The word is officially out of one of the state of Michigan’s best kept hardwood secrets. Detroit (Mich.) Cornerstone standout Jamal Cain wasn’t receiving much attention from high majors, or from mid-majors outside of the state prior to his junior campaign. Then the 6-7, 190-pound wing had his coming out party during a season that culminated in a district championship and a trip the regional semifinals.
"(The season) went good,” said Cain. “It went real good. "(The season) went good,” said Cain. “It went real good. First time being an actual leader and basically putting everyone on my back and carrying them along. (On the court) I’m just trying to get the job done. Trying to do all the dirty work… get back on defense… block shots. I do what people really don't want to do. I play the two and the three and can play the four if needed, but really, my position would be the three."
In other words Cain is extremely versatile. John Beilein was on hand to witness that for himself in mid-February when Cain notched 38 points, 19 rebounds, five steals, and four blocks in an 82-77 overtime victory over Detroit Edison. A few months prior he’d posted a 41 point effort on 12/19 shooting to go along with15 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks in a 72-63 victory over Detroit Douglas. The talented youngster can stroke it from three, is capable of putting it on floor, and possesses impressive bounce. And while he is currently a bit on the thin side, he has shown the ability to finish through contact. Lately it seems an increasing number of college coaches are getting the memo.
Said Cain, “I have offers from Xavier, Georgia, Washington State, Kent State, Oakland, (Detroit), and Cincinnati."
Michigan could be ready to join that list.
Beilein was back at Cornerstone late last month to observe one of Cain’s morning workouts. It was yet another sign of the Wolverines’ escalating interest.
"They've been on me real hard,” Cain said regarding the Maize & Blue. “I’m loving the attention and just being patient. I talk to Coach Bacari and Coach Beilein (frequently). I'll be there on the 27th for an academic visit."
Just as Michigan looks to be turning up the heat, the Wolverines’ in-state rival appears primed to jump into the mix also.
"I really haven't talked to (Michigan State) that much, but it's going to get better,” said Cain. “I think (Izzo) is a great coach. He's great at developing players and getting them to the next level."
Should either the Wolverines or Spartans offer they would instantly become major factors, but they wouldn’t necessarily become locks to land him. Cain's group of leaders that won’t be toppled without persistent effort.
Said Cain, "Xavier, Washington State, Georgia… that would be top three as of now."
That list is certainly subject to change in the coming months. With the live period set to start today a number of new suitors to show up to his games, it almost certainly will. Cain knows his offer list will likely change as a result, but the criteria he uses to evaluate each team on it will not.
“I’m looking at academics and (for a place) where I’m not just coming to sit on the bench," said Cain. “I would love to be somewhere close to my family so they can see more games, but if my best choice is a distance I would probably go."
"Right now I think (a decision will come) probably in November."