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Inaugural Hardcourt Challenge Rewind

28 Jan

2019 has seen a first for The Prep Ball Report–hosting two, six-game events within three weeks of one another.  The latest event, The Hardcourt Challenge, was held at Detroit Edison Public School Academy, near Detroit’s Historic Eastern Market.

Game Result:

Detroit Cornerstone Health + Technology 66 Detroit Voyageur 57

Detroit Douglass 54 Mt. Clemens 45

Flint Powers 81 Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies 46

Detroit Loyola 66 Westland John Glenn 63

Detroit Edison 77 Benton Harbor 68

East St. Louis 61 Detroit Henry Ford 52

Hardcourt Challenge First-Team:

Senior guard Cornellius Leflore East St. Louis

Junior guard Mark Mayberry Detroit Loyola

Senior forward Brian Taylor Detroit Edison

Sophomore forward Pierre Brooks II Detroit Douglass

Junior forward Carlos “Scooby” Johnson Benton Harbor

Hardcourt Challenge Second-Team:

Senior guard Joe Moon Westland John Glenn

Junior guard Ray Williams Detroit Edison

Freshman guard Javaugh Hannah Mt. Clemens

Sophomore forward Bryce George Detroit Edison

Senior forward Terrence Hargrove East St. Louis



Inaugural Prep Ball Classic Recap

2 Feb

3L9A3757The inaugural Prep Ball Classic took place at Voyageur Prep on Sunday, January 28th.  The foundation has now been laid for the event to grow upon and continue in a forward trajectory.

Detroit Douglass 66 Ferndale 55

The Hurricanes thoroughly led from start to finish in the opening game of the day.   Douglass found most of their success when operating a five guard line-up that controlled both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.  The best freshman in the state, Pierre Brooks II, is a budding star that at times played all five positions on the court.  He is definitely the future of the PSL and will be appointment viewing in only a matter of time.

Game MVP: Pierre Brooks II

3L9A3912Voyageur 59 Mt. Clemens 46

Mt. Clemens had the size advantage, but the Voyageur guards were the difference for the Cougars.  Voyageur’s Lemuel Holt and Elijah Belle are both effective and efficient two-way players that know what it takes to win and don’t beat themselves.  Teams are certainly going to have to earn a victory against Voyageur come playoff time.

Game MVP: Elijah Belle

Detroit Edison defeats Saginaw

3L9A4166Saginaw held tough for about a half of play, but the Edison quartet of division one players Pierre Mitchell, Gary Solomon, Deante Johnson and Brian Taylor wore down the young Trojans over the course of 32 minutes.  With size, athleticism and scoring ability, Edison is primed to make a return trip to the Breslin Center, and this time come away with hardware.

Game MVP: Brian Taylor

3L9A4247Detroit Henry Ford 63 Detroit Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies 52

This game might as well have been a game of 21, as it was decided between three players.  Ford senior guards Deontae Ulmer and Anthony Robert accounted for 55 of of their team’s 63 points, while HFA’s Purdue bound big-man Trevion Williams scored 20 of his team’s 52 points, grabbed 26 rebounds and dished eight assits.  HFA controlled the first quarter of the game, but as Ford has traditionally done over the years as a championship program, executed defensively with surgical precision the remainder of the game.  Ford dictates how they want team’s to play, regardless of personnel, as evident against HFA.

Game MVP: Anthony Roberts

Old Redford 61 Loyola 52

3L9A4320If Loyola was going to to win this game, it was going to have to be a low-scoring affair against a team with as explosive an offense as Old Redford.  Loyola made it a defensive game, but credit Old Redford for being able to win a game when shots were not falling.  Sophomore sensation Isaiah Jackson had only four points, but led the defensive effort with 14 blocked shots.

