Webblog: Final Spiece Evals (2016 & 2017)

In part two of our final recap of the Hensley Memorial (aka Spiece Run N Slam) All Star Classic, GoBlueWolverine's Sam Webb breaks down the performances of a few more of Michigan's 2016 and 2017 targets that were in action. Seth Towns, Brian Bowen, Cassius Winston, and Devin Daniels are among those highlighted.

Barret Benson
2016 - Center
Darien (Ill.) Hinsdale South - 6-10, 210-lbs.

This junior-to-be is pushing 6-10, has extra-long arms, runs the floor pretty well for a big man, and he is good at finishing around the rim. He showed flashes of being a good shot blocker and at Spiece. He swatted shots and grabbed boards when the ball came his way. On the flip side, younger big men are often a little uncoordinated as they grow into their bodies, and Benson fits right into that category. That, though, is temporary. On the positive side, his low post game has shown some development since his attendance at Michigan’s elite camp last summer.  He now has a few moves in his repertoire and he has a nice looking shooting stroke at the free-throw line… which is not always a given in a big man’s case. He mentioned that that there’s a chance he will make his way back to Ann Arbor for Michigan’s elite camp.

Devon Daniels
2016 - SG
Battle Creek (Mich.) Lakeview - 6-4, 200-lbs.
Devon has a nice combination of skill and athleticism. He shot the pull-up jumper very well on Saturday and then extended out to the three-point line with no problem. What stands out most though is his explosiveness.  Finishing at the rim is not a problem. He can swoop in to lay the ball up with either hand and/or he can get up for a monster dunk on a fast break. He is a good ball handler at 6-3, which allows him to start the fast break himself or slash to the basket in the half court. He admittedly needs to work on his defense but so does just about every other young player. He is one of the more intriguing youngsters in the state that plans to be back in Ann Arbor for the elite camp.

Skyler Nash
2016 - SG
Chicago (Ill.) Whitney Young - 6-3, 195-lbs
Nash boasts good size and great strength.  He won’t be mistaken for the fastest guard on the floor, but he makes up for it with his power. Opponents could not stop him from scoring on fast breaks. The whistle blew several times as he barreled through defenders and scored and-one layups. He can handle the ball with either hand, but he is not really adept at breaking down the defense. It seemed he was content with either shooting the three-point shot, back-door cutting for easy baskets, or passing the ball while in in the half-court offense. He plans to make his way to Ann Arbor next month for his second consecutive Michigan Elite camp.

Seth Towns
2016 - SF
Columbus (Ohio) Northland - 6-6, 195-1bs.

Towns is another of the long versatile players that Michigan covets for their ability to play multiple positions within John Beilein’s offense.  The 6-6, 195-pounder has three-point range, handles the ball well for his size, is comfortable posting up smaller defenders, and is a willing rebounder. He won’t be make a habit of beating opponents off the bounce, and was stymied by defenders when he was asked to do so last weekend.  But, he should be very effective gaining leverage off of screens.  He has a quick release on his jumper and as was mentioned previously, he handles the ball well.  The primary limitations right now is he is more adept at setting screens than using them himself, and he needs to add some muscle to his frame.  But those are attributes that will come with time.  This s a youngster that would likely be able to log minutes at the three and the four for the Maize & Blue, and after five or six prior visits to Ann Arbor this lifelong Buckeye fan is very high on the Wolverines.  Friday’s visit will be the most important to date, as he will get extensive face-time with the coaches, and tours of the academic and athletic facilities.  The trip could be a precursor to a June 15th offer.  Towns certainly believes that to be the case.

Cassius Winston
2016 - PG
Detroit (Mich.) U of D Jesuit - 6-0, 180-lbs.

Cerebral is the first word that comes to mind when you watch this young man.  Not blessed with lighting quickness, he uses crossover and hesitation dribbles to get leverage on defenders, and is a creative finisher around the basket.  He is also an effective jump-shooter.  But he is a pass first guard shoot second point guard that will be charged with getting more aggressive in looking for his own offense in the coming weeks and months.

Brian Bowen
2017 - SF
Saginaw (Mich.) Arthur Hill - 6-7, 175-lbs.

The rising sophomore showed the full package at Spice.  He got to the rim frequently last weekend (as evidenced by his 30-plus point scoring performance in a game early Saturday), his displayed the ability to find others, and despite his slender frame showed a willingness to grind it out on the glass in a narrow loss to a talented Spiece Indy Heat team.  That all-around versatility has been talked about across the state, so even though this was the best we’d seen him play, his showing wasn’t a total surprise.  The true revelation was his lateral quickness.  He was able to stay with smaller guards/wings on the perimeter that at first glance most observers would assume were quicker.  The coordination and quickness he brings to the table at his length is head-turning. The flaw in his game is apparent to everyone… Bowen needs to get bigger.  Much bigger.  It will make him that much more effective getting to and around the basket. That said, he had many scouts in attendance convinced that once he matures he will likely be one of the top 20 players in the country in 2017. Time will tell.

Other notables

  • Matthew Moyer, 2016 PF, 6-7, 200, Gahanna (Ohio) Lincoln – a game more effective in the paint than the wing at this point.  This strong bodied youngster has more bounce and explosion than his AAU teammate Towns, but Moyer doesn’t handle or shoot it as well as Towns

  • Xavier Tillman, 2017 PF, 6-7 220, Grand Rapids (Mich.) Forest Hills Central – We only observed this young man in limited action because his team won going away, but his coach, Damon Allison insists that Tillman is the “next big thing out of the state of Michigan.”  It’s well publicized that his mother is a former Michigan basketball player.

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