Tag Archives: Michigan Invitational

Michigan Invitational: Day Two Recap

20 Apr


To go along with junior and underclassmen talent, championship Saturday at the Michigan Invitational featured a variety of unsigned seniors playing well as their AAU days dwindle down.

Oak Park and Oakland Elite senior 6’2″ wing Ja’Christian Biles, a Youngstown State commit, is playing as a senior to get some games in due to not playing the first semester of the past high school season.  Biles was in attack mode all day long, looking to get his shot off against any defender.  He’s a high volume perimeter shooter, that can create space off the bounce with an aggressive handle.  Ja’Christian is also an above the rim finisher and exceptional athlete, as he got up for a few empathic alley-oops and dunk on the fast break.  His athleticism will transition well to the up-and-down pace of the college game.

While most of the attention during University of Detroit Jesuit’s season was placed on sophomore guard Cassius Winston, the Cubs have another 2016 in 6’0″ combo guard Billy Thomas, who runs with Stars Basketball.  In the high school season, Thomas was primarily the shooting guard, coming off screens and picks to get a shot off.  While he can still do that in an AAU setting, Thomas has proved he can run the point for a team early on in the Spring.  He knows how to create space off the bounce with crossovers and hesitation dribbles, from either the mid-range and three pointer and then fire with a quick release.  When he is in a rhythm, the kid doesn’t miss, shooters shoot, I overheard the head coach of one opponent during a game say anybody who can guard him get out there.  With his jump shot falling, Thomas also showed the ability to run the team. He got both his shooters and post players involved throughout a good majority of the games.

University of Detroit Jesuit received two Nigerian transfers to start the school year, however both were ruled ineligible by the MHSAA shortly before the 2013-2014 season started.  2017 6’9″ forward Gregory Eboigbodin, a fellow member of Billy Thomas of Stars Basketball, has improved tremendously from high school open gyms from September and October.  He’s was a real force in the paint all day as the Stars won the 16u Gold Crown, rebounding at a high level, dominating the paint defensively, challenging shots, and finishing around the rim off of nice setups from teammates.  Greg was also not afraid to shoot a mid-range jump shot in the paint a few times, and made a few.  Once his athleticism, agility, speed, and lateral quickness catch up to his body, Egoigbodin will be a dominant low post player for years to come at U of D.

Romulus unsigned 2014 senior Kris Clyburn ran with Reach for a few games on the day.  The 6’4″ Clyburn sustained an injury in the team’s win over King James 16u, but played well beforehand and showed why he’s a division one recruit.  Clyburn can shoot the three pointer, but his ability to attack the basket has improved to most in about a year span.  He caught the ball on the wing a few times, and drove the ball aggressively looking to score with the left hand at the rim.  Clyburn is also a very good athlete on the defensive side of the floor as well, as he got up for a few blocks to protect the rim a few times.

Other standouts on the day:

Oakland Elite 2014 guard Armiontez Ivory: Efficient shooter from three and in.

Oakland Elite 2014 guard Tommie Johnson: Played fearless all game long, crashed the boards and got after it on defense.

Reach 2015 guard  Jaylin Walker: Athlete who glides with ease, and kept defenders honest from three. High motor, and competes on every play.

Stars Basketball 2015 guard Gary Collins: Underrated guard/wing defender in 2015, good pull-up mid-range jump shooter with momentum.

Grand Rapids Storm 2015 guard Deleon Brown: Three point marksman from both sides of the court off the catch and off the bounce from with the left hand.

Reach 2016 guard Terrence Sewell: Looks to punish defenders whenever he has the ball, attacks the rim at will.

Michigan Mustangs- Woodruff 2016 guard Kyle Woodruff: One of the best three-point shooters in attendance.  Can cross half-court and let it go.

Ravens 2014 guard Armand Cartwright: Solid floor general who understands when to get his points, and when to facilitate to his teammates.

Reach 2016 guard Danny Pippen: Stretch forward with range to three, not afraid to crash the boards as well.

Michigan United 2015 guard Andia Marsh: Bull of a point guard, attacks the rim fearlessly and never shys away from contact.   Also very court savy and good decision maker.


Michigan Invitational: Day One Recap

18 Apr

Day one of the Michigan Invitational featured a good mix of established prospects, as well as a few new up-and-comers who are eager to cement a name for themselves early in the grassroots season.

