Tag Archives: Michigan Playmakers

Mumford Senior Takes Unique Route To Basketball Success

29 Jun

IMG_0822It’s not too often a high school basketball player’s first organized competition is at the varsity level.

Nor is it too often the case a player on their first year of varsity averages double-figures in scoring while dishing five assists per-game.

Detroit Mumford senior guard Dwight Burton is no ordinary player.

In the ever-expanding basketball world of placing the nation’s youth into leagues before the start of elementary school, Burton never did experience those luxuries.  He never played “house” basketball, or traveled as a member of an AAU team until sophomore year.  So which begs the question, what was Burton doing before that caused him to become so good?

“Nothing really,” says Burton.  “Just playing with my brothers and a Fisher Price rim my mom bought me.  I used to act like I was in the NBA.  But that’s really it until my tenth grade year.”

From his youth, Dwight wanted to be a member of a basketball team, growing up with brothers who played at the high school level.  Dwight envisioned himself one day forging a path of his own in the game of basketball, but was hesitant on where to start.

While playing in a mere pick-up game with friends at a Church event, an AAU coach noticed a special set of abilities which separated Dwight from his peers, and wanted him to play organized basketball for the first time in his life.

IMG_0823From then on, Burton was a member of the Michigan Hurricanes, who in the last 20 years have been one of the select youth traveling programs in Michigan.  Burton was in the ninth grade at the time, and played 15u.  He notes his first two games on the circuit were particularly rough, even causing him to question was basketball really a career he wanted to pursue.

“I played terrible, I played nervous my first two organized games, but after that third game is when everything started picking up,” said Burton.

“I had a talk with my mom, she told me it’s time to eat son.  ‘You said you were ready to play with the big boys.  I know you can play with them it’s just you have to know that.'”

Dwight listened.  Burton stood out, his team won games, and competed for tournament championships, life was good.  Because of his stellar play on the circuit, the Hurricane 16u coach at the time, Ray Reeves, grew akin to Burton’s game.  Reeves, well-respected in the Detroit prep basketball community with successful stints at Finney and Community, had just accepted the position as the head coach at Mumford High School.  Coach Reeves believed Burton was the ideal center piece he could use to rebuild an ailing Mustang program.  Another stepping-point in Burton’s young career had commenced, transferring from a small charter school on the eastside to a school across the city.

Burton admits he shed tears following his first varsity game at Mumford because of poor play.  But as the season developed, he slowly started to gain confidence.  He became a valued member of a Mustang team which doubled their win total from a season earlier, six to 12, while averaging 15 points and five assists in the process.  All as the lone sophomore on varsity.

Burton followed his stellar 10th grade year with an even more impressive junior campaign.  22 overall points and seven assists, all with no recognition about post-season awards.

“(It) pushes me a lot,” said Burton.  “Even though there are players that get more exposure than me, I have to work hard everyday.  If I don’t work on and off the court, I’m not going to be able to when when the lights are on a and it’s game time.  I have to outwork them.”

He no longer competes with the Hurricanes for AAU, but is in his first year as a Michigan Playmaker.  Burton was a late addition to an already talented Playmaker roster, but his presence has lifted the team to another level.  In his first tournament, the Playmakers won the championship, undefeated with a 6-0 overall record.  Dwight averaged double-figures in each game.  Then in his second tournament, Burton proved himself as one of premier guards in all of Michigan.  In victories against 1Nation, Detroit Showtime, and Grand Rapids Storm, all teams with more highly-touted guards, Burton more than held his own, averaging double-digits repeatedly.  In the last major event of the Spring circuit, Dwight saved the best for last.  6-1 record at the Chicago Classic, silver division champions, and 25 points in the championship game.

Still Burton has found limited collegiate interest, despite holding a reported 3.4 GPA his previous card-marking.  Dwight vows to make the most of his final month of AAU in July, which college coaches may view with intentions of recruiting players.  With tournaments scheduled in Grand Rapids, Cincinnati, and possibly Las Vegas, Dwight will soon recognize how far he’s come in so little amount of time, in life and basketball.

