Archive | October, 2014

Huron 2015 Wing Xavier Cochran Enjoying Recruiting Process

29 Oct

xavier-cochran-huron-boys-basketball-03042013-thumb-646x418-145890Ann Arbor Huron senior wing Xavier Cochran had an impressive junior campaign, averaging 17 points, and five rebounds per game for his River Rats.  Combined with his dominance on the AAU circuit with the Michigan Mustangs, Cochran currently holds seven reported scholarships offers, Eastern Michigan, Rice, Oakland, Northeastern, Buffalo, Kent State, Dayton, and Buffalo.  Still, the 6’5″ southpaw swingman is enjoying the process and allowing every school to deliver their own individual messages.

“As of right now,” Cochran said, “I will probably wait till, during, or the end of my season (to commit).”

“Rhode Island, Eastern Michigan, Oakland, Western, and Cleveland State and a couple others are recruiting me the hardest.”

Xavier has a specific set of criteria which will influence his college decision when he is ready.

“Style of play, how they develop players, relationship with the coach,” Cochran chimed in.

“And just a place I will have a chance to contribute right away.”

For now, Xavier shifts his attention to Huron’s upcoming campaign.  Cochran headlines a trio of talented senior guards in Jalen Thompson and Dave Wren.  The River Rats return four starters from a season ago, and will start the season as a top 15 team in Michigan.  Expectations will be high at Huron this year, with the ultimate goal of capturing a Class A state title.

“Going into my last season, I’m expecting a state championship,” Cochran noted.

“That’s the high expectations I’m setting for me any my team.  I’m not saying it’s all or nothing, but that’s just our expectations as a team.”

DC Elite Tip-off Classic Schedule Announced

29 Oct

NhrkZyUe.jpg-smallHigh school basketball competition begins in Michigan on Monday, December 8th, the same day as the Derrick Coleman Midwest Tip-off Classic.

2014-2015 will be the second year of the Tip-off Classic’s existence.  It’s founder, Derrick Coleman, was raised in Detroit.  He attended Northern High School, and eventually went onto star at Syracuse University before becoming the number one overall pick in the 1990 NBA draft by the New Jersey Nets.

This year’s Classic is a two day event.  Day one features four teams venturing in from Chicago, Harlan Academy, Marshall Metro, Bogan Academy, and Morgan Park, winners of two straight Illinois 3-A state titles.

Detroit King, Western International, Romulus, and University of Detroit Jesuit, in order, will combat the visitors from the windy city for Michigan.

In last year’s event, Chicago teams went a combined 3-1 vs. Detroit competition, Orr bettering Southeastern, Bogan topping Frederick Douglass, and Morgan Park outlasting Pershing.  Only Mumford seized victory over Hyde Park.

Day two spotlights various local programs across Metro Detroit.  Detroit CMA vs. Edison, Cass Tech vs. Chandler Park, Henry Ford vs. Loyola, and Mumord vs. Highland Park Renaissance Academy.

In addition to a premier boys event, December 6th and 7th feature a multitude of girls games.  As teams from Flint, Toledo, Saginaw, Detroit, Romulus, Wayne, Oak Park, River Rouge, Chicago, and Grosse Pointe set the stage for another highly anticipated winter of high school hoops.


Michigan Players in the NBA to Start 2014-2015

27 Oct

nba-logoBasketball season is back, and the NBA tips-off first. Michigan has had a long tradition of producing pros, and this season in the association, for at least opening day, there are eleven players who are from Michigan, or played in the state as an amateur on a team’s roster. From Grand Rapids, stretching all the way across to Detroit, Saginaw, and every town in between, here are the players representing the mitten for 2014-2015.

James Young Rookie: 6’6″ 215 lbs Shooting Guard, University of Kentucky (Rochester High School) Boston Celtics

Shayne Whittington Rookie: 6’11” 250 lbs Power Forward, Western Michigan University (Lawrence High School) Indiana Pacers

Roy Devyn Marble Rookie: 6’6″ 200 lbs Shooting Guard, Iowa (Southfield-Lathrup High School) Orlando Magic

Willie Green Twelfth Year: 6’3″ 201 lbs Shooting Guard, University of Detroit Mercy (Detroit Cooley High School) Orlando Magic

Draymond Green Third Year: 6’7″ 230 lbs Small Forward, Michigan State (Saginaw High School) Golden State Warriors

Christ Douglass-Roberts Sixth Year: 6’7″ 210 lbs Shooting Guard, Memphis (Detroit Cass Tech/Detroit Northwestern High School) Los Angeles Clippers

