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All-State Camp: Working Class Heroes

In a state that put Ben Wallace in the HOF; grew regional and national high school powerhouses in every town with a Big 3 plant; had golden age Belding Macker champs like Markus Kennedy or Steve Scheffler; and where the War Drill is a middle school warmup, there is a tough blue-collar edge to Michigan basketball history and culture, little soft and all earned. Guys that take possessions personally and play the right way in the Larry Brown Going to Work style. These are basketball values Bank Hoops has tried to endorse for a quarter century, and here are some of the prospects from the 17th All-State Camp that personified them in various ways.

Michael Calhoun  6-6  Sr  Riverview Richard: Used low-man-wins principles to outwork and outplay taller posts. Good defender who can both leverage his guy off the blocks, and play help-side quickly. Offensively will bang but has a soft touch. Has passing awareness. Good grades.

Caleb Caul  6-2  Sr  Grayling: “Where’d he come from?” a coach asked. Well, Grayling. But I get it, this is a self-made player for whom it has come together at just the right time — when coaches are trimming fat from their recruit lists and here’s CC with a rugged explosive college body and ace grades. Shooting touch has gotten noticeably softer, he’s poised for a breakout senior season in the state’s best Class C league. “Hops, humble and a damn good stroke,” continued the coach. “And strong with the ball.” “A solid guard who finished at the basket well — nice bounce,” said another.

Nate Childers  6-1  Sr  Benzie Central: Like Caul above, Childers the recruit is upwardly mobile as college coaches look for intangibles and program fit beyond the court — where they already know he’s a knock-down shooter able to play the 1 or 2 with physicality. His greatest value may be in his consistency, both in his unflustered court demeanor and the dedication to his craft and body. Low risk small school recruit who has the traits of a kid likely to max out the opportunity.

Brady Ewing  6-7  Sr  Petoskey: Isn’t it his P45 teammate, crafty and tough Joel Ewald from Roscommon, who is the cross country runner? In a guard-heavy environment, Ewing created his own luck, rim-running all day long, sprinting even in the final round of games. Lineups often allowed him to play his natural stretch 4 position so was in comfort zone. A future college player, whom he can defend there will largely determine the level.

North Farmington junior forward Lee Hardy.

Lee Hardy  6-6  Jr  North Farmington: Plays like former Detroit Redford forward David Garrett. No frills 4 man who provides value with second effort points. Likes to initiate contact and board both ends. Rim protector. Plenty of time to work on his offensive skill level, but is at a nice starting point because Hardy has pretty good hands. Comes from a top high school program, so you bet he’ll improve and be taught right.

Terrance Jones  6-1  Jr  Kalamazoo Central: In fact any one of K-Central’s strong contingent of players could’ve made this list, coached up right by Ramsey Nichols — senior wing guard Thomas Dillard, junior forward Hutch Ward or junior point guard JP Spybrook. A plus athlete who’d thrive as a run-and-jump defender. But doesn’t get by on physical tools alone, quite the opposite Jones had strong vision and handle at the one. Good grades and coming from a well-respected high school program, make him a guy who will be popular with coaches in 17U AAU.

Saginaw Arthur Hill senior guard Elvis Machul.

Elvis Machul Jr.  6-1  Sr  Saginaw Arthur Hill: There are certain expectations of a player with Saginaw in the bio, and he lived up to them. Has the look and game feel of a kid who spends all kinds of time in the gym, and will play with anyone who comes through and get something out of it, compete and have fun. First guy on he floor for 50/50 balls. Brought good energy and didn’t slack on the defensive end, so that teammates wouldn’t begrudge lefty heat checks. 4.0 seals the deal off the court. “Very good!,” said a coach. “Strong, high-motor guard. Can score and play good defense.”

Brennan McKenzie  6-0  Jr  Adrian: He looked right at home at last year’s camp among a loaded underclassman guard contingent, and held his own here against 2022s. Hard worker with buy-in during drills. Makes right decision after right decision, which both adds up for his squad and wears down an opponent. Keeps the ball hot, didn’t turn it over, and played with high but controlled pace. Have to respect his shot from 20, which opens up the half-court.

Michael Morris  6-4  Sr  Grand Rapids West Catholic: The classic quiet 20 point guy who produced without needing volume shots because he plays hard and has the right-place/right-time sixth sense. Small college coaches love him because he does a lot of little things right, and can name his ceiling at that level. Straight A student. Teammate Kobe Kambestad, a senior point guard, also played well at camp, and West Catholic looks like a sleeper team at the state level.

Maurice Sain  6-6  Sr  Muskegon: Once a young pup at the underclassman camp, now a grizzled vet coming back from a knee injury but still a pogo stick around the basket. His shot has improved, an expanded perimeter making him that much more valuable because of his defensive length on the wing. “Upside is high,” a coach said. “Nice shot.”  “This is another player I’ve had the pleasure of seeing his game blossom between camps,” another coach said. “He seems to grow three more inches every time. Stronger than he looks.”

Andrew Tiemeyer  6-3  Sr  Allendale: His team-first instincts and values showed up even in a camp team format with a group of previous strangers. “Moves well without the ball and takes good shots,” a coach said. “Talks!” “Tough and hard-nosed, like good Grand Rapids suburban guards usually play,” said another coach.

2023 guard Christian Zielinski.

Christian Zielinski  6-2  Jr  Home school: There must be a home gym for the home school player, as he looks prepped for the nfl combine. Attack mode guard, and with good reason. Tough for high school kids to handle when he gets a shoulder into the initial defender, then gets two feet in the lane where he’s able to hold off the help and make smart decisions. Can shoot it too. Defends as well. “Physical guard who was always looking to advance the ball,” a coach said. “Unselfish but can shoot it when he wants to.”

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