Vince Baldwin Weighs In On Prep Hoops (part 1)

Prep Spotlight&#8217;s Vince Baldwin chimes in a range of subjects from the early favorite&#8217;s for the state of Michigan&#8217;s Mr. Basketball award to the latest in the recruitment of <strong>Joe Crawford</strong> and <strong>Malik Hairston</strong>.

I’ve run into Vince a number of times at high school games already this year. If there’s a hot game in the state of Michigan… more times than not Mr. Baldwin will be there. Vince’s track record of actually going out to see the kids that he’s talking about makes him one of the most reputable sources around on high school basketball in the state of Michigan and the entire Midwest. I most recently ran into Vince and the Crockett vs. Renaissance game a few weeks ago and since then he’s been putting together his list of favorites for Mr. Basketball. In part 1 of my interview with him, he gives us a sneak peek at his list and fills us in on the latest in the recruitment of Joe Crawford and Malik Hairston.

Be sure to visit Vince at

Handicap the Mr. Basketball race for us at this point in the season.

“I’m actually working a full length feature about that very thing for my site right now. I think that Joe Crawford is the #1 candidate at this point in the season. I think that he’s been the most impressive and the most outstanding player in the state. Not to mention he’s been the best player on the #1 team in Michigan. I think Malik Hairston would be #2. Drew Neitzel is probably #3. Al Horford would have been #3 but he had a somewhat disappointing outing against Lansing Everett in front of a whole lot of people and that probably hurt him. I think that Grand Ledge is going to have to make a big run and have a fantastic season for him to have a chance. I think Darryl Garrett from Detroit Denby has made himself a legitimate contender with the year he’s having. Marquise Gray from Flint Beecher probably rounds out the favorites at #6.”

What’s the latest in the recruitment of Joe Crawford and Malik Hairston?

“Joe is winding down more than Malik right now. Joe is probably going to make his decision by mid February. It’s still down to Michigan and Kentucky. I think he still goes back and forth every week. One week he feels like he wants to go to Michigan and the next he feels like he wants to go to Kentucky.”

“I think Oklahoma has become a serious player for Malik Hairston. I know he still has Kansas, UCLA, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Michigan on his list. But if you ask me, as an outsider looking in, my personal opinion is it’s going to come down to Oklahoma, Michigan, and Ohio State.”

Joe Crawford glides to the basket!

By your estimation, what are the most significant factors in Michigan’s favor and what are the most significant factors in Kentucky’s favor in the recruitment of Joe Crawford?

“The most significant factors in Michigan’s favor are:
1.) He really likes Tommy Amaker a lot.
2.) It’s the hometown school and the basketball program is really on the rebound. He now knows he can feel good about saying that he played for Michigan. Five years ago that probably wouldn’t have been the case. I think the fact that he can stay close to home and build a nice career is a plus for him.”

“The most significant factors in Kentucky’s favor are:
1.) I think that the fact that there’s immediate playing time and maybe the chance to start tight away as a freshman at Kentucky appeals to him.
2.) I also think that playing for a major media program like Kentucky also appeals to him. I think he looks at it like he might have a better chance to go pro early than he would have at Michigan if that opportunity were to present itself. I'm not to say that he’s stuck on leaving early for the pros... I’m just saying that if you blow up at Kentucky you blow up everywhere.”

Check back tomorrow for more from Vince on Jerret Smith, Ron Coleman, Romulus’ chances at the state title, and much more.

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