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Mayor’s Notebook: Top 16u Teams

20 May

The 16U division has several teams capable of picking up hardware every weekend. Rosters remain subject to change.  This is Summer ball after all.

In no particular order.

Mustangs-Faletti- Things start-up front with Trevion “Tractor Trailer” Williams, a dominating 6-7 wide-body from Dearborn Henry Ford Academy. They also feature the 3D, DeWitt’s dynamic duo in 6-6 Luke Hyde and 6-4 Tanner Reha.  Add Danny Kolp 6-8 from Petoskey and this team definitely packs a punch inside.

Reach Legends- Nice front-court tandem between 6-7 Quinn Blair (Dearborn Divine Child) at one forward and Tray Jackson 6-7 Detroit Western at other the forward to cause match-up problems.  Rashad Williams has had a pleasant Spring scoring the ball, and Matthew Richmond is a steady extension of a coach on the floor.

1 Nation- This team can really run.  Godwin Heights guard Lamar Norman is a deadly scorer.  Markeese Hastings, also from Godwin Heights, adds length inside.  Jalen Tobias is tough to keep off the glass to go along with an improving skill-set, and P.J. Mitchell from Detroit Loyola is really coming into his own shooting the ball and has improved defensively.

FAMILY- This team is led by David DeJulius, he is a great floor general and has the ability to take over a game.  Add 6-4 Bryce Washington from Southfield Christian and 2019 diminutive but skilled guard Julian Dozier from U of D Jesuit to bolster up the back-court.  Up front is Deante “Spider” Johnson 6-8 from Detroit Edison holding down the paint.

Michigan Gators- The Gators are an old school type team that rely on yet again a good backcourt.  Brandon Wade does it all and is a top five player in the ’18 class.  His splash brother, Skyline teammate Jack Ammerman, can shoot it from anywhere.  Ann Arbor Huron forward Avery Lewis has a high-motor and is an inside threat for the Gators.

Michigan Warriors- The warriors have a deep line-up.  Their back-court has Belleville’s speedy grid-iron guard Karme Carey and Milan sharpshooter Trevor Ballard.  Walled lake Northern’s Huston Tucker, DJ Lundy from Romulus and Devin Alverson from Belleville command respect in the paint.  This team already took gold at the Chicago Jamfest

TEAM BASKETBALL- Team Basketball is well coached and they come at you with a pair of talented and high IQ guards in Nate Davis 6-2 (Rochester Stoney Creek) and Justin Fischer 6-2 (Warren De La Salle) . This team makes few mistakes on the offensive end, especially in the half-court.

North Oakland Wolfpack- The Wolfpack are led by Clarkston guard C.J. Robinson.  Robinson a plus scorer and loves to get to the rack. Tristen Mysen, a teammate of Robinson at Clarkston, is a presence on the glass at 6-6.  The Wolfpack captured gold at the Warrior tournament.

Contributed by Adam “Mayor” Troia

A Day to Remember

26 Jan

IMG_1856Year one laid the foundation, and year two raised the standard for all future Coaches Against Violence Invitational events to follow.  The Coaches Against Violence Invitational, founded by Steven Manrique of the Prep Ball Report and Dearborn ATA boys basketball coach Greg Boler, strives not only to provide a competitive high-level basketball event, but as the name says form a collaboration of coaches from across the Metro-Detroit community to address the issue of youth violence.  Specifically held at the end of the Martin Luther King Jr. week, the 2016 event saw growth in terms attention surrounding the games, community support, and diversity among the teams.

Thank you to all schools, coaches, players, parents, and media involved throughout the course of the day.  Your support does not go unnoticed.

A special mention goes out to both Macomb Community College and Marygrove College for their support of the 2016 Coaches Against Violence Invitational, as both school had representatives in the stands searching for prospective players.  Both aiding in another goal of the invitational, to provide exposure and platforms for these student-athletes to continue their careers both academically and athletically following 12th grade.

