Archive | June, 2015

Mumford Senior Takes Unique Route To Basketball Success

29 Jun

IMG_0822It’s not too often a high school basketball player’s first organized competition is at the varsity level.

Nor is it too often the case a player on their first year of varsity averages double-figures in scoring while dishing five assists per-game.

Detroit Mumford senior guard Dwight Burton is no ordinary player.

In the ever-expanding basketball world of placing the nation’s youth into leagues before the start of elementary school, Burton never did experience those luxuries.  He never played “house” basketball, or traveled as a member of an AAU team until sophomore year.  So which begs the question, what was Burton doing before that caused him to become so good?

“Nothing really,” says Burton.  “Just playing with my brothers and a Fisher Price rim my mom bought me.  I used to act like I was in the NBA.  But that’s really it until my tenth grade year.”

From his youth, Dwight wanted to be a member of a basketball team, growing up with brothers who played at the high school level.  Dwight envisioned himself one day forging a path of his own in the game of basketball, but was hesitant on where to start.

While playing in a mere pick-up game with friends at a Church event, an AAU coach noticed a special set of abilities which separated Dwight from his peers, and wanted him to play organized basketball for the first time in his life.

IMG_0823From then on, Burton was a member of the Michigan Hurricanes, who in the last 20 years have been one of the select youth traveling programs in Michigan.  Burton was in the ninth grade at the time, and played 15u.  He notes his first two games on the circuit were particularly rough, even causing him to question was basketball really a career he wanted to pursue.

“I played terrible, I played nervous my first two organized games, but after that third game is when everything started picking up,” said Burton.

“I had a talk with my mom, she told me it’s time to eat son.  ‘You said you were ready to play with the big boys.  I know you can play with them it’s just you have to know that.'”

Dwight listened.  Burton stood out, his team won games, and competed for tournament championships, life was good.  Because of his stellar play on the circuit, the Hurricane 16u coach at the time, Ray Reeves, grew akin to Burton’s game.  Reeves, well-respected in the Detroit prep basketball community with successful stints at Finney and Community, had just accepted the position as the head coach at Mumford High School.  Coach Reeves believed Burton was the ideal center piece he could use to rebuild an ailing Mustang program.  Another stepping-point in Burton’s young career had commenced, transferring from a small charter school on the eastside to a school across the city.

Burton admits he shed tears following his first varsity game at Mumford because of poor play.  But as the season developed, he slowly started to gain confidence.  He became a valued member of a Mustang team which doubled their win total from a season earlier, six to 12, while averaging 15 points and five assists in the process.  All as the lone sophomore on varsity.

Burton followed his stellar 10th grade year with an even more impressive junior campaign.  22 overall points and seven assists, all with no recognition about post-season awards.

“(It) pushes me a lot,” said Burton.  “Even though there are players that get more exposure than me, I have to work hard everyday.  If I don’t work on and off the court, I’m not going to be able to when when the lights are on a and it’s game time.  I have to outwork them.”

He no longer competes with the Hurricanes for AAU, but is in his first year as a Michigan Playmaker.  Burton was a late addition to an already talented Playmaker roster, but his presence has lifted the team to another level.  In his first tournament, the Playmakers won the championship, undefeated with a 6-0 overall record.  Dwight averaged double-figures in each game.  Then in his second tournament, Burton proved himself as one of premier guards in all of Michigan.  In victories against 1Nation, Detroit Showtime, and Grand Rapids Storm, all teams with more highly-touted guards, Burton more than held his own, averaging double-digits repeatedly.  In the last major event of the Spring circuit, Dwight saved the best for last.  6-1 record at the Chicago Classic, silver division champions, and 25 points in the championship game.

Still Burton has found limited collegiate interest, despite holding a reported 3.4 GPA his previous card-marking.  Dwight vows to make the most of his final month of AAU in July, which college coaches may view with intentions of recruiting players.  With tournaments scheduled in Grand Rapids, Cincinnati, and possibly Las Vegas, Dwight will soon recognize how far he’s come in so little amount of time, in life and basketball.

“That God is good, I came from not being known to now making a name for myself,” said Burton.  “If you work hard at something you love it will pay out in the end.”









East English’s Chris Rollins Commits To IPFW

29 Jun

DSC_00171Like coaches, point guards will be critiqued by wins and losses.  East English Village senior Chris Rollins is a winner.

Whether it be as a sophomore starter for Warren De La Salle, a junior transfer at EEVP, or through a successful travel ball career, Rollins will come out on top more times than not.

Now Rollins envisions winning games on the collegiate level, which will be as a Mastadon for Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), despite not knowing the clear origin of the school’s mascot.

“I think it’s an extinct form of an elephant, and I know it’s symbolic of the State of Michigan.”

IPFW was the first school to extend interest towards Rollins during his recruiting process.  Chris displayed great loyalty to the Mastadon program committing before the July live evaluation period, with the possibility of receiving additional collegiate scholarships from other institutions.

“The school, and players, and coaches are really showing a lot of love (towards me),” Rollins said of his recruitment.  “Which is a major reason why I chose IPFW.”