Ray McCallum Second Year: 6’3″ 190 lbs Point Guard, University of Detroit Mercy (Detroit Country Day High School) Sacramento Kings

Christ Kaman Twelfth Year: 7’0″ 265 lbs Center, Central Michigan University (Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian High School) Portland Trail Blazers

Wilson Chandler Eighth Year: 6’8″ 225 lbs Small Forward, Depaul (Benton Harbor High School) Denver Nuggets

JaVale McGee Seventh Year: 7’0″ 270 lbs Center, Nevada, (From Flint) Denver Nuggets

Jason Richardson Thirteenth Year: 6’6″ 225 lbs Shooting Guard, Michigan State, (Saginaw Arthur Hill High School) Philadelphia 76ers

Luster’s Turn to Shine for Consortium

24 Oct

-61f8fb0343b575c8-sized (1)Detroit Consortium junior Luster Johnson stood breathless at the Breslin Center last March.  His Consortium Cougars had just captured the Class C state championship.

“It was a very big moment being that it was our first ever school championship,” Johnson said.  “And knowing Consortium’s history of having so many good teams and players.”

Although the Cougars will enter the new season eager to defend their hardware, the task became increasingly difficult compared to last season over the Summer. Gone from a year ago is Josh Jackson, the consenus number one national recruit in the country’s 2016 class.  Jackson decided to finish his remaining two years of eligibility at Prolific Prep in California. The 6’7″ swing-man averaged 28 points, 15 rebounds, and six assists per game for Consortium.

“We are family,” noted Johnson.  “And he was always on me, in school or out on the court.  I was forced to play defense on him in most of the practices.”

“But that’s what made me better, and I can say that also made him better.”

Along with having played alongside Jackson during the school year, Johnson also had the opportunity to play travel basketball on Josh’s AAU team, Under Armour 1Nation.  Despite the two playing in separate age groups, Johnson was able to challenge himself in the 16u division against quality competition and better his game on a weekly basis.  A 6’2″ scoring combo guard, Johnson said he improved his perimeter shooting over the off-season, developing various ways to attack the basket, and becoming an impact defender, while adding collegiate interest from U of D Mercy, Florida A&M, and Youngstown State.  Luster notes he learned the high school game after another successful Consortium guard, Travon Baker, an All-State graduate of 2012, who accepted a scholarship to Northern Illinois to further his basketball career.

The base of the Consortium program is built around family.  When Coach Al Anderson tragically passed away in the winter of 2013, it only brought the Cougar community closer.  Last year’s team embodied the term family, two-three seniors routinely started every game and while others played their own unique individuals roles in path to winning the championship.  This upcoming campaign is significant on many levels.  First, Consortium moves from Class C to Class B, and second, only two returning starter come back from last season.  Luster acknowledges Jackson at times during the year made it easier on his teammates to succeed, but Consortium was a collective unit.  According to Johnson, the absence of Josh only gives Consortium added drive to outwork their opponents just a little bit more.

“People don’t think we have a chance cause we lost Josh,” Johnson remarked. “But they don’t know that the two games we played without him, we won by 30.”

“So they better not rest on us this year.”

Johnson undoubtedly enters his junior year as the leader of the team, as he averaged 12 points, and four assists and steals each game last year, even earning his way into the starting lineup for a majority of the season. Luster, or Pookie as he is referred to, still believes his team can reach their championship aspirations this upcoming season.  He wants to lead by example this year, he stated he got into the off-season condition program more this Summer than he had in years past, and developed a higher IQ for the game.  But still something else fuels Luster’s drive to achieve.  When Consortium won the crown, Luster said he was the first to do something big in his family.  This season, however, Luster and his Consortium Cougars will take a different path to success, one of perseverance, confidence, and most importantly, a sense of togetherness.

“Everyone plays a role in the CCP (Consortium) roster,” Lusted said.  “It will be a challenge, we just have to come together as team, we are just waiting our turn to have a chance to prove ourselves.




2014 Michigan Playmakers College Showcase

22 Oct

Unsigned senior showcases get off to a quick start this year, with the 2014 Michigan Playmakers College Showcase.

On Sunday November 2nd, coaches from division III, NAIA, prep schools, and junior colleges will be in attendance at Beechwood Recreation Center in Southfield, Michigan from 3-6 PM.

The Michigan Playmakers are a travel club basketball team located in the greater Metro-Detroit area.  With teams from middle school through high school, the Playmakers competed in various tournaments across the the midwest this past Spring and Summer.

Participants in the showcase will be be instructed through various drills, and compete in team scrimmages.