It also appears as though star guard Mark “Rocket” Watts has found a new friend in the backcourt with junior transfer Troy Lattimore.  It wasn’t vintage Watts, finishing with a respectable 18 points, but it was Lattimore that ultimately swung this game in Old Redford’s favor in the second-half.  He is another ball handler and playmaker that can take pressure off of Watts to facilitate the offense with the experience that comes with being a third year varsity player.  Lattimore buried four crucial triples as Old Redford distanced themselves from Loyola, and handed out a number of assists as well.  Old Redford’s ultimate success this season could hinge on how well Watts and Lattimore compliment each other in the backcourt.

Game MVP: Troy Lattimore

All-Classic Teams

First Team

Pierre Brooks II 6’4″ freshman guard Detroit Douglass

Troy Lattimore 6’0″ junior guard Old Redford

Anthony Roberts 6’3″ senior guard Detroit Henry Ford

Brian Taylor 6’5″ junior wing Detroit Edison

Trevion Williams 6’9″ senior center Detroit Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies

Second Team

Elijah Belle 5’10” junior point guard Voyageur

Deontae Ulmer 6’3″ senior guard Detroit Henry Ford

Gary Solomon 6’5″ senior guard Detroit Edison

Tyreke Banach 6’7″ senior forward Mt. Clemens

Myron Gardner 6’6″ junior forward Loyola

Photos courtesy of Paul Snyder


Another Step in the Right Direction

23 Jan

The third edition of the Coaches Against Violence Invitational was yet another building block is the ascension of this event as a premier showcase in Michigan.

This year, the brand was elevated with the prominent media coverage of Branden Hunter of Michigan Preps and Rico Beard of Spartan Mag.

Also, it would be remiss if the one-and-only Chicken King was not mentioned for providing quality meals and discussion worthy cornbread.  Check them out at their Farmington location on Grand River.  Tell them the Coaches Against Violence Invitational sent you.


DeMario Turner leads Community to win.

Game One: Detroit Community (5-5) 66 Detroit Westside Christian (9-4) 32


This game featured a battle between quality senior wings DeMario Turner of Community and James Jordan of Westside, both of whom should be on the radar for college coaches.  The two finished in double-digits scoring wise, but the Hurricane depth and strong defensive game-plan were enough to overpower the Warriors and cruise to a sold victory.  Outside of Turner, many of Community’s key players are either sophomores or juniors.  Meaning the future is bright for head coach Damon Porter’s group.

MVP- 6’4″ senior wing DeMario Turner 17 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks


Vince McKinney is the heart for DPSA.

Game Two: Detroit Public Safety (7-4) Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (6-5)


These two teams met last year with Arbor Prep defeating DPSA by twenty at home.  This year on a neutral court, DPSA left little doubt about who the better team was.  Simply put, DPSA could have named the score after the first quarter.  After losing their first four games of the year, DPSA has won the next seven in a row, including a quality road victory at Waterford Out Lady of the Lakes.  It has been interesting to watch the progression of DPSA as a program the past three Coaches Against Violence Invitationals from a team with promise to a program that expects to win games each night.  The Eagles have the talent, athleticism, and size to match with any Class D team in Metro-Detroit this year.  The Breslin Center is a realistic expectation for this group.

MVP- 6’3″ senior forward Vincent McKinney 19 points and 16 rebounds.


Farmington’s Jordan Graham can fill the basket.

Game Three: Farmington (8-3) 58 Detroit Voyageur 40 (2-5)


It is truly astonishing to realize how much high school basketball can change in the course of three years. These two teams squared off at the inaugural Coaches Against Violence Invitational in 2015, Voyageur (former Consortium) had just come off a Class C state championship, while Farmington was slowly but surely developing a quality program in Oakland County.

