Tag Archives: Muskegon

Muskegon’s Jason Loera Commits to Ferris State

1 May

image1How does it feel to commit to Ferris State?
It feels great to say that I committed to Ferris State University.  At first I thought I wasn’t going to be able to play at the next level, well a level that I wanted to play at but Ferris gave me the opportunity to do that, and it feels great.  I’m truly blessed and thankful.

When did you know Ferris was right for you?
When I applied for Ferris a couple months ago, I did a lot of research.  Did research on the programs that they have at the university and also did some research on the program.  They are building a great program and they’re going in the right direction. When I visited, they made me feel comfortable, campus was great, nice college town, and the players made me feel like I was family as if they knew me for quite some time.

What is your relationship with the coaches like?
My relationship with the coaches is good so far.  I hope to continue to grow with them as I go through my years at the university.  I really don’t know exactly how they plan to use me but whatever it is, I’ll give 110% to that role each & every day.  To me it’s all about winning and having fun.  I’m about doing whatever it takes to win.

What were some other schools recruiting you?
Some other schools were a smaller schools that were out of state, a couple community colleges, Juco, and other Division 2 colleges.

Do you know any players currently at Ferris

I knew a couple players at Ferris.  I know them from summer camps, playing against them, or watching them.  Not many but I knew some.


How did the past high school season go?

The past high school year went great. We finished the season 24-2. I averaged close to seven points per game, was second in assists, and second in blocks. We didn’t repeat like we wanted to but the season was great.

What do you plan to study in the classroom?
When I attend Ferris State University this fall, I play to Major in either Psychology or Business.

Muskegon Muscles Past River Rouge 68-50

6 Mar

3L9A9520A strenuous day of studies at school, a 200 mile bus trip, and a visit to the famed River Rouge “jungle.”

All three were obstacles facing Muskegon in the Big Reds’ twentieth and and final game of the year.  However, the state’s number two and defending Class A champion  prevailed for a 68-50 against Class B contender River Rouge, improving their record to 19-1.

The game was truly decided in the opening eight minutes.  After a sluggish start for both teams, the Big Reds led 7-4 with 2:40 left in the first.  From then on, Muskegon used a 12-3 spurt to close the quarter and led 19-7, a lead that would not be cut to single digits the rest of the contest.

Senior leadership can assist in neutralizing a hostile crowd.   Fortunately, Muskegon has the combination of Joeviair Kennedy and Michigan State bound Deyonta Davis to do so.  Davis led Muskegon with 20 points, 15 rebounds, and seven blocks, while Kennedy contributed 17 points, six rebounds, and five assists.

Kennedy scored 14 of his 17 points in the first half to set the tempo for Muskegon.

“First-half is always good for me,” Kennedy said following the game.  “I always start out with a lot of energy.”

Muskegon would stretch their lead as much as 18 in the first half, leading 36-18 in the first half.  The Big Red defense stifled the Panther attack the entire night.  River Rouge was forced to settle for contested three-point and mid-range jump shots throughout the first half.  The Panther field-goal percentage was 20 percent in the opening 16 minutes.

Not much changed for the Big Reds in the second half, the only challenge for Muskegon was playing without Davis roughly two minutes in the third quarter.  Head coach Keith Guy was unhappy with Davis’ on-court presence, and took the challenge to sit his star big man.

“He’s going to have to take the message I give him,” Guy said, “or he’s going to sit.”  “I’m harder on him than I am anybody.”

The trip to the bench fueled Davis once Guy decided to place him back in the game.  Deyonta scored seven of his team-high 20 points in the final quarter alone, including a few impressive alley-oops, some of which were from Kennedy.

“Best one-two pouch in the state,” Guy said of Kennedy and Davis, “their unselfish, play for one another, they feed of one another.”

According to Guy, the Kennedy-Davis relationship extends far-beyond basketball.  It’s a unique brotherhood the two have formed the past four years.

“If I’m giving away snacks after practice, and one of them is not around, they’ll try to get the snack for each other.  It’s a brotherhood.”

The one positive performance for the Panthers was senior 6’7″ forward Jalen Gibson.  After only scoring one point in the first-half, Gibson took it on himself and provide a stand to the Big Red onslaught.  Gibson scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half, playing fearlessly against Davis.  Unfortunately for Gibson and Rouge, he picked up his fifth foul with 3:40 seconds remaining in the fourth.  Rouge had just cut the deficit to the smallest it was the second-half, 13 points.

