BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Loads of fearsome hoops squads across the state this winter
The 2012-2013 boys basketball campaign tipped off this past week. As usual, the state is stacked with stellar squads.
Here’s a look at some of the MHSAA’s best teams in alphabetical order;
Birmingham Detroit Country Day – Not your typical Yellowjackets squad, absent a true big man or a pure point guard, but head coach Kurt Keener’s current crop is overflowing with long and athletic guards and wings, such as senior captain Austin Price (Lehigh), juniors Edmond Sumner, Maury Diane and Moe Ways and sophomore Deshawn Lewis. Seeking a fourth consecutive trip to the Class B final four, DCD opened the season in explosive fashion, scoring 100 and 84 points, respectively in back-to-back blowout wins to open the schedule.
Clarkston – Loaded with smart and steady guards, young and old. All-league senior playmaker Jordan Dasuqi (Lake Superior State) has a style of game that is fundamentally-sound and smooth at the same time. He’s out the first couple weeks of the season, however sophomore point guard Drew Myers and junior sharpshooter Nick Owens have been picking up the slack and the Wolves are 2-0 out of the gate in search of the program’s seventh OAA Red title in a row.
Dearborn Heights Robichaud – With a star as breathtaking as 6-foot-4 D1-recruit point guard Lorenzo Bonam leading the charge, Robichaud has a chance to win every game it plays. In Week 1, Robichaud topped a very good Westland John Glenn team in the opener and then played toe-to-toe with Detroit Pershing in a loss in their second game of the campaign.
Detroit Cass Tech – Sporting an experienced lineup of seven varsity letter-winners and four returning-starters, the Technicians are poised for a run at the PSL championship. The inside-outside tandem of senior point guard D’Andre Johnson and senior center DeAngelo Stewart (Southern Illinois-Edwardsburg), both Division I recruits, will give opposing teams problems.
Detroit Community – Senior swingman Bo Ziegler (South Florida) is one of the best players in the state and sophomore transfer Jalin Gardner (Walled Lake Western) has come in to run the point and allow Ziegler to move off the ball. The loss of Deiondray Martin (Eastern Michigan) who moved back to Ohio will hurt.
Detroit Consortium – The Cougars went to the Class C final four in 2011 and into the Sweet 16 last season and return of UTEP-commit Vincent Hunter, as explosive on the wing as any prepster in the state, coming off a junior season where he averaged a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds a night. Consortium’s backcourt is headlined by transfer floor general Lito Booth (Detroit Allen) and Joe Mooreman, a shooting guard that can score on the drive and from downtown. The post will be anchored by Malik Dawson and Nigerian exchange student Ifeynai Ezemari, a 6-foot-8 beanstalk. Freshman Josh Jackson, a slick swingman, is one of the best ninth-graders in the whole country.
Detroit Douglas – Juniors Darrell Davis and Andre Frederick make the Hurricanes a threat inside and out. Davis is a 6-foot-5 combo guard that will play big-time D1 ball in college. Frederick is a spry and active 6-foot-7 post presence.
Detroit Pershing – Arguably the best team in the state this winter. The Doughboys are led by an outstanding backcourt of all-state floor general Khalil Felder (Oakland) and shooting guard Martez Walker, who has a velvet touch from deep and is also a Division I recruit. Justin Tillman is a long 6-foot-7 post with nice finishing ability around the rim.
Detroit Southeastern – The Jungaleers have a deep and balanced team that will challenge for the title in the PSL come Calihan Hall crowning time. Head coach George Ward, two seasons removed from leading the program to the Class A state semifinals, likes this potential for this year’s club and beyond, with a stacked junior class led by Daryl Bingam, Leonard Baker and Keylon Oliver. Senior co-captains Kenyatta Singleton and Jovone Haynes provide leadership and scoring ability to the Southeastern attack.
Flint Beecher – All-state senior floor general Monte (Man-Man) Morris, signed with Iowa State, leads the defending Class C state champions back into battle this season. Forward Markell Lucas is a more than adequate No. 2 scorer and is also being recruited by Division I school at the college level.
Grand Rapids Christian – New coach Steve Majerle, the former very successful sideline general at Rockford, assumes the reins with junior combo guard Drake Harris, the best two-sport athlete in the state who will play both basketball and football at MSU starting in 2014, ready to try to grab a second state title in as many sports seasons this winter. Harris and seven other football state champions anchor the GRC cage contingent. Joel Schipper, who booted the game-winning field goal in overtime of the football state finals, will start at the point.
