Finally, let there be hoops. These Michigan 2021 prospects will be trying to make up for lost time and get back into the recruiting mix. There are prospects here for D1s to prep schools and jucos, and everyone in between.
Jayden Alfred 6-3 Sr Mancelona: Big-time ups — had a block of a Kobe Bufkin dunk attempt last summer in AAU. A tough cover when turning the corner and going downhill. Does as he pleases with his physical advantages in the Ski Valley Conference, with the chance to blossom for a college coach who can hone and fine tune his skills.
Preston Ball 5-11 Sr Elk Rapids: Showed in the summer in AAU that he’s not just having his way Up North, but has the speed, skill, confidence, game experience (four-year varsity starter) to compete with future college guards throughout the Midwest. Coach’s son and plays like one; star soccer player and has the light feet and floor feel of one. Makes the right plays, gets teammates involved, and can also step up and find his own offense. Perhaps comparable to GR Christian point guard and Hope commitment Sam VerSteeg. Has gotten stronger and defensive physicality and stoutness should improve with age.
Donovan Boyd 6-4 Sr Grand Rapids Christian: Last season even with two other 6-4 guards, Michigan-bound Kobe Bufkin and Jared Lary who has a Cleveland State offer, there were games where Boyd was the leading scorer. And that’s not actually his forte, as a rugged and athletic JYD type who can pile up points at the cup; where he really excels is defensively, elite on that end. On D — plays the gaps, good help-side principles, consistently plays the gaps and sits whether going against guards or for leverage in the post, rebounds like a 4.
Ryan Brenner 6-2 Sr Frankenmuth: Plays at his own pace, is good at setting up his man and methodically using strength and footwork to get to his spots and create shots. Good things happen when Brenner gets in the paint as he can finish but is also a willing passer. Similarly on defense, competes and makes good reads which makes up for lack of overwhelming size or explosiveness. Plays in an underrated league.
Jordan Brocks 6-3 Sr Detroit Public Safety: Quick, active, energetic, dogged on defense, a pick 6 waiting to happen. Thrives when the game is dirtied up. Improving handle and offensive repertoire.
Christopher Cayton 6-0 Sr Ann Arbor Skyline: He was one of just three juniors to be first-team All-SEC Red, one of the state’s toughest leagues. Smart and sound ball-handler who doesn’t overextend himself on drives or overindulge on shots. Tough to stop going to his left. Good finisher because can do it from either side, keeps chin to rim and will go off a jump stop. The kind of point guard you love to play with as he keeps the ball hot, understands angles and is in tuned with his teammates sweet spots. Good grades and offers from Kalamazoo, Adrian and Siena Heights.
Chris Coleman 6-4 Sr Carrollton: Carrollton was 21-1 a year ago — and should be even better. Coleman is one of three guys who can really go, along with senior guard Tay Jones-Buckner and one of the state’s top 2022 guard prospects, plus a dangerous lefty streak shooter from the 2022 class Mar’kel Martin. Coleman has good size on the wing and a good feel as both a passer and cutter. Jumpshot opens up the floor for drives. Needs to keep motor and intensity up to separate self, as the tools and potential are there.
Nolan Finkbeiner 5-9 Sr Hemlock: He’s long been a good shooter on the varsity level, and led Hemlock to, as noted above, the only defeat of Carrollton last year, having gotten bigger and stronger as an upperclassman. Good flow, feel, timing, balance, distribution in an up-and-down game. Has to work hard to separate from bigger guards.
Corey Grant 6-4 Sr Grandville: Positionless is the new tweener, and there’s always a spot for guys like Grant who play with energy and get around the ball. A lefty rim runner who can begin and end a fast break. Knows and plays his lines as a help defender; will tag a three-point shooter then get to the paint and board. A finisher, screener, dirty work complement to one of Michigan’s elite shooters senior Tommy Gregwer who signed with Aquinas. Grant’s a good-looking set shooter when lined up himself and will post up wings and guards with patient, multi-part moves and also finish offensive rebounds over them. Their high school coach Ryan Klingler was a versatile, big power guard when he starred for Hope College. More explosion, skill, versatility and touch as a finisher will further this ticket.
Drew Hess 6-1 Sr Oscoda: A transfer from Mio, where he was long a serious shooter. Takes a true jumpshot, from deep or pullup from mid-range. Has evolved his game to be valuable even when the shot isn’t falling, a strong rebounder, and improving defender. Gym rat and coachable.
