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Boys Basketball Preseason Top 30 Players List: Loyer of Clarkston is No. 1; Johns of East Lansing is No. 2

By: TJ Kelley, December 3, 2017, 8:00 pm

      Something special was going on a couple of years ago when the class OF 2018 started making names for themselves. Winning early, producing early, improving, and sustaining success have been key ingredients for this quality group that includes eight players who signed with Big Ten teams.

     This year’s juniors contributed to much of the success that fans saw in last season’s semifinal and final games.  A couple of nationally-ranked sophomores also made State Champs’ preseason list.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please note that Clarkston Senior Forward Thomas Kithier was omitted from this list due to questions regarding his eligibility for the 2017-18 Basketball Season.

     The players listed below are seniors unless otherwise noted.

  1. 5-10 point guard Foster Loyer, Clarkston: Last season’s contributions to a Class A championship narrowly puts Loyer ahead of future teammates and other Big Ten signees.  Foster wins and if Clarkston matches last season’s 27 win total, he’ll be two shy of the century mark for career wins.  He makes those around him better and is a step ahead of the game much like his future Michigan State teammate, Cassius Winston.  He averaged 25 points, 6.3 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.8 steals his junior season
  2. 6-8 forward Brandon Johns, Jr., East Lansing: The future Michigan Wolverine averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks.  John’s is a skilled forward who has led the Trojans to a 47-2 record over the last two years with both losses coming in regional finals. 
  3. 6-0 point guard David Dejulius, Jr., Detroit East English Village Prep: Detroit’s top player will team with Johns in Ann Arbor next year and Wolverine fans should be happy.  Dejulius is a valuable scorer and table setter who averaged 26 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists.  He is the Mr. PSL favorite and can put up numbers with the best of them.
  4. 6-8 forward Gabe Brown, Belleville: The lefty averaged 15.9 point and 5.2 rebounds a game as a junior.  He’s one of four in-state players from the 2018 class to sign with Michigan State and as a long term prospect his potential is as high as any player in the state. 
  5. 6-8 center/forward Trevion “Tre” Williams, Detroit Henry Ford Academy School for Creative Studies: The future Purdue Boilermaker is a must-see player and his personal statistics will be rivaled by few if anyone.  Triple-doubles, flirting with quadruple-doubles, playing five positions, passing like a point guard, perimeter scoring like a shooting guard, powerful but skilled drives to the basket, and rebounds like a 20th century big man.  His 22 points, 25 rebounds, 8 blocks, and 6 assists average as a junior are not inflated.
  6. 6-10 forward Marcus Bingham, Jr., Grand Rapids Catholic Central: No player in Michigan has gone from virtually unknown to a high-level prospect to the level of this skilled forward so quickly.  Bingham’s ability to consistently knock down midrange and perimeter jumpers with the skill set to comfortably cruise past defenders on the way to the basket.  He averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds and college coaches who saw him last winter were very intrigued.  Intrigue turned into offers from major programs around the country over a 10 stretch in late April.  Michigan State was one of those major offers and he signed with MSU. 
  7. 6-7 junior forward Romeo Weems, New Haven: As a sophomore he was a key fixture in the Rockets’ Class B title run averaging 18.3 points, 11.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3.4 steals, and 2.2 blocks.  U-Michigan, MSU, Detroit, Oakland, Iowa, Creighton, Missouri, and Virginia Commonwealth have offered the multi-talented winner.
  8. 6-3 junior guard Harlond Beverly, Southfield Christian: Beverly was a bit under the public radar as a sophomore but had a fantastic spring and summer, which led to numerous offers including MSU, Missouri, Ohio State, Xavier. Arizona State, Baylor, Detroit, Eastern Michigan, and Toledo.  The Eagles are guard heavy and the favorite to win Class D.
  9. 6-3 junior guard Mark “Rocket” Watts, Detroit Old Redford Academy: As a sophomore, the nationally ranked guard was a do-everything player averaging 25.5 points, 5.3 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.6 steals for the Ravens.  He holds all but the blue blood offers and his list of suitors include Michigan, Michigan State, Marquette, Alabama, Mississippi State, Creighton, Xavier, Iowa, VCU, USC, Cincinnati, Oakland, Detroit-Mercy, UNLV, Georgia Tech, and Missouri. 
  10. 6-1 point guard Brandon Wade, Ann Arbor Skyline: Wade signed with Duquesne. He posted 20.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.3 steals averages as a junior.  His poise and ability to control the game’s pace will carry Skyline’s guard heavy lineup.
  11. 6-6 forward Markeese Hastings, Wyoming Godwin Heights: The Butler commit took many players on this list to the woodshed in July as he was tenacious on the boards, an efficient scorer from the mid-range and in, and he is one of the state’s strongest players.  He is a one-man force in the paint and expect for his strong junior averages of 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks to climb.
  12. 6-8 forward/center Taylor Currie, Clarkston: Currie signed with Wisconsin and he had strong numbers in last season’s championship run.  His 7.3 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks averages can very well double as a sophomore.  He made the uncommon move to skip his junior year and will graduate in June with Class of 2018.
  13. 6-3 guard Lamar Norman, Jr., Wyoming Godwin Heights: UTEP is getting one of the fastest players in the country and he can score with the best of them.  He was key to Godwin Heights’ 2015 Class B championship and averaged 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists as a junior.