We would also like to recognize the first ever sponsor in Coaches Against Violence Invitational history, La Carreta Market.  La Carreta has three locations located throughout Southwest Detroit’s Mexicantown.

Mumford sophomore guard Brandon Green leads the Mustang youth movement.

Mumford sophomore guard Brandon Green leads the Mustang youth movement.

Game One: Detroit Mumford (3-6) 61  Melvindale (6-4) 50

Less than 14 hours following an epic game-winner at the buzzer the night before at Gibralter Carlson, Melvindale was unable to continue the momentum going against Detroit Mumford.  With aggressive guard play, particularly on the defensive end of the floor, and timely shots, the Mustangs held off a late Cardinal surge in the fourth quarter.

With a strong nucleus of underclassmen, the Mustangs will be a team to watch in the coming years once individual talent starts to mesh with team concepts.

MVP: Mumford sophomore guard Brandon Green with 20 points.

Game Two: Detroit Chavez 59 Taylor Prep 51

With no seniors on the roster and only one junior in the starting lineup, Chavez jumped on the young Tigers early and held an 8-12 advantage throughout the course of the game.

MVP: Chavez junior wing Teddy Frazier with 16 points.

Game Three: Detroit Public Safety (5-6) 45 Detroit Southeastern (3-9) 43

Buckets were few and far in-between for these two teams.  However, the game was well worth the struggle in the concluding seconds.  Southeastern connected on a three and then stole the ensuing DPSA throw-in to cut the lead to one possession.  With one second remaining on the clock, DPSA missed the front-end of one-and-one giving the Jungaleers a chance.  However, Southeastern was unable to heave a shot off, giving the Eagles a victory.

MVP: DPSA junior guard Michael Smith with 16 points.

Junior guard Kylen Shipp is enjoying a productive year in the Colt backcourt.

Junior guard Kylen Shipp is a key piece in the Colt backcourt.

Game Four: Detroit Northwestern (6-3) 71 Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (6-3) 60

Rebounding, points in the paint, and transition offense were keys for Northwestern on the night.  The starting backcourt combined for more than half their total points, and several role players came up with stops on defense, hustle plays, and 50-50 balls.  Northwestern is starting to place themselves as a potential dark horse in a wide-open Class B, perhaps even a deep city title run if one of the teams from the larger division doesn’t arrive for 32 minutes with the Colts.

MVP: Northwestern junior point guard Kylen Shipp with 20 points.


Senior guard Luster Johnson aims to conclude prep career strong.

Game Five: Detroit Consortium (5-5) 57 Ypsilanti Lincoln (4-5) 39

Consortium is known for the historic 2013-2014 season which culminated in a Class C state crown, however, over the past decade the Cougars have been one of the state’s most winningest teams.  Since the 2007-08 campaign, Consortium has won at least 15 games.  It will take a strong finish this year to accomplish such a goal, but when a team can compete on both ends of the floor, odds will more often be in their favor than not.  Consortium’s pressure-defense prevented any continuity in Lincoln’s attack, and their efficiently structured offensive sets both took time off the clock, and morale from the RailSplitters.  Coach Tuomi is among the state’s top coaches and seizes the most out of the players he has to work with, and would be no surprise to see the Cougars end their season for the second time in three years at the Breslin Center.

MVP: Consortium senior guard Luster Johnson with 21 points, four rebounds, and four assists.

Game Six: Detroit Allen Academy (9-2) 61 Detroit Cornerstone (3-5) 59


It was a slugfest in the paint all night between Jamal Cain of Cornerstone and Danny Pippen from Allen Academy.

This game was not a game, it was a war.  These two programs are under the direction by brothers who in their short coaching careers in Michigan have done far more winning than losing.  This was the definition of a high school basketball game.  Players who have known each other since grade school competing, boisterous cheerleaders, and a crowd summoned to their feet throughout the game.  And thankfully all in attendance were treated to an extra four minutes of action.  A four minutes which saw Allen do just enough to squeak past Cornerstone.  This could only be round one between these two, a potential rematch is on the horizon if both teams reach the Breslin Center come March.  Regardless, the fervor felt throughout the gym for those two hours will be difficult to duplicate, and no one summarized the game better than Allen Academy’s Danny Pippen who said after the game “That was probably the best game I ever played in.”

