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Super sophomore Emoni Bates leads the top 100 list of Michigan boys basketball players for the 2019-20 season

By: T.J. KELLEY, December 9, 2019, 4:39 pm

Last year, we ranked the big-name newcomer at Ypsilanti Lincoln conservatively at No. 10, knowing how good he was, but also knowing that he hadn’t yet taken a shot in high school. One year later, after Emoni Bates led Lincoln to the D1 state title, and there’s no denying that he needs to be atop whatever list we have. But Bates is hardly the only talented player we have in this state. As usual, Michigan is a warehouse of talent for recruiters, and its players are headed all over the map to play in college.

Here are the top 100 players in Michigan for the 2019-20 boys basketball season:

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1 Emoni Bates, Ypsilanti Lincoln, 6-foot-9 Soph. wing

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 10

There is no hype, only a resume to build upon for the 15-year-old who led the Railsplitters to their first MHSAA Division 1 State Championship this past March. Bates is regarded as the No. 1 prospect in the world and if you’re going to see the defending champs play, get there before halftime of the JV game — albeit half of their home games will be played at Eastern Michigan’s 9,500 capacity Convocation Center. His ability to score from the perimeter, mid-range, put the ball on the floor, and score above the rim is rare for anyone yet a high school sophomore. As a freshman, he averaged 29 points and 10 rebounds per game.

2 Carlos “Scooby” Johnson, Benton Harbor, 6-5 Sr. small forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 2

Commitment: Butler

The Butler commit jumped on the center stage as a versatile freshman on the Tigers’ semifinal team and then confidently knocked down the shot heard round the state with a game winning three for the state championship as a sophomore. A winner, Johnson averaged 26 points and 13 as a junior. Will another Championship be in the cards, perhaps Mr. Basketball?

3 Lorne Bowman, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 6-2 Sr. point guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 4

Commitment: Wisconsin

One won’t find many — if any — better shooters from the 2020 or 2021 classes as the future Wisconsin Badger, who has a tough mid-range and perimeter game that produced 23 points per game. Bowman also averaged seven rebounds and five assists as a junior. His athleticism is his biggest step of improvement as lay-ups are now easy dunks. Mr. Basketball? 

4 Jalen Terry, Flint Beecher, 5-11 Sr. guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 3

Another state champion, Terry is arguably the most dynamic open-court player in the state and his explosiveness in the half-court is matched by few. Terry will look to lead the Bucs to their third Division 3/Class C championship in four years and sixth since 2012. Terry averaged 22.5 points, seven rebounds, and six assists as a junior. Terry decommitted from Michigan State earlier this fall and holds offers from ACC, Big East, Big Ten, and Big 12 offers. He recently visited Louisville. Mr. Basketball?

5 Isaiah Jackson, Waterford Mott, 6-8 Sr. power forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/A

Commitment: Kentucky

Welcome back, Isaiah! The Kentucky commit returns from Spire (Ohio) Academy where he had a productive junior season. One of the country’s top rim protectors, Jackson is a rim punisher and one of the state’s most exciting players as he fluidly covers ground in a blink of an eye.  Jackson should come close to if not reach a triple-double in every game as he also one of the state’s top rebounders. Mr. Basketball?

6 Pierre Brooks II, Detroit Douglass, 6-6 Jr. small forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 21

Expect his 23.5 point and 8.3 rebound averages a year ago to climb as his combination of skill, strength, and athleticism grows into his own league.  Brooks was the first freshman to be named to the Detroit Public Schools’ First Team and as a sophomore awarded First-Team All-State. A coach’s son, Brooks can put up numbers in a hurry as he is as much as a threat to pull up from the perimeter as he is to finish through a defender in the paint for an ANNNDDDDD OOOONNNNNE! The junior holds offers from in state Michigan State, Detroit-Mercy, and Oakland as well as Alabama, Butler, Duquesne, Houston Baptist, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas State, Missouri, Toledo, and Xavier.

7 Tyson Acuff, Detroit Cass Tech, 6-4 Sr. point guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 9

Commitment: Duquesne

A three-year varsity starter, two-time DPS City Champion, and Class A All-State signed with Duquesne a month ago. Acuff pushes the ball with efficiency in Cass’ up-tempo offense and a fantastic finisher who gets to the basket with regularity. Size, strength, athleticism, court vision, and very skilled point guard averaged 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists as a junior.

