Top 25 Preseason Boys Basketball players – Muskegon’s Davis tops the list
Muskegon – Last season Deyonta Davis was a dominant player for a Muskegon team that won the Class A title, the school’s first in boys basketball.
And Davis wasn’t even the go-to player. Deshaun Thrower won Mr. Basketball and was the leader of a balanced Muskegon squad. Davis did much of his best work on the defensive end where he had 199 blocks in 28 games. He averaged 16 points and 14 rebounds, and much of his offensive production came on second-chance opportunities.
This season look for Davis, a 6-10 center and State Champs’ pick as the state’s No. 1 player in the preseason, to become more of the focal point of the offense.
He showed signs of that in the championship game against Bloomfield Hills when Davis had 26 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. He was 12-of-14 from the field.
“His jump shot is better,” coach Keith Guy said. “His ball-handling skills are better. He can go off the dribble now. His back-to-the-basket game has improved. He’s always been a hard worker. He’s always in the gym.”
Davis signed with Michigan State and if Davis is named Mr. Basketball after this season he will be the first Michigan State signee to win the award since Matt Costello (Bay City Western) in 2012.
“His athleticism is off the charts,” Guy said. “I tell him he shouldn’t take that for granted.”
2. Eric Davis, Saginaw Arthur Hill, 6-4, sr.: A dour-year starter, Davis will give the other Davis competition for the Mr. Basketball award. Last season he averaged 27 points, four rebounds and four assists. “We’re going to ask him to rebound more,” coach Greg McMath said. “We still need him to score.”
3. Cassius Winston, U-D Jesuit, 6-1, jr.: Winston has started every game at point guard. Last season he averaged 18 points and nine assists. “He’s really developed his jump shot over the summer,” coach Pat Donnelly said. “He’s a much better scorer now; more consistent.” Michigan and Michigan State are among the schools that have offered Winston a scholarship.
4. Trevor Manuel, Lansing Everett, 6-9, sr.: Manuel played his first two seasons at Lansing Sexton. He played 15 minutes in the Class B final as a freshmen. He then transferred to Oak Hill Academy before returning to mid-Michigan this season. Despite his height Manuel is more of a perimeter player. He signed with Oregon.
5. Deleon Brown, Grand Rapids Christian, 6-3, sr.: Brown led a highly competitive Christian team by averaging 20.3 points last season. He shot 80 percent from the free throw line and 38 percent from 3-point range. He signed with Colorado.
6. Xavier Tillman, Grand Rapids Forest Hill Central, 6-8, so.: A strong, physical player inside, Tillman also has the skill level to be a force on the perimeter. Last season he averaged 14 points and eight rebounds. He scored 37 in a district semifinal. “He impacts every possession,” coach Ken George said. Tillman has been offered a scholarship by Michigan State and Purdue.
7. Brent Hibbitts, Hudsonville, 6-9, sr.: A three-year starter, Hibbitts is a tremendous passer who is effective scoring from the inside and the perimeter. He averaged 16 points and seven rebounds last season. Hibbitts received 10 scholarship offers from Division I schools but likely won’t make a decision until after the season.
8. Brian Bowen, Saginaw Arthur Hill, 6-7, so.: A shooting guard and a wing, Bowen is a silky smooth player who can score in a variety of ways. He averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds, and coach Greg McMath said Bowen needs to fill out a bit. Bowen has been offered a scholarship by Boston College and Louisville.
9. Nick Perkins, Milan, 6-8, sr.: Perkins is a strong player inside who can also make the perimeter shot. He’s added 20 pounds (now weighs 240) and will be more of a threat inside. He averaged 16 points and eight rebounds last season. He signed with Buffalo.
10. Jeron Rogers, North Farmington, 6-7, sr.: Rogers is a four-year varsity player. Last season he averaged 21 points, eight rebounds, two assists and one steal. He signed with Cleveland State. “He has become a very skilled perimeter player,” coach Todd Negoshian said. “ He can score with his back to the basket. He needs to handle the ball better.”
