Archive | July, 2015

Final Standouts From Fort Wayne

29 Jul

Cassius Winston 6’0″ point guard 17u The Family-

After an uncharacteristic Winston-esque performance throughout the tournament, Cassius saved his best for Sunday; 35 total points in the championship game.  It was too much Cassius for the Spiece Indy Heat and Florida State bound guard C.J. Walker to handle, as Winston was at the center of a Family second-half charge which put the Spiece team down.  Whatever Winston wanted he got, mid-range pull-ups, threes off the bounce, attacking the basket, Cassius could not be stopped.

Amauri Hardy 6’2″ off-guard 17u The Family- 

Big weekend for Amauri Hardy, who has played up one age level since April.  When Hardy keeps his game simple, he can be as good as any guard in Michigan’s ’17 class and the midwest.  When Amauri gets you on his hip, with a full-burst of speed going left, good luck.  Because he is going to finish strong at the basket and live at the free-throw line if he doesn’t.  When he rebounds the ball at a high-level which he did, Hardy was a one man fast-break repeatedly.  Already with a college level body and frame, if Hardy continues to work on his right hand a little more and finds a reliable perimeter jumper, Amauri will have a big season for Southfield.

Tre Harvey 5’10” off-guard 15u Michigan Warriors-

Harvey put on a show in each Warrior game on championship Sunday, raining in three after three in the two games.  His highest scoring game was 25, and multiple three-pointers in the process.  Tre’s form is a bit of wind-up and unorthodox, but the end result cannot be argued when he was left open.  Harvey is a guard that will be gradually progressed through the ranks this upcoming varsity season at West Bloomfield on both ends.  And next Spring/Summer Tre will shine.

Kaevon Merriweather 6’1″ point guard 16u Michigan Warriors-

Physically does not look like a freshman.  Broad shoulders, power athlete, and fast, Merriweather is the next guard up at Romulus.  His best attribute right now is as a disrupter on defense.  He comes away with steals, tips, and deflections because he understands how to react against screens and picks, which become easy offense.  He’s still developing into a pure point guard and passer with reads and vision, but did show signs of growth in Fort Wayne.

Day Three Standouts for the 2015 GRBA Nationals

27 Jul

Elijah Collins 6’0″ off-guard The Family 15u-

Collins is known for defense.  With a strong build, high-major athleticism, and quickness, Eli is a lockdown perimeter defender guarding both guard positions, causing opponents to catch the ball in uncomfortable positions, and even one day on the tournament guarded a 6’8″ player as effectively he could due to awareness and positioning.  His offensive game has been a work in progress the past couple of months.  Collins attacked the basket aggressively and finished open-court lay-ups in transition.  Although he isn’t a point guard by definition with the ball in his hands routinely, he’s a point guard off-the ball.  Directing players where they are supposed to be and when he gets the ball it doesn’t become stagnant.

Romeo Weems 6’4″ wing The Family 15u-

The Family brought up a few players that had just recently played at a national tournament in Florida; which Weems participated in.  Weems is a power wing in the making; big build, broad shoulders, nice frame.  But The Family played him more as a four on the weekend; and he was effective.  A true stat-sheet stuffer, Weems aside from scoring, blocked shots, rebounded, and came away with steals on the perimeter.  His greatest impact on one game was locking down a fellow 2019 that had absolutely destroyed other teams; not on Weems’ watch.  Romeo played very well of The Family’s talented guards; positioned himself well for dump-ins or backdoored his man to the basket.  Roemo’s offensive game should be one to watch this upcoming season at Country Day.

C.J. Wilson 5’10” point guard The Family 16u-

Wilson’s Twitter name might be Mr. PG, but his defense is rated R.  Wilson covers great amounts of ground for The Family due to lateral speed, agility, and quickness.  He has a knack for speeding the offense up and disrupting timing.  Ball-handlers cannot be lazy around him; it will be a turnover.  Wilson also showed signs of life on the offensive end.  He hit some three-point shots at times, and attacked gaps to the basket.

Logan Ryan 6’7″ forward Michigan Warriors 17u-

Logan finally put together one weekend that the Warriors, college coaches, and scouts had finally waited for.  He continuously made big-shot after big-shot on bracket play Saturday.  One game winning three with 26 seconds, and scoring key baskets down the stretch in on overtime victory for the Warriors. He’s not a back-to-the basket type player just yet, although he did show some signs of growth on that area, however, his 18-20 feet jump shot was nearly automatic on the weekend.  Either spotting-up or flashing to the middle of the court, it was hard to contest one of his shots.  He can also run the floor, and is solid passer as a forward.  The one glaring issue with Logan is his frame.  He has the length, but will need to add at least 25-40 pounds at the next level to continuously battle larger defenders on defense and for rebounds.

Riley Lewis 5’10” off-guard Triple-Threat 17u-

A flat out scorer from anywhere on the court.  Lewis is slithery and energetic with the ball, and can create his own shot off-the bounce.  Very good driver to the basket, uses first step and protects the ball well when in traffic.  Lewis is worth a look for small schools that want a 5’10” guard that easily finish a game with 30.

Daijon Parker 6’5″ forward Michigan Warriors 16u-

Daijon Parker is an unknown prospect from Westland John Glenn.  When Parker stays confident and aware, he can be very effective.  In one game he had 18 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks in a victory.  Parker showed a soft-touch on a 10-12 feet jumper, and even had a couple spins moves down low.  Not an exceptionally athlete or grinder by any measure, but uses body and frame to clear space for rebounds when in the paint.  If he continues to work hard and stay within himself, Daijon will no doubt have a big year for Glenn.