Part of the Big Red defensive game-plan was to nullify River Rouge senior star guard LaMonta Stone.  Stone, a diminutive 5’8,” is one of the state’s most prolific scorers.  While Stone led his team with 17, he was 6-19 on the game, and scoreless the entire fourth quarter.

“One of the things we tried to do was keep him out of the paint,” Guy said.  “I think he goes to his left better than he does his right.  So we tried to force him a little bit to his right.  We wanted to make him volume shooter.”

Along with Kennedy and Davis, Muskegon’s role players had quiet yet productive games.  Darryl Kirkland and Michael Littlejohn were the primary ball-handlers and orchestrators of the offense.  The Big Reds committed just 10 turnovers the entire game, and only four in the first-half.  Littlejohn and Kirkland combined for 12 assists.

Although the Big Reds have won 47 of their past 48 games, the Big Reds have not gotten out much to show their talents across the state.  Aside from a trip to West Bloomfield in late December, the Big Reds’ farthest game from home has been in Grand Rapids.   Both Kennedy and Guy are adamant the challenges the team confronted today will only grow the team’s character once  the state tournament commences.

“This is as best a 20th game you can,” Guy added.  While Kennedy added “This is very hostile environment playing somewhere like this.  This is how it’s going to be in the playoffs.”

And about the potential for a Muskegon repeat in Class A, Kennedy isn’t shy.

“I say we’re going to do another repeat.”

Muskegon is next in action Wednesday beginning district semi-finals against either Muskegon Reeths-Puther or Mona Shores.  While Rouge hits the hardwood Monday against Henry Ford Academy with a final regular-season record of 15-5.

(Photo courtesy of Paul Snyder)

Michigan From a National Perspective

16 Sep

eric_davis_-_saginaw_athur_hillIt was a hard, long, arduous Summer in Michigan, a state which saw double-digit players from a year ago deciding to continue their high school careers in various corners of the country.  Most notably was junior guard/forward Josh Jackson to Justin-Sierra High School in California, a top three consensus player in the country for not only his age group, but youth basketball as a whole.  So the question is, what’s next for Michigan?  Who will pass on the proverbial torch they say to the future generations in the state?

Michigan is still well respected in various recruiting sites/services.  Starting with the class of 2015, the two players in ESPN’s, Rivals’, and Scout’s top 100 seniors are Saginaw Arthur Hill’s guard Eric Davis, and Muskegon’s 6’11” big man Deyonta Davis.  Deyonta, a defending Class A state champion and Michigan State commit, is ranked the 15th best overall prospect by ESPN, number 29 according to Scout, and 23 in Rivals.  One of the country most coveted recruits, Eric is tabbed for 41 in ESPN, 45 in Scout, and 52 in Rivals.  Both Davis’ figure to be playing at the Breslin Center in late March for a championship, and are both considered the front runners for Michigan’s Mr. Basketball award.

What was one of Michigan’s stronger classes, 2016, was hit particularly hard by the aforementioned transfers over the Summer.  The only player from Michigan ranked services is University of Detroit Jesuit’s 6’1″ guard Cassius Winston.  Winston is number 45 in ESPN,  and number 35 overall prospect in the Rivals Class of 2016 150.  A smooth moving true point guard, Winston currently holds offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, VCU, and Maryland just to name a few.

A96I1148Winston’s AAU teammate, Saginaw Arthur Hill’s 2017 wing Brian Bowen, is the only member of Michigan’s sophomore class ranked nationally.  Most recruiting services only have a top 25 ranking for sophomores, as does ESPN and Scout.com.  In both of their 2017 rankings, Bowen is tabbed for number six and seven in both ESPN and Scout respectively.  Bowen holds offers from Michigan, Michigan State, and Missouri, NC State, Kansas, Boston College, Iowa and Iowa State.

What’s the next move for Michigan?  It’s becoming increasingly difficult for in-state players to compete under the current rules for national recognition with players from across the country.  There is no reason to speculate the rules can or will change soon. But the future is bright in Michigan, the Class of 2018 is off to a strong start with impressive performance at AAU tournaments during Summer time.  However for the time being, let’s just sit back and enjoy the upcoming year of high school hoops.

