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Shining On at Red Hawks Showcase

The state's best passer not named Cassius Winston, Godwin Heights junior Christian Rodriguez showed he could score it too.

The state’s best passer not named Cassius Winston, Godwin Heights junior Christian Rodriguez showed he could score it too in the Wolverines’ win over Saginaw.

Many of the state’s better teams and players converged on Grand Rapids Union High School for the second-annual Red Hawks Showcase. Where, Wayland beat Stevensville Lakeshore; Detroit Allen beat Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian; New Haven beat Lowell; Detroit Cornerstone beat Union; and Wyoming Godwin Heights topped Saginaw. These were the top performers.

Tyler Baker  6-5  Sr  Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian: He was a one man gang against Detroit Allen, going for 38 points and 10 rebounds. Played with real confidence and grit against tough odds earning the respect of the gym. Tremendous shooter off the catch and though not quick, because you have to always close out Baker can counter with the drive and uses his big frame to finish or draw fouls at the rim. Heir apparent to Cory Cox at Cornerstone.

Davion Bradford  6-1  Jr  Detroit Cornerstone: While junior teammate Jamal Cain was the headliner, Bradford was solid on both ends and it was needed, as their game with Lowell was the only one of the day to come down to the final couple possessions. It was in crunch time that Bradford really excelled, with a dunk then a tough pull up shot.

Tarrence Crumpton  6-7  Jr  Saginaw: He’s added a couple inches from last season, giving him even greater impact. Long runner, dunker, a poor man’s Danny Pippen and a nice frontcourt complement to the physical, grinding game of senior Algeveon Eichelberger.

Sergio Diaz  6-2  Sr  Grand Rapids Union: In the era of anointed middle schoolers, it’s fun to see a player emerge late in his high school career. That’s been the story for Diaz as a senior. He’s a rare true jumpshooter who can beat you from 20 or mid-range.

Jayvaun Flake  6-5  Sr  Detroit Allen: Danny Pippen was hobbled early but Allen was able to bench him with little worry, as NorthPointe was way down early, and he was replaced by Flake. Flake is a real luxury at the Class C level, size of the bench that can catch, finish and move. Worth it for small colleges to look for him.

Avery Hudson  5-8  Jr  Wayland: It’s not always that a young guard with nearly 30-foot range, is also aggressive, tough, and attacks the ball on both ends. With the way Wayland’s playing, districts could be Godwin Heights’ toughest test in the Class B tournament.

Future CMU center Innocent Nwoko continues improving for New Haven.

Future CMU center Innocent Nwoko continues improving for New Haven.

Innocent Nwoko  6-11  Sr  New Haven: It’s not an easy deal to run a halfcourt offense between two high school big men, but that’s what New Haven did effectively against undersized Lowell with Nwoko low and 6-8 Jerry Ben high. Nwoko made a number of tough catches and agile finishes. The buckets are gravy, given the defensive presence he provides.

Christian Rodriguez  5-10  Jr  Wyoming Godwin Heights: Took on the challenge of Saginaw’s D1 junior guard Qua Southward, and responded with 24 points. Rodriguez is now a dangerous finisher at the varsity level off the drive as well as disher. Just add Saginaw to the checklist of top teams this point guard has knocked off in high school and AAU.

Ryan Stevens  6-2  Sr  Lowell: Last we saw Lowell they couldn’t buy a basket against Grand Rapids Christian, but they were falling against New Haven thanks in no small part to Stevens’ drive and kicks. The state championship game QB controlled tempo, looking a lot like former Grandville and Hop standout point guard David Krombeen.

Mark Watts  6-0  Fr  Detroit Allen: This was the third time we’ve seen Watts this season, and he has yet to look like any kind of ninth-grader. He scored 35 against NorthPointe and made it look easy. Watts brought the ball where he wanted, calling his own number in Allen’s uptempo offense putting it in from distance and mid-range. The added bonus is Watts’ ball-handling eases the load on all-state senior guard Jason Williams, helping make Allen the state’s best team in Class C.

Romeo Weems  6-5  Fr  New Haven: Like Watts, Weems is a top five freshman in the state as he produces game after game. Unlike Watts, he’s not a natural guard, and why would be be as a muscular 6-5 ninth-grader, so he is learning on the job. When the dribbling and vision come around so he can relax again and just go on feel and motor, Weems is a high major recruit.

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