For the second weekend in a row we spent time watching Dayton (OH) Jefferson big man Adreian Payne. Though he was clearly more dynamic during play at the King James tourney last weekend, he played pretty solid during All-Ohio Red Saturday morning contest against Florida Elite. He was in foul trouble and he eventually fouled out of the game, which obviously contributed to the loss. We chatted with Payne's coach afterward and he thought if his team had played harder, the outcome would have been different. As far as recruiting goes he is keeping things very close to the vest with again with the media. This week he mentioned a top ten schools but didn't give details about who they are. As we said previously John Beilein was in his school recently and the scuttlebutt was that the Maize & Blue would likely be among those on the pared down list. We'd tried to get word once again after an afternoon victory by the Red, but Payne had to hustle away so he could get ready for a prom later that evening. Good for him that he is still have fun doing what normal teenagers do. At any rate, the composition of the five star prospect's leaderboard could come anytime and we'll be sure to give you the news.
As was mentioned in earlier reports, we spent a great deal of time observing some of the younger Michigan targets in action. The Indy Elite 15-and-under squad featured a few that we took a long look at. One of the youngster's that has the Hoosier State buzzing is Indianapolis North Central G D'Vauntes Rivera-Smith. The 6-3 two-guard is physically stronger than most kids his age and can put it on the floor and score inside, but can also stroke it from deep. He reportedly already has an offer from Indiana.
Running beside Rivera-Smith on the Elite's 15-and-under squad was Culver (IN) Academies PG/SG Travis Britt. The 6-2, 170-pound youngster simply lets the game come to him. He scored only four points in the game that we saw, but he said that was for a reason. "We were up on that team a lot," he explained. "I was just trying to set my teammates up and let them score." Britt sees the floor well and can score at the basket and looked like he has a good stroke. A number of schools will be observing his progress, including Michigan.
We'd be remiss if we didn't talk about another kid on the Indy Elite squad that has talent oozing out of him. Birmingham (AL) Central Park Christian's Hanner Perea is an impressive young big man. The Columbian youngster can flat out play. His dunks are loud, his hops are ridiculous, plus he rebounds and blocks shots. Oh yeah, and he is only 15 years old already 6-8. He is a big time player that will only get better.
Now for some of the guys closer to home… Southfield's Carlton Brundidge has done nothing to change our minds about where he ranks in the class of 2011. He is definitely one of the top players nationally and the top player for the class of 2011 in Michigan. Brundidge's jumper is underrated, and he is more than willing to prove that to unsuspecting opponents by stroking it from deep. That said, going to the basket is where he really gets busy. In the paint his powerful body enables him to absorb contact and finish at the basket. Did we forget to mention that his game continues to improve? Now he is moving very well off the ball coming off picks for jumpers… and his overall understanding of the game is just growing. Against a very solid All-Ohio team he showed his leadership. When his guys were not playing well he let them know about it vocally and then proceeded to by example. Brundidge's defense, which we do not speak about often, is also very solid. With his skill set and work ethic, he will continue to flourish on both ends of the floor. And stay tuned for a video interview in the coming days where the talented youngster discusses his interest in Michigan
Desmond Barnes, the 5-11 PG out of Detroit Consortium, had a very nice tournament. Barnes was penetrating and finishing at the basket and hitting the outside jumper. It is important for him to bring it for The Family. In past tournaments he sometimes got caught watching Brundidge, which is not good for him or the team. Barnes can score in bunches, and his team even more potent if he stepped up his role.
Detroit Country Day C Amir Williams is certainly still learning the game, and at times he gets discouraged with not getting the ball on the block. Such is life for a big man on the AAU circuit. He is going to have to fight for position and when he has that position his teammates will have to get the rock to him. There are times when he is open and they look him off. He needs to be more a part of the offense, and to do that he needs more opportunities. At the same time, when they aren't looking for him, he can't let that affect him. Defensively he is solid as a rock, he blocks anything near the rim (at least six or seven a game) and at 6'10 he always has double digit rebounds. As I said he is coming along, but with his skill and upside I will always expect more.
Also addressing a few names that we've been asked about recently…
We spoke with Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard SG Josh Herbeck who is playing very solid for the second straight week. Against the talented team Mac Irvin Fire he had a solid 20 points. He just has to remember to play tough and play defense. Herbeck was receiving Michigan interest at one time, but seems to have waned. At this time he is receiving interest from Western Michigan, Dayton, and Duquesne. Duquesne's assistant coach Steve Hall (former head coach at Det. Northwestern) has been keep close contact with Herbeck. "I have been talking to Coach Hall he invited me to their elite camp on May 31 and I will be attending that," he said. Herbeck also found time to talk about his new teammate, Class of 2011 C Darren Washington (transfer out of Det. Southeastern). He was a Michigan Elite camper last year who we'll talk more about at a later date.
Michael Talley Jr., son of former Michigan PG Michael Talley Sr., had it going well at this tournament. We spoke with him and he told us that just about all MAC schools have offered. Michigan is not among those showing major interest in the 5-10 inch youngster. That group consists of Northwestern, Butler, Providence and South Florida. Mike and his dad just want to pick the right situation for him to play in.
And finally, Saginaw Arthur Hill's Maurice Jones. We get a lot of questions about this 5-7 dynamo. When the conversation turns to who is the best player in the state, his name had better be on the list. At this tournament he had games of 25, 30, 44 and 32. He was impressive to say the least. The 30 point game he had was against one of the most talented teams in the country, Boo Williams out of Hampton, Virginia. They have high major prospects all over that team (including North Carolina commit Kendall Marshall and Duke commit Andre Dawkins. That Jones went off against those players proves that this kid can flat out play with anyone in the country. He has offers from Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, U of D Mercy, Oakland, Bowling Green, Providence, and South Florida. UCONN, Florida, and Syracuse are all trying to get him to come down to their Elite camp to get a better look and feel for what he can do. All three schools have been in contact with Jones the last two weeks just to stay in touch with him. Michigan doesn't appear to be showing much interest.