Ypsilanti, boasting one of the state’s top backcourts with senior Mike Bruce, formerly of Belleville, joining their leading scorer the past two seasons, senior Corey Allen, won the tournament at the Michigan State team camp aka the Izzo Shootout. The Phoenix beat Jerome High School from Dublin, Ohio in the final game Saturday. With 80 teams, there was ample talent in East Lansing from Michigan and beyond. Here are some of the standouts from the weekend.
Dylan Alderson 6-4 Jr Clarkston: Having had the ball in his hands so much coming up as a player, one part of Alderson’s game that lagged the other D1 bonafides was his spot-up shooting. Don’t tell that to Petoskey, as the transfer from Davison knocked down three straight three-point attempts from the left wing as Clarkston pulled away from the Northmen in bracket play. The Wolves have the potential to be devastating on the perimeter offensively, with the state’s top sophomore point guard, Foster Loyer, and a 6-4 senior, Tabin Throgmorton, who in stretches can look like the most talented of them all. When not on the catch-and-shoot, Alderson has low and explosive handles rare for a high school player his height. Mid-major lock with a chance for more.
Matt Beachler 6-3 Jr Lowell: You know you’re living right when you make 1-of-7 three-point attempts in a game but the Izzo Shootout’s namesake still wants to speak after the game. So it was for Beachler, as MSU was already one of the schools to have contacted him earlier in the week, along with Michigan, Stanford and Princeton, and VCU which was his first “mid-major +” offer. Anyone who has seen Beachler for more than one game isn’t worried about his shot, and when senior point guard Ryan Stevens is also hitting from deep Lowell is tough to handle as they beat Detroit Cornerstone, Detroit Pershing and River Rouge. Beachler continues to trend towards high-major prospect as he’s added both physical maturity to endure physical off-ball defense and hit shots off the dribble, and the mental maturity to play through the misses.
Jamal Cain 6-6 Jr Detroit Cornerstone: His talent is most on display when Cain is finishing in transition, as he has the skill, touch, feel and athleticism to recover and convert even poor passes. Ironic given his name, Cain lacks a killer instinct. When the game slows is when he needs to be more aggressive cutting to get the ball, and attacking once he has it. Shot is improving, an unselfish passer, and finds himself on the line because he’s such a tough matchup in high school ball.
Justin Fischer 5-11 So Warren De La Salle: The Pilots look like they may have found the point guard they lacked last season after Chris Rollins hopped 8 Mile for East English Village. Fisher was efficient and understood his money’s going to be made setting up upperclassmen. He could push the ball or slow it down, connect with one-handed passes on the move and worked hard defensively to keep his man out of the lane.
Josh Long 6-6 Jr Detroit Western: The Cowboys’ Class A state championship team had the luxury of three 6-8 seniors. They look more like a normal high school squad in pursuit of the title defense, but Long becoming eligible will make a frontcourt impact for Western. He appears to have bought into what Derrick McDowell asks of his bigs — defense, screens, rebounds — but with a dose of talent. Long is a quick, two-handed, high-pointing rebounder and showed good hands and finishing feel around the rim. His body, if not yet his game, suggest the 3 spot at the next level.
Karmari Newman 6-4 Sr Detroit East English Village: Continues to perform like a top five overall prospect in the 2016 class. EEV’s veteran lineup reached the semifinals of Saturday’s tournament. With their wingspans, Newman and junior Greg Elliott — another D1 guard — can really cut down the court defensively. the older of the two is a sweet-shooting left-hander will get you 35 if on, and still cobble together 20 when he’s off. Made good decisions when asked to be EEV’s primary ball-handler. If Newman can show any kind of knack for gaining strength and keeping on weight, offers beyond his current mid-major opportunities could ensue.
Darian Owens-White 6-0 Jr River Rouge: When Owens-White was named 2017 MVP of the 2014 Bank Hoops All-State Minicamp, the consensus amongst coaches was that if he continued growing, he’s at least a MAC player. A transfer from Ypsilanti, Owens-White has in fact grown and looks like the heir apparent to EMU freshman LaMonta Stone at River Rouge. He’s long had the right instincts and skill, now DOW, the son of Adrian College coach Mark White, has the strength and upperclassman chutzpah to consistently create and complete his own shots. While he scored in bunches in his new role, it wasn’t at the expense of others as he’s a true point guard who makes things simpler for teammates when he has the ball.
Qua Southward 5-11 Jr Saginaw: Very dangerous when he is creating his own shot and knocking down three-pointers in rhythm. Combination of talent and practice time is on display when Southward hits tough shot after tough shot. Can also beat you from mid-range, and resembles a young Calvin Wooten when the hand is hot. When the game slows down and he has to be a more traditional point guard is when Southward can struggle, as at times he sits on the dribble too long and forces the ball into double and even triple teams. Saginaw High had an interesting lineup at MSU. One-time Trojans star Algevon Eichelberger, a 6-6 senior, played last season for Prolific Prep in California but is with the old squad at least for summer ball. 6-2 junior Henry Speight was the state’s most productive scoring/rebounding sophomore last season for Carrollton. Eddie Thigpen is a 6-5 left-handed junior with potential.
Brandon Wade 6-1 So Ann Arbor Skyline: He seems to like Big Ten venues, as Wade helped Skyline to the Final 4 at MSU’s team camp, two weeks after excelling at UM’s college practice camp. In between? He picked up an offer from father Keith Wade’s alma mater, Toledo. The younger Wade doesn’t play much like an underclassman, he’s physical, fast and aggressive with the ball, and has some high-end skills on the move. Skyline has an assortment of shooters that he keeps happy. His own shot? It can get better. Even still, Wade is a top 10 in-state prospect for 2018.
Evan Whitmore 6-3 Sr Petoskey: Petoskey has an interesting mix of three seniors who can play college ball — Whitmore, 6-4 Jason Bur and 6-2 senior Aron Lee — and a strong sophomore class with similar aspirations. Whitmore was particularly valuable against the aggressive defense of the downstate teams because he has the strong build to hold them off (he’s also a standout football player) and make smart decisions with the ball despite the pressure. Good-looking shot, though he doesn’t take a lot of them.