Central Michigan, Western Michigan, and Northern Illinois were other suitors for Rollins’ services.  Chris is a mere 5’11,” not an ideal size for a division I caliber point guard.  However, Rollins compensates size for IQ, agility, speed, and instincts all lead guards must have.

“I feel as if I’m the most complete guard in the (Michigan’s 2016) class,” said Rollins.  “I think my game will translate well due to my quickness, and ability to score and make my teammates better.”

Before he can reach Fort Wayne, Rollins has unfinished business to settle in Michigan.  East English Village will be in their fourth year of existence his senior season, and the trophy cases are awfully empty.  Chris and four out of five returning starters plan on resolving that issue as the Bulldogs enter the 2015-2016 campaign a pre-season top ranked team.

“To be honest the goal for this season is to be a great team and ultimately win both city and states, and punish every team in our way.”




U of D Mercy Elite Camp

25 Jun

Five players that stood out at the U of D Mercy Elite Camp.

Davion Williams 6’2″ 2018 guard Belleville- Davion has gone from simply a freak athlete into a polished and division one caliber two guard.  His jump shot is the most improved aspect of his game, hitting from 18-20 feet, and looks good doing so.  Uses hops to rebound ball at the highest point when down-low, can push the ball on the break, and looks to dunk everything in transition.  Patience on the offensive floor has also improved as well, no longer forcing ill-advised shots.  Uses strength and aggressiveness on defense.  Can defend both guard positions.

LaTravion Jackson 6’6″ 2018 wing Ypsilanti Lincoln-  Each year, there is a player who makes his mark at the U of D Team Camp who was relatively unknown before, that was Tray this year.  Jackson Played J.V. for Lincoln this past year, and perhaps could’ve aided the Rail Splitters in having a better year than they had.  Jackson concluded the camp with the most three-pointers made, with his length, and release points, it’s nearly impossible to challenge a Jackson shot.  His defense led to offense, he blocked shots down-low, pushed the ball up the court, and overall has a nice feel for the game with ability to create own shots.  High ceiling as body fills out.  Will compete with Michigan Mustangs-Haney 15u in July.

Malik Ellison 5’9″ 2017 point guard Flint Beecher- Ellison is tough as nails.  A true pesk as on on-ball defender in both the half-court and for opponents bringing the ball-up.  Pass first by nature, but showed he can hit the three-ball here or there.

Miguel Priest 6’5″ 2016 wing Legacy Charter (SC)- Priest was debatably the best rising senior in the entire camp.  He played football earlier in high school, and his physique and aggressiveness are aspects he’s carried over from the gridiron.  When he rebounded the ball, he became a one man fast break, pushing the ball up the court with his left-hand, and attacking in transition/semi-transition.  His three-point shot is a wild-card in Preist’s game, but seemed to have it going on the day.  Priest is worth a look to mid-major/low-major division one schools because of his production as an inside-outside presence.

Javon Lawrence 6’7″ 2016 forward River Rouge- Lawrence has long had the physical tools to become a quality big man in 2016.  Long, athletic, and mobile.  Javon simply needs to find a spark that will allow him see how good of a play he can become.  U of D Mercy was a good place to start for Lawrence.  He did a solid job rebounding on defense in his zone, challenging shots, and even stepped out and hit a few mid-range jump shots from the elbow.  Not a true back to the basket type player, but in the future can become a mismatch problem due to a solid left hand.

U of D Mercy Shootout Day Two Thoughts

24 Jun

Day two of the U of D Mercy Titan Shootout.  AM champions Rochester Adams.  PM Champions Detroit Renaissance.

AM Session

Spencer Littleson 6’3″ 2016 point guard Rochester Adams- There was no more fundamentally sound guard than Littleson on the day.  Spencer has a full arsenal of moves to get open for what he does best, shoot.  Step-backs, spins, cross-overs, he will get a shot off.  But than opponents have to know where he’s at when he doesn’t. He flashes hard to get open and uses screens well.  His motor never runs low, and was 5-8 from the three-point line in the championship game.  Knows when to score and when to distribute.  For sure division one lock at this point.

Walter Kelser 6’0″ 2016  point guard Walled Lake Central- If Kelser was three to five inches taller, there would be a debate to who the top five in Michigan is.  When he has the ball, he looks to score.  His go-to move is the left-to-right crossover, get in the lane, and then use strength to absorb contact, stay in the air, and then finish.  Decent perimeter shooter off the bounce.  If a college needs a point guard that is going to put up 25-30 points a night, then this is your player.

Isaiah Lewis 5’7″ 2019 point guard Wayne Memorial- Lewis is thin, and might be invisible if he turns sideways.  But then watch him shoot.  No lie, Lewis went at least 7-7 to start the game against Wayne Memorial, five or so threes, and a couple of mid-range pull-ups.  With form, and confidence to continually shoot, it doesn’t appear as if this was an aberration for Isaiah.  Lewis is pass-first, but opponents cannot go underneath screens on him, he will make them pay.

