Not all of the good players left the state. Romeo Weems is still at New Haven and the DePaul University signee is having another terrific season.
Mick McCabe, www.freep.com
Why Romeo Weems stayed at New Haven instead of going to prep school
As Romeo Weems broke into the clear and headed to the basket to throw down yet another rim-rattling dunk to become New Haven’s all-time leading scorer, one question remained unanswered:
What is he still doing here... in New Haven... in Michigan?
In an era where some of the best basketball players in the state opt to leave home and finish their high school careers at prep schools, Weems remains at home, playing for New Haven and coach Tedaro France.
In the class of 2019 alone, Mark (Rocket) Watts of Old Redford Academy; Terry Armstrong of Flint Carman-Ainsworth and Davison; Harlond Beverly of Southfield Christian; Myron Gardner of Detroit Loyola; and Carrington McCaskill of Detroit Renaissance have left for high-profile prep schools that travel the country playing games.
Weems was certainly courted by prep schools, but it didn’t make sense to the 6-foot-7 star who signed with DePaul.
“I stayed because I think Coach France is a good coach, a great coach,” Weems said. “Me and my family talked about and decided to stay in the state.”
Ranked the No. 1 player in his class since his freshman year, Weems has done nothing to change that ranking this season. He is averaging 31.1 points, 11.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 3.5 steals and 2.1 blocked shots and has scored 1,937 career points.
He turned down a bevy of schools including Michigan and Michigan State to sign with DePaul because he said is where he felt he fit in best.
While it wasn’t for him, Weems understands why others decide to go to a prep school.
“It’s for more exposure,” said Weems. “I’ve got exposure, but it’s just that more people will know you around the country. I really had that. I was already committed to college and I didn’t really need anything. I just figured I’d stay, stay loyal to my coach.”
You can’t get much more exposure than playing for USA Basketball, which Weems has been doing for some time.
Last summer, he helped the country’s U17 team win the World Championship in Argentina.
But there is the prep school promise of more time devoted to improving a player’s game and the opportunity to play against better competition.
“I probably would have more time in the gym,” Weems said. “I’ve heard that some prep schools have three classes, then go work out. But I feel like the kids in Michigan play hard, play aggressive. I feel like Michigan players play harder than a lot of states.”
As for spending more time in the gym working on his game, the morning after scoring 47 points in a recent win, Weems did not sleep in.
“At 5 a.m.,” France said, “he was in the gym with me working on his game.”
The Weems family was contacted by prep school coaches who wanted their son to spend his senior season traveling the country, playing in some nationally televised games, which Michigan high school teams aren’t permitted to play.
But that talk went nowhere when the family considered the offers, which meant they would rarely be able to see the youngest of their five children play his senior season.
“We like to finish what we start,” said William Weems, his father. “He’s on a mission. He wants Mr. Basketball; he wasn’t McDonald’s All-America. We’re faithful to our word. We told them we’d be here and so we’re here.
“He’ll be gone in a few months so we’re taking this and enjoying it.”
While Weems may seem to fit the definition of a gym rat, basketball was just one of the sports he played growing up.
In fact, he was an outstanding quarterback/receiver and a linebacker/defensive end on the New Haven football team until he needed elbow surgery to remove bone chips last August.
“That’s my favorite sport,” Weems said of football. “I just loved the contact; I love the energy it brings. I just love it all. The position didn’t matter, I just liked playing. I really liked defense mostly.
“I just got more looks in basketball quicker. I just felt like it was probably a smarter and better way to go.”
Unlike some coaches of a premier player, France had no problem with Weems playing football. He couldn’t. A three-sport all-stater himself, France was a four-year starter in the secondary at Central Michigan in the late 1990s.
“I encourage my kids to play all sports,” France said. “I think it’s better for kids to participate in more than one sport. It builds character, they compete year ‘round. Being such a small school, we need kids to play multiple sports.”
Weems hesitated when asked which is his best position in basketball. He had to think about it for a while because he can play them all.
His size allows him to dominate in the paint and he has improved his perimeter shooting, especially since the bone chips in his elbow are gone.
He is an amazing shot blocker and he can also handle the ball. But all of those qualities were not present when he was a freshman.
