Friday, January 30, 2009
Michigan is always looking for its newest star. Next is always looked for in the Mitten state and for good reason, you have to keep an eye on your up and coming talent, especially if you are one of the talent hot-beds of America.
So who's the big-time freshmen in Michigan. It starts with 6'2 Ray Lee from Robichaud. In the beginning of the year I thought that maybe he was the second best player in Michigan, but now I'm convinced, Lee is hands down the best freshman in Michigan. He can score with the best of them, pass, play PG, he's long, athletic, Ray is good. He has had a few 25 pt games this year. 6'4 Denzel Valentine from Lansing Sexton is another big-time player. He sure doesn't look like a freshman out on the floor with the big boys, Denzel is extremely versatile and athletic, and if he continues to grow, which I think he will, he will be really, really special. Saginaw is once again loaded with talent in 2012, as one of the state's premier prospects lie at Arthur Hill in 6'8 Jordan Hare, Hare has an immense upside and one to watch in the future, he produces now. 6'6 Kevin Marshall, 6'6 D'Vario Gaines, and 6'2 Travontis Richardson from Saginaw High will all be big-time prospects for the Trojans. Marshall has produced for the High's varsity, and has even started some games this year, he will be about 6'10, has a size 19 shoe, and he's improving by the day. Not to be outdone by its rival city, Flint is LOADED with young talent. The top freshman in Flint most likely is 6'8 Donald Fisher from Flint Northern. Fisher is long, agile, and not afraid to bang. He needs to eat some food badly, and beef up; and once he does every college in America will be beating down his door. Beecher also has a few elite freshmen prospects in 6'5 shooter Javonte Hawkins and 5'11 CG Antwaun Burks. Burks is tough as he was the starting QB on the varsity fball team. Burks has all the intangibles, and he just flat out isn't afraid to get after it, he has lots of heart to be a freshman. Hawkins can stroke it, but will also mix it up down low, and fight for rebounds, which I love to see out of freshmen. 6'3 F Quinn Langston from Flint Hamady is a slasher supreme, who is very athletic. He is a monster in transition and in the boards, if Quinn grows a few more inches he could be very, very good. The top two PG's in the freshmen class are probably 5'8 Dennis Norfleet from Detroit MLK and 5'9 Travon Baker from Detroit Consortium. Norfleet's name rings bells nationwide, as he is one of the more hyped players from Michigan, and he flat out gets the job done; despite his size, their isn't a player stronger in Michigan. Baker is a extremely poised PG for a freshmen and looks to be a better prospect than his backcourt teammate at Consortium, 5'11 Desmond Barnes, who is a D1 prospect. The last freshmen who is on the radar is 6'5 John Simons from Cadillac. John is the baby bro of Ben Simons from Cadillac, who is our #2 ranked player in our updated rankings for Michigan, and is pushing for the #1 spot; Drake got a steal on that one. Simons can shoot it like his brother, and he has a very high upside, as he can do alot of things right now at the varsity level. Simons could be better than Ben... but we will have to wait and see on that one.
Numerous players have burst on the scene, players ranks have risen, some have stayed the same. Some teams have gotten better, some worse. Some pre-season hype has been justified, others haven't. But one thing is for sure, Michigan basketball is still big-time! I will give you some of the top storylines of this years young season.
1. Guard Play by the 2010 class- It was well known before the season that I thought Trey Zeigler was hands down the best player in Michigan. And while I still feel that way, numerous guards in the class of 2010 are playing their way to elite status in the 2010 class. 6'1 Ray McCallum, JR from Country Day has been nothing short of brilliant so far this year. Country Day is the most talented team in Michigan, and they were also the most talented last year, but the difference between this year and last is, they have one of the best PG's in the nation running their ballclub. The only PG in America who I think is better than Ray right now is 6'2 Brandon Knight from Florida, who may be the best player in country (Of course, I have only seen Michigan talent, as the AAU circuit hasn't started just yet). 5'7 Maurice Jones from Saginaw Arthur Hill has led Arthur Hill to numerous impressive victories this year, and has many thinking he is a Top 5 player in Michigan in the 2010 class. He flat out dominates most opponents, and I can't wait to see him play Ray McCallum and Detroit Country Day this year. Jones has improved his out side shot, and is still the same speedy, slippery player who is so hard to contain; and of course he is still Michigan's crowd favorite. 6'5 Isaiah Sykes from Detroit Finney is not what people proclaimed him as, but he's still a legit Top 50-75 player in America. He can easily play the PG position and he is athletic as ever. He needs to work on his outside shot though. The only committed player in Michigan for the 2010 class so far is Keith Appling, and out of all the top players in Michigan for the 2010, he has to be the most feared, Keith is a flat-out DOG! No one scores in bunches like this killa from Detroit Pershing, he can go for 30+ any day, he's a top 30 player in America. Trey Zeigler is the same old Trey, racking up triple-doubles and making it look easy, if only he had D1 talent surrounding him... The guard play in 2010 is great and other players like 6'5 Devin Oliver from Kalamazoo Central (who I expect to get high major offers this spring), Kyle Vinales from North Farmington, Mike Talley from Melvindale B&T, Greg Hayes from Saginaw High, Roy Marble from Southfield-Lathrup, Glen Cosey from Flint Carman-Ainsworth, AJ McEwen from East Grand Rapids, and Richard Carter from Detroit Cody, have all been playing very well for their ballclubs, and they will be in my updated rankings!
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Michigan's Talent Level is as good as it has been in a long time, in my opinion. It is hard for me to decide who is the #1 player in every class in Michigan. In 2009, you have Derrick Nix from Detroit Pershing, who at 6'9 is the most dominant player in Michigan, with his size down low. DaShonte Riley, the 7'0 C from Country Day, is very raw on the offensive end, but his enormous potential still keeps him on top of the class.
