|This story originally published on GoSpartans.net|
TROY, MI - Look for these ten relatively unknown players to turn heads this spring on the national scene:
1. 6-foot-6 forward Ian Larkin (MI. Mustangs 17u)- Larkin wasn’t overly involved in AAU last spring and got a lot of clock over this past high school season. Larkin will open a lot of eyes as he shows off his 40” vertical when grabbing a rebound or blocking a shot. Larkin also has a mid-range game that will act as dessert for the many D1 coaches keeping tabs.
2. 6-foot-2 guard Kavon Rose (MI. Hurricanes 17u)- Many in Michigan were able to witness first hand how Rose can put up points from deep or in the transition. I think coaches will like his athleticism most and the Hurricane’s schedule should give him the exposure he needs to gather D1 offers from all over.
3. 6-foot-8 forward Dan Possehl (Grand Rapids Storm 17u)- For those of us that saw MI.’s Class D semi-final and championship games, that floppy haired new comer on the Defenders team did it all. Whether it be hitting shots from beyond the arc, putting the ball on the floor, blocking shots, rising for rebounds, or finishing on the break Possehl did everything a coach could ask. “Who’s this kid?” should be a frequent question when the Storm 17u compete.
4. 6-foot-5 forward Lawrence Bridges (The Family 17u)- Physically ready for D1 play now but, developing his guard skills will be the factor on how high in those rankings he will climb. His hops are amazing and his upside is what will draw the mid-majors and maybe more.
5. 6-foot-2 guard Demetrius Ward (MI. Mustangs 17u)- Ward will be a 16 year-old senior so, being a year younger than his competition just says that much more about his upside. He plays with the confidence and determination on either side of the ball that will spark questions on this ever improving youngster.
6. 6-foot-6 forward Ben Simons ’09 (GR Storm 17u)- The only rising junior on this list. Not, that there aren’t others playing a year up its just that this versatile wing will find the most playing time. Simons has range, a great sense for the game, finishing capabilities, a decent handle, and isn’t afraid to mix it up on the boards.
7. 6-foot-5 forward Austin Calhoun (The Family 17u)- Calhoun was absent from much of last Spring’s events so, those that weren’t keeping up with this sharp-shooting shot blocker over the last two years will be re-invited to check out this future scholarship player.
8. 6-foot-10 center Jeremy Lovelady (MI. Hurricanes 17u)- Relatively unknown in MI. until last summer, when a certain writer caught this bearded center playing hard amongst guards. He works hard for position and is a top five post player in MI.’s ’08 class. Lovelady still needs to experience the AAU’s speed so, if he doesn’t immediately wow the D1s it shouldn’t be a big surprise.
9. 6-foot-3 guard Stacy Waters (MI. Mustangs 17u)- The sharp-shooter returns to the national scene after picking up on teams that needed players last season. He’s earned plenty of playing time on the high school level but, looks to prove that he can match those performances on the AAU and national levels. He’s already getting plenty of D1 looks and with an impressive spring the looks should increase.
10. 6-foot-3 guard Sean Romsek (Camp Darryl 17u)- This grassroots organization in Western MI. always has quality talent but, this combo-guard may be the teams best ever. Romsek has already gained some D1 visits from his play last season. This is a situation where AAU will benefit him more than High School and he can play in both.
And five players coaches know of but, will keep a closer eye on:
1. 6-foot-6 forward Draymond Green (The Family 17u)- Three things have happened to ‘Day-Day’ over the last two months that have put him on the national stage, as he wasn’t highly regarded nationally less than six months ago. The first to bring further exposure to Green was his verbal commitment to Kentucky, the second was winning the Class A state championship, and the third was Tubby’s outing at UK that opened up Green’s recruiting. Now, all those that questioned the oversized point-forward will have a second chance to see what the commotion is about.
2. 6-foot-11 center Jason Washburn (MI. Mustangs 17u)- The best post player in MI.’s ’08 class is still improving and many big programs are looking for this big time prospect to break out this spring. Besides standing 6-foot-11, his "gym rat" mentality is his biggest attribute. Differences between now and a year ago is that he’s added a little more size and added something to those drop steps.
3. 6-foot-3 guard Paul Williams (The Family 17u)- Defense is still his forte but, his shooting stroke produced a 50-point game with 10 three-pointers late in the high school season. He’s also improved his ball-handling from a year ago and has been a mainstay on national rankings over the last three years. Look for his offers to go up as we creep into the spring.
4. 6-foot-9 forward Jay Thames (MI. Select 17u)- Thames compliments MI.’s ’08 class as he spent his freshman and sophomore at Dematha in the DC area. He’s gained exposure in the East through camps, Dematha, and AAU and is now gaining the exposure in the Mid-West. He can play all three post positions but is best suited with a larger teammate in the post.
5. 6-foot-11 center Da’Shonte Riley (The Family 16u)- Coaches either have heard of the big rising junior or will hear of him as the buzz spreads over the next few weeks. There is no doubt Riley has talent, growing taller is extra, and maturing will come with time, getting tougher is his biggest challenge.