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Numerous student-athletes become eligible this week, impacting a number of basketball teams

By: Scott Burnstein, January 19, 2015, 12:27 pm





The addition of key transfers this week should bolster a slew of Metro Detroit area boys basketball teams.

All of the transfers menioned below had to sit out the first semester because of the Michigan High School Athletic Association transfer rule. 

State Champs’ No. 1 overall squad, Detroit Western (8-0) will only be getting better with the addition of Mount Clemens’ transfers and Detroit Mercy-signees Josh McFolley and Gerald Blackshear. McFolley and Blackshear will give coach Derrick McDowell significantly more firepower and add to an already potent lineup. McFolley is a sweet-shooting guard and the 6-foot-8 Blackshear is a powerful and athletic presence in the post.

“Josh and Gerald obviously give us more dimensions, more options to throw at other teams” McDowell said. “Everybody knows what they can do. They proved it last year.”

   Last season McFolley and Blackshear helped lead Mount Clemens to a 24-2 record and a Class C regional championship.

   Also part of that Mount Clemens team was Macomb Dakota’s four-pack of transfers, headlined by sophomore point guard Jermaine Jackson, Jr., and 6-foot-7 senior forward Charles Penn.

  Jackson is the son of former Mount Clemens coach and NBA player Jermaine Jackson, Sr. (Detroit Finney/U-D Mercy). Jackson has received a number of Division I scholarship offers. Dakota (5-2) also picks up the services of 6-2 junior guard Trevon Webster and 6-4 sophomore forward Alek Ivanovic.

   “We’re expecting big things from these guys,” Dakota coach Paul Tocco said. “We’ve been practicing with them for a couple months now and we know what they are capable of individually and what they’ll make us capable of as a team once they get on the floor.”

Since opening the season 0-2, Dakota has won five straight.

   Oak Park (5-2) will be bolstered by a whopping five transfers including one who is quite familiar with the program. Lefty Rodney Scales (6-7), an all-league selection, averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds last year at Oak Park as a junior on a Knights team that captured the Oakland Activities Association White Division crown and a Class A district title. Over the summer he moved to Wisconsin to be with his mother before moving back to Oak Park in November, a week prior to the start of practice. Scales is living with his father.

   Joining Scales at Oak Park are Jonathan Raines (River Rouge), Bobby Thompson, Jr. (River Rouge), Devin Mills (Ferndale) and Messiah Alford (Detroit Renaissance). Raines is a 6-7 sophomore and is expected to get immediate playing time in the paint. Mills, a junior who has never played organized basketball at the high school level, is expected to take over at point guard. Thompson and Alford are both sophomores that will receive minutes in Oak Park’s backcourt rotation.

“We’re excited for our new guys to be able to finally get in the mix,” Oak Park coach Bryant Tipton said. “The chemistry we have in the locker room is strong enough where I think this will fuel us, not hurt us because some players will have to step back a little. We believe we’ll be a lot better now.”

Besides McFolley and Blackshear at Western, look for Detroit Pershing’s 6-6 center David Sysax (Detroit King), Detroit Renaissance guard Darrel Smith (Detroit Community) and Detroit East English Village Prep 6-4 wing Jalen McFadden (Southfield Bradford) to make an impact with their respective teams in the Detroit Public School League.