Mike Bruce 6’3″ off-guard Michigan Warriors 17u-

Mike Bruuuce as is said along the I-94 corridor.  Bruce has the desirable frame, length, and height colleges look for when evaluating guards.  Mike used to play point guard when he was younger, but currently plays more off the ball and that aspect of his game is still a work in progress.  When he gets into the paint, Bruce can score in the mid-range with runners, floaters, and pull-ups in the paint; although he does need to be careful on ball protection down amongst the trees.  Bruce will have one solid game, then an  o.k game the next outting.  If he puts the pieces together and realizes how much of a special talent he is, Mike will have a huge year for Ypsilanti.

GRBA Nationals Day Two Recap

25 Jul

Sean Cobb 6’6″ forward 15u Michigan Mustangs-Haney-

Cobb is buckets and rebounds; there has been no viewing this year where he has not had at least a double-double.  Cobb is versatile and offensively skilled, he can shoot a bit up to 18 feet, but scores most of his points in the paint; where he displays soft balance and touch with either hand and the ability to go over either shoulder if in the post.  There is this sense of smoothness and ease with everything Cobb does, his footwork is stellar, already has a nice build, and is unselfish with the ball.  In a close AM loss, his team scored a mere 30 points, and Cobb had to at least have 20.

Jaron Faulds 6’10” forward The Family-

Jaron has pulled double-duty so far at the 2015 GRBA Nationals, playing with both The Family 16 and 17u.  It really doesn’t matter what age he’s been at, Faulds has been producing in-front of state powers Michigan and Michigan State.  He routinely has been the best big on the floor, rebounding everything in the paint due to his freakish length, and willingness to battle.  Faulds seals and gets excellent position on offense for his guards to get him the ball, make a power-move and finish, but his jump hooks with either shoulder have been money thus far.

Andy Milikan 5’11” guard 15u Judges Court-

Milikan had one of two 41 point performances by 2018 guards from Michigan on the day.  To be fair, the viewing I saw was not the 41 point performance; but it comes as no surprise for a player with the skill level as him.  A true combo guard that can score or run the show, Milikan is one of the few players on his team that has played varsity competition before, and it shows.  He is never stagnant offensively or defensively.  Coaches would love to watch the way he understands defensive rotations when he jumps and recovers to cut driving opportunities to the basket.  In addition to his defensive ability, Andy is also a knockdown shooter.  He has great footwork, form, range, and consistency.  Just one of those players you want on your team.

Brandon Wade 5’11” point guard 15u Michigan Gators-

The other 41 point performance on Friday was by Brandon.  Him and backcourt friend Jack Ammerman combined for 65 of the Gators’ 71 points.  Although he concluded the game with six threes, in the first half, he got into a rhythm by attacking the basket due to superior strength than any of the Mustang-Vallar guards.  He then expanded his range in the second-half and had four trifectas in the second.  If his perimeter jumper comes constant and opponents have to respect that aspect of his game, there will be few that will be able to totally stop him.

Jack Ammerman 5’9″ shooting guard 15u Michigan Gators-

Jack is the perfect complement to a guard with Brandon’s skill-set.  When Brandon drives to the basket, and the help comes, he can kick out to Jack; splash.  For one good stretch late in the second-half Jack would not miss.  However, he’s not solely a three-point specialist, he has a nice mid-range game and pull-up if the three isn’t there.

Amauri Hardy 6’3″ guard 17u The Family-

When Amauri keeps it simple, he is good as any guard in the class of 2017.  He has such a strong build and frame for an off-scoring guard that allows him to take hits and bounce right-back up off the floor.  Hardy was right there to lead the team when consensus top 30 point guard prospect Cassius Winston had an uncharacteristic, by his normal standards, game against Spiece Indy Heat.  Hardy led the way with 21, and a nice amount of rebounds as well.

Other standouts:

Lamar Norman 6’0″ off-guard 15u Michigan Mustangs-Vallar- 

Didn’t come up with this comparison, but the more Norman plays, the more he is reminiscent of a Monte Ellis.  Quick, explosive, and streaky.  He can get into zones from the perimeter where he just doesn’t miss; and his transition slashing ability is another strength for him.  Still, would like to see him become a consistent option in the half-court when the games slows down.

P.J. Mitchell 5’10” point guard 15u The Family-

Mitchell didn’t just shoot the ball well on Friday, he has so throughout the tournament.  When he gets his feet square and raises, he can become automatic with a quick release.  A natural-born leader on both ends of the floor, P.J. can run either a transition style or half-court offense effectively as a pass first guard.  Quick enough to get into the lane, but at this point looks more like a creator than scorer amongst larger defenders.  Pairs well with Julian Dozier to give The Family a deadly one-two punch.

Julian Dozier 5’9″ point 15u The Family-

In addition to Mitchell’s 20 points in a victory against the Illinois Wolves, Dozier was right there next to him; Mitchell and Dozier concluded the contest with a combined eight threes.  Dozier however has those awkward in-between/flip shots down pat where he attempts to avoid shot-blockers.  Dozier wants to make the right decisions on offense, although some of his passes were just a tad late that resulted in turnovers.  He should develop some seasoning over the high school season where those once turnovers will become dimes.

Zeale McCullough 6’5″ forward 17u Triple-Threat-

Quiet and goes about his business.  McCullough isn’t the first, second, or third option on his team, but somehow and way produces.  He plays with a good feel for a forward whose guards like to score the ball more than create.  McCullough has some range to his game; one 25 footer stands out the most.  An overall plus athlete and leaper, Zeale has mastered the lost art of boxing out, and two-hand rebounding.  He’s solid for the first rotation on defense.  He is however far from a finished product.



