Michigan Invitational: Day One Recap

18 Apr

Day one of the Michigan Invitational featured a good mix of established prospects, as well as a few new up-and-comers who are eager to cement a name for themselves early in the grassroots season.

The Michigan Playmakers are a rising team in Michigan, and have the individual talent to back up that claim.  17u 6’0″ point guard Jerald Booker is one of the most underrated guards in the 2015 statewide class.  Booker took control early in the Playmakers win over Grand Rapids Storm White.  He scored five of the teams first eight points, and came away with a few steals.  What stood out about Booker was his court vision, while he has the ability to score if necessary , Jerald has quality court vision and passing skills with the ball in his hand on the break, or either in the half-court.  With Booker scoring 16, making a few contested mid-range jump shots and drives, and dishing out a healthy amount of assists, the man Booker was primarily setting up was 6’4″ forward Marcus Bailey.  While Bailey is a standout football prospect for Walled Lake Western, he still has some skills on the hardwood.  Whenever there is a rebound in the air, Bailey can be found in the general vicinity of the ball.  He almost never shys away from contact, plays solid post defense, and can step out a few times and make a jumper.  Combined with his athleticism from football, Marcus has the potential to be a mismatch anytime he steps on the court.

Reach Legends 15u 5’9″ point guard Armonee Felder plays for more than just individual glory, he competes for family pride.  His dad was a former star at Detroit Pershing, and his older brother, Kahlil, was a Mr. Basketball candidate a season ago and a standout on the Oakland Grizzlies as a freshman.  In Reach’s game vs. Hype Athletics, in the first quarter, Felder struggled to get his offense side of the ball going, however, the second half was a different story.  Armonee is a quick-cutting lead guard that has the ability to jack-knife his way to the paint and then the rim to finish.  He’s a creative passer at times, gets to wherever he wants to on the floor with ball handling, and plays with poise most freshman at his age don’t have.  Once he got his rhythm going offensivly, it was a how do you want it style of attack, sag off of me, then take this three.  Felder is no doubt the next of great players to come out of Pershing.

Reach 17u is loaded with some of the best 2015 guard/wing talent in the state, which was the difference in their win over Michigan Mustangs-Eubank.  6’7″ wing Jeron Rogers led the team with 26 points, he’s a good stretch forward that can play both inside and outside, but did most of his damage on the perimeter with four three pointers in the win.  Romulus’ 6’2″ shooting guard Jaylin Walker has the potential to be the most athletic player on the court whenever Reach plays a game.  He glides through the air with ease, but can take a hit or two at the rim to finish through contact.  Walker is another solid shooter off the catch for Reach when he sees one go through the rim early.  Pershing’s Marquel Ingram is quietly having himself an outstanding Spring portion of AAU.  Although he only scored 14 points in the win, Ingram made a statement with his defense.  He picked up the opposing teams point guard full-court and came away with a few turnovers, but overall disrupted the timing of the offense and plays.  Marquel is another dangerous shooter from Reach on the perimeter, either off a pass or off the dribble into a  three.

Michigan United’s 2015 shooting guard Cameron Dalton is fresh off of Bloomfield Hill’s first ever Breslin Center appearance, but there is no content in Dalton’s play.  In fact Dalton has improved upon his production from the high school season.  For Bloomfield Hills, Dalton was primarily the three point shooter used to stretch the floor for star Yante Maten.  However, things have changed in AAU.  Cameron is still a deadly three point shooter, but Dalton’s ability to run the point and make plays for his team stood out in the team’s win over Parallel-45.  Dalton can handle the ball efficiently, and surprisingly finished through a few hard hit’s and the rim for some and-one opportunities.  Cameron had 16 points in the aforementioned win.

Michigan United other 17u team features many of the players from the former Program Elite 16u squad.  6’8″ forward Nick Perkins was a standout on the team last season, and is well off to having another quality Spring AAU season this year.  The lefty Perkins, who holds several division one offers as of now, is a solid, well-built, dynamic forward that can hurt the other team in a variety of ways.  In the first half, Nick made a few nice low post ups giving his guards the ability to lob the ball over the top for easy dunk opportunities.  Take that away, and Perkins will find another way to beat you.  His jumper has improved significantly in just over a year, from what used to be a midrange game to now a three-pointer.  But make no mistake, Nick can still score down low amongst bigger defenders.  He likes to go over his left shoulder with a baby-hook, and can get a rebound offensively for a putback.  Nick stood out on defense as well.  Vs. King James Shooting Stars 17u, Nick was matched up against one of the best sophomores from Ohio Derek Funderbirk, and held him well below his usual dominant self.  Nick will play a crucial role in Michigan’s United overall team success this season.

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