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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



Mayor’s Notebook: Top Uncommitted Seniors

8 Oct

Seniors available as of 10/8/15

Karmari Newman 6-3 shooting guard Detroit East English

Call him knock-down.  Newman is a lefty marksman that excels playing off-the-ball and snipping from beyond the arch.  High ceiling as body fills out.

Schools interested: Cleveland State, Buffalo, George Mason, Duquesne, Eastern Michigan, St. Bonaventure, Robert Morris

Justin Turner 6’2″ combo guard Detroit Renaissance

Dynamic three-level scoring guard with college-ready size and skill set.  A type of guard a school can run an offense through with his ability to create his own shot with or without the ball.  Hope he stays healthy this year.

Schools interested: U of D Mercy, Kent State, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Toledo, Oakland, Central Michigan, Fairfield.

Ty Groce 6-8 forward Ypsilanti Lincoln

Unreal potential.  Presents a multitude of dilemmas for defenses at 6-8.  Can step out a little, and put it on the floor.  Needs to play hard all the time and beef up a little.

Schools interested: Illinois State, Oakland, Rice, U of D Mercy, Akron, Toledo, Cornell, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northeastern, Kent State, Buffalo.

Dwight Burton 6’2″ combo guard Detroit Delta Prep

July’s biggest stock riser with the Michigan Playmakers.  Might have the fastest first step in Michigan with ability to blow past defenders and score in mid-range.  Still learning a feel for the game.  Has only played organized basketball since ninth grade.

Corey Allen 6-2 combo guard Ypsilanti 

Physical, aggressive, down-hill attacking guard for Steve Brooks’ Grizzlies.  Proved in July he would be a solid mid-major get.

Richard Talley 5-10 point guard Detroit Renaissance

Pesky defender that will fit in well at whatever defense a college wants to run.  Holds an offer from the Northwood (MI).  Absolute steal for any division II school at this point.

James Towns 5-9 point guard Detroit Henry Ford

The heart and soul of the Trojans.  Towns will be relied on to score a great deal this season.  Aggressive above the rim finisher and improving perimeter game.  Like Talley, his strength is ballhawking defense.  U of D Mercy has made Towns the main Titan point guard prospect in 2016.

Emmanuel Gildo 6-5 forward Lansing Waverly

Kid has some serious bounce.  Most impressive player at Bankhoops minicamp.  Dunks, rebounds, and overall dominated the paint.

Dylan Carl 6-10 center Alma

Vegetables, milk, and iron will help take his game to the next level.

Schools interested: U of D Mercy, IPFW.

Logan Ryan 6-8 forward Canton

Consistency on 15-20 foot jumper made Ryan an intriguing look at for small schools towards the end of July.  Getting a little bit nastier and embracing the dirty work it takes to be a successful scholarship player.  On the verge of division II but a nice steal for a division III or NAIA with exceptional grades.

Schools interested: Albion, Adrian, Alma, Madonna, U of M Dearborn, Goshen, Lake Forest.

Calvin Blaydes 6-6 forward Belleville

Runs the floor like a deer, and leaps like a pogo stick.  Ozzing with potential with some more seasoning and work by Coach Trump.

Schools interested: Lake Superior State, Northwood, Rochester, Barton CC..

Stephen “The Falcon” Umfress 6-3 wing Monroe St. Mary

For a guard, he jumps out of the gym.  Maybe if the school’s football team threw a little more he could help out at wide receiver.  Good teammate and kid to have in a program.

Brent Davis 6-3 guard Plymouth

Division I athletic ability illustrated with his 44-inch vertical.  Struggles to shoot it at times, but excels in transition when attacking the rack.  Lock him in a gym and watch what he looks like from now in two or three years.

Don’t forget about:

Kyle Hayes 6-8 forward Ypsilanti Arbor Prep

Terrance Sewell 6-2 guard Detroit Northwestern

Armani Tinsley 5-10 guard Detroit Western

Kareem Murray 5-10 guard Detroit Western

Nate Moore 5-9 guard Saginaw Arthur Hill

Ethan Dixon 6-6 forward Detroit Cornerstone

Ja’Myrin Jackson 6-0 guard Lansing Eastern

Dequan Powell 5-11 shooting guard Detroit Loyola

Ojani Echevarria 5-8 guard Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills

Jeremiah Richard 5-9 guard Kalamazoo Central

Anthony McInstosh 6-0 guard Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills

Billy Thomas 5-10 guard North Farmington

Justin Penn 6-0 point guard Ferndale University

Mike Littlejon 5-10 guard Muskegon

Jaton Gunn 6-1 guard Benton Harbor

Curtis Dawson 5-10 guard Benton Harbor

Tabin Throgmorton 6-3 wing Clarkston

Luster Johnson 5-11 guard Consortium

Hunter Page 6-0 guard Parma

James Jenkins 6-7 forward Hazel Park

Joan Andoni 6-3 shooting guard Livonia Churchill

C.J. Marshall 6-0 guard Macomb Dakota

Rayjon Williams-Jackson 6-0 Ypsilanti

Sameer Jabbo 6-5 forward Bedford

Ryan Stevens 6-0 point guard Lowell

Andrew Kline 6-0 point guard Waterford Our Lady

Contributed by Adam Troia


Mayor’s Notebook: Ring The Bell! Bankhoops Minicamp Recap

22 Sep

Thanks to Mr. Steve Bell for his hospitality at the 11th annual Bankhoops All-State Minicamp.  There were 140 campers from all corners of Michigan in attendance.  Some were sure-fire blue-chip prospects, while others made a name for themselves.  There was also a nice presence of colleges on-hand.  U of M Dearborn, Adrian, Albion, Kalamazoo, Spring Arbor, Hope, Northwood, Great Lakes, Trine, and Marygrove all viewed potential prospects.

