The date has changed. The talent is back. Commence the NCAA certified Brawl for the Ball the next four days in Grand Rapids. Here are some of the most attractive pool play matchups.
APT vs MBA National 15U, 11:45 am Thursday MVP Fieldhouse Ct. 3: This is our pick as the best of the opening round of games thanks to some local intrigue. College coaches will soon know the names of point guards Will Eldred of APT and MBA’s Austin Braun.
Champ Sports Gold vs Parallel 45 15U, 2:15 Thursday MVP 5: Champ Sports has balance, depth, point guard play, size and a competitive edge, they’re a top 5 15U team in Michigan. P45 can play with anyone in the state when the shots are falling and is looking to make up for a loss in their first meeting at the Up North Challenge
King James vs Michigan Titans 16U, 10:30 am Friday MVP 2: King James has a Michigander in its midst Belleville guard Davion Williams. The Titans are scrappy and compete with the confidence of a group that has played together for years.
GreenWood Elite vs Spiece Indy Heat 17U 111:45 pm Friday, MVP 1: The EYBL squad from Hoosier country has some local representation in Grand Rapids Christian forwards Xavier Tillman and James Beck, and another from down the road the state’s top junior East Lansing’s Brandon Johns. GreenWood doesn’t have that kind of star power outside of Terry Armstrong who is just a sophomore, but does have some guys with chips on their shoulders looking for bigger, or first, offers.
Elite Nation vs Family 16U, 3:30 pm Friday MVP 2: The Family is the best 16U team from Michigan with seven of the state’s top 25 juniors, while ENB is the top grassroots squad. The Family has the depth to throw defenders like Elijah Collins, Bryce Washington and Zach Winston at ENB’s scoring guard Jacob Boonyasith. If Elite Nation’s 6-6 Mason Pline can produce against the Family’s pair of 6-8 forwards Thomas Kithier and Deante Johnson he’ll strengthen his case as a MAC level prospect.
Family vs West Michigan Lakers 17U, 10:30 am Saturday MVP 3: Depth was a big part of the Lakers’ spring success. To compete here, the frontcourt depth from guys like Austin Branagan and Daniel Ray will have to hang on the glass against the Family’s bigger, more athletic line.