“When he came in he was kind of raw,” France said. “He was athletic, could jump, but he struggled with his shot, struggled with his ball skills. He took that personally these last three years to really improve that.
“But I knew he was going to be great because he made me work harder as a coach.”
Weems’ best moment came two seasons ago, his sophomore year, when he scored 19 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, blocked four shots and had three steals in leading New Haven over Ludington to capture the Class B state championship.
“It was good; it was a great experience, great time,” he said. “The team had good chemistry. I remember all the fun we had. The whole season was like a story to tell.”
Now he is a senior and after losing in the Class B semifinals as a junior, Weems wants to tell another story.
This time he wants the story to end with the Division 2 title.
“Last year in the semis we just shot the ball bad; we didn’t shoot well,” he said. “This year we want to win states. That’s the goal for the season — to win that.”
Mick McCabe is a former longtime columnist for the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1
Come out and support your Rockets on the west side as we take on host Grand Rapids Union in the 5th Annual Redhawk showcase Saturday in Grand Rapids. A great event with a great line up of some top teams, players and coaches in the state #FAMILY
By Steve Kaminski www.mlive.com
Grand Rapids Union boys basketball coach Brandoen Guyton wanted to create one of the state’s top tournaments when he introduced the Red Hawk Showcase five years ago
Guyton has done exactly that.
The 5th annual Showcase returns with five games Saturday, and it features four-Michigan Associated Press state ranked teams, as well as standouts in Romeo Weems, Carlos ‘Scooby’ Johnson and Emoni Bates, which are Michigan's top three players according to the Detroit Free Press’ preseason player rankings.
“I think people can expect high level basketball from start to finish,” Guyton said. “If you look at it, the opening game tells you about the event. You see Grand Rapids Christian versus Kalamazoo Central. You have two top 10 teams starting it off.”
Here’s a breakdown of the Showcase:
Tickets are $10 per person, and fans are permitted to leave and return. However, they will not receive access upon return if the gymnasium is at capacity. Tickets are available only on Saturday at the school.
WHAT TO WATCH
RED HAWKS HOST ROMEO
New Haven, featuring Mr. Basketball candidate Romeo Weems, will take on the host Red Hawks. Weems, 6-7, has committed to DePaul, and he has helped spark his team to a 13-1 start. New Haven is ranked third in Division 2.
THE EMONI & SCOOBY SHOW
Two of the state's top players going head-to-head?
It's happening Saturday.
West Michigan will get a closeup look at Lincoln freshman Emoni Bates, a 6-foot-8 forward who already has offers from Florida State and DePaul. Bates is the nation’s No. 1 freshman according to Future150.
Bates will face a tough challenge against defending state champion Benton Harbor, which is ranked fourth in Division 2. The Tigers, 14-1 overall, have plenty of star power, too. Scooby Johnson, a 6-6 junior forward, has offers from Michigan and West Virginia.
TOP 10 TEAMS TANGLE
Kalamazoo Central (9-1) enters this week’s action ranked sixth in Division 1, while Christian (10-2) is 10th in Division 2. Kalamazoo’s lone loss was to Detroit Martin Luther King, 45-43 on Jan. 5 in the Muskegon Showcase. The Eagles suffered their second loss Saturday, 59-53 to Wayland in overtime.
Bates isn't the only standout freshman coming to Union Saturday. The Big Reds are 9-3 and honorable mention in Division 1, and they will square off against Ty Rodgers and Grand Blanc. Rodgers, a 6-5 forward, is ranked 34th in the nation among the Class of 2022.
EXCITING EAST KENTWOOD
East Kentwood (7-5) has played some of the most exciting basketball in the Grand Rapids area. The Falcons have played four overtime games, going 3-1 in those contests. Country Day is 5-7 overall.
6-1 2019 Guard Ronald Jeffery III One of the best & toughest guards in the state. 4 year varsity starter who exemplifies hard work, dedication & commitment. Strong leader, fierce competitor & a flat out winner! Kid can do it all on both ends
Joseph Hayes, www.thetimesherald.com
New Haven and Richmond.
