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STATE CHAMPS! SCOUT TEAM: William & Mary keeps up Mitten recruiting beat, as GRCC’s Jack Karakinski taps Tribe

By: SCOTT M. BURNSTEIN, September 17, 2021, 3:02 pm

“Special K” via another special delivery to the Colonial Athletic Association.

Grand Rapids Catholic Central senior forward Jack Karakinski committed to William & Mary last week, continuing the trend of Michiganders heading to Williamsburg, Virginia and the Colonial Athletic Association for their college hoops. Karakinski (6-foot-7) is a hot shooter and plays with bounce and a high motor. His economical shot selection, big-game heroics and efficiency from downtown and in transition, makes him the most dangerous hoopster in the senior class on the state’s Westside. He led his GRCC team to an undefeated season and a Division 2 state championship in 2021 as a junior in a campaign where he averaged 19 points, five rebounds and three assists per night.

William & Mary is a small Division I school playing scavenger in the Mitten as of late; the Tribe have been building a pipeline from Michigan to Williamsburg in recent years and Karakinski is another jewel in W&M’s Midwest recruiting crown. Tribe freshman guard Julian Lewis (Ann Arbor Huron) and senior small forward Quinn Blair (Dearborn Divine Child) hail from Metro Detroit and are expected to be big pieces of the current W&M squad.

Karakinski was offered by Oakland in the offseason after his sophomore year, but didn’t see his recruiting really take off until this past summer. W&M, Toledo, Wofford, Furman, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Loyola (Ill.), Miami (Ohio), Indiana St., Southern Illinois, Vermont, Kent State, IUPUI and Purdue-Ft. Wayne all offered since the end of the 2021 campaign in a frenzied rush of offers that poured in fast and furious.

In the 2021 state finals, Karakinski lit up a Cinderella Battle Creek Pennfield club for an 18-point effort on 5-of-8 shooting and 3-of-5 shooting from 3-point distance. He should be a sleeper in the 2022 Mr. Basketball race.