Elijah Beil 5-7 Fr Linden: What this camp is all about, as this kid came in as a relative unknown and exited mentioned in the same breath as the top 2021 guards here like Brody Parker and Trey Gardette. Seemed to always be seeking an advantage. A lagging transition defense, he’d push the ball right past them for a layup. A fresh ball-handler, Beil would pounce him on the in-bounds. Size was a factor when he’d penetrate too deep and disappear among defenders, but one-on-one against bigger players he attacked them and kept them guessing all day. Skilled, crafty and fearless are good attributes for the position. Unlike too many kids didn’t just chuck the ball up to the bigs, but used a bounce pass post entry to feed them moving in rhythm; also gave them catchable balls from the screen-and-roll. Looked long and delivered to guys in stride in transition. Was similarly efficient handling the ball using shoulder fakes and changes of pace to beat his man. Still had his legs and was knocking down jumpers through the very end of his final game.
Trey Gardette 5-7 Fr Ann Arbor Huron: For the second year in a row, turned in a strong camp performance. Quick and competes, the aggressor with the basketball or checking it.
“Smooth penetrating guard,” a coach said. “Plays hard on both, ends of the floor. Finishes through contact in traffic with either hand. Made the right pass when defenses collapsed. Better in transition than in the half court, and consistency from behind the arc is a point of improvement.”
Brody Parker 5-8 Fr Troy: Ballyhooed playmaker from REACH lived up to his reputation. Similar to class of 2020 first-teamer Max Perez, an all-in point guard constantly putting pressure on the defense with penetration and shooting; also comparable to one of last year’s Underclassman Camp stars, Zach Goodline. When Parker’s and Perez’ team played the younger player a couple times was baited in trying to answer a score with one of his own no matter what getting caught in bad spots. Still, loved the confidence when after missing his last two shots, Parker pulled up on the break and nailed a 3 from nearly the same spot as his previous attempt. Hit shots off the dribble and catch, does it confidently and percentages should go up with strength and reps. He was often faster with the ball on the break than the transition defenders without it. Unlike the majority of high school guards who become statues after passing it, Parker’s already an active cutter. Touched the ball every trip but didn’t let it ripen, got teammates involved via various routes. That’s good practice for this winter, as Troy has three college-caliber seniors who’ll need chances. Needs to offer more defensive resistance — decent habits and fundamentals, but executed with more conviction.
Dereck Sackitt 6-6 Battle Creek Pennfield: He was the most regular dunker on the day after only Clarkston’s 6-10 Matt Nicholson and Detroit Western wing Connor Bush, who are both a class older and legit D1 prospects. Sackitt looks like a stretch 4 in the making because he was much more comfortable putting it up from the short corners with his unorthodox shot, sans guide hand, than posting up. Not soft though, did his work on the glass, played up to his height. Defended well around the rim, walling off, extending to block shots without overindulging. It’s a long day especially for the big guys and Sackitt was dragging by the time we saw him in the third game, but he’d already won us over with how he competed and his energy in drills.
David Wilkerson 5-6 Fr DeWitt: The best thing you can say about Wilkerson is his camp team ran smoothest when the ball was in his hands and not some of his better known, older teammates. And just wait until his jersey number, 26 in this case, isn’t wider than his torso. A blur of arms and legs pushing the ball, weaving through the defense calling to mind former Underclassman Camper Darian Owens-White, now a freshman at Wayne State, at the same age. Nice up court vision and delivered passes on the money that surprised given his size, to lay them in over that distance. Made basic point guard plays consistently, getting into the lane and pitching out for shots. Knew when to pull it out, when to get rid of it, when to attack. His eyes lit up when checked by similarly small guards and showed a nice jumper of his own. Looked from some screen-and-roll situations, but didn’t have an experienced post player to run it off. Pretty tricky picking his spots and was able to influence the game defensively jumping it with ball pressure. Also saw him create a turnover by drawing an offensive foul. Had trouble when bigger guards would get a shoulder into him and operate into the lane. In two years there won’t be many schools with better point guards than DeWitt with a then sophomore Wilkerson and senior Nate Flannery, an Underclassman Camp standout last summer.