Spiece GRBA Nationals Opening Night Recap

24 Jul

It’s not the Spiece Run-n-Slam, but the GRBA Nationals held at the legendary Spiece Fieldhouse is a plus event for Michigan teams to end the grassroots circuit.  Michigan teams went a combined 15-11 on opening night.

Goliath Mitchell 5’10” point guard Mustangs-Faletti 15u-

On a team with as much individual talent as the Mustangs, Goliath is often overlooked and undervalued.  He comes off the bench, but gives his team starters caliber minutes and production.  A pure point guard by nature, Goliath is pass-first, and likes to get everybody involved.  He made some nice 15-20 foot jumpers in the first-half to get his team going, then dished it out in the second.  He’s also a plus defender, with quick feet and awareness.  He checked the opposing team’s best player that was lighting the Mustangs up for three after three in the first half.  Once Goliath started guarding him, lets just say he only made one three-pointer after.

Zavon Godwin 6’5″ wing Mustangs-Faletti 15u-

Godwin was forced to play more of a four and even a five position on an undersized Mustang roster.  He didn’t pout, and produced double-digit points.  The Mustangs placed him at the free-throw line where he was able to catch, face, and display strong body control to finish with his right hand with defenders draped all around him.  Then in the second half, he showed his perimeter skills burying two threes in less than three minutes.  If he is going to defend the paint, post defense will have to improve with technique and strength.

Jaron Faulds 6’10” forward The Family 16u-

Can’t teach 6’10.”  Faulds dominated MBA Select for an easy double-double in a blowout victory for The Family.  Jaron boxes-out and uses length to get to every rebound in his area.  On offense, he seals his man with his giant frame, then can shoot hook shots with both hands after receiving the entry pass due to soft hands, and a huge catch radius.  A Michigan assistant viewed one half.

Alec Anderson 6’3″ guard Common Bond 16u-

Anderson is one of those players that doesn’t do one thing exceptionally well, he’s an overall strong player a team can do a lot with.  He sets screens on offense, rebounds, blocks shots, plays defense, and is a plus athlete; a true stat-sheet stuffer.  Down the stretch in a tight game for his team, Anderson made tough drive after tough drive to the basket giving Common Bond the edge in an opening night victory.

Mustang Summer Showdown 16u All-Tournament Teams

21 Jul

IMG_0935GreenWood Elite captured the organization’s first ever platinum championship in a statement win against national power Mustangs-Allison.

First Team

Foster Loyer 5’10” point guard Mustangs-Allison-

Loyer plays the game with such great pace and poise.  He’s a true pass first guard by nature, he drops unreal dimes and sees play before they happen.  But it is still mind-boggling why opponents continue to give him open looks from the free-throw line extended, it will be money more often than not.  Also a competitor on the defensive end, diving for loose balls and vocally active.

Malik Ellison 5’8″ point guard GreenWood Elite & Christian Rodriguez 5’9″ point guard GreenWood Elite- 

GreenWood is fortunate enough to have two point guards with state championships on their resumés, and it resulted in the organization first platinum level championship; even sweeter for the two it was against their former team.  Ellison and Rodriguez were close to flawless in the championship victory.  Both limited turnovers, orchestrated the offense, played stellar defense, and scored when called upon.  It doesn’t matter if the two are sub six-foot, they know how to win.

Xavier Tillman 6’8″ forward Mustangs-Allison-

Simply put, a beast.  With his broad shoulders and frame, Tillman was a man among boys in the game against The Family, he had a double-double at halftime due to his unrelenting motor and toughness.  Xavier is just so advanced with foot-work and arsenal of moves on either block; he had one fake right spin right move that even had the college coaches in the rafters shaking their heads.  That move alone secured his spot as the top forward in the state’s rising junior class.

Jaron Faulds 6’10” center The Family-

Have to love a 6’10” center with length that embraces the dirty work.  Faulds is not a shot-blocker yet nor is he a physically imposing big man as well, but will box-out, rebound, and challenge oncoming guards.  He did miss some lay-ups and tip-ins that seemed like easy bunnies, but his ability to shoot jump-hooks with either hand is what kept college coaches kept on-coming back.

Second Team

Jermaine Jackson Jr. 5’8″ point guard Mustangs-Allison-

A point guard that can score and distribute.  Extremely tight handle and quick release off pull-ups.  Streaky with three-pointer, but can really get into a zone.

Ronquavious Southward 5’10” combo guard The Family-

Qua as he is called loves to shoot the three, and he can get into the zone.  Southward can spray threes from anywhere on the perimeter when he’s playing off the bounce, and opponents cannot go underneath on high ball-screens, as he had eight triples in one game.  There is no denying his ability to shoot the three, but his level of play at the next level is yet to be determined.  If a coach wants a 5’10” scoring guard, then Qua is your guy.

Nick Welch 6’6″ forward Mustangs-Watts-

No ’17 forward has enjoyed a better two-week span than Nick Welch.  Welch has continuously more than held his own against bigger and more well-known prospects on both ends of the floor.  Nick won’t wow viewers with athleticism, but he’s understanding on the offensive end makes him a pleasure to watch.  He positions himself after what his point guard does, either for duck-ins with both hands or extend himself to a short-corner for a 15-20 foot jumper.  Rebounds and is a consistent double-double.