Travis Hungerford 6-5 Sr Fulton: From a hoops family, and a hoops school. And while he’ll knock down the corner 3 with regularity and confidence, Hungerford isn’t the typical gunning guard Fulton is known for. He’s a smart, alert and communicative interior defender and rebounder, country strong using low-man win principles. Not afraid to mix it up against bigger forwards, which he did back as a 10th-grader in the CMAC against future college 4s Caleb Hodgson and Mason Pline, then for two seasons on the Midwest travel circuit.
Michael Justice 6-7 Sr Troy Athens: Active and has to be accounted for, will make opposing posts earn it on the other end as good fundamentals, base, help, wall-offs on D. Steady with his motor. Communicates with his guards and runs and cuts with hands available. Could use more explosive, automatic finishes when he gets touches in the kill zone. Has offers from Albion and Benedictine.
Mak Manciel 6-4 Sr Sterling Heights Stevenson: This was a one-time seemingly fast-tracked recruit, playing at his father’s alma mater Detroit Country Day where Mike Manciel won state titles alongside Shane Battier before playing in the NCAA Tournament as a strong scoring forward alongside Chris Kaman at CMU. Mak also was part of a strong younger class coming up with REACH, where he’d get exposure with one of the state’s top programs. Then he had to sit out last season after transferring to Stevenson, and like everyone else lost spring and July open period 17U AAU. In that absence Manciel’s become bigger and more explosive, and will give Stevenson one of the state’s most physical senior backcourts alongside another player on this list 6-2 Andre Turner. Manciel has become a creative and relentless scorer who can get creative or finish above the rim. Sometimes it looks like too much palm on the release but is a high percentage three-point shooter on reversals or kick-outs. Uses his size and hoops IQ to create defensively.
Keyon Menifield 6-2 Sr Flint Beecher: As an underclassman sprite he dreamed of becoming the next great Beecher point guard, where the Nuggets’ Monte Morris beget three-time state champion Malik Ellison whom was succeeded by Mr. Basketball runner-up Jalen Terry, now an Oregon freshman. We got a preview of Menifield’s overall talent last season when Terry was injured and he stepped up his game and ended up averaging 16.5 points, 6.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 5.4 steals per game. Long and springy, he thrives in Beecher’s pressure game. Menifield’s long had talent and skill — he’s a one-time Bank Hoops Underclassman Camp MVP — who now has college height though the strength isn’t there yet. His craftiness, creativity and 25-foot range were born of necessity as a tiny player, now they’re part of an impressive offensive arsenal.
Cole Mieske 5-10 Sr Corunna: Aggressive and defender and chance-of-pace push-it point guard. Lefty who finishes way beyond his size because he’s fearless and tough slaloming to the rim. Gets others involved and is an enthusiastic, valuable teammate. Needs to get more separation at his size against pressure.
JJ Popp 6-1 Sr Leland: An offensive motion savant who can get good shots for others and make it hum with his passing, spacing and wing shooting. Good soccer player as well and sees the court develop ahead of time similarly. Defensive aggression and quickness can improve. Part of one of the top duos in Class D along with fellow senior Gavin Miller.
Jayland Randall 6-4 Sr Chandler Park Academy: CPA coach James Scott has seen enough talent coaching the Family in AAU to take seriously when he says he has D1 players, and in this case his CPA roster may have a pair in Randall and powerhouse junior guard Tamario Adley. Randall could fit the profile of the Hankerson Bros. from Novi who got of state without anyone really noticing and thriving at the mid-major level. He has both length and wiggle as a combo guard, and can cover a lot of space on either end of the court. More strength in the lane will make Randall more efficient.
Javantae Randle 6-10 Sr Detroit Douglass: He’s one of the top uncommitted seniors not just in the state, but the entire Midwest. In a traditional AAU season he’d have received significant looks on the EYBL. Seems to have made the jump from playing basketball because he was tall, to being a real hooper with feel for the game and a love to play it, becoming a focused, serious player. Moves and can change ends easily at 6-10. Can hit the 3 but also go down low and use quickness to score from the blocks big-on-big. He and MSU-bound Pierre Brooks will form one of the best frontcourt duos to play together in Class D. MAC schools should be clamoring, A10s monitoring, and HMs will look to get in the mix if he goes prep school.
Clayton Roberts 6-4 Sr GR Angels: He stands alone on this list as someone who has actually played games this season — and played well out of state on the home school circuit. A two-footed power leaping wing who is a load filling the lanes or when he puts his shoulder down and attacks the hoop from the elbows or baseline. A much improved shooter from 20 feet. Fluidity and true guard skills can improve.