Harper Woods Chandler Park – Four-year starter Derek Walton (Michigan) is one of the most electrifying and versatile lead guards in the Midwest and has a solid complimentary battalion at his disposal, fueled by seasoned vets like Tony Stallworth and Charles Webb, a trio of transfers (Khari Maxwell, Daris Bean and Clyde Ayers) and Michigan football recruit C’sonte York, a 6-foot-3 all-state wide receiver back in the fall.
Lansing Sexton – Senior Jalen Hayes (Oakland) and fast-rising sophomore forward Trevor Manuel makes up possibly the best frontcourt in the state for the defending Class B state champions this season. The squad’s backcourt will be solidified in January when highly-touted transfer Jeremy Williamson (Jackson) comes on board to give the Bucs some instant offense on the wing.
Macomb County L’anse Creuse North – Returning the bulk of a rock solid lineup that made a miracle run into the Class A final four last year, LCN will be the best team in Macomb County this season, buoyed by the likes of all-state swingman Tyler Conklin (Northwood) and Rob Hopkins on the perimeter and Frank DeVos and Ramone Griffin in the post.
Muskegon – Keith Guy is the Big Red’s new head coach after spending some very productive seasons turning crosstown rival Muskegon Heights into a force to be reckoned with. Seniors Ju’wan Martin and D’Vonte Dockery are a terrorizing twosome for Guy to rely on for leadership and scoring and sophomore center Davonta Davis is one of the top players in the Class of 2015.
Orchard Lake St. Mary’s – The two-time defending Class A quarterfinalist will vie for a CHSL crown this winter behind the senior tandem of four-year starting point guard Sam McClendon and wing Matt Linehan, a deadeye shooter who can create his own shot with ease and last month quarterbacked the school’s football team into the state finals.
Rochester – All-American James Young (Kentucky), the best player in the entire state, transferred into Rochester from Troy back in August and automatically made the Falcons favorites to claim a third straight league crown, not to mention suddenly a contender to make a run to the Breslin Center in March. Senior center Arben Carmaj will benefit from all the attention Young will draw. In the team’s season-opener on Friday, Young went for 29 points, 12 rebounds and six assists and Carmaj posted a solid game inside of 16 points, seven rebounds and seven blocked shots in a win over North Farmington.
Rockford – Always hard to rattle and sturdy under pressure, this season should be no different. Savvy senior point guard Chad Carlson and standout small forward Chase Fairchild lead a Rockford squad that went to the Class A state championship game last year.
Romulus – Features the best backcourt in the state in point guard Wes Clark (Missouri) and E.C. Matthews (Rhode Island) and has two other Division I recruits as well with big fella Leo Edwards (Louisiana Tech) and wing Jalen Plummer. Having experienced a run into the Class A final four last year, Romulus might be the most talented team in the ranks of the MHSAA hoops kingdom this season.
Saginaw – The defending Class A state champions return three starters, forward Julian Henderson, shooting guard Keyon Addison and point guard Markell Bradshaw, who missed the end of last season with an injury and will be a tough team to deal with again come tournament time when the rest of the cast get acclimated to the primetime atmosphere that goes along with Saginaw High hoops.
Saginaw Arthur Hill – The sensational senior-sophomore duo of point guard Eric Davis and senior forward Jalen Adams give the Lumberjacks the firepower to fight it out down to the wire with crosstown rival Saginaw for city bragging rights. Davis could be the best sophomore in the state and Adams is a high-scoring wing who can create his own shot in the halfcourt set and finish strong on the fastbreak.
Southfield Christian – The defending Class D state champion Eagles, the area’s best small-school squad, have a legit chance at bringing home a repeat crown, mainly because of super sophomore Bakari Evelyn, one of the best point guards in the state, regardless of school-size. In addition to Evelyn, juniors Lindsey Hunter IV and DeMarco White (transfer from Southgate Anderson) and fab frosh Eugene (Marlo) Brown will be the team’s top guns.
Westland John Glenn – Oakland-commit Nick Daniels, a playmaking point guard, both scoring and distributing, will join forces with juniors Isaac Everette and James Pruitt, to give the Rockets a formidable on-court assault this year. Everette can play either the wing or in the post and Pruitt is a 6-foot-6 jumping jack ready to patrol the paint with athleticism and aggression. Sophomore skyscraper Mike Edwards (6-9) augments Pruitt on the blocks and transfer Richard Roberts (Inkster) is a forward with a quick first step to the rack.
Ypsilanti – Senior captain Lavonte Davis (Northwood), a one-man wrecking crew in the paint, will be flanked by and awesome junior class spearheaded by 6-foot-9 Jalen Johnson down low, point guard Janeau Joubert and ace defender Jacob Simmons. Freshman shooting guard Corey Allen is one of the top players in the Class of 2016 and earned a spot in the starting lineup in training camp.