Teams that stood out:
Muskegon High School- Coach Keith Guy has a team that will certainly have a chance to make it to the Breslin center in March. Looking at this team I see them as the early favorite for the number one ranked team in the state -- and they have the players to take them there. They are built on hard work, effort and playing for each other. I have to give Coach Guy credit for that. After watching them play three games yesterday there was not a drop off in any game in regards to the effort they put out on the floor.
Jackson High School (Ohio)- Jackson is a team that, if you don't keep your eye on them, will go on a 10-0 run at the blink of an eye. This is another team that plays hard, as if it is their last possession every play. Head Coach Tim Debevec and assistant coach Jon Perdue has put together a group that has bought in to their system of defense and smashed almost everything in their way (except for Columbus Northland). If you are looking at them to pass the eye test of big time players and high flyers you will miss something good to see. They press, get turnovers, and shoot threes -- certainly not a team I would like to run into.
Mount Clemens- They are a young team that will have to understand that playing hard is consistency, not just when you want to. Columbus Northland taught them a very valuable lesson when they were blown out the first game. After a spirited conversation by Head Coach Jermaine Jackson, all of that changed right away. This young squad played against Muskegon in the best game of the day and won 41-38 in a very good high level game for such a young team. They played tough D, which is a staple by which they will win games. Freshman to be Jermaine Jackson Jr. helped to keep it close and senior Tenell Cates finished it off with the way he attacked the rack for baskets at the end. Assistant Coach James Scott guided them through the Muskegon game by preaching toughness and not backing down.
Columbus Northland (Ohio)- The best team there, although I am sure Muskegon would like to say something about that. Coach Sean Davis and assistant Vic Dandridte have an impressive squad that comes at you and never stops. As with all good teams they hang their hat on defense -- in your face and never giving space. Northland can press, turn you over, and score on the other end -- 0-60 in 6 seconds. Yes, this team is good. You don't give 100% you find yourself on the bench as an assistant coach next to Coach Davis and coach Dandridte. Offensively with players like Ty Hairston and high flyer Derek McKeithen, they are tough and ready for all comers.
Southfield Christian- If you are not following the theme here you should be, because it is all about defense. SC is a two time class D state champ with class A talent and a class A schedule. Although SC is a young team it is defensive team, and that comes from their no non-sense head coach Josh Baker. Just in case the message isn't getting through, Coach Brundidge puts the hammer down to get the point across. As this team continues to gel they will be tough to beat. SC runs solid sets, they play hard, and they win as was evident yesterday at the camp. Look for this team with their coach, young talent, and more young talent to continue to stay at the top.
Players that caught my eye.
Luke Kennard, 2015, Franklin high (Ohio). Forget his shooting ability, I was very impressed with his handle and the way he attacked the rim. No need to go any further: he has an offer and he put in work. Enough said.
Karmani Newmanm, 2016, East Village Detroit. Wow…Wow, the kid can play. He gets buckets from near and far. I might have to start calling him "zip code" because he can shoot it from so deep. The kid has handle, an ability to score at the basket, he can go left or right -- and, oh yeah, he can play. Karmani is never in a rush, which is good for a young player. At 6'3 and with long arms he's a solid defender but can be even better.
Seth Towns, 2016 Columbus Northland (Ohio). At 6'6, long, athletic, and smooth he has all the tools to be the next big time player at Northland in Columbus, Ohio. What I like about him is his attitude. Coach Davis was all over him for not posting up the smaller defender, at which point he could have sulked and been mad. He didn't do that -- on the very next possession he posted up like his coach asked him to do. I like coachable kids. Seth can shoot it from deep, from any spot behind the three point line. He can defend on the perimeter or down on the post, and he rebounds well. With the perimeter players on his team he has to make sure to stay active and not get lost on offense. With his size and a commitment to defense he could be a real tough defender.
Marqywell Jackson, 2014 East Village Detroit. Mr. Jackson has come full circle with his game and the way he is playing now. He has always had the talent, but now his maturity is shining through and it is mixing with his play, and the two go well together. He has a very nice offensive game. Marqywell thrives in an up and down game, getting to the basket to score. Jackson can shoot it from deep -- with more consistency he can be dangerous with his shot. He rebounds well for a big guard and his defense is getting better. Overall I like the player he is becoming with his skill set and his brain.
Shawn McDermott, 2015 Pendleton Heights (Illinois). No, he does not pass the eye test, but his game speaks volumes. The kid was scoring in a variety of ways every time I laid eyes on him: mid-range jumper…good; three pointer from deep…good; drive to the basket for a lay-up…good. He stands 6'3 with more room to grow. His father and uncle were players and it looks like he is following in their footsteps. He's a solid player who isn't afraid to stick his nose into the fray for a rebound or loose ball.
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