Terry Armstong 6’5″ wing GreenWood Elite-

Terry was the lone 2019 player in the 16u division.  For flashes, Armstong showed why he is among the top of the state’s incoming freshman.  For example, to close one half out, he had nine straight points.  A three, dunk, floater, then and-one.  There is not denying his superb athleticism and physical tools, but those are only attributes to a complete basketball player.  It will be interesting to track Armstrong’s develop in the near future as he competes against equally and even more talented opponents.

Levane Blake 6’7″ forward GreenWood Elite-

Blake used his length, mobility, and fundamental low-post defense to disrupt Xavier Tillman and Isaiah Livers for the Mustangs in the championship from establish any comfort level; a key part to GreenWood’s victory.  Levane can finish around the basket, but prefers to use his left-hand the most.

Third Team

C.J. Wilson 5’10” point guard The Family-

A point guard that opponents cannot be lackadaisical around.  A mere 5’10,” Wilson covers vast amounts of ground on the defensive end.  One minute he’ll be applying ball-pressure to one side of the floor, then drop down and contest for steals with quick hands.  Offensive game is still in the work, but expect a big year out of this St. Mary Eaglet.

Jordan Roland 5’10” point guard Mustangs-Watts-

Flint Beecher written all-over him.  Will guard the opponents best player and not back-down.  Was not only aware of what his man was doing, but also what those two to three passes away from him.  Roland is unselfish as a facilitator on offense, and overall leader of team that relies on precision than star-power to win.

David DeJulius 6’0″ combo guard The Family-

DeJulius was at one point the lone source of Family offense in a lopsided affair at the hands of Mustangs-Allison.  He has the frame that can take a continuous pounding throughout the game.  He can create his own shot, and connected on a variety of runners and 10-12 footers with his jumper.  DeJulius is situated in the classic combo guard situation, as he is neither a pure point guard or shooting guard.

Henry Speights 6’2″ guard/forward GreenWood Elite-

Looks more like a fullback or linebacker that would shine more on the grid-iron than hard-wood.  Apparently, Speights at 6’2,” was the leading rebounder for the entire sophomore class this past winter.  Although he doesn’t project to play the four at the next-level, it’s a tribute to the way he plays the game, fearless.  Speights had five crucial points down the stretch in the championship final against a favored Mustang team, one of which was an and-one which turned the tides toward GreenWood.  Speights has a nice mid-range game off the bounce, and can draw larger bigs to the perimeter.

Keyon Epps 6’5″ wing The Family- 

Just on athleticism and potential alone gave Epps a spot on this list.  He had two dunks in a four-minute span that excited every viewer in attendance.  Epps has a long way to go to become not just being recognized as a high-flyer, but there is still time in his prep career.


Mustang Showdown 15u All-Tournament Teams

20 Jul


Although a team from Indiana won the 15u division, this list only includes players from Michigan teams.

First Team

Davion Williams 6’2″ off-guard Michigan Mustangs-Faletti- 

Extremely high ceiling for Mr. Williams.  Ideal size, build, and athleticism for a college level guard.  Uses his physical attributes to be a lockdown defender with the ability of guarding three positions.  10-15 foot jump shot has come a long way in a year.  Aggressive driver and finisher at the rim.  Learning how to play without the ball and become a playmaker for others will go a long way for Williams.  Had 19 points while locking up the opposing team’s best player against the Gators in the semis.

Ryan Wade 5’10” shooting guard Michigan Gators-

While his brother might get more attention at the moment, Ryan will be one to watch for next season if he can continue to shoot at a high level.  He has a quick release as a standstill three-point shooter.  Knows his spots on the floor, and won’t force an ill-advised shot.  A reliable in-between game and ability to create own shot will go a long way here.  Best game was 28 points.

Mario Whitley 6’3″ wing GreenWood Elite-

Whitley is an intriguing prospect, as it seems evident that his high school team uses him more as a undersized four in the paint.  He loves to rebound and get in the action, but Whitley showcased his range on the weekend, knocking down three or four threes in halves.  He has high-level athleticism, agility, and foot-work, but at what position?  He has the ideal size for a college shooting guard, but can he consistently make threes is the question, because there aren’t too many 6’3″ four men at the next level.  Will need to improve ball skills and slashing ability if he seeks to play the guard position.  Best game was a 24 point and 15 rebound performance.

Sean Cobb 6’6″ forward Michigan Mustangs-Haney-

Cobb is only an incoming freshman, but has the skill-set most upperclassman would covet.  He’s mobile, versatile, and has good size for a hybrid 3/4.  Cobb does most of his work in the paint.  On consecutive possessions at one point, Cobb posted up his defender, and flawlessly went over either shoulder on him.  Can shoot a little bit as well up to the free-throw line.  Hope he grows some more if he wishes to play more in the paint, because already it seems is in that tweener category between small forward and power forward.  Had a 27-18 game.

Jalen Tobias 6’5″ forward Michigan Mustangs-Faletti-

When Tobias plays aware and smart, he can be as affective as any forward in the rising sophomore class despite being undersized.  He can be an ample defender and weak-side shot blocker at times.  Tobias is very well coordinated and athletic enough to convert on difficult finishes around the basket.  Another one of those players that just needs two or three more inches to become a dominant big.

Second Team

Terrell Tucker 5’11” point guard GreenWood Elite-

Tucker is a wing that happens to have the ball in his hands most of the time.  He excels in the open-court, space, and transition.  Tucker loves to attack the basket, briskly leaving a defender in his dust, and then finish with either hand.  Terrell has to be careful about getting carless with his finishes, and realizing when it’s ok and not ok to take on bigger opponents in the paint.  He is however maturing into more a pure point guard create for others and should make him more appealing to coaches at the next level if he avoids turnovers.