11. Seth Dugan, Otsego, 6-11, sr.: Dugan has been a force since his sophomore season. Last season he averaged 16.1 points and 14.2 rebounds. Dugan received scholarship offers from Davidson, Purdue, Western Kentucky and Xavier but decided to stay close to home. He signed with Western Michigan.
12. Latin Davis, Milan, 5-10, sr.: A four-year starter, Davis averaged 16 points and six assists last season. “We’ll move him from the point to the shooting guard more this season,” coach Chris Pope said. “It’ll keep him fresh.” Davis signed with Youngstown State.
13. Austin Davis, Onsted, 6-10, jr.: Davis loves to mix it up inside and he can score. He had 51 in one game last season. He averaged 21.6 points and 15 rebounds. He has received scholarship offers from Central Michigan and Toledo.
14. Jaylin Walker, Romulus, 6-2, sr.: Walker plays the wing and is comfortable going to the basket. Last season he averaged a 12 points. “He’s very athletic,” coach Jarret Smith said. “I want him to be more of a playmaker this season.” Walker signed with Kent State.
15. Josh McFolley, Detroit Western, 5-11, sr.: Perhaps the best all-around player on a talented Mount Clemens team last season, McFolley signed with Detroit. He averaged 18 points and six assists, and is able to play either guard position.
16. Xavier Cochran, Ann Arbor Huron, 6-6, sr.: Cochran averaged 17 points and five rebounds last season. He has been offered a scholarship by Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Oakland and Rhode Island. “He can score in multiple ways,” coach Waleed Samaha said.
17. Rob Edwards, Detroit Cass Tech, 6-3, sr.: Edwards was the Technicians top reserve last season and averaged 13 points. “He’s super talented,” coach David Dixon said. “He’s a good passer and he can jump. He can shoot it deep.” Edwards signed with Cleveland State.
18. Josh Davis, Detroit Henry Ford, 6-5, sr.: One of the top scorers in the Detroit Public School League, Davis averaged 17 points last season. “He’s a natural shooter,” coach Ken Flowers said. “He reminds me of (former Lansing Everett star) Desmond Ferguson. Davis signed with Western Michigan.
19. Brandon Johns, East Lansing, 6-7, fr.: The prize of the class of 2018. Johns’ parents both played basketball in college. He’ll play the shooting guard or the small forward this season. “He has a nice jumper,” coach Steve Finamore said. “His main strength is after getting a defensive rebound, it’s his ability to push it up the court.”
20. Brandon Childress, Baldwin, 6-4, sr.: A two-sport athlete, Childress has received Division I scholarship offers for football. Last season he averaged 23.9 points, nine rebounds and three assists. It’s uncertain if Childress will play basketball or football in college. Boston College and Penn State have shown interest in basketball; Central Michigan for both.
21. Gerald Blackshear, Detroit Western, 6-7, sr.: Blackshear’s game is inside. He weighs 210 pounds and he uses his strength to create opportunities. He averaged seven points, nine rebounds and three blocks last season at Mount Clemens. Blackshear signed with Detroit.
22. Kevin McKay, Warren De La Salle, 6-4, jr.: A three-year starter, McKay played forward his freshman season. He moved his game out a little more last season and this season will play the shooting guard and the point. McKay averaged 17 points and six rebounds last season. Central Michigan offered McKay a scholarship.
23. Corey Allen, Ypsilanti, 6-3, jr.: A three-year varsity player, Allen has been offered a scholarship by a number of Mid-American Conference schools. Last season he averaged 15 points, five strals and seven rebounds. “He’s a program kid,” coach Steve Brooks said. “His work ethic is outstanding.”
24. Kamari Newman, Detroit East English Village Prep, 6-3, jr.: One of the top perimeter shooters in the state, Newman averaged 17 points last season. He has been offered a scholarship by Kent State and Texas-El Paso
25. Kalvon Fuller, Oak Park, 6-8, jr.: Fuller started the last two seasons, the first at Detroit Cody before transferring. He became more of an inside player last season. He’s an inch taller this season and has added 15 pounds.
Scott Burnstein contributed to this report.