While Tulip Time engulfed Holland proper, the Northside once against played host to the Wes Leonard Strength & Honor Tulip Tipoff. TEAM Basketball defeated the home team West Michigan Lakers in the 17U final, Parallel 45 beat the Grand Rapids Storm in the 16U championship game, and in 15U the Storm beat Impact Elite for the crown. These players stood out.
Mason Bakker 6-5 So Grand Rapids Storm 16U (Zeeland West): Looks cut from the John Shillito lineman quarry in Zeeland. He was a tough cover for Parallel 45 in 15U when they beat the Storm at last summer’s Brawl for the Ball, and nothing had changed when they met again in the championship game here. Horsed kids on the glass but not just a banger, with soft hands and shooting touch.
Isaiah Bridges 6-5 So HoopGrind 16U (Midland): A mismatch at the high school level. His versatility point towards interesting college possibilities as well. Strong kid who invites contact. Few players in Michigan’s 2019 class can match his post repertoire, motor on the glass or how he triggers the transition game. But he can also step out and keep defenses honest with the shot or pass or pick-and-roll game. Coaches will want to figure out what positions he can guard.
Justin Fischer 6-3 Jr TEAM Basketball (Warren De La Salle): Coming off a tough weekend at Spiece, TEAM was short-handed to start the tournament, and looked sluggish even as the bracket played out. But by the championship game against the host team they were humming and as always Fischer has a lot to do with it. TEAM Basketball has a wider array of options this season and Fischer knows the personnel and is able to find their sweet spots whether underneath or spotting up. One of the two best passers in the 2018 class along with Trevion Williams. College coaches want to see more consistent scoring threat. You want your ponit guard to win and Fischer does that. With victories over the Storm and Lakers in both teams’ home tournaments, TEAM has solidified its rep as one of the top three unaffiliated 17U teams in Michigan, along with REACH and the Michigan Warriors. TEAM Basketball and REACH will play May 27 at the Up North Challenge in Mt. Pleasant.
Justin Fox 5-11 Jr MBA (Grand Rapids Union): Did a lot of things you want from the 1 controlled tempo, was a threat to score from different spots, created in the lane good looks with dishes to his big Hayden Stauffer or pitches to spot up shooters. Union is in a run of seeing guards break out as college prospects during their senior seasons, and Fox is poised to be next.
Bryce Lott 6-3 So Parallel 45 16U (Davison): One-time hustling tweener and role player who continues to flourish on the wing with offensive confidence. Can shoot it off the catch and also finishes with ups and toughness on the break and halfcourt drives or cuts.
Vernon Nash 5-7 Fr Grand Rapids Storm (Muskegon): Terrific pushing the tempo. There are a lot of fast 15U guards. Nash is different because he makes smart decisions at full speed. He’s not at a loss as a halfcourt guard either despite his size, tough to find out there. When he and another quick, clever point guard Max Perez were out there together the Storm was hard to handle.
Drew Pedersen 6-3 Jr West Michigan Lakers (West Ottawa): One of the reasons West Ottawa will contend for a return to top 10 status. Wing shooter is perfect for the Panthers’ pretty passing offense. Pedersen plays similarly off the ball for the Lakers. Perpetual motion, he wears down defenders working both sides of the offensive court searching for screens and jumpers. Similar to a player he faced in the 17U final TEAM Basketball’s Jason Dietz tough to close out on with their deep releases. Will also beat you with the backdoor. Neither his high school nor AAU teams play full-time man so coaches will want to learn what he can do on that end.
Cass Phillips 6-9 Jr Parallel 45 (Lakeland): Resurfacing post prospect fit in smoothly, running to the rim, cleaning up the offensive glass and providing a post threat off the left block. Moves easily and should be able to get out on the floor and check stretch 4s. Doesn’t shy from contact and can target the ball outside his area; started rebounding with an attitude as the tournament went on. Spacing, timing, instinct, tentative feet need to improve, but there were enough flashes of potential to intrigue as a next level prospect.
Zach Trent 6-2 So Parallel 45 16U (Burton Bentley): Broke free of a slump a comeback which found Trent the leading scorer in the 16U final. Even when his shot wasn’t falling found ways to contribute as a physical defender and rebounder. Has the size to bully his way to free throws, and 1s if he looked to complete drives more often. Low risk recruit who will max out talent and star in the classroom.
Solomon White 6-0 Fr Grand Rapids Storm 15U (Forest Hills Eastern): Complements Storm point guards Max Perez and Vernon Nash. White keeps the court spread for them with his shooting threat, but isn’t stationary will also cut and score has nice feel and is tough around the rim. Probably projects as college point guard so needs to keep working on ball skills.
Dlano Woods 5-11 Jr Michigan United (Chippewa Valley): He was a dangerous lefty scorer as a 16U player who has really improved and will now eat you up with passes if overplayed. Battle tested not exactly doing it at Podunk U., Chippewa Valley is one of the state’s 10 largest schools.