For more information, contact Coach Wendell Green at 248-688-2998 or

Space is limited, and participants must be registered by October 30th.

Beechwood Recreation is located on 22200 Beech Rd, off of 9 mile Rd.


Kris Clyburn Just Settling In At Notre Dame Prep

20 Oct

7c4ee686c5b4059c14118f7db8a3570e_lKris Clyburn, a 2014 graduate of Romulus High School, has only been on the campus of Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Massachusetts for a little more than two months.  However, through open gyms, scrimmages, and workouts, Clyburn has accumulated two division one offers, one from Buffalo, the other from Fairfied.

The Buffalo scholarship offer is unique to Clyburn.  Bulls assistant coach Nate Oats was Clyburn’s head coach at Romulus for Kris’ sophomore and junior seasons.

“We are pretty close,” Clyburn had to say about Coach Oats, “he’s a good guy and coach, it feels good to have that offer because I know for sure that I can go there and have someone that will take care of me.”

“It feels good to have any offer really, I’m just blessed to have the opportunity to receive division one offers.”

Kris had multiple collegiate offers in high school, but when he decided to attend a prep school for a year, many went off the table.  Notre Dame prep has a reputation as one of the premier post-graduate basketball programs across the country, with distinguished NBA caliber alumni such as Michael Beasley and Ryan Gomes.  Given the prestige of the school, Clyburn has worked endlessly this fall to improve on his individual game.  He notes he has been increasing in strength, improving upon his ball handling, and becoming craftier around the rim to go along with his strength of perimeter shooting.  All of which will aid in Clyburn fulfilling his goals for the upcoming campaign.

“My goals are to win a championship,” said Clyburn, “and I plan on pulling in more division one offers.


Michigan Class of 2013 Receiving NBA Caliber Recognition

17 Oct

matthewsIn Michigan’s class of 2013, more than twenty players committed to division one schools.  With just one year of college on their resume, a few have appealed to become very promising NBA prospects in the future.

According to, three members of the class of 2013 are ranked top 50 sophomores for the national class of 2017.  Rhode Island’s EC Matthews, Iowa State’s Monte Morris, and Michigan’s Derek Walton.

The highest was EC Matthews at number 7, a 6’5″ 190 pound combo guard.  In his freshman season, EC averaged 14 points, and four rebounds a game for the Rams while playing more than 30 minutes each contest.  Matthews guided Romulus High School to the 2013 Class A state as a senior.


Coming in at 30, was Michigan’s Derrick Walton Jr.  Walton started 36 of the 37 games for the Wolverines his freshman campaign, averaging 7.9 points a game, and three rebounds and assists as well.  Walton attended Chandler Park Academy for high school and played under his 20131203_Derrick_Walton_shoots_against_Jabari_Parkerdad.  A four year varsity participant, Walton received the Michigan Gatorade National Player of the year award his senior season, where he averaged  26 points, seven points and steals a contest.

Number 45 on the list is Monte Morris.  Morris played in all 36 games for the Big 12 champions Iowa State, starting the last 17 contests.  Morris averaged seven points, three rebounds a game his freshman season, and broke the record with 4.79 assist to turnover ratio.  Morris came to Iowa State after a successful prep career at Flint Beecher, capturing two consecutive Class C titles his junior and senior campaigns, culminating with the state’s Mr. Basketball Award his senior season.





8030804For a complete list of the t0p 50 sophomores in NCAA division one basketball, please click here

Allen Academy’s Danny Pippen and Jason Williams are “Detroit’s Best Kept Secret”

14 Oct

IMG_0924-1Charter schools are abundant in Michigan, and particularly in the City of Detroit.    A charter school is an independently run public school given flexibility in its operations, in return accountability for performance. The “charter” is the contract detailing the school’s mission, programs, students served, performance goals, and methods of assessment.

Detroit Allen Academy is one of many charter schools located in Detroit.  The schools sits at the corner of Quincey and Blaine Street on the city’s east side.  A K-12 school, the Wildcats compete in Class C for athletics with an enrollment just barely over 250 in the high school.

Craig Covington Junior is entering his second season as the head coach at Allen Academy.   After coaching for 20+ years out of state, Coach Covington inherited a 13-8 squad, and upped their win total total nine games to 22, as well as capturing a district championship, and a spot in a regional final.

Finding talent in Detroit can be difficult.  Established basketball programs like Pershing, Cass Tech, and Renaissance routinely receive the cities coveted talent pool, leaving it hard for Allen Academy to form an identity athletically.  However, Allen is unique because they are K-12, and start basketball in the elementary school.