David Rinke 6’7″ 2016 forward Rochester Adams- Rinke is a nice man to have in the lane for a very perimeter oriented team in Adams.  And interestingly, the Highlanders’ shooting has seemed to have spread to David, who stepped out a few times to make a jumper.  Not as much a threat offensively on the block, but on an occasion sealed his man well for an entry pass for a lay-up with proper footwork and positioning.  Plays with a workman like attitude, and rebounds well in his area.  NAIA/D3 skill-set.

Keep an eye out for:

Anton Lucaj 6’4″ 2016 wing Walled Lake Central

Kajuan Graham 6’1″ 2016 point guard Bloomfield Hills

PM Session

Terrance Sewell 6’2″ 2016 combo guard Detroit Northwestern- Sewell is the closest thing Michigan has to a Dwayne Wade, everything is to the basket, and he doesn’t have to be ball-dominant to do so.  Sewell sits on the wing, watches the defense, gets the ball, then takes-off.  With his body-control in the lane and ability to finish with either hand, Sewell made a living at the free-throw line.  Another aspect of Sewell’s game that stood out was him knocking in a few threes in the corner off passes, it’s long been a part Terrance has been working on his game.  Sewell will put his new jump shot on display in July to solidify himself as a division one prospect.

Jamal Cain 6’6″ 2017 wing Cornerstone- Cain will be high-major once his prep career concludes.  It is very hard to guard Jamal at the high school level.  Athleticism check, length check, versatility check.  At his best, there is no way to stop him.  If he’s not dominating the paint for put-backs and dunks than he’ll rain threes on you.  Cain is not a pure wing yet, there are still areas to grow for him such as ball-handling and slashing ability.  But how can you not think a kid named Cain will be good?

Mark Watts 5’10” 2019 point guard Mark Watts- If the words freshman were next to Watts’ name, it would be hard to tell he is a freshman.  He even plays up a level on Reach’s 15u squad.  Watts has the even-toed demeanor and poise of a future star in the making.  Mark is a pure point guard, he lets the game come to him.  Looks to set others up before himself, and is also a rare guard who feeds post-teammates.  This year he will play more off-the-ball due to various senior ball-handlers on the team, which should help learn newer aspects of the game by the time he gets the ball in his hand full-time.

Chris Rollins 5’11” 2016 point guard East English Village- Rollins competed with a killer instinct.  I’m going to score and you can’t stop me.  Mid-range pull-ups, and driving to the basket.  But what was surprising to see was how well Rollins communicated with teammates on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.  Setting his players up for in-bounds plays, presses, and defensive-sets.  Rollins has long been on the border for D1/D2 material and July for Showtime will be telling.

Drequan Bell 6’3″ 2017 shooting guard Allen Academy- Bell can get into a zone.  With his herky-jerky form and range, Drequan can launch threes in bunches.  Stuck in the middle of pure shooting guard and college wing.  Consistency is the only thing obstacle holding Bell from becoming a monster.

Calvin Blaydes 6’5″ 2016 forward Belleville-  Blaydes has only played high school basketball for less than two years, and the next two years can be even brighter.  Naturally athletic with long-arms but undeveloped frame and coordination, Calvin cleaned up both glasses and even went toe-to-toe with the larger, sought after Cornerstone forward Jamal Cain.  Blaydes is a project moving forward, but with the proper polishing and attention there is no reason to think he won’t continue his career for four more years somewhere.

Kylan Shipp 5’8″ 2017 guard Detroit Northwestern- Under 6’0″ guards better be scrappy, and Kylan is that.  He’s tough, strong, and never backs down.  Was a key cog for the Colts reaching the semi-finals with a surprising win against a loaded Kalamazoo Central squad.  Many points came in transition off drives to the basket.  Not a pure point guard at this point in the half-court set, but has some weapons to work with now the before mentioned Terrance Sewell and 6’6″ Detroit Central forward transfer Darius Lynum.

Greg Elliott 6’3″ 2017 wing East English Village- Elliot’s position has long been up for discussion.  A point guard, shooting guard or wing?  For Tuesday, he was a wing.  With freakish long arms, Elliott may grow even more.  He is the type of guard schools that play zone would love to have.   Got out in transition and used that length to finish at the rim.


U of D Mercy Team Shootout Day One Thoughts

23 Jun

Only day one of action, Toledo Whitmer won the AM session, while Lake Shore captured the PM session.

AM Session

Travez Nyx 6’3″ 2017 wing Detroit Consortium- Nyx played sparingly during the regular season, however, is starting to get a greater amount of quality burn.  With his height, and long arms, Nyx is a threat to opponents because he can disrupt passes.  As the day went on, his confidence grew and grew.  Travez made multiple slashes to the basket in transition finishing with his left hand.  Not an exceptional athlete, Nyx did not score much in the half-court, but found success in finding teammates.  He whipped in beautiful interior passes to the paint and placed his players in a position to score.  Travez’s collegiate level will be determined by his capacity to improve athleticism, footwork, individual offense, and perimeter jump shot.

Jaylon Moore 6’6″ 2016 forward Detroit Consortium- Moore looked as though he wishes to play both football and basketball next year at Western Michigan.  Moore has added an extra bounce in his step compared to the regular season.  Jaylon moves bodies while positioning himself in the interior, and had a lot of second-chance opportunities due to him doing work early on the boards.