MVP: Allen Academy senior forward Danny Pippen with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Coaches Against Violence All-Invitational Team

First Team

5’9″ Detroit Northwestern junior point guard Kylen Shipp

6’3″ Detroit Northwestern senior wing guard Terrance Sewell

6’0″ Detroit Consortium senior combo guard Luster Johnson

6’7″ Detroit Cornerstone junior wing Jamal Cain

6’8″ Detroit Allen Academy senior forward Danny Pippen

Second Team

5’11” Detroit Allen Academy senior point guard Jason Williams

6’2″ Detroit Mumford sophomore combo guard Brandon Green

6’0″ Melvindale junior combo guard Montrez Fuster

6’5″ Detroit Consortium senior forward Jaylen Sykes

6’7″ Arbor Prep senior forward Kyle Hayes




Mayor’s Notebook: Fastbreak Invitational Recap

23 Dec

Special thanks to T.J. Kelley and Belleville High School.  They combined to host Saturday’s Fastbreak Invitational which was a feast for basketball lovers from around the area.

Game 1 Lenawee Christian 47 Armada 42

Game 2 Arbor Prep 70 Melvindale ABT 49

Arbor Prep came out firing and built a 46-20 halftime lead.  Unsigned 6’7″ senior big man Kyle Hayes scored 20 en route to AP’s fourth win on the young season.  It was a good win with Milan transfer Garrett Gardette still ineligible for a couple of more games.

Game 3 Onsted 65 Riverview Gabriel Richard 32

When 6-11 Austin “Big Country” Davis comes down on the Onsted’s first possession and makes a three from the top of the key, it means that the opponent is in for a long day.  The Michigan commit had 24 points, 15 rebounds, and five blocks while junior front-court mate Skyler Lipinski added 16 points.  Riverview Richard was led by Tim Augustyniak with 11 points, while Anthony “Flo” Brown chipped in with 9.
Game 4 Ann Arbor Huron 68 Southfield Lathrup 44

It was a close game until Huron went on a 23-8 run to close the game helping the River Rats get the victory.  The Rats are not as individually talented as in years past, but play hard, and are well coached.
Game 5 Belleville 70 Oak park 57

Belleville opened up a 16-4 lead to end the first quarter then went into the half up 12.  The Tiger attack was led by Calvin Blaydes.  He displayed an improved touch from the perimeter as he hit four three pointers on his way to 21 points.  Oak Park made a run late behind point guard Trevon Gardner’s 18 points.  However, Belleville’s depth was too much for the Knights to withstand in the end. Super sophomore guard Davion Williams added 17 points and 8 rebounds, and Karme Carey added 11 for the Tigers.

Mayor’s Notebook: Breaking Down the Winter Breakout

16 Dec

T.J. Kelley recently hosted the fourth annual Winter Breakout.  As usual at a IPS event, there was plenty of talent on display.

Game One Wayne Memorial 57 Howell 47

Game Two Grand Rapids Union 53 Detroit Loyola 52

This was a quality game.  Union jumped out early behind senior Bruce Burstra (11pts) and junior Jared Sietsema.  However, the Bulldogs came back to take a one point lead at the end of the third, behind senior combo guard Dequan Powell’s 11 points.  Down one, Loyola’s sophomore point guard and CMU commit Perrie Mitchell  missed a driving lay-up attempt with time expiring to give Union the win.

Game Three New Haven 64 Yspilanti Lincoln 46.

This was New Haven’s freshman Romero Weems’ coming out party.  As New Haven showed they will be a top contender in Class B.  Weems had 17 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks in New Haven’s dominating win.

Ty Groce paced the Rail Splitters with 15 points, 5 assists, and 6 rebounds.