“Any time you are the small fish in the big pond,” Covington notes, “it is going to be difficult.  But at Allen Academy a K-12 school with basketball starting with 3rd grade, it’s kind of fun watching your players develop through the elementary and middle school years.”

dannyThen the hard part comes, convincing the athletes to stay for high school.  Family is just as much a part of the Wildcat program as any drill, or offensive play they run.  Covington learned how to develop relationships with his players by watching his father, Craig Covington Senior, who is now the head man at Detroit’s Marygrove College, growing up.  And while Covington values his relationships with all players on his team, he has built a true bond with juniors Danny Pippen, and Jason Williams.

Pippen and Williams have known each other well before high school started, they met one another at a neighborhood Boys and Girls Club.  Jason said he came to Allen Academy to play with his older cousin, Pakiya Ellis, now at Ferris State, while Danny came for the experience of a smaller school with the opportunity to play right away.  After their freshman seasons, Coach Covington was hired.  Danny decided to stay, but it took some consideration on Jason’s part not to transfer.  Coach and player relationships, especially in the early stages, are going to be difficult, full of misunderstandings.  Relationships grow and Danny, Jason, and Coach Covington, have all genuinely developed a relationship that extends deeper than basketball.

“In this year,” Covington says, “I believe I have become very close with both Danny and Jason.  Not just as a player/coach but as a young man/older man.  I believe they understand that there isn’t much I wouldn’t do for them or any other player in the program for them to become successful.”

The relationship can be seen in the results on the court.  At 5’10” Jason has developed into an elite scoring option as a combo guard with college interest, while Danny has already received collegiate offers.  At 6’7″ Pippen streches the floor with his perimeter skills, and is a dangerous weapon when he combines an inside presence with three-point range.    Danny and Jason could easily be complaisant given their basketball gifts, however both acknowledge Coach Covington’s commitment to strive beyond average, but to be excellent, and to appreciate the mentality of hard work.

“Coach Covington has pushed me to limits I have never been pushed to before,” Danny notes.  While Jason added he has improved on defense, and becoming vocal leader for the team.

Covington speaks highly of his players athletic skills, but even higher does he speaks of his players off the court characteristics.  He called Danny and Jason “Detroit’s Best Kept Secret” because he admires how they carry themselves as young men within the school, classroom, community, and on the team.  Class C schools draw minimal interests from the media, college coaches, and hoop fans.  Danny and Jason embrace the title their coach has given them, it only gives the duo a greater amount of motivation to compete in Michigan’s most populated city as the proverbial “underdog.”

“I think it means we are the best many people don’t know about,” Jason chimed in, “and it’s time for us to put Allen Academy on in Detroit, as well as the State of Michigan basketball scene.”

Gone from a year ago is Pakiya Ellis, a guard who scored over 1,000 point in his high school career, and later went onto commit to Ferris State.  Allen Academy is among the pre-season favorites to capture Class C this season.  Danny and Jason will be counted upon heavily if the Wildcats are going to march to the Breslin Center this Winter.  Chemistry goes a long way in developing a winning basketball team, and despite the loss of a leader Ellis was, Pippen and Williams are confident the bond they have built with each other, and Coach Covington, separates them from any opposition they will face both on the hardwood this season, and in the endeavors life has to offer them.

“We have great chemistry…,” Danny added, “even though sometimes we (Jason and Coach Covington) don’t see eye to eye, but we both have a passion to win. We understand how each other plays and we will be able to rely on one another during the rough times because we have been together so long.”







Owens Community College Midwest JuCo Jamboree Recap

13 Oct

OCC136ElectricE divideThe second annual Owens Community College Jamboree is one of the premier exposure opportunities in the midwest for JUCO talent.  Teams from Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Pennsylvania were all in attendance, and made for a great day of college hoops.

Tre’Vion Crews 6’1″ Point Guard Jackson College

Crews set the tempo all day long for Jackson.  He is a unique combination of size, speed, and athleticism at the guard position.  Crews can run the show when needed, with a strong handle, court vision, passing ability and quickness to attack the lane and find teammates.  However, he can score as well, finishing around the basket, and hit a few mid-range and three pointers on the day.  Tre’Vion was also very active on the defensive end, he anticipated passes well leading to easy scoring opportunities for Jackson on the break, and also applied good on-ball pressure on opponents.