Tyler Gillery 6’5″ 2017 wing Warren Mott- Just laying eyes on Gillery, there is massive amounts of potential.  Has the traditional size and body frame all division one wings must have with clear room for growth.  Far from a finished product, Gillery showed he can put the ball on the floor, and attack opponents off the dribble, even threw in a nice pump-fake here and there.  A decent vertical athlete, Tyler’s ceiling will depend on how much he wishes to assert himself, offensively or defensively.  There is too much talent not to be used.

Tariq Derrickson 5’11” 2017 point guard Notre Dame Prep- Granted NDP found little success in capturing victories on the day, little of the blame can be placed on Derrickson.  If NDP made at least half of the baskets off Derrickson’s passes, there might’ve been a different ending.  Whether in the half-court or transition, teammates better have their head up with Derrickson, because he will find you.  A crafty lefty ball-handler, Tariq can run pick-and-roll, or create separation for his own jump shot.

Pierre Mitchell 5’9″ 2018 point guard Detroit Loyola- Another member of Michigan’s celebrated 2018 guard class, PJ did not disappoint on the day as well.  Probably the leader in assists on day one.  He’s immensely quick with the ball, and so are his passes to either the perimeter or interior.  Mixed in a three here or there just for good measure.

Dequan Powell 5’11” 2016 combo guard Detroit Loyola- Sure he might be sub six-foot, but look at his rebounding numbers.  Dequan crashes the glass as if he was a seven-footer.  Defenders must box-out because of his ability to seemingly come from no where at get a board.  Overall, he’s one of the best at transitioning from defense to offense.  He’ll get a steal one minute, then rain a three.  A developed shooter that can come off screens in the mid-range, Dequan has even stretched his range to the three.  However, his bread and butter has always been defensively.

Andy Milikan 5’11” 2018 shooting guard Walled Lake Northern- Perhaps to best three-point shooter on the morning session, with deep range, ideal form, arch, and release.  However, he’s not just a shooter.  He’ll put the ball on the floor, observe what’s going on, then make a decision to either shoot or pass.  Moves well to get open without the ball.  Rebounds decently for a guard

PM Session

Dave Hearns 6’0″ 2018 combo guard Hazel Park- One of two sophomore Viking guards with division one potential, Dave is an efficient off-ball guard that is just as much a threat to score as he is to pass.  Gifted with stellar instincts, Dave is the type of player opponents must close out on properly, because he’ll slash to the basket and finish at the rim when the opportunity is present.  However, Hearns can recognize the open man if double-teamed.  Quality on-ball defender that will produce steals on occasion.

Jalen Tobias 6’5″ 2018 forward Detroit Renaissance- Tobias returns after an injury, placing him on the disabled list for over a month of AAU.  Jalen looks as quick, bouncy, and athletic before, maybe even more so.  His strength has been up to this point in his high school career rebounding, challenging shots, and finishing around the rim with either hand.  He will have to contribute in a half-court setting eventually.  Perhaps running an ideal pick-and-roll with fellow forward 6’7″ AJ Jackson is a solid place to start.

Antwan Johnson 6’5″ 2016 forward Detroit Henry Ford- Undersized for the position Ford plays him, power forward, but there was no one with a greater combination of athleticism and strength than Johnson.  A power glider that covers large amounts of ground when leaps, Antwan is a shot blocker and rebounder in and out of his area.  The issue with Johnson has always been what can he do in the half-court?  Well, he’s now starting to create his own offense.  He’s added a killer crossover that he displayed to create space at the top of the key and then get to the rim.  Three-point jump shot is improving as well.

James Towns 5’10” 2016 point guard Detroit Henry Ford- Towns already holds a U of D Mercy offer, and appears to be the Titan’s primary 2016 target at the point guard position.  James has take-over ability unmatched by others.  When he gets a head of steam going towards the basket, he’s most likely going to finish above with authority the rim despite his stature.  Has a good pass/shot ratio on the offensive end of the floor, can run a half-court offense and still be as effective compared to an up-tempo style of attack.  Three-pointers are going in with regularity now.  Defensively, Towns is a glove, with good footwork and body positioning.  Mid-major plus and high-major schools will regret not taking a look.

Phillip Curtis 6’5″ 2016 forward Lake Shore- Curtis is a grinder, what he lacks in skill he makes up for in heart.  He single-handedly carried Lake Shore against Cass Tech in the championship game.  Curtis was effective on the offensive glass.  Small schools will enjoy Phillip’s talents.

Ron Hill 5’10” 2018 point guard Pershing- By the time Hill is a senior, he will be the next Doughboy star.  Few young guards possess the intangibles nor play the game as pure as Hill does on both ends of the floor.  His physical maturation is the only obstacle to becoming a bonafide stud.


2015 Tom Izzo Shootout Recap

21 Jun

Each year, the Tom Izzo Shootout brings top teams from Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana.  Through two days of action, here are a few players that stood out.  Ypsilanti defeated Dublin Jerome (OH) for the final.  The final four consisted of Detroit East English, Skyline, Dublin, and Ypsi.

