2012 Bball Elite Camp Recap (Part 1)

GoBlueWolverine was in attendance at Michigan's fifth annual Elite basketball camp yesterday. We break down the top performers from the Saturday morning session which featured the underclassmen. Among those profiled are 2015 standout Chandler White, up-and-coming 2015 prospects Michael Benkert, Brad Brechting, Deleon Brown, Bakari Evelyn, Prentiss Nixon, and more.

Sam Webb, Andre Barthwell, and Kyle Bogenshutz contributed to this report.

Top Performers

Chandler White - SG, Ft. Wayne (IN) Carroll - With a college ready-body right now, White was the most physically imposing prospect in attendance Saturday’s morning session. The game comes easy to White, whose extremely high basketball IQ was on full display in the drill work/scrimmages throughout the day. White puts the ball on the floor with ease, is excellent finding his teammates especially in transition, is a consistent jump-shooter, and is a physical defender. GBW has seen White many times throughout the spring AAU season, and Saturday’s impressive showing was merely par for the course.  This time, however, his game was on display in front of the entire contingent of Michigan coaches.

Michael Benkert – SG, Greenwood (IN) Center Grove - More of a two or three moving forward, Benkert showed off his versatility Saturday… first by getting up and down the floor and into the lane, and then by knocking down shot after shot from deep. His awkward release doesn’t pass the look test, but when the ball is tickling the twine with consistency that it did Saturday, one quickly concedes that his shot esthetics don’t matter.  His was maybe the best shooting performance throughout the entire morning session.  During one of the later games he drained three straight shots from deep.  Benkert also possesses nice size at 6-3, long arms, and uses a decent cross over to create space. Benkert’s marksmanship almost certainly earned him a place on Michigan’s radar.

Bradley Brechting – PF, Cedar Springs (MI) - At 6’9, Brechting is hard to miss and made sure to take advantage of his height throughout the entire camp. He has a developing offensive game in the post… where he spends most of his time… but showed nice athleticism off pick and roll action finishing high at the rim including several angry dunks. Although Brechting has a very slender frame, his toughness is obvious and intensity for the game is something that separated him from the pack Saturday. The Michigan coaches had their eyes fixated on such a young, athletic big man and Brechting didn’t seem fazed by the extra attention. Big men will be a priority in the 2015 class and the Wolverines have clearly identified one young man to follow closely.

Deleon Brown – SG, East Grand Rapids (MI) - Brown is a silky smooth left-hander with an impressive offensive game that starts with the ability to get into the lane at will and finish with consistency adjusting his body in mid-air (despite his slender frame).  When opponents began sloughing off he made the pay with pull-up jumpers from the elbows three-point bombs (including an ice-water in the veins triple with the clock winding down in of the later games). Overall Brown’s game can be described as versatile and the Michigan coaching staff clearly took notice.  When attention on his play increased as the day progressed, the scoring guard didn’t flinch.  We should hear plenty more from Brown in the coming months and years, especially now that he is transferring to Grand Rapids Christian to play with 2014 Michigan football/basketball prospect Drake Harris.

Honorable Mention

Bakari Evelyn - PG/SG, Southfield (MI) Christian - Much like Deleon Brown, Evelyn played with a certain swagger Saturday. A nifty dribbler, Evelyn uses his cross over very effectively to get by defenders and took advantage of his opponents playing on their heels by knocking down a few pull up jumpers including ones from three point range. After one three, Evelyn turned and looked at the Michigan coaching staff and gave them a nod as if to say “did you see that?” Their smiles acknowledged that they had. Evelyn can over dribble at times and is more a scorer than shooter, but is definitely one to keep an eye on for the future.

Prentiss Nixon – PG, Bolingbrook (IL) – At 6-2, Nixon has a pretty jumper and when left open was fairly consistent knocking them down.  That said, he didn’t get many open opportunities.  He did nail a big three from the corner with a hand in face right in front of the Michigan coaches, but that was the exception and not the rule.  He was often forced to take contested shots because he doesn’t consistently blow by opponents with the dribble.  He could have benefitted from playing off the ball more, which maybe would have allowed him to free himself up more when he didn’t have the ball in his hands.  Nixon looks to be a player that can be extremely effective based on the system he plays in. A ball screen heavy offense would fit him very nicely,  while an isolation offense would not. Based on Michigan’s newfound penchant for using a lot of ball screen action, Nixon is also one to watch.

