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Broncos Corral In-State Stars

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s senior Sharod Barnes.

The most recent commitment to Western Michigan’s class is fitting. Brady Swartz was one of the hottest mid-major recruits in the Midwest, now he joins a Broncos recruiting class (and former Grand Rapids Northview teammate EJ Ryan, a WMU freshman) that was already trending as one of the best mid-major groups in the Midwest.

The 6-6 Grand Rapids Northview senior is coming off a pair of 40-point games at Midwest Live. After missing spring AAU with leg injury suffered in the district final, Swartz was finally able to show on an even grander stage what he’d done statewide in the winter, a dunking and three-point combination perfectly fit for the modern game. That gained massive college interest, only to have Swartz quickly commit to the first D1 school to have offered him, Western Michigan. He had vaulted himself into a wider recruiting conversation back in February, when he knocked down five 3s and scored 35 points against eventual Division 1 state runner-up Ann Arbor Huron. He averaged 17.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

Swartz is one of two Grand Rapids players headed to Kalamazoo. Also going south on 131 is Carson Vis, a 6-4, four-year starter from Grand Rapids South Christian, who averaged 18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals per game as a junior. Vis follows the footsteps of David Kool, who was Mr. Basketball for South Christian in 2006 before becoming Western Michigan’s all-time scorer.

Vis will be joined at WMU by a pair of his Grand Rapids Storm AAU teammates, 6-3 Sharod Barnes from Orchard Lake St. Mary’s and 6-5 Camden Thompson from Whitehall.

Barnes is an athletic point guard and rugged defender with steadily improving scoring. A three-year starter for defending Division 1 state champion St. Mary’s, Barnes averaged 12.5 points, 4.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

Thompson was another one who missed spring AAU with an injury. But he’s already had prep basketball and football careers most would envy, with a season left to play. What makes him unique in this recruiting class, and the state at large, is that Thompson was recruited to and will play both basketball and football in Kalamazoo. He led both Whitehall squads to undefeated regular seasons as a junior. Both in stylistically, size and talent he is similar to Matt Trannon, who played both for Michigan State when current WMU head coach Dwayne Stephens was an assistant for the Spartans. Thompson averaged 20.7 points, 17 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.9 steals and 1.6 blocked shots per game.


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