Jaren Jackson Jr. 6’8″ 2017 Foward Park Tudor (IN)- Jackson, the son of long time NBA journeyman Jaren Jackson Sr., was given the center stage of attention by the Michigan State coaching staff, tracked in almost every game Park Tudor competed in, including every game on Sunday.  Jackson has a soft touch with his back to the basket with either hand, particularly his right, if the shot was within five feet it was pretty automatic.  He deflected multiple shots from the weak-side on defense, and with his long arms rebounded at a high-rate.  He’s not a jump-out of the gym player, or possesses superior strength yet, but it doesn’t seem he has formed any bad habits as a young big man.  Jackson will certainly reel in more high-major offers in addition to the ones he already has.

Foster Loyer 5’10” 2018 Point Guard Clarkston-  The rising sophomore class is guard-heavy, and Loyer seems to be at the top.  Even with a drastic change of faces compared to three months ago, Foster still played his style of play.  Which is with great pace, toughness, and awareness.  He is a two-end competitor.  Loyer will set-up teammates before he does himself, but when he takes an open shot, book it.  Although the team graduates a multitude of seniors, Loyer is one member of dangerous trio, 6’4″ returning swingman Tabin Throgmorton, and 6’3″ wing 2017 transfer Dylan Alderson via Davison.

Darian Owens-White 5’11’ 2017 Point Guard River Rouge- Darian, son of legendary Renaissance head coach Mark White, has seemed to inherent a strong sense of understanding for the game.  Owens-White is a pass-first point guard by nature, however, was a one-man wrecking crew for Rouge all weekend long, more often than not serving as the team’s leading scorer, finishing one game with over 3/4s of Rouge’s points.  Darian is a plus mid-range shooter, creating space off the bounce with either hand through various crossovers and step-backs.  Not overly flashy or quick, he just knows how to play the game.  On defense he is rarely found out of place, nor does he gamble.  Owens-White also had the trait of leadership all point guards need, he is the perfect leader for a young Rouge team moving forward.

Ronquavious Southward 5’10” 2017 Point Guard Saginaw- Qua lives by the three, and for him his perimeter jump shot was falling much like it has been during the Spring AAU circuit.  Southward has a smooth, fluid, and consistent release when he pulls the trigger.  Many of which came off the bounce situations, either a high pick-and-roll or pull-ups.  However, Southward has improved vastly on becoming a playmaker for others.  With re-addition of 6’7″ Algevon Eichelberger to “The High” and burly 6’4″ 2017 forward Henry Speight via Carrollton, Ronquavious will have plenty of weapons at his disposal this upcoming season.

Josh Long 6’5″ 2017 Forward Detroit Western- The Cowboys lose a significant amount size from their state championship team, and Long will have to fill that void.  A true workhorse in the paint, Josh will be intriguing to college coaches because of his proven interior dominance, even against larger, sought after bigs.  Built like a wing who happens to play power forward, Long compensates with above the rim quick bounce athleticism.   Defensively coaches will not have fear if he has to switch on pick-and-rolls because he has the feet to stay in front of ball-handlers, and with his length Josh is still capable of defending low-post opponents, to go along with rebounding at the same time.  Not a pure back to the basket of game offensively, but completes entry passes with power around the rim.  Has the potential to perhaps even play some on the wing as he looks comfortable handling the ball on occasion.

Karmari Newman 6’3″ 2016 Combo Guard East English- Newman has received various mid-major offers in the past month, and might be on the verge of higher suitors in coming weeks.  He’s always been a volume knock-down shooter, the question was what’s after that?  In a few games, Karmari took the reigns as the primary ball-handler and decision maker, showing nice vision, and even whipped a few nice passes to interior teammates.  If he continues to display this versatility to his game, Newman might double his offer status by August.

Corey Allen 6’2″ 2016 shooting guard Ypsilanti- Allen already has the physique of a college level guard, now it’s time to put the pieces together.  Corey does not shy away from taking shots, he has great range on his jump shots, and has developed into a quality shooter.  But he’s also starting to become a three-level scorer, he has great body control when attacking the basket, particularly in transition, in addition to some elbow jumpers.

Ryan Stevens 6’2″ 2016 point guard Lowell- Matt Beachler isn’t the only shooter for Lowell, the quarterback for the Red Arrow football team is also dangerous from beyond the arch.  In one game, Lowell made 11 three-pointers, and four or so were from Stevens, including three in less than a minute.  Very good decision maker off the pick-and roll, will get the ball where it needs to be.  Competes with a swagger and edge on both ends.  Small school lock for sure.

Micah Rosser 6’2″ 2016 combo guard East Kentwood- Very smooth and athletic off-guard, excels either scoring or creating in the open court.  Still an overall work in progress on the offensive side of the floor, but did hit some spot-up three pointers.   As he adds strength, Rosser could develop into a lock-down dual-guard defender.

AJ Jackson 6’7″ 2016 forward Detroit Renaissance- AJ isn’t just a space eater, he has skill to his game.  A division one football recruit, Jackson has stellar hands, footwork, and is deceptively quick off the floor.  With his soft-touch up to the three-point line, Jackson stretches out other bigs which opens driving lanes for Renaissance’s guards.  Good passer from the low-post as well, challenges shots without fouling.  Dual-sport star in the future?

