"Battle of the Best" Holiday Hoops Recap

GoBlueWolverine camped out at Southfield High School Friday for a holiday tournament treat involving some of the best basketball teams and top individual talent from across the Great Lake State. Among the top performers are names Michigan fans will instantly recognize and a few others that Wolverines will definitely be keeping an eye on.

Game one: Chandler Park Academy vs. Southfield
In game one, a gym just filling up for the evening played host to one of the most exciting players in the Class of 2013.  Chandler Park Academy PG Derrick Walton put on a clinic. The Michigan commitment pushed the floor as quick as any high school point guard could be expected to, putting tons of pressure on the Southfield defense. Walton displayed his quick footwork as usual while also displaying tremendous court vision setting up his teammates on numerous occasions with passes that could thread most needles. Getting into the lane at will, Walton makes a habit of hanging in the air before double clutching to convert difficult shots in traffic. Walton finished the night with 21 points and five assists with just one turnover en route to powering Chandler Park to a 58-55 victory over Southfield. John Beilein and his coaching staff got their hands on a quintessential floor general, continuing their recent recruiting trend (Darius Morris, Trey Burke).

Game Two: Detroit Community vs. Saginaw Arthur Hill
Game two provided a look at the future in high school basketball the state of Michigan.  One of the prominent players early in the contest was was c/o 2013 F, Bo Ziegler.  The Wolverines continue to look at the wiry slasher as a potential addition to their 2013 class. After struggling to five points last week against #2 ranked Romulus, Ziegler was determined to play his game Friday. He finished the night with just eight points and six rebounds. With an athletic 6’6 frame, Ziegler showed off his potential by getting into the lane and finishing at the rim. Arthur Hill forced Ziegler into more turnovers when he put it on the floor than he would have liked, but it’s easy to see why Michigan is remaining involved in his recruitment. When the dust settled on the back & forth game, Community was able to hang on down the stretch and beat Arthur Hill 55-53. Speaking of Arthur Hill, freshman point guard Eric Davis lived up to the hype showing poise beyond his years. Davis, a class of 2015 prospect, is officially on the radar.  At 6’2 with long arms and great touch on his shots, this youngster looks like he could be the next in long line of stars to come out of Saginaw.

Game Three: Detroit Country Day vs. Detroit Consortium
Game three provided a look at the unknown for some Michigan fans. Detroit Consortium junior forward Vincent Hunter has a frame ready for college right now. At 6’7 Hunter’s size allows him to rebound with the big boys while also being a shot blocking machine in the paint. Hunter is very athletic for his size and can handle the ball very well. He was able to get to the basket whenever he wanted but got into a little bit of trouble with Country Day’s help defense in the paint. Finishing the night with 14 points, Hunter plays the game of basketball so hard, that through sheer effort alone he will be able to make an impact in some capacity when he steps foot on  the college floor. Could Michigan take a look?  The Wolverines certainly showed interest in the past. Time will tell if his viability as a 2013 target will rise to Zeigler’s level. While Hunter certainly was impressive in leading Consortium to the 70-66 win over Country Day, the night belonged to Country Day sophomore guard Edmond Summer. A young man who didn’t pass the look test in warm-ups passed Consortium’s test with flying colors. Summer made an impact early and often for Country Day and kept his team in the game… especially in the first half. The talented soph scored 13 points through the first 16 minutes of play and finished with 17 points on the night.  Summer hit three three balls -- nothing but net -- and displayed a nice mid-range jumper on the baseline that got the attention of the entire crowd. With a break a way one handed slam in the second half the 2014 guard had the excitable crowd in the palm of his hand. He is just scratching the surface of what he can be and has plenty of time to add mass to his skinny 6’1 frame.  Summer will no doubt be a highly coveted player. Does the next Country Day star have interest in Michigan? Be sure to check out his interview in the coming days.

Game Four: Romulus vs. Lansing Sexton
The final game of the tournament was pinned as the main event. #1 ranked Lansing Sexton against fast paced and #2 ranked Romulus. For Michigan fans a familiar name is back registering as a blip on the radar is that of E.C. Matthews out of Romulus. At 6’4, the silky smooth lefty’s greatest strength is getting to the basket with difficult finishes or trips to the line. An expanded part of the 2013 guard’s game has been the improvement of his jump-shot, something Matthews himself told GBW he’s worked very hard at. Romulus fell to Sexton and Michigan State commit Denzel Valentine, 70-62, but Matthews did everything he could to make a game of it. A rededicated Matthews is playing extremely hard for Romulus and says that he has begun to once again receive the attention from the Michigan coaching staff. Is the feeling mutual? GBW will have E.C.’s interview up over the next few days.

Most Impressive Player: Derrick Walton.
Most Surprising Player: Edmond Summer.
Most Improved Player: E.C. Matthews.
Hardest Working Player: Vincent Hunter

Stay tuned for more content on the “Battle of the Best” in the coming hours and days, including scouting reports on many more of the notable prospects that took part in the event, video interviews, and video highlights.

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