Now… for a look at some of Michigan's targets from the 15-and under division.
Spiece Indy Heat 15's
The Wolverines are currently targeting three players from this extremely talented squad…
DeJuan Marrero – The (Gary, IN) Thea Bowman high star is a Stacey Augmon type wing that is a terrific defender. He goes and gets his points in a number of ways… putbacks, transition, and various contortionist shots. He also showed a nice mid-range jumper and even teased with a three. We say "tease" because he'll also put up a few distance shots that make his coach's comment about necessary improvements in that area understandable.
Raphael Davis – The Ft. Wayne Northside star is heart of this young team. He can handle the ball well enough to play the one, but is comfortable with sliding off the ball and becoming a primary offensive option. He has three-point range and explosive hops. Sensing his team needed a lift, he exploded on the break for a dunk that got his team fired up, and ultimately helped them pull away from their opponent, the Mac Irvin Fire.
A.J. Hammons – This 6-10 big bodied youngster is a man amongst boys is a defensive stalwart in the paint. The Carmel (IN) High star did flash much of an offensive game outside of the paint during the marquee match-up in the 15-and-under division between the Heat and Mac-Irvin Fire, but he was still a major factor in his squad's victory. After the game Hammons made no bones about what he does best on the floor. "My defense is really good," he said. It needed to be against the Fire.
Hamilton Jr. goes up over Hammons
The Fire may have lost to the Heat by double digits, but they definitely have some players to be on the lookout for in the years to come. I can't fathom going to watch a middle schooler play basketball for the purposes of scouting. That's why I've never done it. But Saturday, unbeknownst to us, we watched a bunch of precocious Middle schoolers compete. Mac-Irvin's 15-and-under team was actually a band of 14 year-olds playing up. The Fire featured a terrifically skilled 6-7, 230-pound big man, who despite carrying significant baby fat, was fairly nimble when putting the ball on the floor. Then we heard his name… Thomas Hamilton Jr. If the sounds familiar then you've been a basketball head for a little while now. His dad was part of the twin towers tandem that starred in Chicago Martin Luther King back in the early nineties. His son is quite the talent also. He scorched the nets in the game's early going with four triples. Then he really impressed us with his dribble-drive game, which consisted of both a nice hesitation and crossover. Hammons' finally put his young counterpart in his place by wearing him down with his big body and long arms. Still young Hamilton announced to the basketball world that he is one to be reckoned with.
Another kid on that team to keep an eye on is guard Jabari Parker. He too has strong bloodlines as the son of former NBA player, Sonny Parker. The youngster has an advanced basketball IQ, a paralyzing crossover, and pretty good hops to boot. They held their own for a while against the older Spiece group, but after a while experience and strength won out.
Spiece Indy Stars 15's
Austin Burgett – "Everyone compares him to Robbie Hummel," – so said his coach after the game. And that's not just a coach talking up his player. We've heard that scouting report from a number of other scouts as well. The Avon (IN) High star can stroke it from deep and is adept and putting the ball on the floor against slow footed big men. Unfortunately, all we saw him do was function as more of a screener and rebounder. Whether that was because his is the biggest player on a team with skilled backcourt guys or it was just an off game is anyone's guess. We're chalking it up to an off game. We witnessed the pretty form on his jumper on a few occasions, so it's easy to see that that part of his game is there. We'll watch him more during a summer during which he plans to work on his left hand and back to the basket game. He's a name worth remembering for Michigan fans.
Jeremy Hollowell - Soft spoken and slithery, sometimes you don't even know the Indianapolis Lawrence Central wing is there. Mistake! He may be the best shooter on his team. He definitely was on this day. The 6-6 180-pounder drilled three tres to put his team on top after going virtually ignored offensively in the early going. He also showed his athleticism on the offensive end when he rose for an impressive two-hand slam in transition. On the defensive end he displayed the quickness to stay with smaller players and length to and strength to match-up with bigger ones. He didn't finish #1 in the scoring column for his team, but he was definitely the most impressive player to us on this day.
Ronald Patterson - The 6-3 strong bodied youngster Indianapolis Broad Ripple High guard is the go-to guy on a team full of go-to guys. Patterson is a slasher extraordinaire that uses a good first step and better than average strength to gain the advantage on many defenders. That said, he will have to improve his handle to be all that he can be. He is also a streaky jump-shooter that can catch fire from behind the arc. It's a part of his game that makes his dribble drive game all the more effective. In the game's early going he hit a couple of threes and the lane was wide open. As the game progressed, though, the jumpers quit falling and defenders began sagging off. That made his path to the basket a lot more encumbered. The kid is just scratching the surface of what he can be. If he tightens those handles, look out. He already has offers from Indiana and Purdue…and a number of other Midwest schools are giving chase.
Illinois Rising Stars 15's
Much more to come… stay tuned.