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Up North 2023: Scholarship forward, guard; sleeper

Traverse City St. Francis junior Wyatt Nausadis.

Northern Michigan’s 2023 high school class includes one of the top forward junior forward prospects in the state, 6-7 Luke Hazelton from Maple City Glen Lake, and one of the top junior guard prospects, 6-3 Wyatt Nausadis from Traverse City St. Francis.

Hazelton had a 30-point win for Glen Lake in its Tuesday’s win over Lake Leelanau St. Mary. His left-handed shot is money from the top of the key. Whenever LLSM got close in the first half he seemed to knock one down. Then he essentially put the game out of reach via a double-digit lead with 5 minutes to go in the third-quarter with a slick step-back 3. Hazleton is ‘country strong’ and clears space posting up and setting screens. He’s active thoughout the lane working for the ball, has touch on a turnaround that you don’t see from too many high schoolers. An ambidextrous finisher. Patient pump-faker who gets to the line. Finds a body as a rebounder and two-hands the ball. Can play with high hands more consistently on defense. Whom he can guard and how quick he can get off the floor and if he can finish above the rim will go a long way towards determining his level.

The Lake Michigan Conference can be entertaining small school basketball. TC St. Francis’ win at Charlevoix wasn’t quite that, a grinder where the home team Rayders couldn’t get much rolling. For his part Nausadis didn’t shoot particularly well but still scored 19, while showing the physical tools that make him the sort of player the likes of GVSU and Ferris State have recently recruited. He was an all-state receiver in football and the crossover athleticism is apparent on the hardwood, where he “gets off the line” aka strict and explosive footwork in tight spaces to get by his man with a nimbleness belying his big frame; “runs good routes” cutting with speed, purpose and efficiency, including a beautiful curl for a top-of-arc 3 against Charlevoix. Good feel, vision and touch as a passer, doesn’t get flustered by pressure and uses his strength to not just hold off defenders but get off firm and deep passes.

Another LMC junior who looks headed to the next level is 6-3 Boyne City 2023 Alex Calcaterra. He’s just coming into his own physically and passes the eye test with his frame, wingpsan and speed. He’s a strong straight-line driver just as good going right or left. Uses the drive to set up the shot to 20. Aggressive defender who will get dirty for 50/50 balls. He scored 23 points in Boyne’s win at Sault Ste. Marie, the kind of offensive production that could become the norm for Calcaterra as an upperclassman.

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