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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.

Reach July Super Shoot-Out Recap

5 Jul

IMG_0878Due to the holiday weekend constrictions, the annual Reach July Tune-Up was only a one day event.  Regardless, competition was still high, particularly in the 15u division with an emerging rivalry between The Family and Michigan Gators.

See who Christian Crittenden (@chris_critt) felt stood out prior to the July Live Evaluation period.


15U: The Family

IMG_087716u: Reach Legends

17u: Grand Rapids Storm- Martin

Jaylin McFadden 6’5″ 2016 forward Reach 17u- Jaylin is most known for the intangibles he brings to the basketball court, hustle points, and dirty-work.  But he has started to exert a greater amount of confidence in his perimeter jump shot which will attract college coaches in the upcoming weeks.   With his athleticism, he rebounds in and out of his zone and is capable of guarding multiple positions.  Jaylin is the type of player that every team needs to win a championship, and luckily for East English they have him.

Brandon Wade 6’0″ 2018 point guard Michigan Gators 15u- One of the very best guards in his class, and it was on was display over the tournament.  Brandon can shoot the three, and get to the basket.  He creates a lot for his teammates.  His athleticism is slowly developing, but he makes up for it with a high basketball I.Q.  It seems like he makes the right decision every time down. There were times in the championship game where P.J Mitchell was making it very tough on him, but he still found a way to score.

IMG_0846Pierre Mitchell 5’9″ 2018 point guard The Family 15u- Pierre is a natural-born leader, which was evident on Friday.  He was everywhere diving for loose balls, deflecting passes, and making open shots.  What stood out though was his aggressive defense on Brandon Wade.  Pierre made it tough on Wade and for stretches held him scoreless.  Mitchell did not allow him any breathing room, and he was also able to manage a few steals.  He did an excellent job feeding his teammates, and just making plays.

Romeo Weems 6’4″ 2019 wing The Family 15u- Without a doubt the best player in Michigan’s 2019 class.  Weems was dominant on both sides of the ball.  He ran the floor well, and finished at the basket above the rim.  He was all over the glass on both ends, getting put-back after put-back, and blocking several shots on defense.  Weems will more than likely play the off-guard position in high school, but for AAU he can up to four positions effectively.  He is young, so when he matures and puts on muscle very few will be able to contain him.

Bryce Washington 6’2″ 2018 guard The Family 15u- Bryce Washington made his presence known on the defensive side of the ball playing aggressive, and getting steals due to his length.  However his offensive game is not too shabby, he was running the floor, and finishing fast break lay-ups.

Jack Ammerman 5’9″ 2018 shooting guard Michigan Gators 15u- Jack can flat-out shoot the rock.  He was automatic all day from deep.  In the championship game against The Family, he kept his team in the game early with spot-on shooting.  However, he will need to work on attacking off the dribble, and defense.

Mike Green 6’6″ 2017 forward Reach 16u- Mike Green is a player that every team would love to have.  He was active, physical, and aggressive.  He rebounds extremely well, and was on the glass for every put back.

Liam Soraghan 6’7″ 2017 forward Reach 16u- Liam, along with his teammate Mike Green, rebounds well, and finishes around the basket with either hand.

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.


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