Now fast-forward to 2017, the experience laden Falcons dominated the Cougars, holding a commanding double-digit lead throughout most of the second-half.  Voyaguer is a relatively young team, sophomore point guard Elijah Belle is the building-block going forward for the Cougars.  However, Belle and his teammates had no answer for 6-5″ swingman Jordan Graham, arguably the top unsigned senior talent remaining in Michigan.  Farmington will go as far as Graham takes them, but he has capable guards in Ray Bryant and Jay Kirby to aid the way as the Falcons are in prime position to make a deep playoff journey through Oakland County this year.

MVP- 6’5″ senior wing Jordan Graham 28 points and eight rebounds.


Marquette bound Jamal Cain brought his A game for the event.

Game Four: Detroit Cornerstone (7-2) 82 Detroit Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies (4-3) 44


As far as overall team-play is concerned, Cornerstone did win convincingly against the Mustangs.  However, this game drew a solid following due to the match-up of skilled big men in senior Jamal Cain (Marquette) and junior Trevion Williams.

Williams had three fouls before intermission, and Cornerstone took advantage of that time frame to build a lead to put the game out of reach for SCS.  But for the limited time Cain and Williams guarded one-another, it was a compelling battle with the contrasting styles the two feature, the finesse and smooth game Cain processes and the rugged throwback game Williams highlights.  These two are amongst the top in their classes and the state overall, and challenged themselves against a player with equally comparable talent, an act the two deserve to be exalted for.

MVP- 6’7″ senior forward Jamal Cain with 22 points and 12 rebounds.


It will be hard to keep Kelly Broadus out the paint this year.

Game Five: Detroit Frederick Douglass 81 (9-3) Detroit Old Redford 62 (5-5)


Last year, the second annual Coaches Against Violence Invitational had a team in Detroit Northwestern that flew under the radar in the Public School League, then in the city playoffs stunned one of the larger schools.

This year, Douglass fits that narrative.  The Hurricanes deploy a three-headed monster senior guard attack with 5’7″ speed-demon Kelly Broadus, 6’1″ cerebral Jarnard Smith, and 6’4″ marksman Carlos Walker-Byars.  The trio combined for 70 of Douglass’ total points.  The recipe for success come March is guards and seniors, Douglass happens to have both.

MVP- 5’7″ senior guard Kelly Broadus 32 points and four steals.

All-Invitational First Team

Douglass senior guard Kelly Broadus  32 points and four steals

Old Redford sophomore guard Mark Watts 32 points

Farmington senior wing Jordan Graham 28 points and eight rebounds

Public Safety senior forward Vince McKinney 19 points and 16 rebounds

Cornerstone senior forwardJamal Cain 22 points and 12 rebounds

All-Invitational Second Team

Douglass senior guard Jarnard Smith 18 points

Douglass senior guard Carlos Walker 20 points and eight rebounds

Public safety sophomore guard Thomas Henderson 16 points

Farmington junior guard Jay Kirby 15 points

Community senior wing DeMario Turner 17 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.

Class C Pre-season Top 10

4 Dec

Beecher took home Class C last year.  However, the Bucs will have multiple competitors this season with realistic possibilities to dethrone the champs.

Class C player of the year: Jamal Cain Cornerstone 

  1. Beecher– The Bucs’ senior class will look to make three state championships in four years.
  2. Detroit Edison– Might have the best starting five of any team in Class C.
  3. Monroe St. Mary– Always roll through the Huron League, but now have the size to match teams that gave them fits the last couple of playoff runs.
  4. Detroit Cornerstone– Jamal Cain is a household name.  However, Cornerstone picked up a few transfers, particularly at the guard spot, to balance out their whole roster.
  5. Grandville Calvin Christian– Gave Beecher a great game in the final last year.  Blake Verbeek is a match-up nightmare at this level.
  6. Detroit Loyola- New coach but Loyola will still be the favorites to win their portion of the Catholic League.
  7. Hanover-Horton– Steady as the come over the past few winters as any team in the state.
  8. Detroit Pershing– Will take their lumps in the PSL but should prepare them for a run in March.
  9. Dansville– Caleb Hodgson is force in the lane.
  10. Riverview Gabriel Richard– The best collection of talent ever assembled at Richard.