“That God is good, I came from not being known to now making a name for myself,” said Burton.  “If you work hard at something you love it will pay out in the end.”









2014 Michigan Playmakers College Showcase

22 Oct

Unsigned senior showcases get off to a quick start this year, with the 2014 Michigan Playmakers College Showcase.

On Sunday November 2nd, coaches from division III, NAIA, prep schools, and junior colleges will be in attendance at Beechwood Recreation Center in Southfield, Michigan from 3-6 PM.

The Michigan Playmakers are a travel club basketball team located in the greater Metro-Detroit area.  With teams from middle school through high school, the Playmakers competed in various tournaments across the the midwest this past Spring and Summer.

Participants in the showcase will be be instructed through various drills, and compete in team scrimmages.

For more information, contact Coach Wendell Green at 248-688-2998 or michiganplaymakers@yahoo.com

Space is limited, and participants must be registered by October 30th.

Beechwood Recreation is located on 22200 Beech Rd, off of 9 mile Rd.


Chicago Classic Day Two Recap

13 Jul

Pool play ended, and a few bracket play games for several age groups had started.  With championship Sunday on the Horizon, the intensity of games start to increase, drawing more and more interest coming the way from college coaches.

Danny Dixon 6’8″ forward/center Michigan Playmakers 17u

An unsigned senior who will attend Impact Basketball Prep in Las Vegas this upcoming season, Danny so far has brought an added dimension to an already quality Playmaker team.  His greatest impact on the day was defense.  With long arms and quick footwork, Dixon was able to block shots in close and and even shots on the perimeter, and when he wasn’t blocking shots, just his presence in the lane messed up the concentration for those thinking about shooting.  Dixon also found a way to contribute on the offensive end.  He showed off his touch from 8-10 feet, flashing into the lane, facing up and letting go, rebounded the ball well on both sides of the floor, and found teammates for assists in the high/low posts.  His most complete game on the day was a 10 point, six rebound, and five block performance in a blowout victory.  Eastern Michigan, U of D Mercy, and Arkansas Little Rock were in attendance for a few of Dixon’s performances.

Jalen Gibson 6’7″ forward Michigan Playmakers 17u

Gibson had a quiet yet productive day for the Playmakers.  He long, athletic, and quick off the floor for a tweener small/power forward.  In the team’s victory vs. St. Louis Majestic, Jalen didn’t score much, five points, but seemingly got every rebound on offensive, coming away with a total of nine rebounds in the whole game, and altering two shots.  He’s got a nice touch from 10 feet and in, but is more of a garbage man when it comes to getting his points, he’s also going to have to work on not bringing the ball down when he gets a rebound, he goest from being 6’7″ to 5’7″ real quickly.  If Jalen continues defensive performances like this in July, the more and more he becomes a likely scholarship player for division two schools and low division ones.

Mac Irvin Fire 15u

In the one game against Howard Pulley, not one player stood out, the whole team did, in front of every high-major college in attendance at the Chicago Summer Jam.  The Fire like to push the ball, and that works when you have 6’7″ Lanell Hill of Morgan Park High School.  He’s long, athletic, and a big strider on the break, giving the Fire an easy scoring opportunity when pushing tempo.  5’5″ guard Cameron Irvin also stood out on day with his shooting in the second half.  During a five minute stretch in the second half, Irvin made three pull-up three pointers that was the sign of the route that would become of Howard Pulley.  6’5″ Romello Burrell showed up as well on defense, challenging shots, and rebounding at a high level.

Josh Smith 6’4″ guard/wing Michigan Playmakers 16u (Pictured)

Not too much is known about the Waverly swing man, but his game speaks for himself.  He’s a shooter, and a good one to.  He’s forced to play a more of a stretch four role on a team that lacks height, but Smith loves to spot up on the perimeter and shoot his southpaw j. making three 3’s in his teams opening round bracket play game, finishing with 14 points. The more he could play off screens and move without the ball, he will become a greater threat to defenses.  A willing rebounder on defense, Smith also has a freakish long wing span, which he used to block a few drives to the basket.  Hitting the weight room, drinking milk, and eating vegetables this Summer will help Smith become a more dominant player as opposing competition increases.


