MVP Drew Lowder 5-11 Sr Ann Arbor Pioneer: Got his shine on while making his teammates better, which is the classic point guard conundrum but one he’s closer to mastering as he’s gotten older. Explosive shot-creating and ability to get into the lane and create are clearly D1 caliber, so it figures he’s headed that route, to Holy Cross. The Patriot League has been good to former Bank Hoops campers, including first-team all-conference players like Chris Hass at Bucknell and Holden Greiner at Lehigh, and Lowder has similar potential and talent. But perhaps what impressed coaches most was Lowder’s leadership and positive energy.
“Lowder and Zach Goodline were the Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe clones at the camp,” a coach said. “Both made passes that were just as exciting as the moves they made. And did all of this while flashing smiles. Guys playing against these two gave them props during the games for the plays that they made.”
“Drew is lightning quick and scores in a variety of ways,” another coach said. “Played big in big moments, as he knocked down a game-winner and seemed to thrive in matchups with other talented guards. He’s really matured as a player and a young man over the past four years. Showed pride on defense when going head-to-head with Goodline. Got teammates the ball on time and played extremely well in half- and full-court situations. It will be interesting to see how he guards bigger and stronger guards at the next level.”
Kobe Bufkin 6-3 So Grand Rapids Christian: The most physically gifted player in the camp, but already a legit all-around player not just an athlete who would “flash.” Not that there were those, too, like when Bufkin effortlessly flushed an alley-oop off the glass. Could take it up a notch and create his own points when he wanted — creating space and elevation on difficult shots that he made look simple — but often looked to pass first which was a wise move given the talent on his team. Able to extend and reach rebounds. Loved how he sprinted back on defense after his own missed shots instead of moping. Should learn to finish as strongly with right hand as left.
“High ceiling player,” a coach said. “Continued development could put this kid at high-major status. He can do it all and has the size and elite athleticism to play with anyone. Competes extremely hard on the defensive end and used his length to his advantage with active hands. Scores on all three levels and finishes above the rim when the opportunity presents itself. Played well in transition and half court.”
Zach Goodline 6-0 Sr Coloma: Despite taking hits all fall as Coloma’s quarterback, and playing every down both ways, didn’t look too rusty. Clearly all the way back after missing most of spring AAU. In games hit back-to-back 3s off the catch, and also a step-back over Max Perez. Took the best shots from the two other top point guards in the camp, Perez and Drew Lowder, and a very good one in Ta’vas Lawler-Showers, but that’s par for the course as we’ve seen Goodline against the likes of Terry Armstrong, Lamar Norman, Tyger Campbell, Kevin McAdoo and at state champion Benton Harbor and hold his own. When he wasn’t able to beat Lowder one-on-one for scores, he got assists instead; conversely the rare defender that caused Lowder to call for a pick. Goodline was patient running the pick-and-roll — waiting for his screener to roll. He could hit them right off the roll or wait until he got closer to the paint and the rotations got lazy. His shot has gotten quicker and smoother, and though doesn’t have a lightning pull-up like Lowder he understands space and knew when he could create over opponents. Sometimes could get too loose and the passes become sloppy, needs to keep it sharp 100 percent of the time to have college coaches want to entrust their offense to him. Some in-state coaches may have preconceived notions about Goodline, but he’s not that little kid anymore. It’s interesting that an out-of-state staff, from Huntington University, came to the camp knowing nothing about him, but bases on game and grades offered him a full ride.
“Crafty guard who can kill you from deep,” a coach said. “Plays with good confidence and swagger. Makes very good decisions with the ball in transition and does a good job of passing people open. Showed he has the ability to stay in front of quick guards when he was matched up with Lowder. Can finish on size at the rim with a variety of circus shots. Showed a quick first step off a shot fake when defenders closed out too high. Would like to see him develop more in the mid-range.”
Peter Nwoke 6-7 So Orchard Lake St. Mary’s: The Last of the Mohicans here — the one post player who consistently ran rim-to-rim and enjoyed making dunks more than missing 3s. Looked to post up, as Nwoke sealed well, showed touch over his left shoulder and used the rim to protect his finishes by using reverses or just finishing high off the glass. Defended the basket, but not yet ready to check a forward away from the hoop.
“With a few more inches this kid screams high-major potential,” a coach said. “Showed the best footwork in camp in the post despite his youth. Runs the floor and jumped well off of two feet. Finishes with power and can finish with either hand. Aggressive rebounder, especially on the offensive end. Improved jumper from 15-feet would make this kid deadly. To my eye, he and Bufkin had the highest recruiting ceilings of anyone at the camp.”
Max Perez 5-10 Jr Hudsonville: Like Foster Loyer in that he’s so well-drilled and the fundamentals go so deep that Perez doesn’t get flustered and seems to have an answer for any on-court scenario. Bigger guards thought they could go at him, but he repeatedly beat them to the spot and stoned them, low man wins with anticipation, leverage and strength. Fitter, stronger and smarter than most similarly aged guards he’ll see. And two varsity seasons as a point guard coached by Eric Elliott is another huge advange. Used the same physical/grit attributes on offense, for instance once backing down then shooting over Zach Goodline. Really nice looking shot off the catch, and doesn’t force many bad ones.
“Player!,” a coach said. “He completely controls the tempo of the game. Solid point guard with a knack for getting his shot off inside despite lack of height and elevation. He also had no problem knocking down shots from 25-feet and in. Plays hard on defense and has a sneaky quick first step that gives him an angle he rarely gave up. The knocks on this kid are things he can’t control (size), but love the way he ahs developed the things he can control.”
Seth Wright 6-6 Sr Constantine: When he committed to UM-Dearborn we called Wright the top recruit to the WHAC since Kyle Steigenga commenced his All-American career at Cornerstone. He did nothing here to dissuade this notion, leaving a D2 coach in attendance to joke that some of his NAIA brethren were hoping his school could do them a solid and take Wright out of their hair. Dunked easily off of one or two feet in drills. Wright played on a talented and unselfish camp team and had ample chances to show off his deadeye three-point shooting. When he was a the 5 in a small lineup, opposing posts were at his mercy when he set up outside. Was dialed in defensively and played it with high hands on the perimeter.
“He made jump shots and 3s, drove and slashed and dunked on people,” a coach said.
“Amazed that this kid doesn’t have GLIAC offers,” a coach said (Wright had two out-of-state D2 offers before committing early to UM-Dearborn). “He will be an impact player immediately there. Consistently good shooter form 3 and finished at the rim off the drive and in transition. Lateral movement on defense should be a point of emphasis on improving his game. If he can check a 3 at the next level he will be very dangerous.”