Game Four Ann Arbor Pioneer 72 Conerstone 57

This game was nip-and-tuck through three quarters.  Then the Pioneers pulled away late.  Cedric Benton had 19 points, fellow junior guard Deric Murray also played solid for the Pioneers.  Freshman Drew Louder was impressive as well.  Pioneer moved to 2-0 on the season as they defeated Ann Arbor Skyline in overtime the night before.

Conerstone’s junior Jamal Cain showed why he is a top three prospect in the 2017 class by putting up 16 points, and 13 rebounds for the Wolves.

Mayor’s Pre-season Class B Rankings

7 Dec


Class B is wide-open for the taking this year.

1. Wyoming Godwin Heights- The champs will be favored once again to repeat with a mixture of veterans and talented youth.

Key players- 6’2″ senior guard Richard Major, 6’0″ senior guard Leon Redd, 5’10” junior point guard Christian Rodriguez, 6’5″ sophomore forward Markeese Hastings, 5’10” sophomore point guard Susu Davenport, 5’11” sophomore point guard Peyton Harley, 6’1″ sophomore guard Lamar Norman.

2. New Haven- Lost just one game a season ago, and return the two tallest players in the class.

Key Players- 6’10” senior forward Innocent Nwyoko, 6’10” senior forward Jerry Ben, 6’3″ junior guard Eric Williams, 6’5″ freshman wing Romeo Weems.

3. River Rouge- The Panthers returned to prominence last season, but lose four starters from a 19 win team a year ago.

Key players- 6’6″ senior forward Javon Lawrence, 6’2″ senior guard Dorian Watson, 6’0″ junior point Darian Owens-White, 6’3″ junior wing Delonte Peterson

4. Benton Harbor- This will be the last go-around for one of the best backcourt combinations in the state.

Key players- 6’3″ senior guard Jaton Gunn, 6’0″ senior guard Curtis Dawson, 6’1″ junior guard Roy Anderson.

5. Detroit Consortium- The Cougars are always a tough out regardless of who is on their roster.

Key players- 6’1″ senior guard Luster Johnson, 6’5″ senior forward Jaylen Moore, 6’4″ senior forward Jaylen Sykes, 5’10” senior guard C.J. Figueroa.

6. Onsted- Game plan for the Bulldogs all year should be feed the post.

Key players- 6’10” senior forward Austin Davis, 6’7″ junior forward Sylar Lipinski.

7. Detroit Osborn- Osborn has dominated the division II portion of the PSL in recent years, the Knights make the jump to division I this year to see how good they really are.

Key players- 6’7″ senior forward Devin Dubois, 6’0″ junior guard Armonee Felder, 5’11” sophomore guard Jamarria Hall

8. Hazel Park- Talented youth make the Vikings a player in Class B.

Key players- 6’7″ senior forward James Jenkins, 5’11” junior guard Cam Boatman, 6’1″ sophomore guard Carl Bow, 6’0″ sophomore guard Dave Hearns

9. Alma- Feed the big!

Key players- 6’9″ senior guard Dylan Carl

10. Stevenvsille-Lakeshore- Feed the big!

Key players- 6’10” senior forward Braden Burke.

11. Detroit Northwestern- A productive month of June team camps should propel the Colts to take their play a level higher.

Key played- 6’2″ senior guard Terrance Sewell, 5’10” junior guard Kylard Ship

12. Detroit Henry Ford- After a historic run to the Breslin Center, the Trojans must replace four starters and a healthy amount of role players.  Hustle and grit will be the formula for Ford to win games.

Key players- 6’0″ senior guard James Towns, 6’3″ senior forward Alston Hunter, 6’2″ senior guard Jeremy Crawley, 5’10” senior guard Angelo Walker, 6’0″ sophomore guard Damon Gilmore.

13. Wayland Union- An inside and outside presence will be tough for opponents to stop this season.

Key players- 6’0″ senior guard Avery Hudson, 6’7″ junior forward Zack Nieukwoop

14. Flint Southwestern– Michigan is eagerly awaiting for a Flint team from Michigan to return to respectability.  Will the Knights be this year’s team?

