All good things must come to an end. But not quite yet with Michigan’s 2018 class, which isn’t just rich in Big Ten talent but has an abundance of scholarship players for various levels many still uncommitted. Size included. Here are the top five remaining college post prospects in the state’s senior class.
Daniel Cluster 6-10 Sr Watervliet: The remaining of the West Michigan Lakers’ big three from the AAU season, as Spring Lake’s 6-9 Sam Johnson is going to Claremont McKenna while Wayland’s 6-8 Carter Nyp signed with Cornerstone. In the winter Cluster is the 5 on one of the tallest teams in Class C. Has a go-to half-hook and he’s good at finding mismatches to fire it over. Needs to get taller, wider, stronger with rebounds to keep the Lilliputians away.
Cassius Phillips 6-9 Sr Lakeland: Double-double machine, including against Purdue-bound Trevion Williams in December. Phillips is the best athlete on the list, also a standout baseball pitcher who on the hardwood can defend the rim and also get out on the floor and makes plays. Rare motor for a high school big. Can still be raw but when it’s clicking is a versatile offensive threat. Compares favorably to Lake Superior State’s four-year starter at center Michael Nicholson.
Jacob Polakovich 6-8 Sr Grand Rapids Catholic Central: One half of a rare, old school twin towers with 6-10 MSU bound Marcus Bingham. He has a noteworthy improvement arc over his high school career and was able to be a productive role player in the EYBL with Spiece Indy Heat. He has a preferred walk-on invitation to Michigan and there are some similarities to Graham Brown with his production on the glass and physicality. Polakovich has a back-to-basket game and can step out to knock it down from 20. Plays below the rim or would be an obvious D1 guy.
Blake Verbeek 6-10 Sr Grandville Calvin Christian: The most natural stretch 4 on the list, but with the wingspan to defend the paint — if not the base and strength for it. Which is the rub for Verbeek, as college coaches worry about him not packing on weight. Because the offensive package is largely there, possessing a modern skillset with footwork, handle and shot all high-end for a 6-10 kid. Differentiates from the other three-point shooters on the list because he’s not just a screen/fade threat, but will come off screens himself or catch and shoot from more open sets. Moves well defensively.
Tariq Woody 6-8 Sr Novi: A transfer from Plymouth. With Woody now eligible and senior point guard Trendon Hankerson back from a broken foot, Novi looks a lot more like the top 10 Class A team many had anointed the Wildcasts in the preseason than the one that went 1-5 in December. Like Polakovich, Woody is strong and playing at closer to a college weight than the other three. Anchors a team like a Brad Stevens center, excelling at “boring” things like rebounding horizontally, hedging on ball screens, playing position defense, piling up garbage points. Has a very easy-looking shot from 3 on the pick-and-pop.