If you’re a high school basketball fan in Michigan, be excited for the future. Bank Hoops Underclassman Camp coverage starts with a look at some prospects from the state’s 2024-25-26 classes who carried themselves and competed more like upperclassman, and looked poised to make varsity impacts ASAP.
Christian Dunn 6-6 So East Lansing: A chore to play against, as he kept playing hard and physical. He may have been the best post defender at camp, as Dunn both blocked shots and rooted guys out of their comfort spots. Oh the other end used his frame to get space and angles to make shots. If you didn’t get physical with him early, would bury his man in the secondary break and score with deep position.
Phoenix Glassnor 5-11 Fr Warren De La Salle: Similar to last year’s underclassman MVP, Phat Phat Brooks from state champion GR Catholic, and not just because of the hair. Glassnor’s a pure hooper who already melds versatility, confidence, verbosity, team play, style and humility, rare combinations for anyone let alone a ball-dominant young guard. Looked to push the ball first. Good one-handed passer in half-court situations. Could score off the dribble or catch.
“He and (Bronson freshman) Boston Bucklin played in the scrimmages like there were varsity roster spots pending at 5 pm,” said one coach. “Played hard each game.”
Jalen Jenkins 6-1 So Belleville: He started for Belleville as a freshman, and both plays similarly to, and could be poised for a similar breakout as, L’anse Creuse’s 2023 Caron Williams. The latter is now looking like a top 10 overall prospect in the junior class, so Jenkins, who has the second-gear burst you have to have as a scholarship guard, is a prospect to get in on early. Smooth and creative in the lane and around the rim. Looked well-practiced on the catch-and shoot, both prep and delivery. Where he really distinguished himself was his two-way energy.
Darnell Murphy 5-11 8th U-D Jesuit Academy: Liked him at last year’s underclassman camp as just a seventh-grader and has only gotten better. Very strong and physical for a middle school guard, and plays it to his advantage Charlie Bell-style getting the shoulder into his man. That’s not to be mistaken for the middle school bullyball player who just overwhelms smaller foes, as Darnell is a skilled shot-maker. Silent assassin type who just went about his business, buying in and producing.
Mason Parker 5-9 Fr Troy: He has the same physical profile as when his brother Brody Parker, now a freshman at Oakland, was at the underclassman camp. A refreshing mix of a kid who with his skill level and decision-making appears to have already played a bunch of basketball while being grateful for the opportunity of the moment. Good energy when he had the ball and dropped in some absolute times over the top when pushing the break.
“He made 3ds with defenders in his face, off balance and wide open,” a coach said.
Arquez Petty 5-6 8th Muskegon: Coming up a decade later and already drawing local comparisons to Muskegon’s 2014 Mr. Basketball Deshaun Thrower, Petty looks ready to handle Big Reds Big Expectations on albeit still slim shoulders. The comparisons come from the younger’s competitiveness, workmanlike demeanor and quiet toughness, combined with the offensive freedom and firepower we’ve come to expect from Muskegon guards.
Jacob Pleyer 5-11 8th Watervliet: Engaged and could apply quickly in drills. It can get hectic in a hurry with camp teams of unfamiliar teammates, yet he bucked the trend and was in control with the ball. Easy-looking stroke, and hit some tough ones while defended. A sneaky and opportunistic defender who has the innate stickiness always around the ball, he affected the game in so many different ways that he could change its momentum himself.
Anthony Ribel 6-2 So Traverse City Central: A varsity starter as a freshman at a Class A school, and ready for the green light as a sophomore. Played at his own pace and made good decisions with the pass not just a shooter.
“A very smooth stroke, shot like Corey Kispert,” said a coach. “He has a smooth, calm demeanor. He was excellent in my station and played very well in games. I think he could score 12-16 a game for TC this season.”
EJ Ryans 6-3 So Grand Rapids Northview: It’s somewhat fitting that he played AAU out of state with the Indy Heat, as Ryans will kill you softly with Hoosier-style fundamentals. Uses size to get into the paint and score with a floater and can also hurt you with the pull-up J. Saw plays develop and reacted on defense. Playing as a freshman with all-state guard Kyler Vanderjagt — a standout at last fall’s upperclassman camp now committed to Belmont — has rubbed off too, in how Ryans is a big, efficient, true combo guard. Stylistically in the GR backcourt tradition of a Duane Washington or Geno Carlisle.
“He was having fun in not just good or fancy passes, but the right ones for the situation,” a coach said. “He’s more fundamentally sound than he is flashy.”
Dontez Scott II 6-1 So Summit Academy North: About what you’d expect of a freshman starter from a regional championship team, which looked like a D2 state favorite all summer. Was not here to screw around. Hard to handle coming downhill, Scott pressured defenses who had to respect his chin-to-the-rim relentlessness on the drive. And the same time he didn’t overindulge that talent by getting too deep, would make the right passes from the right spots when needed.
“He was solid on both ends,” said a coach. “Enjoyed playing defense. When the ball was in a 1-on-1 situation scored every time via penetration, he didn’t settle for jumpers.”
Cameron Smith 5-0 8th Mona Shores: Being the smallest player at a camp specifically for young players is an accomplishment in and of itself, but impacted the game as if a foot taller sailing through traffic, setting pace and competing by bringing the game to bigger players and not vice versa.
“I called him ‘Lillard’ not because of long distance shooting, but because he was relentless on both ends,” a coach said. “Just like you want a small guard to be. He passed, defended and shot well all day.”
Luke Tropea 5-5 Fr Chelsea: He’s slight, but cast a big shadow once the lights came on as if one called Tropea the best three-point shooter in camp, few would argue. Able to operate in space and find his spots, and made his teammates confident in him in a hurry. Has overall guard game as well, particularly against similarly-aged opponents.
“He didn’t miss any that were catch-and-shoot,” a coach said.