Hoops Road Trip: Toronto - Detroit - Romulus

GBW hit the road again last weekend to take in a number of games. First we headed up to Toronto Canada to watch Jevohn Shepherd and the West Hill Warriors qualify for the Provincial playoffs. We then headed back stateside to Detroit to watch Deshawn Sims and a number of the state's top sophomores play in the Operation Friendship games at Calihan Hall. We then finished up by watching Jerret Smith and Romulus compete in the Mega Conference championship game.

Here is a recap of the notable performances.

- Jevohn Shepherd - Scored 22 points to lead all scorers in a 61-60 loss to Eastern Commerce on Thursday. He showed us a little of the edge that we were clamoring for in the summer when he went in for a lay-up late in the game. One of the EC defenders attempted to hinder Jevohn's progress toward the rim, but the future Wolverine took it up strong and converted despite the obvious foul (which was not called). The defender was sent sprawling to the ground, drawing oohs and ahhs from the crowd. After seeing his opponent hit the floor Shepherd paused for a moment and then pointed at the young man that he had just overpowered…as if to say, "you know better than that."

The loss meant that West Hill had to beat Birchmount the very next day in order to qualify for the provincial playoffs. The Warriors did that with ease behind 26 points from Shepherd. They cruised to a 71-32 victory. They begin their playoff run on March 7th. If they plan to advance they will need to rebound and play defense much better than they did against Eastern Commerce (a team also in the Provincial playoffs)

Look for much more on Jevohn's development over the next couple of days.

- Kalin Lucas - Scored 13 points for Orchard Lake St. Mary's in a 59-49 loss to Detroit Pershing in the Operation Friendship consolation game. He impressed onlookers with his quickness and controlled offensive game. He continued to display his excellent midrange ability with a number of pull-ups on the night. As we said in our Class of 2007 top-15, the sophomore class is loaded at PG.

- Deshawn Sims - Sims scored 13 points, but pressed a bit on the night. Michigan State headman Tom Izzo and Michigan assistant Charles Ramsey were both in the house. UM commitment Crhis McLaurin did a nice job of being very physical with Sims, but the 6-7.5 230-pounder still managed to get excellent position on the low block. His shots weren't falling for most of the game, but he began to connect in the fourth quarter. He left the game with three minutes left in the final stanza with a slight knee injury, but GBW learned later that it was not serious.

- Durrell Summers - Scored 14 points in Deporres 57-55 victory over Detroit Redford in the Operation Friendship title game. Despite being his team's second leading scorer (senior Lionel Sullivan led the way with 22), he was very impressive on the night. The long wing player showed a very nice handle and nice ability to get to the basket off the bounce against smaller/quicker players. He also showed explosion that we did not know he had. His baseline dunk in the fourth quarter was only one of a few occasions that he went to the basket with crowd-pleasing authority. He isn't the quickest getting his shot off, but that can be corrected. We were finally able to come up with a comparison that we felt comfortable with watching him on the night. He reminded us a little of Milwaukee Bucks star Michael Redd.

- Corperryale "Manny" Harris - As we alluded to in our Class of 2007 top-15, he is the spoon that stirs Detroit Redford's coffee. The Huskies were down 21-9 when "Manny" began to do his thing. He was the key to cutting the lead to five by halftime (33-28) and gave Redford its first lead of the game (45-44) on an assist with 7:30 left in the fourth. He finished with 22 points on the night. His slight build and lack of flashiness might fool some into thinking he is not one of the top players in the state, but that would be a mistake. He just gets the job done. He came close to doing so again on a night when Redford's big front line was being dominated.

For news on Jerret Smith and Romulus' loss to Belleville in the Mega conference championship, click here.

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