Top five performers:


Hayden Stauffer

Hayden Stauffer 6-5 2018 forward Centerville- Showed a great low-post skill-set.  Had a killer drop step move all day.  Kept the ball high in low-post and scored at will. Unreal footwork for a big at such a young age.  One of if not the top rebounder on the day.

Dylan Alderson 6-5 2017 wing Clarkston- Showcased a drastically improved jump-shot from a season ago.  Absolutely could not miss from deep.  He is on his way to a high major offer.  He currently has offers from Toledo, Central Michigan, and Wright State


Pierre Mitchell

Pierre Mitchell 5-11 2018 point guard Detroit Loyola- Deadly mid-range game.  Did a good job setting up unfamiliar teammates to score.  Going to have a big winter for the Bulldogs in Class C.

Emmanuel Gildo 6-5 2016 wing/forward Lansing Waverly- Punished the rims at Aim-High all day.  Displayed athleticism and control while finishing against the New Haven trees on a few occasions.  Had several follow-up jams and thunder-dunks


Darian Owens-White

Davion Owens-White 6-0 2017 point guard River Rouge- Coming off a Toledo offer this Summer, Owens-White has really picked up his ability to score, most notably with his killer pull-up jumper from the free-throw line.  Ultimate floor general.  Nicknamed “The Captain” for a reason!

Other Standouts:


Nick Welch

Nick Welch 6-6 2017 forward Monroe St. Mary- A big time sleeper in 2017.  A high division II low division I prospect right now.  True mismatch on the floor.  His quickness makes a him a tough cover for a big and his 6-6 frame allows him to eat when a smaller guy guards him.  Solid x-and-o type player.  Plus his outside game is improving.

Derek Nicholson 6-7 2017 forward Williamston- A young 2017.  The kid loves contact under the hoop.  Showed a nice touch down low.

Jesse “Scrappy” Scarber 5-8 2017 point guard Detroit King- Mr. Scarber is as tough as nails on the court.  Pesky defender with great footwork and lateral quickness.  Probably a trackstar if he opted for another sport due to deceptive athleticism and speed.  Exceptional passer when not in a rush.  Received an Adrian College offer immediately following the camp.  But watch out division II and division I schools.

Logan Ryan 6-7 2016 forward Canton- Come on division II schools, we know there’s a weight program for this guy.  Logan had it going from the outside again and a couple of nice dunks mixed in.  Big winter coming from this kid.


Seth Wright

Seth Wright 6-6 2019 forward Constantine- Showed worthy of conversation as a top 10 prospect in the state’s 2019 class.  At 6-6, Wright ran the floor like a deer and showed he can step out and be a threat to knock-down open attempts.

Logan Steffers 5-11 2016 point guard Stevensville-Lakeshore- Good ball hander that you can’t leave open behind the arc.

A.J. Crawford 5-10 2017 point guard Warren Cousino- Athletic guard who got by his man and finished with finesse regularly.

Showed Up and Showed Out:

Brandon Wade 6-0 2018 point guard Ann Arbor Skyline

Ryan Wade 5-11 2019 shooting guard Ann Arbor Skyline

Deyuan Heard 6-6 2016 wing Dearborn ATA

Tabin Throgmorton 6-4 2016 wing Clarkston

Andrew Kline 6-1 2016 point guard Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes

Hunter Page 6-0 2016 combo guard Parma Western

Brennan Bushka 6-5 2017 wing Grosse Pointe South

Daeshon Pride 5-11 2016 combo guard Flint Southwestern

Contributed by Adam Troia

Mayor’s Notebook: T.J. Kelley’s IPS Showcase Recap

14 Sep

The annual Inside Prep Sports Fall Showcase was organized by none other than T.J Kelley.  Seńor Kelley always brings together some of the best talent in the state.  And 2015 was no different.  Roughly 60 kids from across Michigan participated.  Here are those that stood-out.

Top Three Performers:

Jamal Cain Cornerstone 6’7″ 2017 Wing: Mr. Cain showed his Rivals top 100 ranking was no fluke by taking it to the field at the showcase.  On the day, Cain guarded all five positions on the floor due to superior length, athleticism, and agility.  With a polished mid-range game in the works, high majors will be calling Jamal soon to go with offers from Kent State, Oakland, and U of D Mercy.


Diego Robinson

Diego Robinson Lansing Everett 6’6″ 2017 Wing: Robinson assaulted the rims all day long.  He dunked every open look either off-the-dribble or from a standstill, and owned the defensive glass.  Robinson will continue to round out his entire skill-set before the actual season starts.