Brandon Wade 5’11” point guard Michigan Gators-

Wasn’t the usual Brandon most are most accustomed to seeing, but one bad game shouldn’t detour what he has done on the grassroots campaign.  Brandon is extremely effective at using his size to get defenders on his hip going with either hand, and get into the paint to make point guard plays, his IQ is off the charts.  Struggled a bit however when opponents with just as much strength got up into him, but there is too much not to like about Brandon as to make him one of the top point guards in 2018.

Jack Ammerman 5’10” shooting guard Michigan Gators-

Flat eye shooter.  Jack can get into zones where he doesn’t miss.  In the semi-final game against the Mustangs, he had four first half threes and 23 points overall which single-handedly kept the Gators within striking distance despite being face-guarded the entire time.  Moves well without the ball, solid one dribble pull-up if the three isn’t there, and releases high enough to where defenders with length won’t block his shot.

Lamar Norman 6’0″ off-guard Michigan Mustangs-Vallar-

Lamar is one of the classes most electrifying offensive players.  It wasn’t the state championship game, but Norman is just too talented offensively.  Transition slashing and getting to the rim is his best attribute, with his speed and quickness.  Will need to add strength to absorb contact with finishes at the rim, learn to play without the ball in the half-court, and to dial it in on defense all the time.

Anthony Taylor 6’5″ forward Michigan Playmakers-

Anthony plays his role, and doesn’t try to do too much.  He rebounds with two hands at the highest point, boxes out, finishes layups, runs the floor, and plays defense.  What’s there not to like?  Again, one of those kids that you hope grows a little bit more and fills out his frame.

Third Team

Taylor McCaskill 5’11” combo guard Michigan Mustangs-Faletti-

One of those guards that you want on your team.  Can tell he has played high-level competition in the past.  Plays his role, and plays to the whistle.  Will make it a point to get every loose-ball and second chance opportunity for his team and compete on defense.  Decent shooter, but seems more like a facilitator than playmaker on the offensive end.

Keshaun Hayes 6’2″ combo guard Michigan Playmakers- 

Explosive leaper from the back-court.  Caught one dunk in a 20 point performance that caught the attention of everybody viewing.  Can run the point here and there if necessary making some nice passes.  Streaky three-point shooter, but can get into a zone.  Not afraid to get down with bigger players and come up with a rebound on occasion.  Will need to find ways to impact the game on a continual basis not just for spurts.

Tanner Reha 6’3″ wing Michigan Mustangs-Faletti-

Tanner’s saving grace on the weekend was his performance against the Gators in the semi-final.  As he finally started to find a perimeter shot that had alluded him prior to the game.  He’s one of those players that is in the right spot more often than not on both ends of the floor, for example coming away with big defensive stop after stop on defense against the Gators.

Ashton Franklin 6’3″ wing GreenWood Elite

Wasn’t the most skilled wing in the gym, but was going to outwork everybody and play to the whistle.  Plays football, so he’s not afraid to get physical with anybody.

Danny Kolp 6’7″ forward Parallel-45-

Long and lanky, plays center on defense, but more of a point forward offensively.  Classic modern-day stretch four in the making.  Does a bit of work in the paint and some on the perimeter.




Michigan Mustang Summer Showdown Recap

20 Jul

The last grassroots event in the State of Michigan for 2015, the Michigan Mustang Summer Showdown brought together a solid collection of talent for coaches of all levels to evaluate.

IMG_0940Horse Power

The 17u Mustangs were the only host team to capture a platinum championship.  With 6’10” Michigan bound center Austin Davis playing on-and-off throughout the weekend, 6’2″ scoring guard Corey Allen was the spark the Mustangs needed.  Allen could be penciled in for at least 15 points on any given game, and stepped up his performances in bracket play with the loss of 6’7″ small forward Ty Groce with a knee injury.

Two former Michigan high school standouts made their return to the state worthwhile, 6’3″ wing Jaire Grayer and big man Al Eichelberger.  The two left for prep schools at the conclusion of the 2013-2014 school year.  Grayer was the compliment to the scoring of Allen, as he was efficient with his shots, and was a strong perimeter defender.  While Eichelberger provided an offense low-post presence needed to allow for spacing Allen and Grayer could operate with.

IMG_0935Don’t Call It An Upset

For the second consecutive weekend, 16u GreenWood Elite has defeated a national power, Indy Hoosiers at the Adidas Invitational, and then Mustangs-Allison, a team with less than five losses on the year.  It is extremely hard to beat a team twice in the same tournament.  GreenWood Elite took a 61-29 shaming on opening night to the very same Mustang-Allison team without 6’8″ star forward Xavier Tillman.  Then won six straight including against the Mustangs in the championship game with Tillman on the block for the platinum title.

After holding off a tough 16u Mustang-Watts team in the semi-final, GreenWood executed a perfect game-plan to take down the host Mustangs.  With eight team three-pointers, limited turnovers, and strong interior defense, GreenWood Elite 16u was able to achieve the programs first platinum championship on any level in the inaugural year for the organization.

It comes even sweeter for GreenWood’s Malik Ellison, Christian Rodriguez, and Levan Blake, who all played for the very same Mustang-Allison team one year ago.

Rodriguez and Ellison were close to flawless sharing the point guard responsibilities, and Blake used his length to bother Tillman all game long, limiting the high-major division I recruit to 10 points.

