Pre-season Statewide Rankings (20-16)

6 Dec

The countdown to the state’s best team continues.  

20. River Rouge (Class B)- After years as an assistant coach in the college ranks, LaMonta Stone returns to River Rouge for the 2014-2015 season.  As the head man for the Panthers in 1999, Stone won the  Class B state championship.  Coach Stone brings with him to River Rouge son LaMonta III, who was regarded as one of Ohio’s best guards in the upcoming senior class.  At 5’10” LaMonta III will pair with 6’7″ Jalin Gibson, a bouncy, athletic hidden gem to give the Panthers a solid inside-outside presence.  If the Panthers are going to make a deep run this season, then senior guards Amir Poole, Tracy Freeman, and Mateeya Jones will have to make contributions as well to go along with 6’5″ junior forward Javon Lawrence, who will be eligible in January.  Rouge will be tested this season, with games scheduled against Muskegon, Consortium, Romulus, Flint Beecher and Allen Academy.

19. Belleville (Class A)- Head coach Adam Trumpour made great strides for the Belleville Tigers program his first year on the sidelines, from 7-13 in 2012-13, to 14-7 a year ago.  The Tigers will be led by 6’3″ junior guard Mike Bruce, a do it all point guard in Michigan’s class of 2016.  Aiding Bruce in the backcourt, will be 6’0″ freshman Davian Williams.  Williams made a name for himself in the Summer AAU circuit playing up an age division.  Davian is extremely athletic, and has improved tremendously his perimeter jump shot when he’s not attacking the basket, and has the skills to become a promising defender.  6’5″ Arlington Hambright, also a standout on the football team, will give the Tigers a aggressive/physical inside-presence.

18. Flint Beecher (Class C)- The Bucs followed a 2012-2013 state championship with a 22-4 overall record and trip to the state quarterfinals.  After their first seasons on varsity a year ago, standout sophomores Malik Ellison and Levane Blake will be only more experienced and hungry to carry on the pride and prestige the Flint Beecher program carries.  Ellison is a 5’7″ quick and elusive lead guard that excels in the open floor.  While the 6’7″ athletic, high-motored Blake and his wide wing span allow him to control the paint, with rebounds and blocks.  Not to be outdone is 6’4″ forward Aquavis Burks, a junior that has been on varsity since he was a freshman.  Burks and his defensive lineman built frame is a defensive anchor for Coach Mike Williams, who is never low on hustle and energy.

17. Detroit Allen Academy (Class C)- Coach Craig Covington will look to build after an impressive first season at Allen Academy, the Wildcats went 20-3, which included a district championship.  Allen will be led by juniors Danny Pippen and Jason Williams, the only two returning starters from a year ago.  Pippen is a 6’7″ size 20 shoe wearing stretch four-forward that can hurt opponents just as much on the perimeter as in the paint.  Williams is an attacking scoring guard that will handle most of the point guard duties as well.  Allen also adds quality sophomore guards Drequan Bell and Juwan Snoody to the program, who could be the missing pieces of a championship team once eligible after a few games.

16. Detroit Renaissance (Class A)- Another second year head coach, Venias Jordan Jr. enters the upcoming season with arguably the best scorer in Michigan, Justin Turner.  The 6’2″ Turner is a dynamic offensive threat that can fill up the bucket from anywhere on the court.  Turner is not the only member of a strong Phoenix junior class.  As 5’10” guard Richard Talley is a quick and aggressive on-ball defender who will produce a plethora of takeaways this season, and 6’6″ Alaric Jackson will see his first full season of high school basketball to go along with 6’6″ fellow lane-clogger Mike Jacobs.  Detroit Community transfer 5’10” senior point guard Darryl Smith will add depth off the bench, while 6’4″ sophomore guard LaRonde Lucas and 6’5″ freshman forward Jalen Tobias could be the breakout underclassmen the Phoenix need to make a run at Class A.

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