Brandon Wade 6’1″ 2018 point guard Ann Arbor Skyline- Brandon continues to sky as one of the top 2018 point guards in the state.  He has such a high IQ and feel for the game at such a young age.  He is the epitome of finding a pass to shot ratio all lead guards much have.  Plays with passion, and is starting to add strength, speed, and athleticism to his game.


6 Deep Elite Camp Recap. All-Elite Teams

8 Jun

The second annual 6 Deep Elite Camp was held at Kalamazoo College by John Curtis, the founder of

First off, a kind thanks to Mr. Curtis for his hospitality and all weekend long.  The entire event was organized and professional.  This camp can and should grow into a destination for players across the Midwest.

Now regarding basketball, the theme of the camp was young talent, particularly at the guard position.  Michigan’s future classes will have no shortage of guards from the Detroit to Grand Rapids

First Team:

Lamar Norman 6’1″ 2018 guard Wyoming Godwin Heights- Norman shared the overall MVP honor with Justin Ahrens.  Norman has the ability to take over the game anytime he wants to by scoring the ball.  Lamar scored a majority of his points in transition.  Receiving the outlet pass, and with burst of speed flew down the court with the ball and finished at the rim with a variety of silky smooth finishes.  Even though Norman is a smaller guard, he still has the vertical ability to consistently dunk the ball.  When he’s not in attack mode, Norman can be a deadly stand-still three-point shooter with the ability to catch fire quickly.  An overall offensive threat with the ball in his hands as an individual scorer.

Brandon Wade 6’1″ 2018 point guard Ann Arbor Skyline- The best true point guard at the camp, as Brandon was able to balance both keeping new teammates happy and score for himself.  He made the case not only as the best guard in the gym but in the state.  To a casual observer, one would think Brandon would’ve played with teammates for several months instead of a few hours.  His ability to attack gaps and seams to get into the paint was his strong suit all weekend.  Brandon has stellar vision, feel, versatile passing ability and IQ for the game.  He’s become increasingly aggressive when trying to score for himself against taller defenders over the past few months, must be because his vertical leap and strength has increased too.  Also one of the best perimeter shooters off the dribble at the camp.  Strong defender as well.

Terrell Tucker 6’1″ 2018 guard Berkley- Tucker put on a show Sunday.  Terrell has the skill and mindset of a wing who just happens to have the ball in his hand a majority of the time.  Terrell did most of his damage on the break of semi-transition situations.  He would come down hit a hapless defender with a combo move, and get to the rim finishing a lay-up or floater with either hand.  Tucker’s jump shot isn’t what is taught at a young age, but it seems to be effective for him.  With his athleticism and slashing ability, Tucker has the potential to become a play-maker not just for himself but for others.

Justin Ahrens 6’6″ 2018 wing Versailles (OH)- The next line of Ahrens is here.  Justin’s older brother, Kyle, is a 2015 shooting guard commit to Michigan State.  And while Justin can shoot the ball like his older brother, he showed he has an all-around game.  With his size, he causes mismatches for opponents on either the perimeter or down low.  He can score from all three-levels, but also has a high understanding of making passes and court awareness.  His body indicates even future growth which only means greater potential.

Nelson McCauley 6’3″ 2018 forward Ottawa Hills- A bid-bodied wing, McCauley caught everyone’s attention with monstrous dunk all weekend long.  He has the type of motor and inside-outside style of play needed to excel given his position and skill-set.  Ottawa Hills should be reloading for a successful upcoming season losing just one starter.

Second Team:

Matthew Richmond 6’1″ 2018 point guard Chandler Park- Compared to Spring AAU tournaments, Richmond stepped up his game and production level, as he played with extreme confidence and poise all weekend.  He wasn’t the star or standout on his team, but he made others around him better.  He created passing lanes in the half-court, gave the ball to opponents at the right time and place, and was tough cover due to playing both guard positions in addition to hitting a few threes here and there.

Malik Jones 5’7″ 2018 point guard East Lansing- It takes a certain degree of confidence for a player to assume a leadership role with unknown teammates, but that is what Jones has.  He sacrifices personal glory for winning.  The ball didn’t become stagnant or glued when he touched it, he made winning plays when it mattered.  He was always encouraging, vocal, and confident which spread over to his team.

Arius Jones 6’2″ 2018 guard Fort Wayne (IN)- Two-end competitor.  Jones took it on himself to guard the opposing team’s best offensive player and generally Arius had success in limiting their production.  Lots of upside with him running with Spiece Indy Heat.

Deric Murray 6’3″ 2017 guard Ann Arbor Pioneer- When Murray gets a step on you going toward the basket with his left hand, it’s usually going to be two points.  At 6’3,” Murray has ideal size for a college level two guard.  He gets most of his baskets based on skill and not individual strength now.  Excels in making a second move after his first move to beat the first defender.  If he hits the weight room in July he will be one to watch.

David Arens 6’6″ 2018 wing Sweetser (IN)- Ozzing potential.  Did a bit of everything this weekend.  Score, rebound, defend.  There’s a lot to like about a players that a soon-to-be sophomore with his size and frame.  With improving ball skills, Arens could become a dominant wing down the road.

