The current crop of Michigan freshmen has prospects already contributing at well-known basketball powers. There are also those getting it done more of the beaten path, but at already such a rate that they will be college recruits as upperclassmen.
Jase Becher 6-7 Fr Linden: He grew up quick last Friday, making the game-winning layup in a one-point win over Flint Kearsley. His real value is filling the lane defensively at 6-7, 195, and defending the rim as both a shot-blocker coming help-side or of his own man. Becher blocks shots without biting for fakes and lunging out of position. Patient in the post as a passer out of double-teams or rudimentary, effective scorer who keeps the ball high. To improve as a sophomore and break out as a college prospect as an upperclassman, can work on his running stride, and gain explosion and meaner attitude as a finisher and when pursuing rebounds.
Axel Newell 6-4 Fr Ovid-Elsie: Doesn’t look like or compete like a ninth-grader. His ultimate future could be on the gridiron as a quarterback, but this is a real hooper as well. Newell is averaging 12 points and 6.5 rebounds. both team highs, plus 2 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per game for a 16-3 Ovid-Elsie squad. His free throw routine is too cute given the average results, and wasted chances given how his aggressive game sends him to the line regularly. “Down the middle, follow through,” 10 sets of 10 throughout a sweat-inducing offensive workout, and he’d improve 15-20 percent from the stripe.
Camden Thompson 6-4 Fr Whitehall: He stood out at Ferris State’s prospects camp in the summer as just a rising ninth-grader, and the talent and physical tools have carried over to the winter. After missing the first quarter of the regular season with an ankle injury he’s made up for lost time, going for 15 points, 14 rebounds in his debut and not slowing down yet. Thompson can explode offensively like a 32-point game with 18 boards against North Muskegon; or do it all against Mason County Central with 23 points, 17 rebounds, four blocks and three assists; 24, 14 and three blocks on Muskegon Oakridge. Those are stats accurately reflecting Thompson’s all-around game, as he attacks the glass vertically and with two-hands consistently on the defensive boards and is an active offensive rebounder, making lower-body hits but keeping his hands free and active; effective in the high post against zone D as he can slash or pass; effective in the low-post against man-to-man as he’ll initiate contact or pass to shooters, or both; and is a great help-side shot-blocker with quick recovery reactions, wingspan and vertical. He’s not as good defensively on the perimeter guarding on-ball or playing the gaps. Thompson is similar to Luke Ryskamp at the same age with his creative, athletic shot-making in the lane and breakout dunks. Offensive point of improvement is becoming a three-point threat.
Sean Wesolak 6-4 Fr Bay City John Glenn: The Bobcats have taken their lumps in the TVC-8, a generally strong Class B league, starting two sophomores and this freshman. Wesolek is fundamentally sound and plays good position basketball. Finds and tags a man consistently when shots go up, now has to follow that with burst and bad intentions in pursuit of the ball. Moves smoothly. Has soft hands and basket orientation from the blocks and baseline. Sticks with plays. Plays essentially as a classic post right now at 6-4.