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Spiece Standouts

He may have a mask and new AAU uniform, but it’s still the same versatile, productive Thomas Kithier, the Dakota forward headed to Michigan State.

We’ve been covering the Spiece Run-n-Slam since before it was the Hensley Memorial, and before there was a Spiece Fieldhouse in Ft. Wayne, when the tournament was played on campus at Purdue. Even back then it was a proving ground for Michigan players. Though the field lacks the national scope of its peak years, with 250 high school age teams from the Midwest it’s still one of the strongest spring events going outside of the EYBL.

Michigan’s top performing 17U team was the Family, which was knocked out by eventual champion All Ohio Red in the platinum semifinals. The Mustangs won the silver bracket. In 16U GreenWood and the Mustangs reached the platinum quarterfinals .In 15U the Family made the platinum quarters and the West Michigan Lakers the gold final. Here are some local players who performed well.

Marcus Bingham  6-10  Jr  Spiece Indy Heat (Grand Rapids Catholic Central): The Hoosier state has been kind to him. Bingham entertains offers from Butler and Purdue, he became a national name at the Indianapolis EYBL stop, and then came out and furthered his reputation at Spiece. Got the better of ballyhooed 6-9 NBA scion Pete Nance of the Akron Bobcats, who is too stiff and unnatural when pushed away from the basket but was dwarfed by Bingham’s wingspan when he tried to do what he is good at, scoring in the lane. Meanwhile Marcus shot it easily from various spots and even showed flashes of an off-the-dribble game. Later on in the tournament he was reminded even if this isn’t the Nike circuit, talent will always run deep in an event full of Midwestern teams. Watch out below, Darweshi Hunter dunk show coming through.

Maliq Carr  6-6  Fr  Family 15U (Oak Park): Has a Syracuse offer for football so not surprisingly doesn’t shy from contact. One of three Family forwards who can suck down rebounds. Talks and competes with a hoops IQ you don’t necessarily expect at that size and age, but do given his basketball pedigree. Smart, deliberate passer. Loves knocking down shots from the elbow.

Nigel Colvin  5-11  So  GreenWood 16U (River Rouge): Looks like a running back, 5-11 and fast. Uses that speed to get open off screens, close out on shooters and even sprint back on defense after his own misses. Plays more off the ball with River Rouge teammate  Khalid Fleming or 6-6 Cade Coleman the most likely point guards, and Colvin is dangerous shooting or slashing from the wings.

Taylor Currie  6-9  So  All Ohio Red 16U (Clarkston): He’d left a favorable impression as the starting center on Clarkston’s state championship team, and did nothing but help his cause here particularly with a 33-point performance against the Family. Particularly with Romeo Weems in and out of the lineup and not 100 percent with cramps, the Family didn’t have anyone who could handle Currie’s post play scoring off either shoulder. He also made 3-of-4 three-pointers and handled his business on the glass, active and keeps the ball high. The best big in Michigan’s 2019 class, and easy to see the U-M, Wisconsin interest.

Jason Dietz  6-4  Jr  TEAM Basketball (Troy): While TEAM was up and down, Dietz shot it well throughout the weekend. D2 coaches like how he has college wing size.

Zach Goodline  5-10  So  West Michigan Lakers (Coloma): Last we saw the Lakers’ 17U, they were beating the Family in the July 2016 Brawl for the Ball. That group was led by a small guard with a ton of chutzpah, Avery Hudson. The 2017 Lakers turn to a new small but fearless point guard, Goodline. We found them in the gold playoffs against The Elite. And with Elite’s Lamar Norman, Terry Armstrong, Julian Dozier and Anthony Crump on the court, it was Goodline leaving mouths ajar as he controlled tempo while creating space and knocking down shots at will. He scored 28 in the Lakers’ win over Elite, a group which had been playing well nationally on the Adidas “gauntlet.” Goodline is the most skilled score/pass/create point guard in Michigan’s 2019 class. Size will determine his college level.

CJ Haut  6-8  Jr  Mustangs (Monroe St Mary): Really coming on, and it looks like SMCC’s streak of all-staters might continue. Natural shot blocker, changes ends, surprised with shooting touch. Shoots jumphook with either hand. Coachable and quick learner. With academic side will have a lot of options; NAIA floor that GLIACS weren’t saying no to.

Jamoni Jones  5-11  Fr  GreenWood 15U (East Kentwood): Part of a potent three-guard lineup with speedy, slight Edwin Victory and versatile scoring muscle guard Jarvis Walker. Jones is at his best when it gets a bit messy and hectic, jumping passes, turning the ball over for layups and his preferred three-point shot out of transition. Passes on the break when the dribble isn’t necessary and makes smart decisions even if doesn’t always look like a natural playmaker.  Needs to work on getting space against bigger defenders to get the same quality looks in the half court. Does have the requisite point guard runner.

Thomas Kithier  6-8  Jr  All Ohio Red (Macomb Dakota): A statement tournament for AOR, which turned to its depth in winning the 17U title without the services of stalwarts Foster Loyer and Vincent Williams. This was Kithier’s chance to step up with his newest AAU team, and he was particularly good against’s last year’s squad the Family. He looked like a prototype MSU inside/outside 4 who could bang in the post and the glass while having the feet to get out on the floor and defend.

Devin Marshall  5-11  So  MBA-King (Portage Northern): The quickest guard on what will be a 16U team coaches want to see in July. They also have one of 2019’s sleeper recruits 6-9 home schooled sophomore Luke Maranka.

Lamar Norman  6-2  Jr  The Elite (Wyoming Godwin Heights): From Grand Rapids and free from the Detroit media mafia echo chamber, Norman may have been the only one from The Elite who knew what he was getting into against the Lakers, a program of tough Lakeshore kids who love nothing more than to knock off hyped up Eastsiders. Which is exactly what they did. But Norman played hard the whole way. Didn’t let the game come to him, went out and forced the issue and created points by winning 50-50 balls, getting rebounds.

Mark Watts  6-2  So  Family 16U (Old Redford Academy): Even shooters as good as Watts can have their flow go off stream. In two Family losses, he scored two second-half points. As he matures will find ways to make his coach keep him on the court even when he’s not scoring; the rarefied air of the finisher, winner and champion.

Trevion Williams  6-8  Jr  Family (Henry Ford Academy): Finding his wind and touch, coming back from an ankle injury. Williams looked more active than the prior weekend in Indianapolis. The mitts never left and there were flashes showing why he may be the best passer in Michigan regardless position. Williams seemed to find it easier to power and tip his way to points than against EYBL bodies and peaked with a vintage 20-20 effort against C2K.

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