Class B Pre-season Top 15

4 Dec

Class B is the most balanced class throughout the state.

Class B player of the year: Romeo Weems New Haven

  1. Wyoming Godwin Heights– Too much talent to not be ranked number one heading into the season.
  2. River Rouge– Mark White won two state championships and with son Darian at point guard will look to bring River Rouge their first state championship 1999.
  3. Hazel Park– Have made strides the past two years with now being their best roster.
  4. New Haven– Have fallen short the past two seasons in the playoffs but on paper are extremely talented.
  5. Wayland– The best point guard and forward duo in the entire class.
  6. Northwestern- Will not sneak up on anybody this year.
  7. Detroit Country Day– Young again but no short of talent.
  8. Grand Rapids Catholic Central– Marcus Bingham, a transfer from Ottawa Hills, rose his stock in the Summer and will now rise GRCC into the top ten of the state.
  9. Dearborn Divine Child– A nice trio that has been building up to this point for some years now.
  10. Voyageur– The new name for the old Consortium.  A versatile and dynamic backcourt will lead the Cougars.
  11. Corunna– Coach John Buscemi, the former Detroit Loyola coach, brings Detroit toughness to the middle of the state.
  12. Detroit Old Redford– After starting at the now closed Allen Academy, Rocket Watts is now the alpha dog of the Ravens.
  13. Detroit Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies– Trevion Williams is no stranger to Michigan anymore.
  14. Benton Harbor– Young but a scrappy bunch that play with heart.
  15. Adrain– Remember the name Antwan Ficklen.

Class A Pre-season Top 20

4 Dec

A lack of separation from top to bottom makes Class A very interesting this winter.

Class A player of the year: Xavier Tillman Grand Rapids Christian

  1. Clarkston– A well balanced roster throughout allow the Wolves to throw a variety of line-ups at opponents.
  2. U of D Jesuit– Losing Mr. Basketball hurts, however, the Cubs have the best front-court combo in the class.
  3. Grand Rapids Christian– The Eagles now have a full year to get accumulated to each other and build chemistry with three division one players in the starting line-up.
  4. Macomb Dakota– The Cougars eye another trip to the Breslin.
  5. Belleville– The time is now for the Tigers’ talented junior class.
  6. Kalamazoo Central– Not as deep as in years past, but always find a way to win games.
  7. Detroit East English– Can score and run with any team in state, the key will be defense and rebounding.
  8. East Lansing– Following an undefeated regular season last year, the Trojans are now amongst the state’s strongest teams returning basically everybody.
  9. Muskegon- The Big Reds can always be penciled in for a deep Class A run.
  10. Detroit Western– Lose a great deal from last year but at the same time gain a lot.
  11. Saginaw– It’s been a minute since the Trojans made it to the Breslin, three years to be exact.  Not typical from a Trojan perspective.
  12. Wayne Memorial– Solid core that has been built from the ground-up.
  13. Detroit King– A dark horse contender for the PSL championship.
  14. Romulus– The model of consistency for every team in the state for the last 15 years.
  15. Ann Arbor Huron– A team that has played together for a very long time usually wins a lot.
  16. Ypsilanti– Never count out the Grizzlies despite what was lost from last year’s team.
  17. Crestwood– An under the radar team that with the right match-up could catch a higher ranked team napping.
  18. North Farmington– Amauri Hardy gets buckets.
  19. Detroit Cass Tech– This senior class does lack experience since playing varsity since sophomores.  Extremely deep at guard.
  20. Davison– Crack the top twenty due to an interesting transfer.


Class D Pre-season Top Five

4 Dec

Class D appears to be at least a bit more competitive this season compared to years past.