Hunter Soper 6-5 Sr Croswell-Lexington: Easy quick-twitch athlete who can truly float and finish. Always a chance to be in the play, offensively or defensively, with those physical tools. Soper’s long been a guy who has to be accounted for and keep off the rim and a killer in a wide-open, up-and-down game. Offensive skill, consistency, diversity and creativity have now come along as well. Terrific long-term potential with a red-shirt year in the weight room and 3.9 gpa sweetens the deal as a recruit.
Isaac Snyder 6-5 Sr Holland Christian: Has the chance to make a big jump as last year Holland Christian had a pair of future college forwards on the wings in Ethan Alderink and Jaxon Halbert. Rangy with good frame and wingpsanGood nose for the ball off the glass, though needs to play wider and meaner once he has it, and get lower when defending the wing.
Couron Steele 6-5 Sr Detroit Public Safety: Will take and make the 3 or take it down low and use his width, footwork and clever angles to score, and looks most at home starting from the blocks. Some fine tuning of body, balance, agility will help him make more spontaneous plays out on the floor. Needs consistent high hands-low butt–wide stance when defending the wings. Would look like a scholarship guy at some level with that frame if he starts banging out regularly.
Jack Stefanski 6-7 Sr Frankfort: Playing a small ball 5 in AAU had big games against the likes of Michael Reed (NMU) and Gabe Quillen (Hope) rim-running and attacking with the drive. At the same time, shoots and passes like a wing. A horse on the glass at 220 pounds, and is usually the first on the floor for 50/50 balls. Good grades and was also Frankfort’s three-year starting quarterback; brother is lineman at Arizona.
Andre Turner 6-1 Sr Sterling Heights Stevenson: Physical, aggressive, ball-dominant guard, he’ll make you show up and play on both ends as he puts his nose in there and challenges as a driver or defender. Confident shooter off of the catch and can also turn the corner with ball screens. More competitor and leader the kind of guy you want to ride with, than sophisticated playmaker, but can definitely help a team win between his confidence and defensive potential.
Grayson VanBerkmoes 6-5 Sr McBain: Only played six games last year because of injury, but is back and poised to be a key member of a top 10 Division 3 team that has some strong senior guard play. VanBerkmoes has a terrific wingspan and can really close things off when playing with high hands on defense. Fast end-to-end and a good passer on the move. Rarer, runs hard in transition D as well. Has a chance with his physical tools and feel for the game.
Javier Whitaker 5-9 Sr Hamtramck: Hits the 3 consistently off the catch. As a point guard pushes the ball, changes speeds and can get into the paint to collapse the defense for easy dishes. Tough coming downhill in the open court. Few teams have more quality guards than Hamtramck, Whitaker is certainly one of them and a reason they’re a sleeper top 10 pick in Michigan.
Brent Wiles 6-4 Sr New Haven: He cut his teeth as an underclassman then emerging role player in the Romeo Weems era, and now is poised for some big seniors numbers of his own. At 6-4 does a bit of everything in a high school game. Can slash or shoot — a rare high schooler making a good percentage on step-back 3s — and competes above his size on both ends of the glass. Does a lot of “just basketball player” things, knowing circumstances, momentum and matchups. Reminds in his approach to Jared Holmquist, who was an All-MIAA forward for Trine via Reed City, not as burly but with more shooting range. Wiles’ 3.9 gpa makes him that much more attractive a recruit.
David Wilkerson 6-3 Sr East Lansing: A smart, crafty, utilitarian guard who has further blossomed by growing a few inches since his junior season. Well-coached both in the driveway and in his high school program. Big and physical, giving the Trojans a strong senior defensive backcourt alongside vet point guard Marcus Wourman. Wilkerson can shut off the easy looks with his size up top, and redirect ball-handlers with that same size when trapping. Just tough to get around him. That same size makes him a steady presence on the glass, triggering the fastbreak with no need for a middle man. At his best as a point guard when keeping it simple, distorting defenses and finding his fellow shooters on the wings. Strong finisher for a guard, will initiate contact at the rim against bigger players. A three-point threat playing off of a future college point guard, Wourman, and future college center, 6-10 junior Ethan Dunn.
Ty Wyman 6-6 Sr Blissfield: One of prettiest strokes in the state, and has an assortment of pump-fakes, side-steps, and step-backs to get clean looks. Much of the shot prep though is before he even has the ball, as Wyman really understands space and can cut, dive, fade into sweet shooting spots. Building his repertoire off the bounce. Uses wingspan rather than footspeed on D. Already a two-time county player of the year. 4.0 gpa.