The Michigan Playmakers are a rising team in Michigan, and have the individual talent to back up that claim.  17u 6’0″ point guard Jerald Booker is one of the most underrated guards in the 2015 statewide class.  Booker took control early in the Playmakers win over Grand Rapids Storm White.  He scored five of the teams first eight points, and came away with a few steals.  What stood out about Booker was his court vision, while he has the ability to score if necessary , Jerald has quality court vision and passing skills with the ball in his hand on the break, or either in the half-court.  With Booker scoring 16, making a few contested mid-range jump shots and drives, and dishing out a healthy amount of assists, the man Booker was primarily setting up was 6’4″ forward Marcus Bailey.  While Bailey is a standout football prospect for Walled Lake Western, he still has some skills on the hardwood.  Whenever there is a rebound in the air, Bailey can be found in the general vicinity of the ball.  He almost never shys away from contact, plays solid post defense, and can step out a few times and make a jumper.  Combined with his athleticism from football, Marcus has the potential to be a mismatch anytime he steps on the court.

Reach Legends 15u 5’9″ point guard Armonee Felder plays for more than just individual glory, he competes for family pride.  His dad was a former star at Detroit Pershing, and his older brother, Kahlil, was a Mr. Basketball candidate a season ago and a standout on the Oakland Grizzlies as a freshman.  In Reach’s game vs. Hype Athletics, in the first quarter, Felder struggled to get his offense side of the ball going, however, the second half was a different story.  Armonee is a quick-cutting lead guard that has the ability to jack-knife his way to the paint and then the rim to finish.  He’s a creative passer at times, gets to wherever he wants to on the floor with ball handling, and plays with poise most freshman at his age don’t have.  Once he got his rhythm going offensivly, it was a how do you want it style of attack, sag off of me, then take this three.  Felder is no doubt the next of great players to come out of Pershing.

Reach 17u is loaded with some of the best 2015 guard/wing talent in the state, which was the difference in their win over Michigan Mustangs-Eubank.  6’7″ wing Jeron Rogers led the team with 26 points, he’s a good stretch forward that can play both inside and outside, but did most of his damage on the perimeter with four three pointers in the win.  Romulus’ 6’2″ shooting guard Jaylin Walker has the potential to be the most athletic player on the court whenever Reach plays a game.  He glides through the air with ease, but can take a hit or two at the rim to finish through contact.  Walker is another solid shooter off the catch for Reach when he sees one go through the rim early.  Pershing’s Marquel Ingram is quietly having himself an outstanding Spring portion of AAU.  Although he only scored 14 points in the win, Ingram made a statement with his defense.  He picked up the opposing teams point guard full-court and came away with a few turnovers, but overall disrupted the timing of the offense and plays.  Marquel is another dangerous shooter from Reach on the perimeter, either off a pass or off the dribble into a  three.

Michigan United’s 2015 shooting guard Cameron Dalton is fresh off of Bloomfield Hill’s first ever Breslin Center appearance, but there is no content in Dalton’s play.  In fact Dalton has improved upon his production from the high school season.  For Bloomfield Hills, Dalton was primarily the three point shooter used to stretch the floor for star Yante Maten.  However, things have changed in AAU.  Cameron is still a deadly three point shooter, but Dalton’s ability to run the point and make plays for his team stood out in the team’s win over Parallel-45.  Dalton can handle the ball efficiently, and surprisingly finished through a few hard hit’s and the rim for some and-one opportunities.  Cameron had 16 points in the aforementioned win.

Michigan United other 17u team features many of the players from the former Program Elite 16u squad.  6’8″ forward Nick Perkins was a standout on the team last season, and is well off to having another quality Spring AAU season this year.  The lefty Perkins, who holds several division one offers as of now, is a solid, well-built, dynamic forward that can hurt the other team in a variety of ways.  In the first half, Nick made a few nice low post ups giving his guards the ability to lob the ball over the top for easy dunk opportunities.  Take that away, and Perkins will find another way to beat you.  His jumper has improved significantly in just over a year, from what used to be a midrange game to now a three-pointer.  But make no mistake, Nick can still score down low amongst bigger defenders.  He likes to go over his left shoulder with a baby-hook, and can get a rebound offensively for a putback.  Nick stood out on defense as well.  Vs. King James Shooting Stars 17u, Nick was matched up against one of the best sophomores from Ohio Derek Funderbirk, and held him well below his usual dominant self.  Nick will play a crucial role in Michigan’s United overall team success this season.

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