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Up North Challenge: Junior All-Tournament Team

Up North Challenge 17U MVP Tae Boyd from the Program and Grand Blanc High School.

The Program-Black beat TM5 in the rising seniors division of the Up North Challenge.

MVP  Tae Boyd  6-4  Jr  Program-Black (Grand Blanc): He makes winning plays and the proof is on the court, whether with Grand Blanc in high school or collecting hardware in AAU Boyd is usually ending up in the left-hand column. At the UNC had some big scoring games, and some not, but still impacted events. Finishes, rebounds and blocks shots more like he’s 6-8. Nice turnaround jumpshot. Offensively he’s a mismatch to forwards with his explosiveness from the baseline and elbows, and just beating up guards who want no part of it. Scored 21 against TM5 in pool play.

Amari-Yunn Blythe  6-3  Fr  Program 25 (Flint Hamady): A group of ninth-graders playing up in 17U, the Program 15U nevertheless had varsity vets across the board with Greg Lawson at the point, Blythe on the wing and 6-5 Sean Wesolek from Bay City Western at forward. Blythe is a cuff-dunking machine who is all limbs bounding in from the break or slashing from the top of the key.

Evan Boyd  6-4  Jr  TM5 (East Lansing): A recent football commitment to CMU, and here played like a GLIAC-type wing. He’s helped TM5 to the Warriors Jamfest championship and Up North Challenge runner-up. Two-way energy, with the frame to knock his man off the ball without reaching or tempting whistles. Scored 16 in the semifinals and can fill the scorebook when he’s slashing, hitting 3s, pull-ups and getting tip-backs. Willing passer as well on a pretty egalitarian, “one more’ squad.

Alex Calcaterra  6-3  Jr  Parallel 45 (Boyne City): Showed up in the bracket round, with a team-high 16 points against Program-25. Similar to another guard on this list, Christian Zielinski, in that he’s really hard to stay in front of with the drive. True ambidextrous finisher.

Evan Haverkamp  6-7  So  REAL (McBain): This 2024 playing up in 17U seemed to get better by the week through the spring AAU schedule, a crescendo which culminated in Haverkamp leading REAL in scoring at the Up North Challenge. Country strong like you expect from a McBain forward, and moves the frame well horizontally. Rim runs, stays involved and keeps his hands ready for high and consistent finishes. Scored 25 against the North Oakland Wolfpack and had 19 points against Program-Blue. In the mix with what is looking like a very strong crop of 2024 forwards in the Mitten.

Bryce Kurncz  6-1  Jr  TM5 (DeWitt): One of the state’s to shooters delivered with 18 points in the championship game after a 21-point semifinal, both team highs. Moves well without the ball and is clever finding his spaces, and can also handle and function with the ball.

Greg Lawson  6-2  Fr  Program 25 (Davison): With a 6-2 frame and already a season under his belt as a Class A varsity starter, Lawson more than held his own playing up in 17U. With the way he shot it on Saturday then played bullyball off the bounce on Sunday, he can make a claim as the top 2025 point guard in a Michigan class loaded with real ones. Had games of 25, 23 and 19 points. Of recent Saginaw Valley vintage, plays like Jayden Nunn of VCU via Carman-Ainsworth. Or going to past Up North Challenge standouts, a pre-injury Dontel Highsmith.

Nate Richardson  6-0  Jr  Program-Blue (Grand Blanc): There are Bobcats all over the place. And per the Grand Blanc norm, gets after it defensively, with a good wingspan from the backcourt. When he was shooting it with confidence as tough a cover as any guard in the field.

Daron Sherman  6-0  Jr  Program-Black (Saginaw): Fast and aggressive with the extra burst to separate and get to the hole ahead of unsuspecting would-be rim protectors. Scored 16 in the championship game and 13 against Parallel 45. He and Grand Blanc’s Trevon Johnson, who had a 23-point outing against the North Oakland Wolfpack, gave the Program guards who could turn defense into offense quickly. The kind of point guard who can protect the ball and take care of things from the line.

AJ Taylor  6-5  Sr  TM5 (East Lansing): An intriguing uncommitted 2022 prospect because he can shoot it from deep at 6-5 and also uses his length to stay around the ball. He scored 14 points in the final after knocking in a pair of big second-half 3s in a 73-70 semifinal win.

Lorenz Todd  6-3  So  TM5 (Lansing Waverly): Even with standout forward Darrius Welch not playing, Lansing Waverly was well-represented as this youngster playing up and 2023 point guard Deontae Roberts played well in Mt. Pleasant. Todd is more forward than guard, but had some good three-point shooting games.

Cameron Washington  6-2  Jr  Program-Black (Bay City Central): Really played well here, going off for 23 points in the final. Maybe less overall usage than in high school, but that just helped emphasize a great-looking stroke with easy college range, scoring efficiently. Good size in the backcourt and can also get to the basket, and to the line.

Chris Zielinski  6-2  Jr  REAL (Home-schooled): He has an explosive first step which makes it really hard to keep him out of the lane, where Zielinski can score it or pass it. That he’s doing it at over 200 pounds just makes it that much harder to handle.

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