Key players- 6’1″ senior guard Tevin Taylor, 5’7″ senior guard DeShaun Pride.

15. Williamston- Return six seniors from a 17 win team and gain a top freshman in the state.

Key players- 6’0″ senior guard Riley Lewis, 6’5″ freshman forward Sean Cobb.


Mayor’s Pre-season Class C Rankings

1 Dec

Beecher reigned supreme in 2015.

Beecher reigned supreme in 2015.

Will Beecher make it four in five years?  Or will the Bucs be de-throned from Class C supremacy?

1. Beecher– By far Class C’s most dominant team in the past four years with three state crowns.  Despite the Bucs’ dominance in Class C, Beecher has proved able to take-down larger schools.  Only preparing them for the real season of March.

Key players: 5’7″ junior point guard Malik Ellison, 5’10” junior point guard Jordan Roland, 6’7″ junior forward Levane Blake, 6’4″ senior forward Qua Burks.

2. Monroe St. Mary- St. Mary now transitions to life without Bryce Windham.  The Falcons fell one game short of the Breslin Center appearance one season ago, but have the talent and road map to reach the final weekend of the season.

Key players- 6’4″ senior wing Stephan Umfress, 6’7″ junior forward Nick Welch, 6’6″ sophomore forward Wyatt O’Brian, 6’2″ senior guard Hunter Coombe, 6’1″ senior guard Drew Sconochia, 6’3″ senior guard Bradley Shinnevarre.

3. Detroit Allen Academy- Talent is not the question, but must gel as a cohesive unit, particularly on the defensive end of the floor.  Combination of both size and speed makes the Wildcats tough to contain.

Key players- 6’0″ senior guard Jason Williams, 6’8″ senior forward Danny Pippen, 6’5″ senior forward Jayvaun Flake, 6’2″ junior guard Drequan Bell, 6’3″ junior guard Jawan Snoody, 5’10” freshman point guard Mark Watts.

4. Detroit Loyola- P.J. Mitchell was able to ease into his high school career a season ago behind a solid group of senior leaders.  This year will be the Mitchell show, and the Bulldogs will go as far as the Central Michigan commit takes them.

Key players- 5’10” senior combo guard Dequan Powell, 5’11” senior guard Romari Ennis 6’0″ junior forward Jaylen Hill, 5’8″ sophomore point guard Dequan Powell, 6’2″ sophomore forward Keith Johnson.

5. Southfield Christian- The Eagles adjusted to Class C after a three year reign in Class D.  Backcourt, check.  Bigs, not so much.

Key players- 6’4″ senior wing Marlo Brown, 5’8″ senior guard Jalen Bouldes, 5’11” senior guard Richard Faegin, 6’4″ junior wing Brock Washington, 6’3″ junior wing Trenton Temple, 6’4″ sophomore wing Bryce Washington.

6. Detroit Edison- Edison exceeded expectation one season ago winning a district championship.  Despite just one experienced senior on the roster, the Pioneers are a mixture of talented youth, and accepting role players.

Key players- 5’9″ senior guard KaLeif Gaines, 6’7″ junior forward Will Weems, 6’3″ junior guard Jamal Keese, 6’6″ sophomore forward Deante Johnson, 6’2″ sophomore point guard David DeJulius, 6’5″ freshman forward Dreyon O’Neil..

7. Detroit Cornerstone- The Wolves will be state playoff eligible this season.  Led by a top 100 junior prospect in the nation, Cornerstone is yet another Detroit team with a realistic possibility to play at the Breslin Center.

Key players- 5’10” senior point guard James Burton, 6’3″ senior forward Deijoun Ingram-Lawrence, 6’0″ junior guard Davion Bradford, 6’6″ junior forward Jamal Cain, 6’5″ junior forward Ethan Dixon.

