Archive | August, 2015

Mayor’s Notebook: Allen Academy’s Jason Williams Primed for Big Year

28 Aug

jasonwilliamsA 2016 point guard many schools are looking over is Jason Williams from Detroit Allen Academy.  Williams stands a mere 5’10,” but blessed with superb speed, agility, and athleticism for a sub six-foot guard.  Jason uses a quick first-step to get past defenders and downhill for the rim with either hand.  Early in his career, Jason struggled with tunnel vision.  Playing too fast, out of control, and forcing errant shots.

By the middle of his junior year, Williams took his game to the next level.  He developed into a leader for a young Wildcat team at the point guard position.  He single-handedly carrying the team during stretches throughout the year, dropped three 40 point games, two back-to-back, and concluded the year leading Allen Academy with a 27 points-per-game and 7 assists-per-game average.

Jason spent the July live evaluation period with 17U 1Nation, alongside consensus number one 2016 prospect Josh Jackson.  Following particularly strong performances at the Under Armour Invitational and Las Vegas Fab 48, Williams caught the eye of college coaches.  Arkansas State and North Carolina A&T offered on spot in Vegas, East Tennessee State a few weeks later, as well as a Ferris State offer Williams already held.   He plans to visit two campuses in September.

Expectations will be high for Williams his senior campaign.  He has already scored more than 1,000 points in his career and dished-out more than 300 assists.  But there is one thing Jason wants more than individual numbers, a state championship.  Allen Academy opens the year as a top five team in Class C with a legitimate opportunity to finish their season at the Breslin Center.  With Williams, 6’7″ senior forward Danny Pippen, and a young nucleus of guards, Coach Craig Covington will have plenty of options at his disposal this upcoming winter.  But Williams will be the “straw that stirs the drink” according to coach.

Contributed by Al Troia

Mayor’s Notebook: Jaron Faulds Recaps Big Summer

22 Aug

YOqekVy9_400x400One of the biggest stock risers in July was The Family’s Jaron Faulds.  The Holt big man, standing 6’10,” was a load on the offensive and defensive glasses.   Faulds made major strides on the offensive end of the floor this past grassroots season.   He is now able to knock-down mid-range jumpers consistently, and has a variety of low-post moves.  Due to his stellar play, particularly in the month of July, several schools have taken interest in the rising junior.   Interest from the Big Ten is Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue. Out of state schools have been Xavier, Clemson, Cornell, Harvard, and St. Louis.  Toledo (offer), Central Michigan, Kent State (offer), and Akron out of the MAC, and Oakland University (offer) out of the Horizon League.  Faulds says Toledo, Kent State, and Oakland are the schools pursuing him the hardest.  Jaron mentions academics will be taken into consideration for his ultimate decision.

Contributed by Al Troia: @altroyhoops

Oh Times Goes By So Fast

17 Aug

For three years, I have covered high school basketball in Michigan.  The inspiration behind the website came after reading an article about a kid my age in New Jersey who had started his own successful basketball website.  Already a prep sports enthusiast for years at the time in tenth grade, a project was born.

I initially covered football in the Fall of 2012.  Once the state finals at Ford Field concluded, it was basketball season.  I’ve always liked the two sports, but there’s something unique about Michigan high school basketball that drew me in.  The rivalries, tradition, enthusiastic crowds and fans, state tournaments, it was an atmosphere I wanted to be apart of; only from the stands.

From then on I continued on covering the AAU part of high school basketball.  I had always wondered why certain players received specific college interest and how coaches evaluate talent on the court.  At that point I learned prep basketball is a business, and like life, it’s not always fair.  I felt as though is was my responsibility to continuously advocate for the lesser known players in Michigan, a core value behind The Prep Ball Report, knowing the impact a college education can have on a family and community.  I am unclear to date on how many student-athletes went to the next level because of my services, but there has been no better feeling than the thank yous I have received from players after an article was written with their name in it.

Although this website has been a true labor of love the past few years, it is time for me personally to move on.  In May of 2015, I graduated from University of Detroit Jesuit High School, and in the Fall I will be attending Loyola University Chicago, a Jesuit school located in Rogers Park neighborhood of the city.  I do not plan on continuing as a writer for the time being, instead my time will be devoted toward working as a student manager for the Rambler basketball team.  Loyola compiled a 24-13 record in the prestigious Missouri Valley conference a season ago, and captured the College Basketball Invitational tournament championship.   In addition to my role as a manager, I plan on studying sports management in college.

However, this is not necessarily the end of The Prep Ball Report.  I have assembled a staff of insiders who will continue in my absence on covering basketball in Michigan.  Notably, Adam “Mayor” Troia, a fixture on the Detroit basketball scene who is a regular contributor to the Michigan Insider on 1050 WTKA.  I am confident in Adam’s ability on spotlighting the young stars of Michigan, as well as the diamonds in the rough, which will be invaluable towards the future of this ongoing project.

I am a firm believer in surrounding yourself around positive people.  I would like to extend a gracious thank you to all the players, parents, fans, fellow reporters, and high school and college coaches I have come into contact with the past three years.  Your support does not go unnoticed.

The Prep Ball Report will always have a special part in my life.  Growing and developing an idea into a respectable brand was a once in a life-time opportunity for me.  Above all the personal notoriety it has brought me, the lasting impact will be how I’ve grown as a person, not just a basketball reporter.  Contrary to what many believed, my school grades improved once I started The Prep Ball Report, as well as my self-esteem and worth increased.  Sports have and will always play an important role in my life.  My ultimate goal is to work for a professional sports franchise one day.  And I owe a debt of gratitude to the Michigan high school basketball community for teaching me life-long lessons and serving as a launching point.



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