However, a Texan made his impact on the game.  6’2″ guard BJ Simmons, from Grand Prairie, Texas connected on four triples in the win, and set the tone early that this was not going to be Friday night’s game.

IMG_0937Team Harris Runs Through Michigan’s Best

One of the few non-Michigan teams in attendance, Team Harris went a perfect 6-0 en route to the 15u platinum tournament championship.  A team sponsored by former Michigan State Spartan current Denver Nugget, Team Harris went through three of the state’s best in bracket play, GreenWood Elite, Mustangs-Vallar, and then Mustangs-Faletti in the final.  Team Harris doesn’t have a single-superstar, nor do they jump out of the gym, they are a well-coached team that takes advantage of opponents deficiencies and capitalizes.  Eric Hunter had a team-high 12 points in the championship.


Top Half-Dozen 2016 Guards Without Collegiate Offers

15 Jul

Teams can have all the size in the world, but if guard play is absent, vertical gifts can easily become evaporated.

Throughout the course of July, players are evaluated by colleges from all levels.  Some will gain interest, while others will gain offers.

Here are six rising 2016 guards that hold zero collegiate offers entering their final month of AAU competition from the great State of Michigan.

jasonwilliamsJason Williams 5’10” point guard 1Nation/Allen Academy

Read Jason’s high school stats, and it sounds like a career most can only dream of.  25.6 points-per-game, 6.1 rebounds-per-game, 6.6 assists-per-game, and 4.2 steals-per-game in his junior year.  Williams is quick, and hard to stay in front of for most at the high school level.  Many of his points come in the paint, floaters, runners in the lane, and is a deceptively strong finisher for his size.  He’s also a winner.  As in the last three years, he been a major cog in forming Allen Academy into a legitimate contender for a Class C Detroit charter school, with a record of 45-21.

UnknownDwight Burton 6’2″ off-guard Michigan Playmakers/Detroit Mumford

Burton has come a long way in a short time.  He’s only played organized basketball since the end of his freshman year, but his unique journey to basketball success is beginning to pay off.  He doesn’t shy away when the stage is too bright, and won’t back down from larger names.  Burton has an explosive first step, and can take any defender off the dribble and attack the basket.  Burton does need to improve on protecting the ball at all times, as he becomes careless with the ball for moments.  But with his natural scoring ability, raw talent, and athleticism, there is not too much against Burton not to make him a scholarship player.

DSC_00511Karim Murray 6’1″ off-guard Reach/Detroit Western

Murray’s stock is at the highest for the month of July.  Although he doesn’t have the desired 6’3,” or 6’4,” frame, he has the broad shoulders and muscular build without even entering a college weight room.  His best attribute is his perimeter defense, he uses his strength and lateral foot-speed to keep opponents in front of him, and can guard up to three positions on the floor.  Murray is also one of the best finishers with either hand when attacking the basket off weak close-outs, and is starting to develop into a consistent perimeter shooter.

3l9a6613Terrance Sewell 6’2″ off-guard Reach/Detroit Northwestern

Everything with Sewell is to the basket.  He’s not ball dominant to do so.  He patiently waits for the opportunity once he sees an alley to the basket, then he attacks the rim with full force.  Lives at the free-throw line, and is also starting to become a high-level rebounder on both sides of the floor.  Like Murray, Sewell has the build of a college level two guard.  Is a consistent perimeter jumper away from offers.

Rahsann Pope 6’3″ combo guard Michigan Warriors/Romulus

16811122-standardGreat size, length, and skill for a college guard.  Can really be a stat-sheet stuffer.  Has the type of frame that can put on and maintain weight and strength.  Smooth style of play, almost too smooth and passive at times.   Like him with the ball more as a point guard to make plays for either himself of others.  Can shoot a bit here and there, but strength is getting into the lane with quick first step.

DSC_1876Walter Kelser 6’0″ point guard Walled Lake Central

Kelser can put up big numbers on any given night.  Walter is a high-volume scoring point guard that hasn’t seen a shot he doesn’t like.  He can score from all three levels, but loves to draw contact and shoot free-throws.  Not a total facilitator make the game easier for others type of guard, more of a system type player and what a college coach wants from their floor generals.


Brawl for the Ball Recap Part Two

14 Jul

Something about MVP Fieldhouse. A large amount of games were decided in the final seconds to conclude the annual Brawl for the Ball.

Congratulations to the following champions:

17u Detroit Stars

16u King James

15u Michigan Mustangs- Faletti

Brandon Johns 6’7″ forward Triple-Threat

The number one player in Michigan’s 2018 class, Johns was viewed by coaches Alabama and Michigan State continuously on the weekend.  The one thing that stood out on Johns this weekend was his passing ability.  He has the vision of a point guard in his 6’7″ frame as he finds cutters from all over the court.  Rebounding and dominating games in the final streches are also nice attributes to have.

Danny Pippen 6’7″ forward Detroit Stars 17u

Whatever Pippen did before the Brawl for the Ball, he needs to do continuously before all tournaments, because at times he was the best forward out of a talented Detroit Stars front-line. Pippen blocked shots from both his man and weakside, consistently ran hard rim-to-rim, and rebounded at a high-level throughout the tournament. He’s not a pure back to the basket scorer, Pippen is a lob and face-up four that can hit a three here and there. Danny has the frame and length to add strength to his game, then only will he become a walking mis-match.