Bishop Foley 2015 Wing Antonio Capaldi Player Profile

9 Jul

5E7F3F3C5859EECC9498D906CF353A81_data_89ebd7bf-3d46-45ee-9438-eb• Height, Weight, and position?

6’5 170 PG/SG/SF

• High School, Summer team and Graduation Year?

Bishop Foley HS, Michigan Playmakers, 2015

• Players you try to model your game after?

Kevin Durant, Lebron James, Jamal Crawford

• Important Stats

15pts, 6rebs, and 3ast (stats of last 12 games due to role change on team)

• Most memorable game in your career so far?

Helping bring my team back from down 12 in the 4th quarter to Southfield Bradford in the District Championship and scoring 10 of my 12 points in the 4th while also hitting the game winner.

⁃ How did this past high school season go for you and your team?

It was an up and down season due to many factors in the locker room but we managed to pull out another district and making it to the regional finals for the 2nd year in a row and for myself a learning experience of how to win big ball games.

• Colleges that you would like to attend?

Grand Valley State, Oakland, Western Michigan, Northwood, UDM, Saginaw Valley, Virginia Tech

• Colleges that have shown interest in you so far?

Northwood, Saginaw Valley, Grand Valley State, UDM

• What makes you unique from other players at your position?

My length at the guard position also I am very vocal on both sides of the ball and my dedication and loyalty to any program and the drive to win.

• Strengths and areas you are improving in?

Strength- shooting the mid-range and 3-point, getting to the basket, creative finishes, and defense. Improving- Ball Handling, foot speed, and being more consistent

• Goals for the upcoming AAU season?

Becoming a better player on the defensive end

• What role do you see your self having this year for your team?

A leader, a player that will take the last second shot, that will make the 50/50 play, someone that will do whatever it takes for his team to win.

• What will a coach be getting out of you at the next level?

Great work ethic, winning attitude, team player

• What will go into your decision about choosing a college?

Academics, coach, facilities, campus life, student body

• Most influential person in your life? Why?

My father, he has been there for everything in my life. My father is my biggest advocate and my biggest fan,

• Legacy you want to leave at your school?

That when people speak of you, they say he has earned everything he has. Nothing was given to him. Gave 110% every time he stepped on the floor.

• Where do you see yourself in 15 years?

Either playing basketball overseas or in the NBA

• Fun/ interesting fact about you?

Big stat guy when it comes to old school NBA players. Huge fan of Oscar Robinson

• Awards, Accomplishments, other comments?

1-time All- League, 1-time Catholic Champ, 2-time District Champ

• Academic Information

2.7 gpa 20 ACT (only have taken it once, retaking exam in august)

• Contact Information

Email: antoniocapaldi7@gmail.com

Twitter: _Capaldi12

Chicago Classic Recap

26 May

chicagoclassiclogo-10700The Chicago Classic is always one of the top Spring AAU tournaments towards the end of the circuit.  Here is a look at a few Michigan players that stood out over the weekend.

Ty Groce 6’6″ wing Michigan United 16u (Ypsilanti Lincoln)– Groce is a athletic, long, and skilled versatile wing for Michigan United.  He came alive in United’s second pool play game vs. Kessel Heat.  Groce showed off his range from the perimeter, hitting a couple threes off the kick-back from the posts.  Ty was also able to score inside, using his length to get putbacks on the offensive side of the glass.  Overall, Groce can handle to ball well for his size, have the IQ and unselfishness to run the point guard position and get others involved, and shut down positions 1-3 on defense.

Mike Bruce 6’2″ point guard Michigan United 16u (Belleville)– Bruce is quite the unknown prospect for guards in Michigan’s 2016 class, but if he continues the production he had at the Chicago Classic, he will no doubt draw college attention in the month of July.  Bruce was full of energy throughout the tournament.  He’s a strong ball handler with either hand that allows him to attack the lane and create for either himself or teammates.  But when opponents started to sag off him, he showed a good mid-range pull-up jump shot from the elbow.  On defense, he’s a good defender, with length that causes problems for guards with a weak handle.

