them and the girls at a venue we’re excited to move to this season.”
Roberts also noted that this switch, at this time, will be for only the 2018-19 season. The current NCAA calendar for 2019-20 would allow for the MHSAA girls and boys tournaments to move back to their traditional weekends with Semifinals and Finals played at a Division I college venue, although that is not decided. Other options will be examined during 2018.
Earlier this fall, MHSAA staff surveyed school administrators on their preferences for regular season and MHSAA tournament schedules, discussed possible changes during UPDATE meetings across the state and solicited Requests for Proposals from sites to host both the girls and boys Semifinals and Finals.
It counts for real starting this week. Here are standouts from the last weekend it doesn’t, in the win-loss column at least, at a scrimmage hosted by Okemos.
Isaiah Bridges 6-4 Jr Midland: Terrific basketball IQ understanding offensive spacing and directing teammates thusly. Gets assists from high-low action or driving and dishing. First step looks quicker and was able to split defenders. Three-point shot was falling more readily than from mid-range. A tweener, but a ballplayer.
Drew Lowder 5-11 Jr Ann Arbor Pioneer: If you don’t have a rim protector, you’re in big trouble against Lowder. He can get into the lane at will against high school competition with strength, hesitations, changes of pace, and then has a plethora of finishing moves. Shot was on and off in the stretches I saw. Liked the leadership getting dirty on the floor for 50/50 balls.
Max Perez 5-10 So Hudsonville: He ran wild against Ann Arbor Richard, forcing turnovers on and off the ball, hitting three-pointers off the dribble and creating for teammates off of screens. Perez had to go a lot harder against Okemos with fellow 10th-grader worker him full court. Would like to see him add some eye deceptoin, subtle stuff to free himself up for shots, as a wise defender can tell when he’s shooting and when he’s not. And while there aren’t many of those in high school, that becomes an automatic scouting point at the next level.
Noah Pruitt 5-10 So Okemos: He’s clearly spent quality time in the weight room, and has helped him defensively and with the ball when operating in the lane. Worked hard against another top 10 sophomore point guard, Hudsonville’s Max Perez, forcing him into some quick shots. Pruitt gets the ball up the court very swiftly, via the pass or dribble. Keeps the ball hot in the halfcourt and while he may be pass-first, he’s still a capable shooter out to behind the arc. When driving to score would like to see him get an angle and use the glass instead of trying to go over the top with finger rolls which are very difficult, lower percentage shots. Backboard and dunks only in there!
Kasean Pryor 6-8 Jr Ann Arbor Pioneer: One of the most intriguing prospects in the state’s junior class, because he’s long for days and moves so easily. Able to catch, shoot and finish on the move. Does a great job closing out high, and can then get back in the paint and defend the rim. Good passer. Shot selection must improve and needs to get a lot stronger, tougher on the glass — become a hitter who finishes out defensive possessions, not a tipper. When Pryor starts to consistently string together good play, watch out.
DJ Allison 5-9 8th Kalamazoo: A returnee after attending the Underclassman Camp, and seemed more relaxed and confident the second time through. Good fundamentals and decisions for his age.
“Nice poise for a young floor general,” a coach said. “He showed an improved stroke from the outside. He played on both ends of teh floor and despite being just an eighth-grader, tried to check whomever was bringing up the ball.”
Ethan Dunn 6-7 8th East Lansing: Despite being the youngest player in his drill group, didn’t play fazed or intimidated. Could’ve said he was a 10th-grader and still would have been impressive. There’s not much size in-state in the class above him, making Dunn that much more valuable as he moves on to high school and becomes a recruitable prospect.
“Rebounded well and chinned it,” a coach said. “Good hands and and showed good touch. Kept ball high away from smaller players.”
“Huge eighth-grader,” another coach said. “Has a frame taht should fill out nicely as he gets older. Foot speed and quickness will be essential for his development. Doesn’t seem to hurry when he touches the ball down low and has nice spacial awareness. Uses his body well off the drop-step and shows good balance on the move. Even though he was younger, didn’t seem to mind mixing things up inside. If he works as hard at his school workouts as he did during the drill sessions here, his future in this game will be very bright.”
Trevon Gunter 6-0 So Kalamazoo Christian: A coach’s dream because he competed from the very first drill through last game, and carries a 4.0 gpa.
“Plays hard all the time,” a coach said. “Slashing guard who runs the floor and finishes well in transition. He has sneaky athleticism and always seemed to find a way to get his hand on the ball. Takes good angles off the bounce and uses his body well. He’s an in-your-face ball-hawk who keeps his hands active.”
“Shot the ball well for most of the day,” another said. “Has great shoulders, would like to see him use his body more on drives.”
Brayden Mallak 5-11 So Oscoda: “Solid point guard with a knack for getting his shot off despite lack of height and elevation,” a coach said. “He also has no problem knocking down the open jumper. Plays hard on defense and has a sneaky quick first step that give him an agle he rarely gives up. Needs to continue to work on athleticism and range on his jumper. The deeper he can knock it down, the more effective that first step becomes.”
Derek Sackitt 6-6 Fr Battle Creek Pennfield: Liked him earlier at the Underclassman Camp, and he acquitted himself well again. Got knocked around a bit by bigger, older players in drills but took it in stride and kept competing. Good hands and was able to catch and dunk pretty regularly. Banger, grinder, interior guy now who will have to revamp his shot to become a face-up threat, and time is certainly on his side to do so for this 14-year-old.