8. Ypsilanti Arbor Prep– New coach Cliff Davis inherits an experienced district championship team.  With size, depth, and transfers on the way, the Gators are a force to be taken seriously this Winter.

Key players- 6’8″ senior forward Kyle Hayes, 6’7″ senior forward David Walker, 6’2″ senior guard Adrian Harrison, 6’0″ junior guard Kody Freeman, 5’10” junior point guard Garrett Gardette.

9. Detroit Pershing– Pershing has five state champions, none of which are from Class C.  The Doughboys will be tested through the gauntlet which is the Detroit Public Schools League, only then readied for a district with four teams in the pre-season top ten.

Key players- 6’6″ senior forward David Syfax, 6’7″ senior forward Charles Manson, 5’10” senior guard Troy Campbell, 6’0″ junior guard Patrick Hatcher, 6’0″ sophomore combo guard Ron Hill.

10. Hanover-Horton- Despite a crushing defeat to eventually champion Beecher in the semi-finals, Horton won 25 games, and will be a force in the southern portion of Michigan.

Key players- 6’5″ senior forward Preston Laketa.

11. NorthPointe Christian- Lost a significant portion of scoring, rebounding, and leadership due to graduation, but someone has to represent the westside of the state.

Key players- 6’5″ senior guard Tyler Baker

12. Muskegon Heights- Overshadowed by the large Class A Muskegon, Muskegon Heights has been a respectable program since the turn of the century.  Although the Tigers failed to capture a district championship last season for the first time since 1999, Heights usually one way or not finds themselves in contention for a spot at the Breslin Center come March.

Key players- 6’5″ sophomore forward Keishon Watson.

13. Ferndale University- The Eagles have no household names, but won 14 games a campaign ago.  Backcourt will be strength led by two veteran guards.

Key players- 6’9″ senior forward Chemar Greenfield, 6’3″ senior point guard Gehringer Ramirez, 6’1″ combo guard Justin Penn.

14. Melvindale ABT- Despite an average record, the Gators still managed a district championship.

Key players- 6’6″ junior forward Elijah Smith.

15. Riverview Gabriel Richard- The Pioneers are favored to win the C-D division in the Catholic League, with the possibility for more in March.

Key players- 6’4″ senior forward Jake Lipetzky, 6’0″ junior point guard Anthony Brown.



Mayor’s Notebook: On The Come Up Tigers

30 Nov


Davion_WilliamsI stumbled across Davion Williams at a local travel team’s 16u tryout.  Mr. Williams was by far the best player in the gym.  Who was this kid?  Where did he come from?  Word was that he was hailed from McBride.  Knowing there was a McBride, Michigan, I thought that seemed kind of far just to travel for a workout.  But then it struck me, McBride Middle School in Belleville, Michigan.  Davian Williams was an eighth grader holding his own against players two to three years older than him.

That Summer, Williams played up a grade on the Michigan Warriors 15u team.  Williams averaged around 16 points and seven rebounds a contest.  However, it was in July where Davion flourished, leading his team to final four appearances at prestigious tournaments such as the Brawl for the Ball and the Spiece GRBA Nationals.  It was clear this kid had the potential to develop into a standout for an ailing Belleville program.

In his first high school game, Davion poured in 25 points for Belleville in a comeback win against rival Ypsilanti Lincoln.  Williams assumed the role as sixth man for the Tigers, but started on occasion in his first year en route to 10 points, four assists, and four rebounds a night.

Known primarily for his athleticism entering high school, Davion has rounded out a complete skill-set.  He can now take defenders off the dribble, in addition to developing solid form and consistent range with his perimeter game.  However, Williams’ greatest attribute is a desire to compete on the defensive end of the floor, a must in order to play for Belleville head man Adam Trumpour.  A pleasant combination of both strength and agility, the 6’3″ Williams can guard up to three positions on the floor and equally effective at each.

