The top Michigan high school grads playing Division I basketball.
MVP Denzel Valentine 6-5 Sr Michigan State (Lansing Sexton): Another guy who, like Iowa State’s Monte Morris below, just wins. Valentine was the star of two state championship teams at Lansing Sexton, then helped MSU reach last spring’s Final Four as the only Spartan to start all 39 games along the way. He has seven career double-doubles and Valentine’s complete game is reflected in the 2015 numbers, as his junior season saw Valentine average 14.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists while shooting .443 from the field, .441 from three-point range and .826 from the stripe — an improvement of 15 percentage points. Physicality, passing, improved shooting make him a legit NBA prospect.
Kahlil Felder 5-9 Jr Oakland (Detroit Pershing): A unique talent who has thrived in Oakland’s player-friendly offense. Despite his size, Felder is as complete a player as anyone on this list. He was Horizon League Freshman of the Year in 2014, and first-team all-league in 2015. As a sophomore he averaged 18.9 points, 7.4 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals per game, all while averaging over 39 minutes per outing. No other player in the country averaged over 17 points and 7 assists together.
Chris Fowler 6-1 Sr Central Michigan (Detroit Country Day): All-MAC and the vanguard of CMU’s renewal. His scoring was down but wins were up for the Chippewas, who tied for the MAC regular season title as Fowler averaged 16.8 points and 5.9 assists per game. He’s already the school’s all-time assist leader. Pro chances may hinge on his shooting as his three-point field goals dipped from .382 to a .303 percent. It’s hard not to root for Fowler, who went through six knee surgeries to get here.
Chris Hass 6-5 Sr Bucknell (Pellston): The third all-time scorer in Michigan prep history from his Pellston days, Hass is on pace to become top 10 on Bucknell’s career list. Showed up big regardless the level of competition with 32 points at Villanova, 21 at Michigan and 26 at Wake Forest. Averaged 16 points per game as a junior and efficiency stats put him among the top 5 senior shooting guard draft prospects along with fellow class of 2012 Michigander Drew Valentine.
EC Matthews 6-5 Jr Rhode Island (Romulus): His Rhode Island tenure has mirrored his Romulus career writ large, as Matthews continues to be a versatile and talented left-handed shooter, but remains frustratingly erratic (PER of 11.6). After sharing A-10 Rookie of the Year honors in 2014, despite some foot problems as a sophomore he averaged 17 points (third in the A-10), 4.6 rebounds and 2 assists per game. If the Rams return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the Lamar Odom days and Matthews, now up to 200 pounds, halves his 3.6 turnovers a game, he could be drafted in the spring.
Monte Morris 6-3 Jr Iowa State (Flint Beecher): Steve Prohm in his first season as Iowa State’s coach inherits from Fred Hoiberg one of the nation’s elite point guards. In 2015 Morris had an assist-turnover ratio of 4.63:1 — the gold standard in college ball — while averaging 12 points, 5.2 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game. Outstanding shooter for a point guard with a true percentage of .590, though his free throws fell from .847 as a freshman to .753 percent. The final measure of a point guard is in the W-L column, and Morris delivers there again. Michigan’s 2013 Mr. Basketball had two state titles at Flint Beecher and in two seasons at Iowa state is 53-16.
Paris Bass 6-8 So Detroit (Birmingham Seaholm): He apparently made good use of his redshirt year, as Bass emerged in 2015 as the Horizon League Freshman of the Year after averaging 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. A sleeper recruit who played 17U AAU for the Michigan Warriors after graduating from Seaholm, after that debut and his performance at the Nike Basketball Academy, Bass is now a legit NBA prospect thanks to his length, bounce and handle.
Bryn Forbes 6-3 Sr Michigan State (Lansing Sexton): Last season was his first at MSU after two at Cleveland State, and the hometown kid quickly became a shooting specialist for a surprise Final Four team. While averaging a career-low 8.5 points, Forbes shot a career-best .447 overall and .427 from behind the arc. His true shooting percentage of .610 and effective field goal percentage of .590 are nationally elite for a guard. After learning how to defend at MSU’s level and packing on muscle up to 190 pounds, Forbes could do even more in his second and final season in East Lansing.
Jalen Reynolds 6-10 Jr Xavier (Livonia Stevenson): He took a big step in year two in Cincinnati, to 10 points and 6 rebounds a game and played well in the postseason. Though he no longer has the luxury of playing off twin tower Matt Stainbrook, those numbers could improve another 50 percent, and Reynolds fulfill his All-Big East and NBA Draft potential, if he’s able to stay on the court — he fouled out of five games and had nine technical fouls — and improve on .663 from the line. With his frame, finishing ability and defensive versatilty, as a pure pro prospect Reynolds may be No. 1 on this list.
John Simons 6-8 Sr Central Michigan (Cadillac): Like first-teamer Chris Fowler, Simons’ career has coincided with CMU’s return to relevance in Keno Davis’ tenure. In that time, Simons has started all 94 games. The stretch 4 position was made for Simons, or vice versa — his true shooting percentage of .710 was the best mark in college basketball. He also led the nation in points per 100 possessions, 144. His name is all over the Chippewas’ record book for three-point shooting, and his .455 percentage from range was fourth-best mark in the nation in 2015. He averaged 12.3 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting .498 from the field and .843 from the line. Despite those amazing stats, Simons’ junior season will also be remembered for his barely escaping death via falling basket.
Derrick Walton 6-0 Jr Michigan (Chandler Park): A November toe injury was the bane of Walton’s sophomore campaign. With Walton when not hobbled out of the lineup entirely for six weeks and Caris Levert injured as well, Michigan hobbled to a .500 season. Over 19 games as a sophomore, Walton averaged 10.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3 assists per game.