In 2010, is is extremely hard to pick. After Las Vegas in July, Trey Ziegler, the 6'5 do everything player from Mt. Pleseant was the easy pick, but now 6'1 Ray McCallum, JR from Country Day is playing like arguably the best player in Michigan, regardless of class. 6'5 Isaiah Sykes from Detroit Finney, also has to have his name in there, because of his versatility, as well as 6'2 Keith Appling, a Michigan State commit from Detroit Pershing, who can give anyone above 30. 6'9 PF John Horford from Grand Ledge, has a huge upside, and was the best big on the floor when Grand Ledge played Country Day at Michigan State a few days ago. 6'9 Alex Gauna from Eaton Rapids is as skilled as they come down low, but still needs a mean streak, but still it is hard to leave him out the top 5 in his class. Another guy who has to be mentioned amongst the elite players in Michigan is 5'7 PG Maurice Jones, who although he will get the best of guards who will go high major, he should go to the A-10 or equivalent because of his size, but right now "Pookie" flat out gets the job done!
In 2011, 6'5 G Brandan Kearney, is my favorite player in Michigan, because of his poise and smart play on the court, and also because it is a very good chance he continues to grow, and if he gets to be 6'7, we are talking about the next Steve Smith and McDonald's All American from Detroit, he is pushing 6'6 now. Kearney's god brother, 6'8 Percy Gibson, who attends Detroit Southeastern with him, is a beast down low and is also a high major recruit. After those two, the potential high major talent doesn't stop there, 6'8 Tommie McCune from Saginaw High has Syracuse, Michigan State, Xavier and others recruiting him, and North Carolina recently called on him; in the end he could end up being the best player in Michigan for this class. And then you can't forget about the best scorer in the 2011 class, high major combo guard Carlton Brundidge, the 6'1 Southfield High product is the man right now in this class, because he has done it on the 17u circuit with Michigan powerhouse summer program "The Family" and with his high school, Carlton is a beast, and has guys like Michigan State, Michigan, Georgetown and others on him. 6'5 LaDontae Hinton from Lansing Eastern is the strongest and most productive player in his class right now, but he may not end up going high major, because he is a "tweener" and isn't extremely skilled. 6'10 Amir Williams from Country Day, will be better than all of the bigs on Country Day's team right now. Williams is a shot-blocker and rebounder, and he will try to dunk on you. But that isn't all at DCDS for 2011 D1 talent, 6'8 Urbane Bingham, 6'1 Chris Fowler, 5'10 Lee Bailey, and 6'4 Kenny Knight will also be very good. 6'6 Darius Norman from Kalamazoo Central has the potential to be a high major player, he is long, can shoot, and plays hard. 6'3 G AJ Mathew from Ann Arbor Huron, is also quietly getting the job done, he shoots it well, and has a high bball IQ, pound for pound, AJ is just as good as people who get more pub than him, he is leading his team to a undefeated record, including a impressive win over Benton Harbor, he will get D1 offers as well. Other 2011 players who are interesting prospects and are playing well so far in this early season include 6'10 Darren Washington and 6'0 Davonte Carter(isn't playing, but is very good) from Detroit Southeastern, 6'2 Ed Brown from Detroit Finney, 6'4 Trey Babers, 5'10 Evellis McGee, and 6'1 Marquavis Ford from Saginaw High, 6'1 Jaylen Bland from Saginaw Arthur Hill, 6'8 Jalen Reynolds from Livonia Clarenceville, 6'9 Donald Owens from Inkster High, 6'6 Julian Plummer from Muskegon Heights, and 5'10 PG Patrick Lucas-Perry from Flint Powers.
In 2012, Denzel Valentine a 6'4 do everything player from Lansing Sexton just may be the best player, but so may 6'2 Ray Lee from Robichaud, 6'8 Jordan Hare from Arthur Hill, and 6'0 Cameron Fowler from U-D Jesuit. 5'6 Dennis Norfleet from Detroit MLK is also doing very well. Donald Fisher, a long 6'8 big fella from Flint Northern will be good in time, but he is also producing very well right now. 6'4 SG Javonte Hawkins, may be the best shooter in this class, but he also shows the Flint grit and toughness that is always there in players from the inner city. Saginaw also has a few more under the radar players. 6'6 Kevin Marshall from Saginaw High has immense potential and could end up 6'10, he has HUGE feet. DeAndre Grady a 6'1 G from East Grand Rapids is another good young prospect, he is another one of those Grady's from the Grand Rapids area.
Other players playing well in this young season includes
Dion Sims 6'6 F Orchard Lake St. Mary's
James Still 6'9 PF Detroit Community PROVIDENCE
Mike Green 6'1 G Saginaw High
Vonn Jones 6' PG Hartland
Donnovan Kirk 6'9 PF Country Day MIAMI-FL
Rashad Porter 5'10 PG Romulus
Duke Monday 6'4 SG Grand Rapids Catholic Central PROVIDENCE
Ben Simons 6'7 Wing Cadillac DRAKE
Jordan Morgan 6'8 PF U-D Jesuit MICHIGAN
Jordan Dumars 6'6 Wing Country Day SOUTH FLORIDA
Doug Anderson 6'6 PF Kalamazoo Central
Devin Oliver 6'5 SG Kalamazoo Central
Juwan Howard 6'6 Wing Detroit Pershing
Kyle Vinales 6'1 G North Farmington
Mike Talley, JR 5'9 PG Melvindale B&T
Kem Bradshaw 6'2 SG Detroit Cass Tech