While Davion is a gym rat himself, Coach Trumpour also deserves a tremendous amount of credit for taking the time to work with a young Williams and develop into a bonafide division one college level two guard.  Coach Trump says Mississippi State, Xavier, Michigan, Michigan State and recently Pitt have made repetitive contact with Davion, while Oakland, Eastern Michigan, and U of D Mercy already extended offers.

Davion enters his tenth grade year as the leader for a particularly young but talented Tiger team.  Belleville laid the foundation as a program in 2014-2015.  Besting rival Romulus for the first time in four years, but fell to the Eagles in the opening round of the MHSAA district tournament.  Look for Belleville to continue their upward trajectory as a force in the highly competitive I-94 corridor on the shoulders of Williams, as he certainly has the Tigers on the come up.

Contributed by Adam Troia

Mayor’s Notebook: Reggie Butler’s Big Man Camp

19 Nov

Former Xavier Musketeer legend Reggie Butler held another Big Man Camp recently.  These camps draw good talent from around Michigan.  Butler’s main focus is on establishing position on the block, leverage, footwork, and low-post moves.  One thing campers know when it comes to Big Man camps is to get down to work.  Just ask Xavier Tillman and Austin “Big Country” Davis.  And current Kent State star Khaliq Spicer is one of Butler’s many standout students.

Top Performers


Macomb Dakota’s Thomas Kithier looks for big sophomore campaign.

2018 Thomas Kiether 6-8 Macomb Dakota- Thomas keeps improving polishing up his low-post moves.  Now he is scoring over both shoulders, becoming a big time prospect.  Offers from Oakland and Detroit, with interest from Michigan, Michigan State, and Xavier

2017 Braeden Sackley 6-6 Macomb Dakota- Kithier will have a partner in crime this winter in the Macomb Dakota paint.  Sackley is a transfer from North Carolina with a stop in Toronto, Canada last year.  Sackley has a good jumper from the outside with plenty of bounce.  This camp will help him eat on the inside.

2017 Nate Brooks 6-6 1/2 North Farmington- A transfer from Georgia, Mr. Brooks has long arms and a knack for rebounding.  This guy will be trouble on the glass for the OAA league per Mayor.

2016 Logan Ryan 6-7 Canton- Don’t know how this guy is still on the board in the 2016 class.  Ryan had his passing on display dropping dimes from the high post show the ability to step out as well

2017 Reed Sellers 6-8 Milford- Reed needs to add weight, but it doesn’t appear he’s done growing though.  If he keeps working with Butler, Sellers will have some big games ahead of him.

Carl Bow Jr. 6-0 Hazel Park- Bow is a guard, he was there just working feeding bigs.  Bow has gotten noticeably bigger physically and added bounce to his game.  Look out for him and Mr. Hearns at Hazel Park this year as they both hold division one offers only as sophomores.

Ty Groce Commits to Northeastern

6 Nov

14195551-standardThis dog is ready to run with the upstart Huskies.

Ypsilanti Lincoln’s Ty Groce has made it offical.   After coming back from a visit from Boston, Ty sat down with his mom Marion (a former Ferris State Bulldog), and minutes later broke the news.  Big Ty will be attending Northeastern next year.

Groce had a strong season for Splitter Nation last year, averaging 14 points and six rebounds per-game.  The decision ultimately came down to Duquesne, Rice, and Northeastern.  The visit to Northeastern is where Ty fell in love.

“I like the old style feel to the campus,” said Groce, “the Northeastern basketball family, and the school’s strong commitment to academics.”

Groce at a long and lean 6-8 is one of Michigan’s top seniors.   His ability to step out and make the three-ball and get points in the paint make him a perfect fit for Coach Bill Cohen’s up-tempo style of play.  Northeastern is a program on the rise going 23-12 last year and winning both the Colonial regular season and tournament championships.  The Huskies made their first tournament appearence since 1991 in 2015,  and gave Norte Dame a scare losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament 69-65.  The Huskies have held colonial regular season title 2 of the last 3 years.

Ty credits assistant Brain McDonald for being the point man on his recruitment, and hopes to contribute as a freshman for the Huskies.  Until then, he will lead Splitter Nation into battle this winter.

