Recapping The 5th Annual Michigan Playmaker Invitational

1 Jun

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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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