Rashaan Pope 6’5″ wing Michigan United 16u (Belleville)– Like his teammate Bruce, Pope is still a relatively unknown prospect for Michigan’s 2016 class.  Regardless, Pope was still one of the best wing guards at the Chicago Classic over the weekend.  At 6’5″, Rashaan showed a unique skill set to his game that will one day transition well to the college. Pope with his size, length, and ball handling can create his own shot at any point of the game.  He’s a scorer, Pope loves to attack to lane, and get to rim to draw fouls.  Very good isolation player on offense, variety of moves and counter moves to beat his defender.

Donnie Tillman 6’5″ power forward Detroit Stars 15u (Cass Tech)– In a highly anticipated contest vs. the Michigan Mustangs with double-digit top 30 prospects for Michigan’s 2017 class, Tillman proved a point in separating himself from the competition.  First off on the most important side of the floor, defense, Tillman drew the tough assignment of containing another highly touted power forward, Xavier Tillman.  Donnie did not mess around with Tillman at all, flustering, and harassing Xavier throughout the game, challenging every shot that wasn’t difficult enough already.  Once Donnie was able to clear the rebound, he showed his versatility with ball handling skills most forwards for his size and body don’t have.  He pushed the ball on the break like a point guard, and attacking the rim in the full court coming up with some impressive athletic finishes at the rim.  But in the half-court set, Donnie was still a problem for defenses to hold.  He can score on the block with post moves around the basket, hit some mid-range elbow shots, and got second-chance points attacking the offensive glass, getting second and third opportunities for his team.  Overall, Donnie played the tournament with great energy on either side of the game, and will only become a greater handful for teams if he continues to grow and develop his body even more.

C.J. Wilson 5’6″ point guard Detroit Stars 15u (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s)- C.J. might be diminutive in size, also weighing in at 140 pounds, but skills and ability are not confined to weight and height.  Also in the game vs. the Mustangs, vs. some of the best young guards in the state, Wilson held up his own and made a name for himself.  Wilson played under control the whole game, he wasn’t relied upon to handle the ball the entire game, but when the opportunity came upon him, Wilson was able to break the Mustang trap and get the ball into the front court and set up the offense.  C.J.also knocked down some big shots for his team down the stretch, including a huge three late in the second half that for all intensive purposes put the dagger in the hopes of the Mustang comeback.  He’s a pass first guard, that got his teammates involved when he was playing more of a off-guard role.  On defense, Wilson was pesky throughout the Star’s Sunday tournament run to the Gold semi-finals, he likes giving opposing guards havoc just bringing the ball up the floor and forcing them out wide in the half-court.  Overall, Wilson competes, and plays with a great poise that will soon start to become apparent in the 2017 class.

Antonio Capaldi 6’5″ wing Michigan Playmakers 17u (Bishop Foley)- Antonio didn’t put together an offensive output he is capable of producing, but made his presence made on the defensive side of the floor this tournament.  With long arms, and quick foot work to get around screens, Capaldi made it tough for perimeter players to create air space and create high-quality shots.  In one game vs. the Wisconsin Playground Warriors, Capaldi drew the tough assignment of guarding Wisconsin commit Brevin Pritzl, and held him to three points, all on free-throws, and no field goals.

Elmelik Martin 6’0″ point guard Michigan Playmakers 17u (Melvindale ABT))– Martin overall had a solid weekend for the Playmakers.  At 6’0″, Martin makes up for the lack of size at the point guard position with extreme quickness and agility.  He’s a blur with the ball in his hands, with killer crossovers and hesitation moves that allow him to drop defenders in their tracks and create opportunities to score from anywhere on the court, he’s especially dangerous in transition. Over the course of the Spring circuit, Martin at times played out of control, forcing turnovers that ultimately hurt his team, not in Chicago.  Martin played with a quick, but not in a hurry mentality, maturing into a true point guard, that ran to pick and roll effectively at times, and looked to get his bigs involved with some creative passes.  A streaky jump shooter, Elmelik showed his range with a couple of three pointers, and high difficulty floaters in the lane.


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