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Big Ball on the Westside: Storm Classic tips off

MVP Athletic Club Fieldhouse

The Grand Rapids Storm Classic is the state’s longest-running travel team tournament, and annually no event in the state attracts more of Michigan’s top teams. 2016 is no different. Games tip 6:15 Friday in damn near every gym in GR. Here are some of the top pool play matchups to be taken in by college coaches and fans alike. Bracket play begins Saturday evening and concludes Sunday.

Click here for the full schedule.

Friday, April 8

Storm vs 1Nation 17U, 8:45 pm MVP Ct. 1: The MVP Fieldhouse was unkind to 1Nation’s 17U in 2015, eliminated in an upset loss to TEAM Basketball in the Storm Classic, then by Shoreline in the Brawl for the Ball. They’re hoping for better results this time around. A great wing matchup in this one with Portage Central’s 6-4 Austin McCullough for 1Nation and Big Rapids’ 6-4 Demetri Martin for the Storm.

Saturday, April 9

Mustangs vs 1Nation 16U, 8:15 am MVP Ct. 1: The two top combo guards in the 2018 class, the Belleville’s Davion Williams for the Mustangs and Godwin Heights’ Lamar Norman for 1Nation, and top pure posts, Henry Ford Academy’s 6-8 Trevion Williams for the Mustangs and Dakota’s 6-8 Thomas Kithier for 1Nation, square off.

Family vs King James 15U, 8:15 am Calvin Ct. 21: A pair of EYBL programs who are always deep in talent. The Family’s next can’t-miss prospect looks like 6-5 freshman Romeo Weems of New Haven.

Family vs REACH 17U, 1:15 pm MVP Ct. 1: On paper, the Family looks like the best team in the state. They have a huge front line with 6-10 Jaron Faulds of Holt, 6-10 Ike Eke of Detroit U-D Jesuit and 6-8 Greg Egoboidon also of U-D Jesuit; the state’s top 2017 prospect who is running with an in-state program, 6-6 Jamal Cain of Detroit Cornerstone; and some local flavor with Lowell shooter Matt Beachler. REACH will as always have some tough Detroit kids, but the talent disparity could be too great here.

Here’s a look at Jamal Cain the last time he played at MVP, in the 2015 Brawl for the Ball.

MBA vs West Michigan Lakers 17U, 2:30 pm MVP Ct. 1: When MBA was in ACB/Bank Hoops form, the Lakers often gave them fits despite a talent disparity. And the talent is there again as MBA, with the likes of Holland all-state guard Demetrius Lake and Clarkston wing Dylan Alderson. But there could be two top 5 17Us on the court, as the Lakers fielded two strong 16U teams last season and that was with the Wayland guard/post duo of Avery Hudson and Zack Nieuwkoop already playing up on the 17U.

MBA vs Parallel 45 16U, 2:30 pm Davenport Ct. 8: Both sides have future college guards. But MBA also has one of the fastest-rising 2018 prospects in the Midwest, 6-10 Blake Verbeek of Calvin Christian.

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