Dylan Alderson

Dylan Alderson Clarkston 6’5″ 2017 Wing: Another high-flyer on the day, however, Dylan showed off his outside game and his ability to drop dimes while playing point guard.  Has all the tools needed to become a plus perimeter defender from all three positions.  This versatility has aided Alderson in receiving offers from Toledo, Central Michigan, and Wright State.  More will definitely follow.

Other Notables:

Brandon Wade Ann Arbor Skyline 6’0″ 2018 Point Guard: Great passer.  Thrives in using body to shield defenders from the ball while getting into the lane and making point guard plays.  Soild in-between guy who makes everyone around him better.  Holds offers from Eastern Michigan, Toledo, and Northern Illinois.

Richard Talley Detroit Renaissance 5’10” 2016 Point Guard: Justin Turner is not the only guard that can play at Renni.  Talley is a soild/pesky on-ball defender with quick hands and feet.  And holy smokes can this kid jump despite his size.  Wow!

Jordan Graham Farmington 6’4″ 2017 Wing Guard: He might be the biggest sleeper in Michigan’s ’17 class.  Jordan had a great summer with the Michigan Warriors before getting hurt in July.  He can really run the floor, create his own shot, knockdown open jumpers, and has great size for a guard. Would be a steal for a low-major.

Brennan Buszka Grosse Pointe South 6’6″ 2017 Wing: Another Michigan Warrior.  Had a strong month of July, and I’ve got a feeling he’s not done growing yet.  Really good in open floor either with the ball or running the break.  A good rebounder for his size.  Student of the game type player given his dad played college ball at U of D Mercy.

Calvin Blaydes Belleville 6’5″ 2016 Forward: Athleticism is off the charts.  Ability to create own offense is developing, but never ceases from the dirty work and rebounding side of the game.  Tallest kid on high school team so that might limit his ability to play his more natural height-given position.  One premier community college took note of him.

More Standouts:
Jack Ammermen Ann Arbor Skyline 5’10” 2018 Shooting Guard: Kid can flat out shoot it

Robert Iaquaniello Walled Lake Northern 6’2″ 2017 Shooting Guard: Another one opponents can’t leave open behind the arch.

 Joe Chavey Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard 6’4″ 2016 Combo Guard: Attention D3/NAIAs, here’s a steal.  3.5 GPA and 24 ACT.  Plays extremely hard and willing to do whatever it takes to win.

Skylar Lipinski Onsted 6’6″ 2017 Forward: The future of Onsted is strong with Lipinski.  Defenders will no longer be able to double-team Austin “Big Country” Davis now that Lipinski is on varsity.

Contributed by Adam Troia



Mayor’s Notebook: DeWitt’s Dynamic Class of 2018 Duo

6 Sep


Sophomores Tanner Reha (left) and Luke Hyde (right) look to lead DeWitt on the hardwood.

Running over the old notebook, something jumped out – a school known predominately on the gridiron instead of the hardwood–DeWitt.  Now I admit I know little about DeWitt hoops.  However, two players that stood out during the travel circuit and high school team camp sessions were DeWitt sophomores, Luke Hyde and Tanner Reha.

I first saw Hyde at the University of Michigan College Practice camp.  His size, almost 6’6″, and ability to guard stood out against many of the camp’s premier talent.

Despite only being a ninth grader, Luke was the sixth man for the Panthers last winter on varsity.  In addition to the Michigan camp, Hyde has camped at Central Michigan and Akron.  Northern Illinois is another school which has expressed interest in the DeWitt swingman.   Unfortunately for Hyde, he was not able to participate in the July live evaluation period of games with his Michigan Mustangs-Haney 15u team due to a leg injury.  But Luke says he’s has been working to improve his ball-handling and shooting while in motion over the course of the off-season.

Classmate Tanner Reha had a strong summer to go along with Hyde.  He was a definite top five player at U of D Mercy’s camp in June.  Reha also had the opportunity to attend the Elite 25, and the Central Michigan camp with Hyde.

One of Tanner’s best individual games was his first ever game at the high school level.  The 6’4″ shooting guard poured in a team-high 22 points against an East Lansing team coached by stout defensive guru, Steve Finamore.  Tanner thus far has received interest from University of Detroit Mercy, Central Michigan and Kent State.  He is a very heady, tough, kid that is usually in the right position for a steal or rebound on defense.  Offensively, Tanner wishes to become a reliable knockdown three-point shooter.

Enough of the notebook. Let’s see what Luke and Tanner think about each other.

Tanner on Luke: “Luke has a killer mid-range game. He is a great teammate because he’s always positive.  Almost too nice.”

Luke on Tanner:  “Tanner is a great shooter and even better leader.  He’s definitely the spark plug on our team.”

DeWitt won the Capital Area-Red conference championship last year, posting an 8-2 record.  The team looks to repeat in 2016.  If DeWitt wishes to do so, a large amount work will be put on the shoulders of freshmen Hyde and Reha.  Can’t wait!

Contributed by Al Troia


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