Chris Palombizio – SF, Chesterton (IN) - Zack Novak can be called the gift that keeps on giving. First he served as a liaison to Chesterton, IN native, Mitch McGary.  Now another Chesterton product is on the Maize & Blue radar. Simply put, Palombizio is a lights out shooter when left open. There was no other player outside of Benkert that was automatic when a defender wasn’t within a few feet. Opponents soon figured out how good a shooter the 6-5 175-pounder is and began crowding him on the perimeter. While Palombizio showed a willingness to put the ball on the floor, he still has work to do when it comes to handling in traffic, and finishing midrange with a floater or at the rim. If and when he develops that aspect of his game, he will be extremely dangerous. For now, the scouting report says, leave him open at your own risk. Count on Michigan among those that will be keeping close watch.

Kual Nhial- SF, Grand Rapids (MI) Northpointe Christian - One of the most intriguing prospects in attendance at the morning session. Nhial has tremendous length and athleticism at such a young age. On one coast to coast fast break the 6-6,170-pounder crossed over a defender at the top of the three-point line, hop stepped between two defenders, and finished high on the glass after a hanging up and under move in mid-air. The Michigan coaching staff noticed Nhial’s skills and paid extra special attention to the young man. At one point Michigan assistant Bacari Alexander was heard yelling, “that’s little B.A.!” Nhial is still putting together all of the pieces of his game, but obvious.  As he continues to grow into his body the development in his game could be very exciting to watch.

It’s All Relative

Tre’von Avery – G, Grand Blanc(MI) - The younger brother of Michigan defensive back Courtney Avery showed great first-step quickness and the ability to be a menacing defensive presence. Avery finished well at the rim despite his slender frame, but his perimeter skills weren’t utilized enough to determine where that part of his game is. Even so, the six-footer is already taller than his big brother, has more years of growth in front of him, and is the sort of ball hawking presence in the backcourt that coaches can appreciate.

Deandre Barthwell – G, Westland (MI) John Glenn - The son of GoBlueWolverine’s own Andre Barthwell was in attendance and participating in session one.  Basketball I.Q. and defensive tenacity define the 5’8 guard’s game.

Jermaine Jackson Jr. – PG, Detroit (MI) - A tough 5-5 point guard, the son of former University of Detroit and NBA journeyman Jermaine Jackson Sr., the younger Jackson has great bloodlines and encouraging instincts, and toughness that belies his size.

Lamonta Stone – PG, Bowling Green (OH) - Son of former Ohio State and current Bowling Green Assistant Lamonta Stone is the quintessential floor general.  Only Huckaby was on par as a passer from the one spot, and the 5-10 Stone showed more of an offensive game.

John Rexroth – F, Farmington Hills (MI) Harrison - The son of Channel 7 weatherman Dave Rexroth, John is definitely taller than his father… a full head taller.  The 6-5/6-6 youngster is developing a nice post game. He also  showed the ability to knock down mid-range baskets.  On the flip side he’ll have to improve his defense of perimeter quickness.

Other Notables

Myo Baxter – SF/PF, Liberty (OH) Lakota East - Arguably the camps best finisher, Baxter finished in transition with a handful of powerful dunks on the day. The 6-5, 200-pounder wasn’t as big a factor in the half court during the five on five sessions.

Preston Huckaby – PG, Hudsonville (MI) - Huckaby was one of the best passers in attendance and was a pest defensively (he gave Prentiss Nixon all kinds of problems). On the offensive end the 5-10, 165-pounder may have been too deferential, though.  He often eliminated himself as an offensive threat.  He has a nice crossover, but he didn’t attempt many jumpers and attacked the rim sparingly. 

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