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Gone are Malik Hairston and Joe Crawford, a pair of McDonald’s All-Americans from the Class of 2004. Despite heavy personnel losses from last year’s successful team, don’t feel too sorry for Durand Walker’s program.
Taking the place of the two studs will be junior combo guard Chris Douglas-Roberts and sophomore scoring sensation Ramar Smith, a big time shooting guard. Roberts had an exceptional junior year at Cass Tech and late in the season Smith put Detroit King on his back. They appear ready to star.
“I could see Chris somewhat mirroring Malik’s development,” Walker said. “I think that due to the strength factor he wasn’t able to dominate last year as a sophomore with the junior group. Still, he raised the eyebrows of those who know basketball. He’s hungry like Malik was. I think he’s going to be super.”
As quick as Walker is to praise Douglas-Roberts, he’s also ready to embrace Smith as the program’s next superstar. Together and individually they have a chance to really do some impressive things on the national circuit. “I think Ramar Smith has a will,” Walker said. “He’ll will you to victories. Ramar is a man. Ramar is special and Chris is hungry.”
Just like last year as the bulk of the scoring was done by a duo that should remain the same this season. However, Walker thinks this bunch won’t have any problems sharing the ball and spreading the wealth.
“I think that the strength of our team is that we won’t have any selfish players. The chemistry will be fine. Last year’s team had kids that could baskets whenever they wanted to get them. This year’s team hasn’t proven they could do that.
In 2003, Walker was sure of what he had going into the season. This year, there’s more to prove to the coach. “I think that this could be a very good basketball team. I think we’re just fast. I think we’ll be tough. We’ll be a good defensive rebounding and scoring team. I’ve just yet to see how good they’ll be.”
Aside from Smith and Douglas-Roberts, college recruiters will have a keen eye on the progress of big man Anthony Sparks. Michigan already holds a commitment from guard Jarret Smith. Forward Lionel Sullivan and Brandon Wolfe could play themselves into high mid-major contention this spring.
The Family (Detroit, Mich.)
Head Coach Durand “Speedy” Walker
Assistant Coaches Ryan Webster, Sylvester Wilcox, Roy Webb
Top Prospect SG Ramar Smith, SOPH
Projected Starters PG/SG Chris Douglas-Roberts (6-5/165, JR), SF/PF Lionel Sullivan (6-5/185, JR), PG Jarret Smith (6-3/180, JR), SG Ramar Smith (6-3/185, SOPH), C Anthony Sparks (6-8/305, JR)
Others PF Brandon Wolfe (6-7/210, JR), PF Jairocey Simpson (6-6/260, JR), PF DeShawn Sims (6-8/215, SOPH), PG B.J. Walker (5-8/160, JR), PG Tajuan Porter (5-6/155, SOPH), SF Omar Thomas (6-6/205, SOPH), PF Carson Butler (6-5/220, JR), SF Eulis Stephens (6-5/190, SOPH)
Famous Alum Malik Hairston & Joe Crawford
First Tourney Boo Williams (April 9-11)