While it was the out-of-state Indy Heat that won the 15U title of the Brawl for the Ball in Grand Rapids, half the platinum bracket quarterfinalists were Michigan teams — including the runner-up Grand Rapids Storm, and the 14U Hurricanes playing up a grade. Standouts from those four teams include …
Jaylohn Allen 6-0 Fr Hurricanes (Wayne): The backcourt future is bright for Steve Brooks at Wayne Memorial, bringing in Allen and his AAU teammate below, Carlos Medlock. Good perimeter shooter, off the catch or his own creation.
Drew Blanton 6-1 So The Process (Chelsea): His brother Matt Blanton, a Chelsea senior on the Process’ 17U, is more of a physical, utility combo guard, whereas Drew is a pure point. Can pass with one or two hands, with timing and touch. Can change speeds to create in the lane.
Leroy Blyden 5-9 So REACH (Detroit U-D Jesuit): Not a “trick guard” at his size, good at controlling tempo and pace, and weaves with ease through traffic. A very good shooter himself who can get them in bunches from behind the arc.
Da’Marion Bozeman 6-3 So REACH (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s): Conscientious of the little things, and does it with good size and athleticism, which will get him on the court for one of the state’s best rosters this winter, and ultimately ease his transition to college ball. Sticks nose in on D; plays like a forward on the glass and a guard on the break; is a rare patient, geometric post feeder; has some wiggle off the bounce when looking for his own shot.
Jesse Cull 6-5 So The Process (Davison): Operates well driving the lane, both as a scorer or passer. Crafty finisher using the rim to separate. Needs more going off of two feet against superior athletes, and player lower, wider, looser overall.
Jah Hatchett 5-10 So Grand Rapids Storm (East Kentwood): The class of 2025 is the year of the point guard in Michigan, and Hatchett — in both resume’ to date and next-level physical traits — can match up with the best of them. He got all-league votes as just a freshman in the OK-Red; has been at the wheel for arguably the state’s top 15U team all spring and summer; and now will suit up for 3x state championship coach Mike Thomas for EK. He’s a good defender, explosive with the ball, pushes it on the break, and can keep the Storm’s myriad shooters happy. Some video study of Thomas’ last point guard at Grand Blanc would help him get more efficient with the dribble drive.
Braeden Holder 5-9 So Grand Rapids Storm (Warren De La Salle): There’s an embarrassment of talent at De La Salle, and here’s an upcoming underclassman for the defending state champs. Quick and shifty, he gets into the lane easily then executes with his passes instead of guesses and bail outs. Didn’t always recognize as quickly cutting wings as spotting up wings. Has deep range that opponents’ respect, opening up the floor with shots or fakes. Small but solid on D.
Derrick Kilgore 5-11 Fr Hurricanes (Detroit U Prep): The kind of player who can thrive in younger AAU with the hectic pace and open floor, given his energy and nose for the cup. A “pick six” waiting to happen.
Chase LeFevre 6-3 So The Process (Novi): Plays to his physical advantages as a strong 6-3 wing playing 15U, identifying matchups, looking drive first, getting a shoulder in and bullying guards for buckets and and-ones. Will have to expand perimter skill level and defend guards himself as he progresses, but has tools and toughness that coaches covet.
Chris McLavish 5-8 So Grand Rapids Storm (Flint Carman-Ainsworth): A new addition to a Storm team that was already in the conversation as the state’s best 15U. A volume shooter the type of which teammates will get him the ball back on the same possession he’s missed a 3 — because the odds are the net one is falling. Maneuvers easily with the ball and with this range and trigger, can freeze a defender just looking at the rim.
Carlos Medlock 5-10 Fr Hurricanes (Wayne): His father of the same name was a four-year starting guard for EMU out of Detroit Murray-Wright, and Carlos Jr. has an offer from Cleveland State before his first high school class. Aggressive and handsy on D, can turn it the other way out of pressure, or slide and play the gaps in half-court. High active hands defensively make him seem bigger than height. Good vision flinging it around beating pressure. Can light it up from deep and had a good two-man game with 6-6 teammate JaQuan Stennis. Makes just plain old basketball plays outside traditional point guard duties — put-backs, blocked shots.
JaQuan Stennis 6-6 Fr Hurricanes (Old Redford Academy): He already has an offer from U-M for football, and at this rate will get big college chances in hoops too. Repeatedly took defensive rebounds, sometimes from outside his area, the other ways for a variety of layups, and a dunk; and rim ran hard without the ball too. His athleticism was apparent with how this lanky forward would sit and defend when switched onto guards. Good intentions around the rim, needs to keep the pivot foot anchored on offense; and wall off right away after the catch and not wait to do so on defense.
Michael DeKuyper 6-0 So Grand Rapids Storm (Rockford): Rock solid, Rockford guard. Plays within himself, a competitive, competent glue guy who makes winning plays. A physical defender who can maneuver his man while squaring his body and showing hands. Uses the same physicality to drive and operate in the lane, where he turns the corner and gets a shoulder in; can shield with his body and finish; use the drag dribble to draw fouls; or make sober, unrushed decisions off of two feet. Has skills and tools to be an upperclassman scorer, in a league where points can be tough to find.
Lucas Pitsch 6-4 So Grand Rapids Storm (Rockford): The Storm didn’t have a traditional post in the mix here, and their top forward, Whitehall’s Camden Thompson, wasn’t present. Pitsch was highly productive in that void. Terrific defender who is quick out of the lane against drives, and doesn’t get taken advantage of when switched onto guards in space. Active screener, dirty work guy on offense.
Sebastian Randolph 6-6 So REACH (Detroit U-D Jesuit): He gives REACH a widebody low-post presence, to complement bouncy, rim-running 6-6 Elija Langston from Muskegon. He has deceptively quick feet, and while not explosive uses his size to make shooting angles; patient and gets square looks.
Carson Vis 6-3 So Grand Rapids Storm (Grand Rapids South Christian): A serious prospect who was looking in the mirror, size and skill-wise, against the EYBLers of the Indy Heat in the championship game. Teams will throw a multitude of defenders at him and he’ll usually figure out a way to beat them. Had a stretch of the final where on successive trips Vis hit a quick-release left-handed 3 over closeout wingspan; drove and drew a foul; and jumped the passing lane at midcourt to spin tightly through trouble for a layup taking it the other way. Smooth and creative like a smaller point guard, with a quick first step and the ability to finish with either hand. Uses size and hops on the glass, size as a defender. By 16U needs to be doing more power stuff off of two feet, or dunking off of one, when he gets in the lane. Would be a plus player even if he were just a corner sniper (which he is) or lengthy perimeter defender (which he is); throw in the all-around game and he’s trending like the next Spencer Littleson.