8 Kobe Bufkin, Grand Rapids Christian, 6-5 Jr. shooting guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 19

Expect Bufkin’s 20 point, seven rebound, and three assist average to take a few ticks up as he is that much more skilled, taller, and stronger from a season ago.  The lefty can score with anyone in the state and from everywhere within 20-feet.  Bufkin made an unofficial visit to Depaul this past weekend and holds offers from the Chicago university as well as Michigan State, Ohio, Northwestern, Rhode Island, Texas Christian, and Virginia Commonwealth.   

9 Jaden Akins, Farmington, 6-3 Jr. guard 

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 20

Another lefty, Akins holds offers Michigan State, Central Connecticut State, Depaul, Duquesne, Georgia Tech, Houston Baptist, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Northwestern, Toledo, Western Michigan, and Xavier. A big first step to get a defender on his hip and a burst to the basket accounts to many continuation free throws and a step back from the mid-range or perimeter makes him a tough game plan for the opposition. The junior averaged 20 points, six rebounds, and four assists last season.

10 Julian Roper Jr., Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 6-5 Jr. shooting guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 18

Guess what? His offer list is approaching War and Peace, too. Akron, Alabama, Depaul, Illinois, Iowa, Miami (Ohio), Northwestern, Oakland, Ohio State, Toledo, and Wisconsin have extended scholarships. A tough rebounder, athletic finisher, and stat filling wing, Roper Jr. sat out his sophomore season after transferring from Detroit Country Day following his freshman year. 

11 Ty Rodgers, Grand Blanc, 6-5 Soph. Small forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R 

Strong, athletic, and high energy, Rodgers is one of the nation’s top sophomores.

12 Ryan Rollins, Macomb Dakota, 6-5 Sr. point guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 12

Commitment: Toledo

Fully healthy after only playing in ten games this past season where he averaged 18 points but is fully capable of surpassing his 23-point-per-game average as a sophomore. Rollins is athletic, long, skilled, and is a regular to put up big numbers in a heartbeat. He committed to Toledo. Mr. Basketball?

13 Daijon “Bubba” Humphrey, Southfield Christian, 6-4 Sr. guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 26

Commitment: Holy Cross

The Holy Cross commit will look to lead Southfield Christian to their third straight Division 4 title. He averaged 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals as a junior. Mr. Basketball?

14 Foster Wonders, Iron Mountain, 6-5 Jr. small forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 27

A trip to last season’s Division 3 Championship game gave “trolls” a chance to see the versatile and productive Wonders. The do all player averaged 24 points and seven rebounds a season ago. He holds offers from Central Michigan, Oakland, Western Michigan, Miami (OH.), South Dakota State, Southern Illinois, Toledo, Wisconsin-Green Bay, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

15 Maliq Carr, Oak Park, 6-7 Sr. power forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 7

Commitment: Purdue (football)

Committed to Purdue for football and see him on the court sooner than later as the all-state football player is leaving for West Lafayette, Ind., on January 12, 2020 as he enrolls for Purdue’s winter classes. He’s a bull on the court and the rims have a disdain for his dunks. He averaged 22 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists as a junior. Carr’s strength, athleticism, speed, and energy are built for Sundays.

16 Matthew Nicholson, Clarkston, 6-11 Sr. center

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Northwestern

“Matty No Offers” saw his recruitment take off in the last eight months as D2 offers grew to double-digit D1 offers with the big fella finally choosing Northwestern in late summer. He will near a triple-double this season after averaging 14 points and 12 rebounds along with six blocks per game as a junior. Mr. Basketball?

17 Javaughn Hannah, Mt. Clemens, 6-5 Soph. small forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

He averaged 20 points, nine rebounds, and three steals as a freshman with an offer from DePaul and interest from Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. Hannah plays downhill and his finishes turn heads. His ball-handling and shooting has improved which should result in even stronger stats.

18 Julian Lewis, Ann Arbor Huron, 6-6 Jr. forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

The versatile forward does the small things that don’t fit into stat shoots but that didn’t stop him from averaging 12 points and nine rebounds a season ago.  He is one of the state’s most balanced players as he defends multiple positions, hit the offensive and defensive boards, and scores with efficiency in the post with an ever-improving mid-range and perimeter jumper.  Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Duquesne, Toledo, and Youngstown State have all offered in the past five months.