Muskegon 2015 Wing Joeviair Kennedy Talks First Offer From NIU

31 Jul

2014 Nike EYBL. Session #2. Dallas.A player’s first offer is always special, especially when it doesn’t come until right before senior year stars.  Muskegon rising class of 2015 6’3″ wing Joeviair Kennedy was a integral part of the Big Red 2013-2014 Class A state championship season, and now the southpaw star has an offer from Northern Illinois to show for his hard work.

“It feels great,” Kennedy had to say, “at a time it felt like I wouldn’t get offered by them or anybody, so it feels really good to know all the hard word payed off.”

Kennedy started to stand out in the eyes of college coaches during the Spring and Summer portion of AAU, competing for Spiece Indy Heat in the highly prestigious Nike EYBL grassroots circuit.  Gaining interest from schools such as Central Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee State, and U of D Mercy.

“It was fun playing in the EYBL because there was a lot of competition, and getting to play guys that are just as good and athletic (as me).”

Joeviair has great size for the wing position in college, he notes slashing to the basket is his greatest strength, but in order to get to the basket, he had to improve his ball-handling over the Summer.  Also an adequate perimeter defender, Kennedy said he takes pride in locking down both guards and wings.

A wide receiver on the Big Red football team, Kennedy was also fortunate enough to receive an offer from Ferris State (MI) on the grid-iron.  He is undecided on which sport he will participate in college, but is leaving the door open for a chance to play both one day if the situation is possible.

Joeviair noted Lou Dawkins, a championship winning head coach at Saginaw High School, is the lead recruiter for the Huskies in the hopes of landing Kennedy.  He visited NIU last fall, but for now, Joeviair will focus on the upcoming football campaign for the Big Reds, and plans on making a return to DeKalb in the fall.


DeShaun Throwers Talks Mr. Basketball Award

18 Mar

thMuskegon senior guard DeShaun Thrower has everything going right for him right now.  His Big Reds are currently 25-0 and in the state quarterfinals, Thrower committed to Stoney Brook University in the Fall on a full basketball scholarship, and now the latest accomplishment for DeShaun is the 2014 Mr. Basketball award voted by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan.

“It feels good” Thrower had to say about winning Mr. Basketball.   “It’s a honor to be the first and to even get the award, there are a lot of good players that came out of Muskegon, and for me to be the first is just a big honor.”

The first winner in Muskegon Big Red basketball history, DeShaun has been averaging 18 points, six assists, and five rebound a game this season.  Most Mr. Basketball award winners have a moment when they know it is only a matter of time before the prize is theirs.  For DeShaun, he had three moments.  On January 17th, 18th, and 21st vs. Zeeland East, Saginaw Arthur Hill, and Grand Rapids Christian respectively, Thrower tallied 30 plus points in each game, cementing himself as a Mr. Basketball candidate.

In the Summer after his sophomore year at Muskegon Heights, DeShaun decided to transfer and attend division two football powerhouse Muskegon, the last two state finalists.  Not too many athletes in their high school career can say they had the opportunity to play both quarterback and point guard for winning programs on the field and on the court.  At both positions, leadership is a necessary attribute coaches look for.  Combined with his stellar play, Thrower’s quality of leadership is what he credits has made him achieve success in his high school career.

“Yes, I think leadership is one of my best qualities because at the positions I play I have to lead vocally and by example.”

Generally, the recipient of the Mr. Basketball award has a strong possibility of winning a state title.  Individual awards are nice, however, DeShaun is not content with a single-person award.  The award will only fuel and drive him to push harder in the last three games of the season to win a state title.  He has come close the last two years in football, but he is a senior now, with only one more opportunity to cut down the nets at the Breslin Center.

“This is my last season,” Thrower had to say, “and this is my last chance to win state and I have been playing with a few players since AYBT ball and this is our last time that we will ever play together, so we want to go of on a good note and win our last high school games.”

He’s never been the most sought-after recruit or talked about much in the media.  Thrower has had to work and perceiver through the adversity of being a one of Michigan’s best kept secrets for a long time.  He is pleased to see all the hours he has spent in either a gym or field culminate in a state wide award, but what makes him smile even more is that he can say he is from Muskegon, and a Mr. Basketball award winner from the west side of the state.

