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Recruit Risers: State quarterfinals

Old school recruiting is going out in the biggest games of your life and winning over coaches in front of thousands. Shayne Whittington did that from Class D to the Pacers. Jordan Bitzer from the Thumb to the CMU record books. And just last year Keyon Menifield winning D3 with Beecher and a flurry of offers coming. These 10 prospects improved their recruiting reps with strong quarterfinals performances.

Ferndale senior Jason Drake scored 27 in last year’s semifinals, and 33 in this year’s Division 3 quarterfinals.

Trenton Boike  5-11  Jr  Genesee Christian: 42 points in a quarterfinal will turn heads regardless the division, and that’s what Boike did with a prolific but efficient performance against Southfield Christian to send the Soldiers to their first-ever state semifinal. His 42 points stand as the seventh-highest quarterfinal game in state history, a point behind Terry Duerod, with legends like Mark Macon and Ed Burton also on the list. Boike has a tradition of showing up against the best, with an earlier 33-point game against Flint Beecher.

Jorden Brooks  6-2  Sr  Grand Rapids Catholic Central  Ferris State: No one spread the floor like the Cougars with Jack Karasinski rim-running and two guys who have made over 60 three-pointers going to the arc, Brooks and junior guard Kaden Brown. Brooks showed why he earned his Ferris State scholarship as not only is he a big-time shooting threat, but can mix it up attacking closeouts; knows his spots by rote and beats overplays with strong cuts; played outstanding defense against Benton Harbor’s quick and aggressive guards keeping them out of the lane.

Jason Drake  6-2  Sr  Ferndale: He’s had a tremendous evolution from a microwave-type point getter, to explosive dual-threat point guard. He pushed the ball fast with the pass and dribble playing to Ferndale’s athletic advantages on Pontiac Notre Dame. In the halfcourt Drake beats you going right or left, with explosive but smooth and under control, to finish or pass. He scored 33. He was the only one who fully showed up for Ferndale in last year’s semifinal with GR Catholic, scoring 27, and the Eagles will get another shot at them.

Josh Elliott  6-5  Sr  Freeland: Cadillac led early. Then Elliott got rolling, scored 21, and undefeated Freeland won by 20. Elite shooter that shoot be coveted by small schools playing an open style — 55 percent from the field, 50 percent from three-point range and 89 percent from the foul line.

Joe Iung  6-2  Sr  Fulton: Iung getting all the way healthy and maturing as a leader helped turn the Pirates into one of the postseason’s biggest surprises. Good first step, can shoot or pass in the lane, uses his length on defense and the glass. Hot-and-cold three-point shooter.

Chas Lewless  6-2  So  Detroit Catholic Central: In the biggest game of his career and against a bevy of quick defensive guards, Lewless was the game’s high scorer against Grand Blanc with 27 points.

Bryce Radtke  6-8  Sr  Belleville: He ate up space in the paint with his wingspan against Cass Tech, creating all kinds of problems for their D2 power forward Rylan Bowens. Not a consistent power finisher but pretty adroit on the baseline and uses the rim to protect the ball and finish with reverse lay-ins. 4.0 gpa makes him ideal long-term prospect to keep around in program. Grand Blanc doesn’t have a starter over 6-3 so the Belleville big man could be crucial again in the semifinals.

Michael Sulaka  6-8  Jr  Warren De La Salle: He was the leading scorer for the Pilots in their win against St. Mary’s, and they needed all of those 17 points as they emerged 50-48 on Triston Nichols’ last-second put-back. Sulaka already has an offer from Toledo and that looked prescient with his two-handed power finishes. Even better was his defense — consistently getting outside the paint to challenge and block shots; moved well enough to defend on one side of the key, and grab the rebound on the other.

RJ Taylor  6-0  Jr  Grand Blanc: He and junior backcourt partner Amont’e Allen-Johnson are the only returning starters from the 2021 state championship team. Then they had to re-group again in November. These two continued to set the tone with aggressive offense and defense despite a slow start, and have willed a pretty regular high school team, certainly relative to last year’s roster, back to Breslin. Taylor leads the Bobcats in scoring, assists and steals and is one of six different players with a game over 20 points.

Duane Wright  6-1  Sr  Detroit Cass Tech: His jumpshot kept the Technicians in it early against Belleville. Solid all-around and competent on both ends, battled-tested in the PSL could be a good program guy for a lot of small schools.

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