Third Team:

Morgan Taylor 6’1″ 2018 combo guard Chicago (IL)- Simply put, shot the air out of the ball Saturday.  If he got an open look from three, more times than not it was going in.  But he also had the hot hand for setting up teammates, either leading directly to a basket or a foul.  Plays with such ease for a guard so young.

Leon Redd 5’10” 2016 combo guard Wyoming Godwin Heights- Redd is a streak scorer, he will get points in bunches.  Played with the ball in his hands more than the high school season.  Can really change the structure of a game down the stretch.

Cedric Benton 6’1″ 2017 guard Ann Arbor Pioneer- Benton is physically imposing with his combination of vertical leap and strength.  Cedric craves contact on both ends of the court.  He rebounds as if he was 7’1″ instead of 6’1,” and isn’t afraid to mix it up when he checks larger opponents.  When he gets going down-hill, Benton will either draw a foul or conclude an and-one.

Payton Harley 5’10” 2018 combo guard Wyoming Godwin Heights- Payton is a threat to score however defender decide to play him.  He can shoot the three, create a mid-range shot off the bounce, or get to the rim.  Doesn’t let things rattle him.  Goes about his business with an even demeanor.

Rylen Grundy 6’3″ wing 2018 guard South Bend (IN)- Perhaps the best individual athlete in attendance.  Grundy has the hops of a forward coming out of the back-court, and he’s powerful when takes flight as well.  Had multiple highlight reel dunk in transition.  His skills will need some polishing up, but there is a lot of potential with Grundy over the course of three years with a developing body and frame.

Fourth Team:

Nate Davis 6’0″ 2018 guard Rochester Stoney Creek- Won’t awe viewers with flash or athletic ability, but is a good complimentary player to a team.  Can stroke it from 15 feet and out, moves well without the ball, and plays hard.  Team Basketball 15u can expect to continue winning at a high level in July.

Suriya Susu 5’10” 2018 guard Kentwood- As a smaller guard, Susu wasn’t afraid to go out and show what he can do.  Changes speeds on defenders, can attack going left, and a solid in-between game.

Lawrence Rowley 6’3″ 2017 wing Ann Arbor Huron- Rowley might have the highest upside out of any prospect in attendance.  Pushing 6’4″ with long lanky arms, Lawrence has yet to define a for sure position yet.  He’s not a shooting guard or a small forward, but he is naturally athletic who happens to have not put all the pieces together.  Thus far, he takes little things from those positions into each game which contribute to his enormous potential.  Had his moments here and there but June should be a month major month of improvement for this Huron River Rat.

Jesse Hillis 6’0″ 2017 guard Caledona- Crafty ball-handler and shot maker for himself going either way.  Solid shooter and scorer.

Caleb Drumm 6’3″ 2016 guard Homer-  Good length, versatility, and skill-set for a small school guard.  Played and defended multiple on the floor.



Bloomfield Hills’ Cameron Dalton Headed to South Beach for Barry University

2 Jun

IMG_0699Bloomfield Hills senior Cameron Dalton has a reputation for switching basketball shoes each game the same way Michigan’s climate changes.  For college, Dalton will still have the opportunity for grabbing the latest sneakers, but won’t have to worry about the weather so much.

Because he’s going to South Beach.

The 6’0″ shooting guard committed to Barry University, a Division II school located in Miami Shores, Florida.  Dalton averaged 17 points per-game last season.

“I didn’t really have a lot of schools looking at me because of the way my school team’s season went,” said Dalton.  “I had very little schools looking at me, but I wanted to go college out-of-state, somewhere warm, so that’s why I picked Barry.”

Dalton’s last season was a disappointing 6-14.  The team graduated a plethora of seniors that contributed to a 24 win campaign a year earlier and a spot in the 2014 Class A state championship game.  Still, Dalton learned the importance of becoming a leader both on and off the floor.

“Losing a lot was something new to me,” said Dalton.  “It was a hard task trying to stay positive all the time.”

However, he doesn’t envision to see much losing in college.  Barry is one year removed from a 25 win campaign and a trip to second round of the NCAA tournament.  Winners attract winners, and Dalton claims he is an ideal fit for the Bucs’ style of play with stellar range of consistency with his perimeter jump shot.

“I would say I’m pretty good at putting the ball in the basket,” added Cameron.  “Barry needed a shooter and I think that’s what I’m best at.”


Recapping The 5th Annual Michigan Playmaker Invitational

1 Jun


The 5th annual Michigan Playmaker Invitational concluded a strong Spring circuit of competition for Michigan teams.

17u Champion: Michigan Warriors

After suffering a ten point setback to Reach on Saturday, it was the Warriors who got the last laugh on Sunday, defeating Hoops Canada by 20 plus to capture the 17u crown.  Rivals during the winter but teammates in the Spring, Belleville’s Mike Bruce and Romulus’ Rashaan Pope were the catalysts on the run to the championship.  Both well-built combo guards, Bruce served as the team’s leading scorer, with finishes at the rim, points in the paint, and was often on the receiving end of Pope’s passes cutting to the basket.  Pope has always had the potential to become a breakout player in Michigan, with his smooth style of play combined with gifted athleticism, and ideal physical tools.  Perhaps this is the tournament that will spring a sense of confidence entering the month of June for Pope’s team and individual camps.

