Michigan was well-represented in the GRBA National Championships at Spiece. The Family won the 17U championship, and also had teams in the 16U and 15U semifinals. The Mustangs also reached the 15U final four, while Camp Darryl was the 17U silver division runner-up. Here are some of the Great Lakes State’s standouts from this NCAA live period event.
David DeJulius 5-11 So Family 16U (Detroit Edison): Even playing up a grade, he had a physical advantage against most of the point guards he went up against. Has the build and athleticism that high-major coaches are looking for at the position. When DeJulius gets a shoulder into a defender, it’s all over. Finds shooters both the with kick-ahead and the kick-out. Looks confident at the line. A top three point guard in the state’s 2018 class along with Foster Loyer and Brandon Wade.
Caleb Drumm 6-4 Sr Camp Darryl 17U (Homer): He’s long had to “play up” in position for an undersized 2016 class for Camp Darryl, so knows the tricks and uses his athletic ability to compensate for lack of size. Has multiple quick hops on the offensive glass which allow stick-to-it and-ones. A poor man’s Kyle Steigenga, with some float-ability as the Family found out first hand:
Jaron Faulds 6-10 Jr Family 17U/16U (Holt): Written about last week for his strong play in Detroit, Faulds went out and again earned the accolades. He played significant minutes for both the Family 16U that reached the semifinals and the 17U that won it all. Even when the legs faded he continued to play hard, though the dunks sometimes morphed into layups. Faulds also shot it well from the elbows and short corners, to the likely pleasure of Michigan coach John Beilein who was at many of his games. Active off the ball as a screener and rebounder. Well on his way to Big Ten offers.
Amauri Hardy 6-2 Jr Family 17U (Southfield): Despite being just a rising junior, he stood out with his physical strength at even the 17U level. Able to get in the lane, absorb contact and still get the shot off cleanly, bringing to mind another Southfield power guard Carlton Brundidge, then counters that when he’s able to step out into college three-point range and drop left-handed three-pointers. Showed maturity in confidence in how he sunk crunch time foul shots. Also uses his big build to be disruptive on defense and can quickly turn it into buckets on the other end.
Quintin Johnson 6-4 Sr Oakland County Ballers (Clawson): Somewhat obscure toiling in the MAC Silver in the winter, and the grassroots OC (don’t call it that) Ballers in the off-season, but has legit talent that GLIAC schools should be following. Passes the looks test as he’s long and athletic. Hard to guard because he also has some of that left-handed awkwardness. Great first step and can dunk in the half-court. With his activity inside, needs to become better with the resulting free throws. Looked like one of three likely college players on the Ballers’ roster along with 6-6 James Jenkins of Hazel Park and 6-0 Kevin Woodmore from Wayne Memorial.
Riley Lewis 5-11 Sr Triple Threat (Williamston): Underestimate Triple Theat’s backcourt of Lewis and Haslett’s Brandon Allen at your own risk. They turned a lot of heads the previous weekend in Milwaukee when they controlled the game against national power Dream Vision, and continued their strong play at Spiece. When defenses concentrate on one, the other is bound to go for 20, and often both will do it. Lewis has chutzpah, slithery moves with the ball and consistent range well beyond 20 feet; nearly automatic if left open. For his part, Allen is a true point guard who has improved his left hand and can score with the mid-range pull-up which you have to do at his height.
PJ Mitchell 5-10 So Family 15U (Detroit Loyola): Added strength (he’s on Loyola’s small school state power football team) had only accentuated Mitchell’s already intact point guard skills, as he can get the ball wherever he wants. Smart, vocal and knows how to control pace, the leader you want at the position. The Family 15U have what looks like the state’s top pure point guard prospect in the 2019 class as well, Julian Dozier, and Mitchell showed he could hit some shots playing off the ball. Helped the Family to the 15U semifinals.
Innocent Nwoko 6-11 Sr Spiece Indy Heat (New Haven): Something of a forgotten man playing for an out-of-state team, but he’s improved in just his two years of playing basketball and is making Central Michigan look pretty smart with their early offer and commitment from him. He’ll be a rim protector and rebounder early for the Chips, but there are signs on the offensive end as well. Nwoko had stretches at Spiece where he looked like a native-born player with activity and feel around the hoop. Liked how he posted up frequently and getting that tall body wide, though he was rarely rewarded with touches.
Qua Southward 6-0 Jr Family 16U (Saginaw): The Family’s 16U has three scholarship point guards — Darian Owens-White, CJ Wilson and sophomore David DeJulius — and Southward though undersized is a very dangerous scorer off the ball. He’s efficient and smooth in his footwork coming off the screens, no wasted motion as he goes right from the catch to the shot. When he’s with his high school teams, has showed he can create points with the ball in his hands himself. A small two guard, perhaps, but good enough to get it done at the mid-major level. Central Michigan was the first to offer after a strong July.
Brandon Wade 6-0 So Gators (Ann Arbor Skyline): The previous tournament didn’t end like Wade wanted, getting k.o.’d with an injury to his mouth at the Mustangs Summer Showdown in Detroit. He arrived in Ft. Wayne with a new mouth guard, and the same aggressive attitude that has made him one of the state’s top 10 overall prospects in 2018. Ideal mix of true point guard handle and a nose for the hole, Wade loves to initiate contact and can get into the paint at will. Not automatic from range but when he’s on watch out, as he had a 40-point game doing inside and out. Wade has a special chemistry with teammate Jack Ammerman, making them one of the top backcourts both in AAU and the high school ranks with AA Skyline.
Cassius Winston 6-1 Sr Family 17U (Detroit U-D Jesuit): Heavier and not all the way back after missing some time with a broken wrist, but Winston delivered when it mattered, with a 30-point game in the quarterfinals en route to leading the Family to the 17U championship. Hit shots from deep and mid-range and made the game easy for his bigs whether on the break or in the half-court. Coaches from Michigan and Michigan State — often the head men — followed the state’s No. 1 senior all tournament.