19 Legend Geeter, River Rouge, 6-7 Jr. power forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Geeter’s time is here as he, along with upperclassmen, evenly shared stats over his first two seasons. Expect his 10 points and eight rebounds per game averages to nearly double. Rouge will again be one of the top teams in the state and if Rouge reaches the Breslin it will be Geeter’s third trip in as many years. The big fella holds offers from the University of Detroit-Mercy and Miami (OH.) with interest from A-10, MVC, and Big Ten schools.

20 William Dunn, Quincy, 6-9 Sr. power forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 36

Commitment: Youngstown State

The future Youngstown State Penguin plays all five positions for Quincy and averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds as a junior. Expect a few triple-doubles this season as Dunn moves very well on the defensive end and is one of the state’s better shot blockers. He’s added strength, athleticism, and a balanced skill set since he was a freshman. Mr. Basketball? 

21 Jarvis Walker, Muskegon, 6-3 Sr. guard/wing

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Purdue-Ft. Wayne

Stronger than most and few know how to get to the line as well as Walker. His perimeter jumper has improved bringing in numerous Division I offers over the last 18-months with the nod going to Purdue-Ft. Wayne. He averaged 19 points, five rebounds, and four assists as a junior. Mr. Basketball?

22 Joey Liedel, Erie-Mason, 5-10 Sr. Point guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: University of Detroit-Mercy

The future Detroit-Mercy Titan averaged 29 points, five rebounds, five assists, and three steals per game on last season’s Division 3 semifinal team. Well on his way to a 2,000-point career, Liedel is arguably the top shooter in the state and is constantly on the move as he is double- and triple-teamed game after game. Mr. Basketball?

23 Omar Zeigler III, Detroit King, 6-5 Jr. small forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 40

Zeigler has worked on his guard skills and will have the opportunity to have the ball in his hands more this season which should result in a lift to last season’s 11 points and two assists averages. He hits the boards like a big man and is a bull when hitting the boards or scoring in the paint.

24 Jayden Nunn, Flint Carman-Ainsworth, 6-3 Jr. combo guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

One of the state’s top scorers regardless of class, Nunn plays downhill but is a tough guard because of his ability to pull up for perimeter and mid-range jumpers. He holds numerous offers throughout the Midwest with the majority coming from the MAC. He averaged 14 points, six rebounds, seven assists, and three steals a season ago.

25 Jon Brantley, Birmingham Brother Rice, 6-0 Sr. combo guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Lafayette

He committed to Lafayette this past fall and should follow in the productive footsteps of others from the Great Lakes State who have thrived in the Patriot League. He has very good size and can light it up from the perimeter or bull his way to the basket. Brantley averaged 20 points, five assists, five rebounds, and two steals as a junior. Mr. Basketball? 

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The next 25:

26 Jimmy Scholler, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, 6-5 Sr. wing

Commitment: Ferris State

27 Colin Golson, Detroit East English Village, 6-5 Sr. center 

Commitment: Siena

28 Parker Day, Saginaw Heritage, 6-5 Jr. small forward

29 Trey Townsend, Oxford, 6-6 Sr. power forward

Commitment: Oakland

30 Dante Foreman, Romulus Summit Academy North, 6-5 Jr. small forward

31 Griffin Yaklich, Saline, 6-6 Sr. forward

32 Mykel Bingham, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 6-7 Sr. forward

33 Braelon Green, Ypsilanti Lincoln, 6-3 Fr. guard

34 Trey Lewis, Ferndale, 6-5 Soph. small forward

35 Jason Drake, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 6-0 Soph. combo guard

36 Fletcher Loyer, Clarkston, 6-3 Soph. shooting guard

37 Chansey Willis Jr., Detroit King, 6-2 Soph. guard 

38 Brody Parker, Troy, 6-0 Jr. point guard

Commitment: Oakland

39 Andrel Anthony Jr., East Lansing, 6-2 Jr. wing

40 Kyler Vanderjagt, Grand Rapids Northview, 6-5 Soph. small forward

41 Kareem Rozier, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 5-7 Soph. point guard

42 Sir’Real Smith, Saginaw, 5-10 Sr. combo guard

43 Basheer Jihad, North Farmington, 6-8 Jr. center 

44 Brandon Hunt, Williamston, 6-6 Jr. forward

45 Jack Karasinski, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 6-4 Soph. wing 

46 Justin DeGraaf, Hudsonville, 6-7 Sr. forward

47 LaTa’Vius Vaughter, Clio, 6-6 Sr. forward

48 Jayshawn Moore, Ferndale, 6-5 Sr. forward

49 Curtis Williams, Birmingham Brother Rice, 6-5 Fr. small forward

50 Nicholas Branton, South Lyon East, 6-8 Sr. center

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The next 50:

51 Freddie McIntosh, Saginaw, 5-10 Sr. combo guard 

Commitment: Saginaw Valley State

52 Maurice Anderson, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, 6-2 Sr. shooting guard

53 Isaiah Jones, Flint Carman Ainsworth, 6-2 Soph. wing 

54 Brendan Sullivan, Davison, 6-5 Jr. forward 

55 Owen Lobsinger, Flint Powers, 6-6 Jr. power forward

56 Lavell Brodnex, Saginaw, 6-5 Jr. wing

57 Devon Womack, Ann Arbor Huron, 6-2 Jr. point guard

58 Keyon Mennifield Jr., Flint Beecher, 5-10 Jr. point guard

59 Simon Wheeler Jr., Ypsilanti Lincoln, 5-9 Jr. point guard

60 Orlando Lovejoy Jr., Romulus Summit Academy North, 6-1 Soph. guard

61 Tharren “Squally” Hill, Detroit Pershing, 6-0 Soph. point guard

62 Trae Ruggles, Grass Lake, 6-4 Sr. small forward

63 Demarion Bonds, Waterford Mott, 6-3 Jr. guard

64 Trip Reimersma, Zeeland East, 6-5 Jr. small forward

65 Charlie Woodhams, Otsego, 6-3 Sr. wing

Commitment: Hillsdale

66 Jamoni Jones, East Kentwood, 6-0 Sr. point guard

67 Curtis Jackson, Harper Woods, 6-0 Sr. point guard

68 Ethan Alderink, Holland Christian, 6-6 Sr. forward

69 Earnest Sanders, Flint Beecher, 6-2 Sr. wing

Commitment: Kentucky (football)

70 Reece Hazelton, Maple City Glen Lake, 6-7 Sr. power forward

Commitment: Ferris State

71 Keegan Wasilk, Clarkston, 6-0 Soph. point guard

72 Tyson Davis, Goodrich, 5-8 Jr. point guard 

73 Kyle LeGreiare, Detroit Cass Tech, 6-0 Sr. point guard 

Commitment: University of Detroit-Mercy

74 Raynard Jackson, Detroit Edison, 6-4 Sr. forward

75 Ty Fortney, Wayne Memorial, 6-8 Sr. center

76 Kevin-David Rice Jr., Grand Blanc, 6-3 Sr. wing

77 Max Perez, Hudsonville, 5-10 Sr. point guard

78 Montrell Turner, Roseville, 6-2 Sr. wing

79 Trevor Smith, Rochester Stoney Creek, 6-0 Jr. point guard

80 Joshua Hines, Macomb Dakota, 5-11 Jr. point guard

81 Ethan Emerzian, Troy, 6-1 Jr. shooting guard

82 Mason Wojotusik, Mt. Pleasant, 6-2 Sr. combo guard

83 Mark Mayberry, Detroit Loyola, 6-0 Sr. point guard

84 Thomas Dillard IV, Kalamazoo Central, 6-3 Soph. small forward

85 Juwan Maxey, Detroit Renaissance, 6-3 Soph. Point guard

86 Kevyn Robertson, Walled Lake Northern, 6-5 Jr. forward

87 Marcus Wourman, East Lansing, 5-10 Jr. point guard

88 James Felton, Lansing Christian, 6-8 Sr. center/power forward

Commitment: Davenport

89 Mason Docks, Williamston, 5-9 Soph. point guard

90 Kingsley Perkins, Ann Arbor Huron, 6-7 Jr. center

91 Bryce Nyboer, Allendale, 6-4 Sr. forward

92 Brandon Claerbaut, Zeeland East, 6-6 Jr. forward 

93 Donivan Peoples, Detroit Douglass, 6-3 Sr. small forward

94 Peyton LaCombe, Ludington, 6-6 soph. power forward

95 Jaylen Flaniken, Detroit Edison, 6-3 Jr. wing

96 Lucas Henderson, Ypsilanti, 5-10 Jr. point guard

97 Rylan Bowens, Detroit Cass Tech, 6-5 Soph. Power forward

98 Genesis Kemp, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 6-6 Sr. center 

99 Carmelo Harris, Flint Beecher, 5-10 Soph. guard

100 Kip Clark, Detroit Western, 6-6 Sr. center