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BOYS BASKETBALL: Race for Mr. Basketball heating up

By: Scott Burnstein, January 20, 2013, 11:00 pm

Moving into the second half of the high school hoops season, let’s have a look at how the race for Mr. Basketball is stacking up.

The Frontrunners

James Young (Rochester) – The Kentucky-commit and future McDonalds All-American swingman has been “as advertised” in his final year as a prepster, averaging a glitzy 25 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and four steals per game.  There’s a reason he’s one of the most elite players to come out of this state in the past two dozen years. His upside past the high school level is tremendous. He had 28 points and 16 boards back on Friday in Rochester’s 68-53 defeat of Ferndale. The Falcons are 7-2.

Derek Walton, Jr. (Harper Woods Chandler Park) – Just as prolific as Young, Walton is tearing up the court again this season at Chandler Park before taking off for Michigan and the Big 10 Conference next year. He’s the best point guard in the state and neck-and-neck with Young right now in the hunt for the Mr. Basketball hardware. Walton went for a dazzling outing of 23 points and 21 assists on Friday in Chandler Park’s 90-28 trouncing of Detroit PEC.

Khalil Felder (Detroit Pershing) – The consummate floor general, Felder sets the tempo and runs the ship for the top team in the state….and he does it with a rare combination of grit and grace. Although he was only a mid-major Division I college recruit – inked with Oakland University –, Felder could easily go head-to-head on the court with higher-level Division I prospects like Walton and not miss a step. He’s a great rebounder for a guard and the quintessential leader on and off the hardwood. Over the weekend, he sparked Pershing to a pair of wins to extend their record to a perfect 11-0. On Friday, he made his return to the Doughboys lineup after missing two games with a hip pointer, scoring 17 points and dishing seven assists in a 63-54 downing of Detroit Southeastern. Then on Saturday in a battle of unbeatens with defending Class C state-champion Flint Beecher, he dropped a whirling dervish of an outing, scoring 32 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and giving away six assists in a 81-74 Pershing victory.

The Darkhorses

Wes Clark (Romulus) – Headed to play his college hoops at Missouri, Clark is the best combo guard in the state. Crafty and quick, he has the heart of a lion. Romulus is 8-2. Last season, Clark helped take the Eagles into the Class A final four.

Monte “Man-Man” Morris (Flint Beecher) – Morris, signed with Iowa State, is an electrifying point guard that can equally hurt opponents scoring and passing the rock. As a junior, he led Beecher to a Class C state title. He’s off and running again this season, with Beecher off to an 8-1 start and No. 1 ranking in the state in its class. Taking his first defeat of the season over the weekend against the state’s No. 1 team in Class A, Detroit Pershing, Morris netted 25 points and delved off eight assists in the loss

Vincent Hunter (Detroit Consortium) – This 6-foot-7 explosive manchild on the wing is the “sleeper special extraordinaire” in this season’s Mr. Basketball race. Aggressive and agile, Hunter has the skills to put the ball in the hoop inside and out. Filling a lane on the fastbreak, the UTEP-signee is as powerful as a runaway freight train. Consortium is 6-2 so far this year and on Saturday it snagged a significant victory, besting Birmingham Detroit Country Day 68-62 in overtime. The win saw Consortium, ranked No. 4 in the state in Class C, bump off the No. 1 in the state in Class B in Country Day behind a monster effort by Hunter. Playing big with the game on the line on several occasions throughout the contest, he registered a rugged double-double of 32 points and 16 rebounds.