Lamar Norman 6’1″ guard Michigan Mustangs- Vallar 15u

Need offense? Need Lamar Norman. Lamar is an electrifying streaky scorer, but when he gets hot, he stays hot. In the championship game vs. that other Mustang team, Lamar single-handedly kept his team in the game, with over half of his team’s points and a starting back-court mate out with an injury. He’s starting to develop into a deadly stand-still three-point shooter, and is lightning quick in the open court in transition slashing to the basket. Would like for him to have that killer’s mentality throughout the game on the offensive end of the floor, attack off the dribble and call for the ball.

Jaylin McFadden 6’3″ forward 1Nation 17u

Mr. Glue. McFadden is that one piece all successful teams need to have. He does all the dirty work, challenge shots, get 50-50 balls, rebounds, and scores in bunches around the basket. Him and his front-court mate Alaric Jackson were the main reasons as to why 1Nation was able to mount a comeback and win against a dangerous SYF-Players team. Larger schools are hesitant to offer Jaylin because of his size for the position he plays. However, with his motor and athleticism, a division II or NAIA school will be extremely blessed to have him.

Thomas Kithier 6’8″ forward Michigan Mustangs- Faletti 15u

It’s hard to get touches on a team with as much indiviudal guard talent as the Mustangs do, but Kithier never gets frustrated or pouts. He plays his role on both ends of the court. Thomas has such advanced low-post moves for a kid his age, and can score with either hand, and with his passing ability is just as much a threat as well to find an open man. Had a couple big blocks down the strech in bracket play. Watch out if this becomes a consistency in addition already being a solid back-line 1-1 defender.

Antwan Johnson 6’5″ forward Michigan Playmakers 17u

No longer just a dunker, the most athletic player in the gym, Johnson averaged around a double-double each Playmaker game. Johnson is so quick off the floor, and is able to out-jump opponents and snatch the ball at the highest point with ease. He also is deceptively strong, he fearlessly finished drives to the basket off-the dribble and is reliable free-throw shooter, an aspect that has improved leaps and bounds over the course of a year. His hops make him a look for colleges alone, but his developing skill set is what makes him a scholarship player.

Anthony Taylor 6’6″ forward Michigan Playmakers 15u

He played in relative obscurity during the high school season, only freshman of Mumford’s roster, but will soon make an impact this upcoming season for the Mustangs if he continues upon his performance from the Brawl for the Ball. First, Taylor passes the eye test for young forwards, long, rangy, next to gangly in the dictionary. Then, contrary to beliefs about young forwards, he knows how to play the game. Running high-low a few times, knows where to post-up on offense, and positions himself for rebounds although he isn’t jumping out of the gym just yet. In the close lost to the Storm, Taylor was the most efficient player on offense, he might have missed only one or two shots, and was the team’s leading scorer, finishing five-footers with defenders drapped all-over him, and keeping second chance opportunities alive. Anthony is just as good as any young forward in the PSL, remember who said so first.

Greg Elliott 6’3″ guard Detroit Stars 17u

Mr. Clutch. Elliott hit the game winning three-pointer as time expired to give the Stars the 17u platinum championship. Elliott greatest asset is his freakish length. His arms extend to about his knee-caps, and he might not be done growing. A true-combo, Elliott can run the point, or make plays off the ball. He doesn’t do anything exceptionally well, but he is a key piece to a winning team. Defensive versatility is his calling card.

Jaylen Harris 6’7″ forward The Family 16u

The Family rolled out an interesting collection of 2017, 2018, and 2019 in Grand Rapids, and Harris was one of their ’19 forwards. He really does resemble a young Isaiah Austin, and his glasses aren’t the reason. He’s mobile, long, and is athletic for an incoming freshman. Even against older competition, Jaylen blocked weak-side shots and cleaned the glass like he was playing at his age level. Wasn’t as consistent on offense, but looks like he has a nice stroke from up to ten-feet whatever high school he chooses can work with. Sorry, but can’t just hold it in any longer, he will be Isaiah Austin 2.0. Watch.

Terrance Sewell 6’2″ guard Reach 17u

Craves contact, and lives at the free-throw line. A bully. Running out of adjectives here. Just know Sewell gets buckets.

Susu Davenport 5’10” guard Grand Rapids Storm 15u

Only saw Davenport for one full viewing, so this might have to be taken with a grain of salt for consistency purposes, but Davenport can play. He does an excellent job of changing speeds on defenders, getting to the lane, and making plays. Davenport does a nice job of putting officials in positions to make calls and more often than not he was drawing blocking falls. Big and-one to put the game against the Michigan Playmakers on ice.

Demetrius Craig 5’10” guard Triple-Threat 16u

For as much talent on Triple-Threat, they still need role players, and Craig is one of those.  Craig is a three-point specialist who capitalizes on the spacing made by Johns and the team’s other shooter Reese Middleton.

Ben Davidson 6’2″ guard Grand Rapids Storm 15u

St. Clair is situated next to Port Huron, not Grand Rapids. The Storm should pay for whatever the gas mileage it is from St. Clair to Grand Rapids for Davidson, because he is well worth it. Davidson is one of those guards that is consistent wherever he is on the floor. Whether it be as a point guard or off-guard, Davidson is going to make a play for himself or teammates. Again, in the Storm vs. Playmaker 15u, Davidson made crafty first-step drive after drive to the basket with either hand. Nice backcourt with him and Davenport.

Joan Andoni 6’2″ guard Reach 17u

Mr. Andoni is not afraid to luanch the three, and he made more than he missed. In two viewings on the weekend, Andoni put together 2-3 minutes where he scored 8-11 that changed the complexion of the game. He has a consistent, pure stroke that always looks like it’s going in.