Class D player of the year: Jason Whitens Powers North Central

  1. Southfield Christian– Move down after spending the last two years in Class C but have the talent of a larger school.
  2. Powers North Central– The defending state champs return their top scorer from an undefeated season last year.
  3. Waterford Our Lady– Always a tough out regardless who is on the roster.
  4. Bellaire– Nearly made it to the Breslin Center and return a solid core.
  5. Detroit Public Safety– This small, independent school has made great strides over the past two years and look to put it all together this winter.  Have the depth and a path to the Breslin.

Owens Community College Jamboree Recap

20 Oct
Isaiah Leads a Standout of Performers at Owens Jamboree

Isaiah Leads a Standout of Performers at Owens Jamboree

Another strong Jamboree at Owens C.C. as the Express hosted a quality field of teams with high-level players in an environment with a plethora of coaches to view and evaluate.

Isaiah Green 6’7″ sophomore forward (Lansing C.C.)- Even back to his days at Southfield High, Green is a monster on the offensive and defensive glass.  Isaiah finished with huge rebounding numbers in all three games.  Now Green has a few nice back-to-basket moves.  But he was also highly effective playing in the high-post and draining consistently mid-range jumpers with an effortless form.  Would be a steal in the GLIAC but could play in the MAC or Horizon due to mobility and skill-set.


James Mann

James Mann 6’7″ Post-grad forward (Kingston Prep)- Arguably the best player at the Jamboree, Mann was a man all day.  He used his frame to beat defenders off post-catches and off the dribble using his quickness.  MAC and Horizon coaches better start calling otherwise you will see him on the scouting report soon.

Nikos Okekvoven 2018 6’11 forward (Spire Institute)- Great footwork for the big guy from overseas.  Good touch in the mid-range jumper.  Needs to work on slimming down and getting his conditioning in order to work effectively in any match-up.

Jordan Kenning 2017 6’9″ center (3Kings Prep)- Kenning is a thick 6’9″ with a wide body.  Crashes the offensive glass with reckless abandon.  A bit raw in the post but still has some upside.  3.06 GPA makes him a solid recruit in the GLIAC but could also see some high-academic schools getting involved as well.

D'Angelo Hansbro

D’Angelo Hansbro

D’Angelo (Delo) Hansbro freshman 6’1″ combo guard (Schoolcraft)- Knockdown shooter that looks to have brought his potent offensive ability to the junior college level as he set the in-game three-point record with 10 at Romulus.  Will pair well with a other Ocelot guards that will look to make each game a track-meet.

Derrik Jamerson sophomore 6’5″ shooting guard (Owens C.C.)- Michigan knows Jamerson can shoot the rock with unlimited range and quick trigger.  But what stood out about Jamerson was that his foot-speed has improved on the defensive end to where he is no longer a liability there.  Derrik still has one more year to grow with ball skills and individual offense, but colleges coaches have and should take notice of this budding star.

Antwan Johnson 6’5″ Post-grad forward (Kingston Prep)- Johnson’s name is familiar in the Detroit-area because he played his first three years at Detroit Henry Ford before transferring to Cincinnati Taft for his senior campaign.  An undersized combo forward, Johnson looks to have improved upon his upper-body, looking slimmer and more muscular.  Antwan is known as a high-flyer, but his ball skills have greatly improved, and his spin move is deadly on helpless defenders.  Has one thing players just have that is difficult to coach, is always around the ball on both ends.

Dwight Burton 6’2″ freshman guard (Macomb C.C.)- Instant offense with this wing guard.  Great isolation scorer with an impeccable first step when driving the lane as he uses pump-fakes to draw separation on the perimeter to get into the paint.  Should be in-store for a monster year at Macomb.


Mayor’s Notebook: A Look at Toledo Elite Camp

6 Jul

The Toledo Elite Camp bought out top talent from several states and Canada. The theme was talented bigs.