Contributed by Adam Troia

Photo via MLive

Mayor’s Notebook: The Empty Halls of “The ‘Run”

24 Oct

WillowRunHighSchoolFlyersbrick-thumb-200x188-115753Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, and Lansing are cities noted as hotbeds for prep basketball talent in Michigan.  However, one area with an unappreciated tradition of excellence is the Willow Run portion of Washtenaw County.  Due to funding issues, Willow Run Community Schools dissolved in the late 2000s, with students re-zoned to multiple school districts along the I-94 Corridor.  While open, the Flyers repeatedly fielded a stout ball club and produced the likes of Jessie Davis (now coach at Ypsilanti Lincoln), Dion & Jason Drake, Tony Jackson, Marcus Anthony, and Donvell Patterson during the 1980s and 90s.

Transitioning into the 21st century, Willow Run potentially could have been a top program in the state if it not for the various enrollment standards set by school boards along the region.

After careful review and investigation, here are a couple possible combinations the could have happened at Willow Run.

A Dynasty That Could Have Been

The Trees

Jaylen Johnson 6-8 2014 Power Forward Ypsilanti (Louisville)- Starting at Louisville, Johnson was a Mr. Basketball candidate his senior year and one of the most nationally coveted prospects for the 2014 class.

Justin Tillman 6-8 2014 Power Forward Detroit Pershing (VCU)- Spent his freshman campaign at Willow Run, before transferring to Detroit Consortium and Pershing.  There was no better back-line defensive stopper in the state than Tillman his junior and senior campaigns.

Jamal Poplar 6-7 2014 Wing River Rouge & Various Prep Schools- Tillman and Johnson would both be forces on the interior, now add Poplar.  Poplar started at Willow Run as a freshman, with stops at John Glenn and River Rouge in Michigan and eventually leaving the state prior to his senior year.  His talent and potential were never the issue.  A tough cover due to versatility on the offensive end of the floor.

The Milan State Champion Duo

Nick Perkins 6’7″ 2015 Power Forward Milan (Buffalo)- This ferocious lefty was given the nickname “Baby Z-Bo” with resemblance of Zach Randolph for the Memphis Grizzlies; the MAC is about to find out why for themselves.

Latin Davis 6’1″ 2015 Point Guard Milan (Youngstown State)- A 1,000 point scorer in his high school career, Latin stood out in the 2014 state championship with a state-record seven three-pointers, the most for a final.

More Pieces to the Puzzle

Mike Bruce 6’4″ 2016 Combo Guard Ypsilanti- His best basketball is ahead of him. A quiet junior season at Belleville should be followed by a breakout senior year at Ypsilanti.

The next two are debatable about whether or not they would have been Willow Run Flyers.  They are from the Sumpter area, not too far from the old Willow Run High School.

Corey Allen 6’4″ 2016 Combo Guard Ypsilanti (U of D Mercy)- Physical, aggressive and brute define Mr. Allen’s game.  When his shoulders get square to the basket, put two points on the board.

Xavier Cochran 6-5 2015 Wing Ann Arbor Huron (Owens CC)- Heard Cochran went the private school route.  But what if?  Cochran had a stellar career at Huron, and is now a division one prospect waiting in the reigns at Owens.

A Couple Young Bucks

Josh Perkins 6-6 2018 Power Forward (Brother of Nick Perkins)

Garrett Gardette 5-10 2017 Point Guard Ypsilanti Arbor Prep

James “Big Game” Davis 6-0 2017 Combo Guard Ypsilanti

I am sorry if this piece causes controversy regarding the enrollment of the aforementioned student-athletes at any of the said schools.  This was only to create attention for a talent-rich section of the state.  These possible teams would have been something to watch.  Instead the halls and trophy cases of Willow Run remain empty.

-The Mayor

Special thanks to Dre Gardette, Rockey Black, and Nate “The General” Oats.

Contributed by Adam Troia



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