  14. 6-5 wing Gary Solomon, Jr., Detroit Edison: The LIU-Brooklyn signee had a fantastic last 11 months averaging 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists his junior season.  Tough, athletic, and electric in the open court as fans saw in last season’s trip to the Breslin Center.
  15. 6-2 guard Rashad Williams, Wayne Memorial: The future Cleveland State player averaged 25 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals.  Williams can put up numbers in a heart-beat pulling up from the perimeter which sets up his ability to get to the basket or create for others.  
  16. 6-5 junior forward Myron Gardner, Detroit Loyola: One of the state’s top juniors averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds a season ago.  Strong physically, Gardner is a strong producer from 15 feet and in with developing guard skills as well as shooting.  He holds numerous Horizon and MAC offers.
  17. 6-8 sophomore forward Isaiah Jackson, Detroit Old Redford Academy: Arguably the state’s top all-around defender as a sophomore.  He moves very well laterally and vertically with active hands as well as impeccable timing when blocking shots.  He’s no slouch on offense either where he’s an excellent finisher on either side of the basket while developing his face up game and ball skills.
  18. 6-0 sophomore point guard Jalen Terry, Flint Beecher: Terry is one of the nation’s top 25 players in the 2020 class and Michigan’s No. 2 sophomore.  He had a strong freshman season and was instrumental in Beecher’s Class C title run and was a dominant force on the travel circuit. 
  19. 6-6 forward Seth Milner, Grand Rapids Christian: On last year’s Class A runner-up team he was highly efficient when his number was called. Expect for him to call his own number that should nearly double his scoring stats from a year ago.  The diversity of his game mirrors his Division I offers from Detroit, Oakland, Arkansas-Little Rock, LIU-Brooklyn, Northern Kentucky and Toledo with Arkansas, Loyola, Miami (OH), and Wisconsin showing interest.
  20. 6-6 junior forward Chandler Turner, Detroit Renaissance: Turner holds offers a slew of offers the include Buffalo, Cleveland State, Kent State, Northern Illinois, and the Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  His combination of size and skill allows him to play every position on the floor.  He will have more freedom to play on the wing this season which presents an uptick from the three-year starter’s average of 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
  21. 6-3 junior guard Donavan Moore, West Bloomfield: The athletic and skilled lefty transferred in from Hillsboro (IL.) High where he was one of the state’s top sophomores.  He can play on or off the ball and is efficient in the full and half court.  He holds double-digit Division I offers.
  22. 6-8 center Deante “Spider” Johnson, Detroit Edison: The state’s top rim protector is one of two Cleveland State signees who made this list.  He’s still blossoming but very productive on the posting 13.5 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks.  Length, athleticism, the ability to run the floor, and an ever-looming presence around the rim expand beyond the stat lines.
  23. 6-7 junior power forward Carrington McCaskill, Detroit Renaissance: Arguably the state’s most thunderous player on the break, McCaskill and the fore mentioned, Turner, complement each other as well as any frontcourt in the state.  Known for his dunks, rebounding, hustle, and shot-blocking hints of productivity from the mid-range and perimeter make him that much more effective on the court.  He averaged 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks.  Holds offers from Buffalo, Cleveland State, Detroit, Kent State, Northern Illinois, Tennessee-Martin, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
  24. 6-4 guard Bryce Washington, Southfield Christian: He’s a captain and four-year starter who shot 40 percent from the 3-point range and averaged 19 points per game.  He’s also a strong rebounder from the wing averaging 7 per game.  He holds numerous offers and opportunities from Central Michigan, Detroit, Brown, Buffalo, Colgate, Kent State, Oakland, and Toledo. 
  25. 6-6 forward Nelson McCaulley, Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills: There’s a reason Ferris State is a top five team in Division II and winner of three straight GLIAC championships. The Bulldogs get players like McCaulley.  The powerful forward is a high riser averaging 16 points and 7 rebounds as a junior.
  26. 5-10 junior point guard Zach Goodline, Coloma: One of the state’s top scorers averaging 28 points per game as a sophomore and a game’s average away from hitting the 1,100 career-point plateau.  Expect that total to double as he’s only halfway through his high school playing days.  He’s on pace to lead the 2019 class in scoring over four years, but he also has his head up looking to add to his assist total.
  27. 6-6 power forward Randy Gilbert, Detroit Cass Tech: Another Ferris State signee.  There are very few in the state who rebound with the ability to score in the paint and perimeter as well as this Technician.  As a junior he averaged 11.2 points and 6 rebounds.
  28. 6-5 junior wing Daniel Friday, U-D Jesuit: He only averaged 6 points and coach Pat Donnelly expects for him to triple his sophomore average filling the void of many departed players to graduation or transfers.  Strong, athletic, and productive on the boards and the scoring column with multiple Division I offers.
  29. 6-8 power forward Latravian Jackson, Detroit Western: He’s started to match potential with production as a season ago he averaged 10 points and 7 rebounds.  The lefty had a great July and one would expect that to continue for the unsigned senior who holds numerous Division I offers. 
  30. 6-2 guard Jacob Boonyasith, Jenison: He eclipsed the 1,000 point mark in his final game as a junior when he averaged 24.4 points.  He’s accepted by Air Force and Grand Valley State offered with Elon, Furman, Marist, Miami (OH), Western Michigan and Wright State showing interest in one of the state’s top scorers.  Not many shoot it better.