It was story book basketball season for tiny Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard High, and a big part of their success was the deadly shooting skills 6-4 sophomore guard Josh Herbeck.
“(The season) went really well,” said Herbeck. “It was a lot of fun. We made it all the way to the final four. It was a big step going freshman to sophomore year and kind of taking on more of a leadership role, but I had a lot of fun doing it.”
Herbeck’s emergence was essential because emphasis opponents placed on slowing down his teammate, junior forward Eso Akunne. If team’s overplayed Akunne, Herbeck made them pay. The long distance bomber canned at least four triples in multiple games this year, and even drained a whopping eight trifectas versus Whiteford in the playoffs.
“I think we played off each other,” Herbeck said of him and Akunne. “People would try to focus on my shot and he would have more one on one opportunities in the post. When people would try to double down on him, I would have more shot opportunities out at the three point arch. So we play off of each other real well and our games really complement each other.”
Herbeck’s strong play didn’t just catch the attention of opponents… it piqued the interest of college coaches as well. His play this on the AAU circuit with Ann Arbor the based squad “Common Bond” has only furthered the interest. Herbeck’s sharpshooting was instrumental in helping his squad knocked off the talented Detroit based AAU club “The Family” at the Spiece Run N’ Slam tourney earlier this month. As a result, he’s noticing the whispers about his game starting to grow.
Said Herbeck, “now I’m hearing from schools like Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and recently, Michigan. Not too much else really. I haven’t heard from Michigan a whole lot yet. They haven't really talked to me because they can't, but I am pretty sure they are interested. They came for a workout. It was (Thursday, April 24th). We went out to (Ann Arbor Gabriel) Richard, and (Coaches Beilein and Jackson) watched me shoot some threes get a good workout in.”
Herbeck couldn’t chat with the Maize & Blue staff members, but his coach could. The youngster was informed that he made a favorable impression.
“I think they were happy,” he said. “They invited me to their elite camp before their summer high school camp for two days to come out and work out with them.”
To say that Herbeck is looking forward to the opportunity is an understatement. Beilein’s system has a particular appeal.
“It is perfect for me,” Herbeck explained. “I’m a good shooter that’s real smart and that makes good decisions. I always play hard and I’m a leader on the court. In that offense you can run around screens and shoot a lot of threes… it is a lot of fun.”
Based on Herbeck’s style of play, it should come as no surprise what player he tries to emulate.
“JJ Redick," he said referring to the former Duke star. “No doubt. No doubt. I watch him all the time. I watch his film and try to take tips from his jump shot. I watch him come off of screens and try to learn from his game. I know I have a long way to go though. “I think I have to work on getting stronger, quicker and my ball handling. I really think working on my handling is key so I can come off the dribble… beat guys off the dribble more. I need to get to the hole and get to the line more often.”
GoBlueWolverine will have more on Herbeck in the coming months.