Forwards Samer Jabbo and 6’7″ Logan Ryan also had their moments on the weekend which put the team over the hump.

IMG_067916u Champion: Michigan Playmakers

It was an up-and-down Spring for this 16u team, however, the Spring ended the same way it started, with a championship.  Saturday was no challenge for the team, with wins by 25 plus in pool play.  The first contest on Sunday was a 27-21 gritty affair with a rugged Hoops Canada squad.  Immediately after the first round of bracket play, the team found a sense of rhythm, sparked by Detroit Mumford 6’0″ combo guard Terronie Cook.  Cook, is in his second week of competition with the Playmakers, but quickly found his role on the team.  The lefty caught fire from beyond the arc in both the quarterfinal and semi-final games finishing with multiple three-pointers both off the dribble and catch and shoot situations, and single-handedly was able to put away Flint’s Finest in the semi-final.  There is no sense of fear with Cook, he competes with a confidence and edge on both ends of the court.  Aside from shooting and creating his own shot, Terronie’s strong-suit is defense.  He’s a pest for opponents with a weak handle with quick hands and feet, and does a stellar job of aggressively defending without fouling.  However, he also does the intangibles needed to become a productive defensive player, such as talking and communicating with teammates on defense.  Cook will be one to watch in the month of June.

The championship was a classic example of King 5’7″ point guard Jesse Scarber’s desire to win, 17 points, including several rebounds, steals, and assists.  Scarber might be the shortest player on the court, but there is no one with a bigger heart.  The speedy lead guard has a motor and grit all coaches want in a point guard, first on the floor for loose balls, and diving into the stands to keep possessions alive.  At his best, Jesse is one step ahead of opponents on offense and defense, and makes them react to what he wishes to accomplish instead of vice-versa.   A track-star on the basketball court, Jesse’s speed on occasion gets the best of him at times, resulting in unforced turnovers.  Far from a finished product, Scarber will use the month of June to develop a consistent perimeter jump shot to keep defenders honest, and polishing his pure point guard skills.

IMG_068515u Champion: The Family

The Family has quietly put together a quality Spring circuit.  With appearances in four championship games in Michigan tournaments, while capturing three titles.   The Playmaker tournament was only another example of the dominance on display by Peach Jam bound squad, the closest match-up with a 15 point affair, which does not include wins by 67, 23, and 45 in the final.  The key to their success starts with eighth grader Julian Dozier.  A 5’7″ pass-first point guard, Dozier is quick and decisive when finding ways to attack opponents.  He has high school ready IQ, court awareness and vision needed to excel on the varsity level.  Complimenting Dozier in the backcourt was Romulus 6’0″ guard Rashad Williams, whose consistent three-point and perimeter shooting allowed for spacing and room to operate for Dozier and Loyola’s PJ Mitchell.  

U of D Jesuit 6’0″ guard Elijah Collins was the glue that held The Family together on the weekend.  A bit of a wild-card offensively, Collins made an impact with his staple, defense.  Elijah is debatably the best defender for the class of 2018.  Opponents rarely get pass Collins because he is smart and does not gamble on passes or ball-fakes.  However, Collins made a statement with two highlight reel dunks, one a two-handed alley-oop on the break over a helpless defender, and the other that was just as impressive.  Elijah’s upside is high as he progresses through high school and AAU.

Caden Prieskorn and Byrce Washington are two inside-outside threats The Family can rely on for depth but with no loss of play.

Keep An Eye Out For:

Romeo Weems 6’3″ guard The Family 14u– There might not be a more celebrated 14u player in Michigan than Weems.  And if there was any doubt to whether Weems was just a middle school sensation, Romeo answered that question competing up a grade with his team on the 15u level.  Weems simply stuffed the stat-sheet all weekend long.  Rebounds, steals, assists, blocks, points, all occurred of Weems’ watch.   He might have been the best athlete regardless of age group at the tournament.  He’s both vertically quick and quick off the floor.  Already Romeo has high-major college interest in large part due to his versatility on the floor.  Weems is a classic point-forward in the making with his ball-handling ability for a player his age and position as he continues to fill out his body with strength.  When the ball is in hands, it’s most likely going to result in a play.  If he’s on the wing slashing to the basket, he can easily spot a teammate for an easy two.  Weems didn’t display much of a perimeter game, whether because it was unneeded due of the flow of each game or if it’s something he’s still developing remains up for discussion.

Jacob Brantley 6’0″ guard Michigan Playmakers 15u- Brantley is a point guard that won’t draw college interest because of eye-popping athleticism or flash, he will because he plays the right way.  Brantley is the type of guard a winning team must have, because he sacrifices personal glory for the right play.  He’ll shoot if the opportunity is present, but won’t force the issue.  Throughout the weekend, Brantley was strong with the against opposing team’s pressure, with very few turnovers or poor decisions.  Jacob was also efficient in half-court situations, getting the ball where it’s needed to be but can take it to the rim if need-be.  Two-way competitive player.


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