Bball Elite Camp Recap (Part 1)

GoBlueWolverine was in attendance at Michigan's fourth annual Elite basketball camp yesterday. We break down the top performers from the Saturday morning session which featured the underclassmen. Among those profiled are consensus big timer Drake Harris, Tyler Wideman, Perry Poindexter, Jamal Poplar Jr., and more.

Dre's Take

Javon Bess, 6-3 point guard, Pickerington (OH) Central, 2014
This long-armed point guard started on varsity as a freshman last season. He pairs nice handles with an ability to get to the rack and score.  Bess gets his teammates involved and yesterday he used his height to post up smaller guards to score in the paint. He also has the ability to be a lock down defender with his length.  He is still learning but has some tools to work with.

Jamal Poplar Jr., 6-7 wing, Westland (MI) John Glenn, 2014
Wow, wow, wow! If this kid stays the course he is going to be something to watch. He has length for days and appears to not be finished growing yet. He has a very nice offensive game:  he shoots it from the deep, he is decent from mid range, and does not shy away from putting in work on the inside. Poplar's energy is level is on high when he is out on the court and that makes the young man an even tougher cover for whoever has the task to checking him.

Jae'Sean Tate- 6-3 guard, Pickerington (OH) Central, 2014
Tate is a young wing player with a lot of bounce to his game. He is very aggressive at driving to the basket from any position on the floor, then absorbing contact, and making the basket. He rebounds well in traffic he always seems to be in attack mode. If I didn't say it before I will say it now… Pickerington Central has a bright future for the next three years with Bess and Tate in the back court.

Anthony Wartley-Fritz, 6-7 power forward, Taylor (MI) Truman, 2014
This is a big man with potential that has really made a change with his body… and it has made a difference in his game. Wartley-Fritz can score in the post as well as step outside and hit shots.  He is also a very solid in other aspects of the game.  He is a decent passer and also defends and blocks shots.  In addition he uses his body well around the basket for rebounds and is willing to run the floor.  In a match up yesterday between big fellas, he got the best of Tyler Widema.  John Beilein definitely gave him a little one-on-one time during the day.

Tyler Wideman, 6-6 power forward, Saint John (IN) Lake Central, 2014
Wideman looked like a grown man standing next to everyone else out on the floor. For a young player he is very physical down in the post and it seems that contact is something he likes to be a part of. Rebounds come into his hands and don't leave; he finishes at the basket for buckets, and is tough defender with very good feet. Wideman does not try to do things he is not capable of.  He stays within himself out on the floor.  He'll definitely make life easier on the hardwood for high school running mate Glenn Robinson III.

Sam's take

Drake Harris, 6-3 wing, Grand Rapids (MI) Christian, 2014
At times the player considered by most to be the top in-state player in the c/o 2014 looked like a man playing amongst boys. He manned the point guard with ease for much of the day and looked especially comfortable in pick & roll situations.  He knocked down enough jumpers to keep the defense honest, but the normally explosive youngster didn't fly quite as high as we've seen him fly recently.  That was due to a slight case of fatigue easily explained by the fact that he was coming off of five days of football practice.  Make no mistake, though, this kid is a special athlete.

Perry Poindexter, 6-7 PF, Indianapolis (IN) North Central, 2014
Arguably the most impressive young big man at the camp.  Poindexter's performance was defined by his activity level.  He was all over the place defensively, blocking and altering numerous shots.  In addition he was extremely active on the glass, consistently beat his man down the floor, and finished plays around the rim.  He still needs to fill out physically, as he can be outmuscled by heavier guys like Wideman or Wartley –Fritz.  That said, he may have more long term potential than both, considering advantage in athleticism and the amount of physical growth that could be I his future.  We didn't see him flash much of a back to the basket arsenal, but this class of 2014 standout has plenty of time to develop that trait.

Jamal Poplar Jr, 6'7 wing, Westland (MI) John Glenn, 2014
Camp was my first time watching the Westland John Glenn sophomore-to-be and I now see what all the fuss is about.  This lanky 6-7 youngster is listed in some circles as PF or C.  Those assessments must have been made sight unseen because Poplar is a legit small forward with exceptional ability to put the ball on the floor at his size.  He got to the rim seemingly at will with a series of crossover and hesitation dribbles. He wasn't lights out from deep, but he drained a few threes for good measure.  It's easy to see why he had five games of 30 or more points during his freshman year.  He has yet to fill out physically and may not have reached his height ceiling, as his dad appears to be about 6-9.  In other words he is just scratching the surface of what he can be and certainly will challenge Drake Harris for top player in the state of Michigan's 2014 class.

Jae'Sean Tate, 6-3 guard, Pickerington (OH) Central, 2014
This Pickerington Central rising prospect is rumored to be a staunch Ohio State fan, but that didn't stop him from getting his first exposure to the Maize & Blue. He impressed with his court generalship.  Really excelled in transition where on a number of occasions he either went coast to coast or found the open man.  Strong bodied youngster who on a number of occasions was able to finish his patented step-through move despite contact.  Definitely a name to remember in 2014.  If the Maize & Blue interest level grown, maybe the Wolverines can get an assist from incoming football freshman Tamani Carter?

Other Notes...

The future looks bright for Cass Tech basketball. Coach Dave Dixon was in attendance watching his young pups Mike Laster, Charles Key, and Kenny Carpenter in action.  We observed Laster the most.  The young point guard showed cat-like quickness and a decent jumper, but he apparently is the least heralded of the bunch according to Dixon and his AAU coaches who were also in attendance.  Both standing 6-4 Key and especially Carpenter are generating more buzz.  Dixon touts Carpenter as a high-major prospect.

Cahokia (IL) guard Darius Austin can get to the bucket whenever he wants.  Will he develop the jumper to complement it?

We were sad to not have watched Marian (IL) Catholic PG Tyler Ulis on the day. Though always one of the more diminutive players on the floor, this is definitely a case where one shouldn't judge a book by its cover.  The kid definitely has skills.

Maceo Baston was in the house to watch son, Maceo Baston Jr.  The younger Baston doesn't quite have dad's height yet, standing 6-2.

Former Michigan quarterback John Wangler was also present watching his son Jared, a 6-0 c/o 2014 G from Shrine Catholic.

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