James Jenkins 6’7″ forward Michigan Playmakers 17u

Didn’t put-up consistent or unworldly numbers, but for stretches gave the Playmakers big minutes off the bench, 14 points in the championship. Although he doesn’t get the ball much offensively, he still took advantage of opponents not boxing him out, staying in the paint, and getting second chance points. Good not great athlete, solid length, and can shoot a little up to 20 feet. Size alone makes him D2/NAIA type player, far from a finished product.

Grand Rapids Storm Brawl for the Ball Mid-Way Recap

11 Jul

Notable standouts from the first two days in Grand Rapids.  Bracket play commences late Saturday afternoon.

Dwight Burton 6’2″ guard Michigan Playmakers 17u

Exploded for 26 points against said better guards in the team’s rout of ACB Bankhoops, including 22 in the second half.  For a good three to five minute strech, Burton carried the Playmakers, with at least 8-12 points.  His first step is lightning quick, and can put up big numbers with floaters in the lane, and-ones to the basket, and a nice mid-range game.  When he dials in on defense, Burton can go from simply good to very good.  At times needs to realize when he has the hot hand and when he doesn’t, but one of Michigan’s fastest rising guard prospects in 2016.

Josh Long 6’5″ forward 1Nation 16u

If Josh was three to four inches taller, he could be a top three forward in the state.  He compensates however with a high-motor and workman-like approach.  Opponents must get a body on him for rebounds, because he will grind until the last possible minute to get it.  Offensivley, he does a lot of his damage off penetration from guards, and is athletic enough to finish over defenders.  He’s thin at the moment, and would like to see him develop a reliable 10-12 foot jump shot to expand his arsenal of moves.  Stuck in the proverbial tweener catergory of either a three or four, but his production says otherwise.

Armonee Felder 5’10” point guard 1Nation 16u

The first half of the Brawl for the Ball has been productive for Felder.  He has that fire within him that all guards must have, but he has the be smart with it though.  The game against Elite Nation was a prime example of what he needs to do in order to have a succesful July.  Armonee was similar to a free safety in the open-court on defense, roaming around wherever he wanted, picking off lazy passes, and sneaking up on unaware ball-handlers.  He can be an absolute nightmare for guards with a weak handle with his quick hands and feet when guarding the pick-and-roll.  He’s more of a scoring guard than a pure point guard at the moment, and needs to find the happy medium between the two.

Kareem Murray 6’2″ guard Reach 17u

Murray’s stock is rising by the minute in Grand Rapids.  He has made it a point to use his solidly built frame and strength to attack the basket at will against smaller guards.  At times it seems as if he’s gliding along the way when at the rim.  Also one of Michigan’s very best perimeter defenders in the rising senior class due to his previously mentioned strength, court awareness, and communicating with teammates.

Justin Turner 6’3″ guard 1Nation 17u

Justin is at the center of the Michigan’s prep basketball community currently, as he could be on the verge of higher level offers in the coming weeks pending his performances.  Saturday, Turner did nothing to hurt his stock, netting a game-high 33 points against the Grand Rapids Storm.  Turner is extremely versatile when in the triple-threat position, with an advanced aray of moves to create space of get off a shot to score from all three levels.  He’s not the definition of a point guard, but can cause a lot movement by defenders and is smart enough to find the open man.

Other standouts through two days:

Tray Jackson 6’7″ forward Mustangs- Haney 15u

The best kept secret within the I-94 corridor.  With his height, length, and size, it is nearly impossible to challenge a Jackson jump-shot.  And it’s not as though he’ll catch a pass and quickly launch a three, he gets the ball, looks around him, occasionally call for a screen and then make his move.  His team opts to play zone defensivly, and Jackson is forced to play more a four role on the backend, it doens’t showcase his individual defense, but will make him a more aggressive rebounder.  Extremely high-ceiling once he puts the pieces together.

Dequan Powell 6’0″ guard Michigan Playmakers 17u

Has been the glue man the Playmakers have needed the entire year.  His calling card is defense and rebounding.  He has the ability to fly into the paint offensivley and come away with rebound after rebound.  Not a break opponents down get to the basket two guard, but has a very soft mid-range game that can be expanded to three-point range on occasion.

Donnie Tillman 6’6″ forward Detroit Stars 17u

It is a treat for those in Michigan to watch Tillman play during the Summer since deciding prep school was the best route for him.  Donnie is a walking double-double.  Once he gets an angle on defenders and can create contact it’s over.  Using his girth to shield opponents from the ball, then nimble and bouncy enough to finish.  Can create alot off the face-up, even taking his man off the dribble from the three-point line.

Jesse Scarber 5’8″ point guard Michigan Playmakers 16u

A do-everything point guard that is a coach’s dream to have on floor despite evident vertical challenges.  Is capabale of any given game concluding with 20 points, but here’s the kicker, eight steals.  Jesse can create havoc either with the ball or without the ball directly in front of him, he anticipates passes, and doesn’t gamble.  Vocal and is a consistent jump-shot away from taking the next step in his game.

Terrance Bowens 6’3″ wing Michigan Playmakers 16u

Came off the bench and provided the spurt of energy needed to get over the hump against Elite Nation.  Plays out of position at the four with a skill set more inclined toward the wing.  However, he added 16 points along with 15 rebounds.  Tremendously quick off the floor and it was as if he knew where the ball was going to bounce off the rim.  Plus free-throw shooter as well.

Nick Welch 6’6″ forward Mustangs- Watts 16

Would be an absolute steal for an NAIA or D3 school.  Mobile, understands floor spacing on offense, and can finish around the basket.

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