Wow, did the Detroit Fire come to play or what. They knocked off the Michigan Mustangs in the semi-finals, 68-64, and the The Family, 65-57, for the 16u championship. Those are two of the top teams in Michigan's 16u division and the Fire played like a team on a mission and player after player stepped up to help them on their run. 6'2 shooting guard Deangelo Haley hit big shots in both games. His Detroit Central teammates, 6'3 wing Kalante Miller and 6' point guard Sam Burton, were standouts as well. Miller is a work-horse on the floor and has exceptional timing on the boards and timing blocks. He can score too, despite not playing with his prescription goggles.
Burton runs the show and isn't a flashy passer but, an efficient passer who makes quick decisions. 6'7 Tevin Conrad hails from Pershing and may have the widest shoulders of any player in Michigan. His wing span approaches 7 feet and he is a wall when setting picks.
Antone Roberson is only 6'3 but, battled hard on the glass as he did for Detroit Northern over the high school season. Add in Orchard Lake St. Mary's 6' guard Ken Brown and 6'6 Dejuan Littles from Detroit Southeastern and you have a nice championship team.
The next two teams will have to meet up head-to-head before I say one is better than the other. The Family lost by eight to the Fire but, made it to the championship while the Mustangs lost to the same team by four. But, games are about match-ups not how much one team lost to another. Like the old saying goes "that's why they play the games.
The Family is extremely tall for a 16u team as they have the 7' Da'Shonte Riley, 6'8 James Still, 6'7 Donnavan Kirk, and 6'5 Kyle Bryant who has the girth to bang inside. Riley didn't make it to any games on Sunday because of a sore knee but, when he did play he was without a doubt a presence. Still is long and looks like he can grow another few inches. He showed a nice touch from just inside the foul line.
Kirk has picked up his game immensely over the last year as he isn't as hesitant and now looks like he plays with a purpose. Bryant has great touch around the hoop and he's relentless on the boards. They have three guards that complimented The Family's front court: 6'2 guard Bennie Fowler was a role player for Detroit Country Day this past season and did a little bit of everything.
6'3 Alex Marcotullio did a nice job of scoring and is a legit threat to score when he had the ball in his hand. The third was Kimani Boyton a 6' combo guard who looks like he'll develop into a nice shooting guard as he grows.
The Michigan Mustangs are an extremely athletic group and they have the most athletic player in Michigan's class of '09, 6'5 dunking monster Doug Anderson. Anderson lack of basketball experience is evident as he's often out of position but, he shows flashes of what he could become with an occasional jumper, rebounding, and of course his monster dunks.
A player new to many in Michigan but, one not to forget is 6'8 forward John Hoskins, Jr. He's long and versatile, a decent mid-range game and nice timing when rebounding or defending. Two members of the backcourt are Da'Chawn Glover a 5'7 combo guard who made dazzling passes and also hit from three-point land.
The other is 5'10 Rashad Porter who plays with a lot of energy all over the court and he's a good shooter. Drew Valentine is 6'4 wing who had a few off games as he wasn't his normal high-powered self but, I expect him to rebound as the spring progresses.
The 15u division had plenty of talent but, in this piece the two that played for the championship were just that much better than the rest of the field.
The Family ruled the day as they overcame a 16-point deficit to beat the Grand Rapids based Mustangs team. The champions received great play from 6'2 guard Kavante Martin who was a do all scorer for The Family. 6'3 Demondray Buckley showed that he can he can get to the basket and finish.
The Mustangs team has a couple of kids that we should be hearing about for the next few years here in Michigan. The first is 6'6 Tremaine Thompson who has good size and dominated more times than not while occupying the paint. The other is Daniel Dock a 6'5 forward who could develop into a nice wing as his ball-handling skills have improved leaps and bounds since the last time I saw him a year ago.