20160626_145124Blake Verbeek 2018 6-10 Calvin Christian- 6-10 shooters do not grow on trees. With the ability of a shooting guard, Blake stepped out and knocked-down three pointers across the perimeter while also mixing in a few mid-range jumpers.  Polishing out a complete arsenal of skills and finding ways to impact games without just shooting will make Verbeek much more appealing to high-majors.  Recently visited Creighton.

20160626_151821Marcus Bingham 2018 6-8 Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills- I would like to see Bingham’s wing-span, at-least 7-3.  His shot wasn’t particularly falling on the day, but the ability to post-up and shoot over defenders while also creating with a decent handle allowed Bingham to earn an offer.  Bingham is a type of player college coaches want to get a hand on because his talent is translatable to fit various styles of play.

20160626_144824Mark Mayle 2018 6-8 Malvern Ohio- The King James 16U big man put on a pick-and-roll clinic.  Mayle’s high basketball IQ gave him open look after open look which most of the time he converted with ease.  Then he had some electric dunks right on top of his defender’s head.

Julian Savoury 2018 6-5 Belleville- Savory has a motor that won’t quit.  Pulling rebound after rebound.  He displayed a nice touch finishing around the hoop.  There is definitely a lot of upside to like in this prospect.

Duane Washington 2018 6-1 Grand Rapids Christian- Has really grown as a player this past Spring and should translate into a big July.  If it was not for the numbers on the back of his shirt, Washington would’ve been mistaken for a Toledo player, as he was not flustered in any way while scrimmaging the college team. Has a nice feel for balancing when to score off the bounce with counter moves and when to distribute.  Earned an offer immediately following conclusion of the camp.

Now for a quick look into the future. Rising ninth grader Antwan Ficklen is a name to remember. He made good decisions with the rock against peers, and handled the pressure well against the college team. Anthony had a great Spring for the Michigan Warrior eighth grade team.

Contributed by Al Troia

Mayor’s Notebook: U of D Mercy Highlights

24 Jun
Rising sophomore guard Mark Watts has established himself in the 2019 class.

Rising sophomore guard Mark Watts has established himself in the 2019 class.

University of Detroit Mercy held their annual elite camp last week. It was the first under new head coach Bacari Alexander.  Coach Alexander is optimistic for what the future holds at UDM.  And while on the job for the past two months, Coach Alexander has devised a strategic, multi-phase step plan organized to the very last detail on how to reach the ambitions he has for the program.

“Well we’re on day seventy-one here,” said Bacari, “we used the first thirty days to get the roster in-order.  The second thirty days will be used to get the right staff in here and hopefully we use the last thirty days to get a strength and player development routines established. We got the corner of McNichols and Livernois jumping again. Remember the Titans.”

Standout Performers

2019 Allen Academy Mark “Rocket” Watts guard- Rocket had his improved offensive game on display.  He has clearly established himself as one of the top players in the 2019 class.  He holds an offer from Oakland while receiving interest from Xavier, Michigan State and Detroit.

2017 Ypsilanti guard Jamezell “Big Game James” Davis guard-  Standing at 5-9 ,Davis used his quickness to get to the rack and set-up his teammates all night.  He’s firmly ready to lead the Ypsi charge for Coach Brooks this upcoming Winter.

2018 Lamar Norman Godwin Heights guard- Norman was unstoppable in transition all day long.  Definitely can go get a bucket when needed.  Offers from Toledo and Ferris State.

2018 DJ Lundy Romulus forward- Playing on the same camp squad as his former Belleville teammates Davion Williams and Gabe Brown, Lundy cleaned up miss after miss and was hitting open jumpers.  It’s clear Lundy has worked on his game this summer.

2018 Jacob Boonyasith Jenison guard- Ability to knock-down the three-ball, especially playing with unfamiliar point guards, stood out. Kid can really shoot it.

2018 Jacob Polakovish forward Grand Rapids Catholic Central forward- He used his 6-7 frame to rebound the glass on both ends of the floor.  Ran the floor really well for a big.

Contributed by Al Troia

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