The first installment of coverage from the Bank Hoops Underclassman Camp, here are the top five overall performers. More players will be profiled, including All-2018 and 2019 teams.
MVP Lamar Norman 6-0 So Godwin Heights: No one shot it or finished better than Norman, and certainly no other camper did both as seemingly effortlessly. He had a next gear that recalled some of the top past performers from the Underclassman Camp. And he’s smooth in going through those gears which is why he’s a high-major talent, offensively. Piled up points while still getting his teammates involved. Defensive efforts and habits still have a long way to go. One could make a righteous case for Norman being the best guard in the 2018 class.
“Could get a bucket whenever he wanted to,” a coach said. “Finished at the rim and was lights out from deep. Extremely smooth with the basketball.”
Caleb Hodgson 6-8 Fr Dansville: Got the upper hand over another touted big man, Petoskey sophomore Danny Kolp, when he decided to stop settling for outside shots and took the game to the defense. At the same time, you have to like Hodgson’s potential as a pick-and-pop 4. Terrific passer, he made a one-handed feed on the move that was particularly surprising coming for a kid that size and age. Then he can pick you apart from the high post with the shot or pass. Needs to work on his left hand to become an even greater threat around the hoop, and can’t wait to see him drop-step dunking.
“Cerebral big man with a nice rotation,” said one coach. “Understands the game. As his athleticism improves so will his rising stock.”
Willie Shanks 5-11 So Muskegon: Plays closer to 6-4 with the way he rebounds, finishes and draws fouls. He’ll post up and blocked shots. Seemed to be around every missed shot or 50/50 ball. Repeatedly took rebounds end-to-end and made the right decision as a disher or converter. An OK shooter from 20.
“A mini version of Joeviair Kennedy, a lefty with a ton of energy and not just for himself,” a coach said. “Gets everyone involved and likes to pass. Very good athlete who you would like to see gain a few more inches, but he has what everyone wants these days — a motor.”
Blake Verbeek 6-9 So Calvin Christian: Give this kid some muscle along with his projected 6-11 height and he’s a top 10 prospect in the 2018 class. Good hands, finished high, and was comfortable with the ball away from the basket. He and Lamar Norman had a nice O-K Silver chemistry going in games. Lack of weight limits him as a post threat, and he seemed disinterested from guarding the rim. Agile enough to have made some defensive plays out on the floor. Verbeek’s name is nearly synonymous with Calvin Christian hoops, and his father Nate is a top 10 scorer at Grand Valley State.
“Lanky post with the ability to develop into a stretch 4 at the next level,” a coach said. “Knocked down multiple 3s in games. Has a nice jump-hook in the post. Would like to see him develop a counter move to go with it.”
Bryce Washington 6-4 So Southfield Christian: Slasher with the hangtime you need to be a scoring threat when confined by the baseline. Built for up-and-down basketball. Triple threat with a good first step and slippery through the lane. Odd looking flip shot but it goes in.
“Fast, fast, fast,” a coach said. “High skill level plus athletic. For as good a scorer as he was he played within himself and made great passes. Star status coming.”