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Long hybrid forwards on board for 2021

The top available big in Michigan’s 2021 class (left), Detroit Douglass’ Javantae Randle.

In today’s game if you’re 6-7 and up, you still better be able to shoot it and be able to defend out on the floor as well as under the basket. There are a number of those types still left in Michigan’s 2021 class. These are the top five available hybrid forwards.

1. Basheer Jihad  6-8  Sr  North Farmington: He’s myriad offers as a young senior who is already 6-8, 215 — Oakland (where brother Yusuf Jihad plays), Toledo, Miami, Ball State, EMU. Were he playing with his actual age group, might end up a national-caliber recruit because of Jihad’s skill around or away from the basket. Main trouble spots are focus and consistency, which can be explained away by age for now.

2. Javantae Randle  6-10  Sr  Detroit Douglass: In a typical AAU year, he’d have gotten significant recruiting notice as evolving and athletic 6-10 guy flashing potential for the Family in the EYBL. Nevertheless, the ends will likely be the same regardless the pass — see above “athletic 6-10.” The fine line you want to find for big, young players — help them learn to love the game, while not overindulging them to keep them committed. Randle seems to have found that balance, as he likes to play, brings energy, and yes will both settle and make 3s, but when called upon can take it to the blocks where he has a quick spin move. All kinds of long-term potential here.

3. Malachi Black  6-7  Sr  United Prep: His performance at the Let’s Get Ready camp was the best we’ve seen from Black — Focused, mature, vocal; stronger and more aggressive than in the past. Barreled down the lane for dunks. Made plays as a passer and shooter away from the basket. Tough to handle when playing with energy and going downhill/above the rim like that.

4. Harrison Oguchuwu  6-8  Sr  Orchard Lake St. Mary’s: While he’ll likely never accumulate big scoring numbers in high school given all the D1 guards at St. Mary’s, he’s learned to be an all-around contributor and had strong moments for REACH late in the summer. Covers a ton of space on defense and can catch and finish on the move.

5. Kendall Smith  6-8  Sr  Muskegon Reeths-Puffer: Formed a tough post combo with Ferris State-bound Nathan Claerbaut for the West Michigan Lakers in AAU, and looks like another Laker forward who blooms later than some and becomes a small college standout. Really soft touch, and uses wingspan to get off a variety of shots over taller defenders. Hits turnarounds, short corner, three-pointers. Smart helpside defender, TBD if Smith can get out and sit on a wing forward. Ranks first in his class academically at a Class A school.

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