“Because the east side of the state gets more attention than the west side of the state” DeShaun had to say, “and if I was to be playing for a school in Detroit or Saginaw a major division 1 college would have been more interested in me but they look at that side first and don’t see anything else after that, but it is what it is everything happens for a reason I’m happy with the choice of Stony Brook and I think there program will fit me well.”

Thrower and Davis Commit

9 Sep

No we did not go through the drive through at McDonalds, but the state of Michigan had a pair of 2014 combo guards commit to division one schools in a span of two days.  Muskegon’s Deshaun Thrower says he will be attending Stoney Brook, and Frederick Douglass’ Darrell Davis gave a verbal commit to the Flyers of Dayton.

darrellDarrell is a tall, long, lanky guard that saw his recruiting stock rise during the July live period of AAU basketball.  The 6’4″ 170 pound Davis is truly an explosive offense weapon.   Darrell can flat out score the rock from anywhere on the floor.  You name an offensive skill he probably has it.  Whether it be the mid-range, three point range, pull-up jumpshot, attacking the basket with either hand, but more importantly, he has great court vision for a lead guard.  Darrell is always looking to find an open teammate and drops a beautiful pass in the process.  Darrell took an official visit down Dayton over this past weekend and committed on site to the Flyers.  Davis can now turn his attention to the high school regular season with his Hurricanes, who are one of the favorites to win the Class B crown.

180Deshaun Thrower hails from the Big Reds of Muskegon High School.  Thrower is also the starting quarterback from Muskegon who could very easily win the division two football crown.  Although Deshaun will play basketball at the next level, don’t think he will not use the skills he used on gridiron on the hardwood at Stoney Brook.  Deshaun is one of the most competitive kids in the State of Michigan.  Nothing ever seems to phase him, whether things are going his team’s way or not, he keeps a calm and cool quarterback’s poise out on the floor.  Thrower’s individual skill set can be compared to Flint’s and Michigan State’s own Mateen Cleaves.  Similar to Mateen, Thrower is a strong and explosive guard that brings it on every play during the game on defense and offense.  He can lower the shoulder and get to the basket at anytime on a defender, likes to push the ball on the break, and has great court vision for a guard.  He also has tremendous lateral foot speed on defense which can be accreditied to him playing defensive back on the football team as well.  UIC, Northern Michigan, and Stoney Brook were the only schools to offer Thrower a scholarship, who decided on the Seawolves at a visit over the weekend as well.

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Brother Rice repeat?

22 Nov

Repeating as a state champion in football is one of the most hardest things to do in high school football.  Think about it, after winning a state championship, all the teams that you beat the previous year are all gunning to beat you.  This Friday, Brother Rice will have a chance to repeat but this time their opponent will be the always tough Big Reds from Muskegon.  A team coming in with only one lost and has man-handled some teams on their route to Ford Field.  If Brother Rice is to win, they will need production out of their two running backs Shon Powell and Brian Walker.  Muskegon knows that these two are going to get the ball, to counter attack that, Rice must be able to at least make Muskegon respect their passing game.  Rice does have some good receivers to get the ball out to.  Most notably Corey Lacanaria and the speedy Josh Flye.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Muskegon, their offense presents major problems to defenses and maybe even the very aggressive Warrior D.  The Big Reds use a formation they call the “Ski Gun,” which consists of a quarterback in the pistol with a running back in a three-point stance behind him.   Similar to triple option teams, they send a man in motion and will either give the ball to the running back on a dive or the quarterback will keep it on an option.  This type of offense will create match up problems for the Rice Defense making their linebackers have to hesitate of option plays which could result in a big play for the talented athletes the Big Reds have.

I just don’t see Brother Rice winning it this year.  I would love to see Coach Fracassa get one more state title, but this Warrior Team is just not the same as last years team.  The 2011 team had to fight through every single round of the playoffs to get to Ford Field.  This year, the Warriors haven’t really been challenged in the playoffs.  Muskegon has too many athletes, a tricky offense, and a tough defense.  All characteristics a team must have if they want to win a championship.

Enjoy Ford Field everybody!

Final Score: Muskegon: 28 Rice: 14

Here is a link to the Muskegon “Ski Gun.”

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