Schoolcraft Loaded With Talent

It was a tough day for Schoolcraft, going 1-2 on the day, which is expected of a team only being together for roughly a few months.  However, the Ocelots showed flashes at times of a promising future.  The man who caught the attention of all the collegiate coaches in attendance was Oak Park 2014 graduate Ja’Christian Biles.  At 6’1″ Biles is an electric above the rim finisher who brought down several high-flying dunks on the day.  A high-volume perimeter scorer, Biles will pair nicely with 6’2″ sophomore guard Lorenzo Collier, Collier hit a few threes on the day, and should develop into a solid scorer as the season progresses.

Up front for Schoolcraft, 6’8″ forward Anthony Wartley-Fritz was a pleasant surprise.  Big Wart looked more comfortable and in control with his back to the basket on the low block, with improved footwork for the 2014 Taylor Truman Cougar.  He’s isn’t going to jump out of the gym, but the athleticism of the team up front will be left up to 6’8″ +s Kaion Seales and James Pruitt, the three are still building rebounding and defensively chemistry, but will be tough to handle the day they figure it out.

Owens Express Talented Again

The host school did not disappoint with three solid performances on the day.  At times, Owens looked like they could challenge a quality D2 program at the very least.  5’7″ sophomore point guard Shaakir Lindsay is hard to find on the court, he’s a pass first point guard combined with a speedy handle that can spot teammates in drive and dish situations.  6’4″ wing guard John Murray complements Lindsay as a reliable go to scorer with playmaking ability on the perimeter.  His length, and size make Murray a potentially promising 1-on-1 defender.

Down low for Owens, the Express have 6’7″ forward Kenny Jones.  Jones is stuck in the proverbial “tweener” category.  Regardless, few at the Jamboree produced better than Jones in the paint.  Kenny was able to rebound against taller and stronger opponents, challenge shots, run the floor and push the ball up the court like the guard, and throw down some wicked dunks.  Jones was tracked by a multitude of coaches on the day’s action.

Delta College a Sleeper in Michigan

First year head coach Kyle Blackbourn has made upgrades to the Pioneers program.  Delta played with a chip on their shoulder the whole day, playing stifling defense, getting on the floor for balls, and feeding off of each teammate’s individual performances leading to a 3-0 performance at the Jamboree.  Delta is solid all around the court.  6’1″ freshman Markel Bradshaw comes from a winning high school program in Saginaw High, so it’s almost a given Bradshaw is going to play with passion and confidence any time he’s running point guard for Delta.  6’2″ off-guard Julian Henderson gives Delta a perimeter scorer with slashing potential, Justin Person can handle the ball a bit, but hit some threes off the bounce on the day.  6’7″ sophomore Chris Chrzan gives the Pioneers a stretch-four potential, 6’5″ Travon Cotton brings toughness as an undersized power forward, and 6’1″ Davian Phillips and 6’5″ Gabe Blalock gave Delta quality minutes off the bench.  If Delta continues to improve in the pre-season, the Pioneers are interesting contenders in the MCCAA conference this season.

West Bloomfield’s Zach Allread Commits to Northwood

12 Oct


West Bloomfield 6’7″ senior Zach Allread was perhaps one of the best forwards in Michigan who received the least amount of attention.  Allread had only three scholarship offers before deciding on committing to the Timberwolves of Northwood University in Midland, Michigan.

How does it feel to commit to Northwood?

It’s an amazing feeling, feels like all of my hard work to get to this point has finally paid off.

What was Northwood’s reaction when they heard you committed?

They were happy and excited I chose Northwood.

You committed shortly after visiting the campus, what was that experience like?

The campus is in a perfect location that my family can come watch me play and they have a great atmosphere there, perfect fit.

How do you see your play style fitting into Northwood’s system? How do they plan to use you?

They have talked a lot about me coming in and playing a stretch 4 for them because I have the ability to shoot 3s but also can get to the basket.

Are there any other commits in the class of 2015? If so, do you know any of them. If not do you know any players already on the roster?

I don’t know if there are any other commits I don’t think there are.  But I didn’t know any players but met a couple on the visit.

What were some other schools looking at you and what was different about Northwood?

I had offers from Malone and Madonna and I was talking to Depauw and had a recent workout with U of D Mercy who showed interest.  Northwood has a great business school and the atmosphere at the school really caught my eye and I loved it.  And obviously the coaches and players were great and they have been successful the last couple years

And what are you expectations for this upcoming season, what role will you have on this team and how good can West Bloomfield be?

Expectations are high, I will be a 3 or a stretch 4 primarily. The goal is to bring back some hardware and no reason we can’t do it. We have goo leadership and talent from Trishton Jackson and Michael King and have a trio of talented sophomores that will play a big role.

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