Throughout the high school boys basketball season, each team has displayed the type of potential that could lead to a prolonged postseason run.
Entering the month of February, each team is playing well and continues to lead the Times Herald Boys Basketball Poll.
1.New Haven continues to dominate night in and night out with an impressive mix of talent and determination. It is easy to see just how gifted the Rockets are, but they are also a mentally tough team that thrives in difficult environments.
When New Haven is focused on the defensive end, it is one of the toughest teams in the state to play. The Rockets enter the week 13-1, with a road contest at Romeo slated for Tuesday.
2. Richmond has somewhat flown under the radar, but it is 13-1 for a reason. Richmond has size, length and plenty of speed and that has kept the team in first place in the Blue Water Area Conference standings. Richmond will host North Branch on Friday.
3. Marine City is as scrappy as they come and continues to win games behind its defense and shooting ability. The Mariners (10-2) have already won the Macomb Area Conference Bronze Division championship and enter the week on a three-game win streak. Next up is a difficult stretch, including three consecutive road contests.
4. Croswell-Lexington is another team that has impressed with a balanced effort. The Pioneers (11-2) have won five consecutive games after two losses and enter the week a game out of first place in the Blue Water Area Conference.
5. St. Clair rounds out the top five of the poll after recovering from a three-game losing streak with an impressive victory over Warren Woods Tower.
The Saints (9-6) will host St. Clair Shores South Lake on Tuesday.
Boys Basketball Poll
1. New Haven (13-1)
2. Richmond (13-1)
3. Marine City (10-2)
4. Cros-Lex (11-2)
5. St. Clair (9-6)
6. Yale (11-3)
7. Cardinal Mooney (7-7)
8. Port Huron Northern (6-8)
9. Marysville (6-8)
10. Port Huron (1-13)
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Joseph_Hayes11.
Jared Purcell www.mlive.com
For the first time in 2019, Benton Harbor is no longer the No. 1 team in the state's top 25 rankings. This week's edition of MLive's top 25 boys basketball rankings has a few other changes, including the editions of Ypsilanti Lincoln and Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy.
Here is MLive's latest list of the top 25 boys basketball teams in the state, regardless of class.
25. Ypsilanti Lincoln 10-1
Winners of five straight, the Railsplitters have an exciting week ahead. After what should be wins against Pinckney on Tuesday and Tecumseh on Friday, Lincoln travels to take on Benton Harbor on Saturday at Grand Rapids Union.
24. Walled Lake Northern 14-0
The Knights continue to roll and haven't shown any signs of slowing down. Last week, Northern picked up a 37-point win over South Lyon East and a 20-point win over Walled Lake Central. Milford is the only game this week, scheduled for Tuesday, and it will be the final obstacle standing between the Knights and an undefeated Lakes Valley Conference regular season effort.
23. Mount Pleasant,12-0
Every week has been a good one for the undefeated Oilers and last week ranks high among them. Notching a 56-44 win over Orchard Lake St. Mary's on Dr. Martin Luther King Day, Mt. Pleasant went back to action the next day and dominated Bay City Western, 73-38. The Oilers also had 57-45 win over Bay City Central. A meeting with 10-3 Midland awaits on Tuesday. Mt. Pleasant beat Midland, 56-47, to open the season.
After double-digit wins over Midland and Romulus last week, the schedule is all Saginaw Valley Conference Red Division games from here on out. Saginaw Heritage and Bay City Central are on tap for this week.
21. Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern 14-0
Forest Hills Northern cemented itself at the top of the OK White with wins over Forest Hills Central and Grand Rapids Northview last week. Only one game awaits this week as the Huskies travel to Greenville on Friday, a team it beat by 45 points earlier this month.
20. Wayne Memorial 10-2
As expected, Wayne dominated Livonia Churchill and Dearborn. Perhaps the biggest week of the season awaits as the Zebras host Westland John Glenn on Tuesday and then at Livonia Stevenson on Friday.
19. Ann Arbor Pioneer 11-2
Pioneer is 4-0 in Southeastern Conference Red Division play after beating Temperance Bedford last week. Two road matchups await this week as the Pioneers take on Monroe on Tuesday and then prepare for a big matchup with rival Ann Arbor Skyline on Friday.
18. Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy 12-0
Chandler Park Academy has been laying waste to its competition in the Charter School Conference. A 32-point win over Macomb Dakota is a key highlight in the list of recent wins for the Eagles. Last week, the Eagles beat Detroit Cornerstone by 21 points and Warren Michigan Collegiate by 33 points. A Tuesday road matchup at Southfield Bradford awaits to determine the conference regular season champion.
Jarvis Walker, a transfer from Mona Shores, became eligible last week and made an immediate impact as he led the team in a scoring with 19 points in a 79-49 win over Mona Shores on Tuesday. Muskegon then clobbered Fruitport before notching a 56-47 win over Belleville this last weekend. The Big Reds host Kenowa Hills on Friday before travelling to Grand Rapids Union on Saturday to face Grand Blanc.
16. Muskegon Reeths-Puffer12-1
The win streak has reached 10 games after a 19-point win over Spring Lake. Road matchups with Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills and Grand Rapids Union await this week.
15. Flint Carman-Ainsworth11-2
Carman-Ainsworth picked up another big win by handing Grand Blanc its first Saginaw Valley League Blue Division loss of the season. Carmain-Ainsworth is at home against Davison on Tuesday and then on the road against Flint on Friday.
14. Canton 11-1
Two more wins last week extend Canton's win streak to 11 games. Canton won those games by a combined 71 points. Canton hosts Northville on Tuesday after beating them, 65-46, earlier in the season. Canton will also travel to face Novi on Friday.
13. Williamston 13-1
Williamston topped Maple City Glenn Lake without much issue last week and the Hornets remain undefeated against competition from Michigan this season. Fowlerville is the only team up on the docket this week on Friday. Williamston beat Fowlerville by 25 points earlier in the season.
12. Detroit Cass Tech 10-3
Cass Tech has wrapped up PSL regular season play with wins over Detroit Douglass and Detroit Collegiate Prep last week. The Technicians will wait to see which opponent it will face for the start of the Detroit Public School League tournament on Friday.
11. Benton Harbor 14-1
In its only game last week, Benton Harbor lost on Saturday to Detroit Edison Public School Academy, 77-68. The Tigers lost control of the game in the second half and trailed by 17 heading into the fourth quarter.
10. Flint Beecher 12-2
Beecher came so close to notching a marquee win at home on Saturday when it fell to Detroit U-D Jesuit. Despite coming close to knocking off the Cubs, it is Beecher's second loss in three games. The road remains tough for the Bucs this week as it travels to Grand Blanc on Tuesday and then hosts Goodrich on Friday for a matchup that could decide the Genesee Area Conference Red Division regular season title.
9. Okemos 13-1
Picking up another CAAC Blue win last week by defeating Grand Ledge, 47-45, the Chiefs will wrap up a five-game stretch of road games this week against conference bottom dwellers in Holt and Lansing Waverly.
8. Detroit Catholic Central 10-3
The Shamrocks registered two more wins last week, including a close 54-50 overtime win over Orchard Lake St. Mary's. Catholic Central will travel to Warren De La Salle on Tuesday in its only game this week. In fact, it will be the last game before the Catholic League A/B tournament begins on Feb. 9.
7. Detroit Martin Luther King13-2
Easy wins over Detroit Collegiate Prep and Detroit Western International have King awaiting the start of the PSL tournament on Friday. The Crusaders will be attempting to catch their first city title since 2012.
6. Kalamazoo Central9-1
Kalamazoo Central was off last week but returns with a three-game slate this week. Portage Central is up on Tuesday, Battle Creek Central follows on Friday and then a key matchup with Grand Rapids Christian awaits on Saturday at Grand Rapids Union.
5. New Haven 13-1
New Haven's win streak has reached 11 games as the Rockets have won 11 of those games by at least 26 points. Averaging 77 points per game, New Haven travels to Romeo on Tuesday and to Grand Rapids Union on Saturday.
4. Roseville 13-1
Roseville is in aggressive cruise control at the moment, having easily beaten Utica Eisenhower and Macomb L'Anse Creuse North last week. Roseville can wrap up the Macomb Area Conference Red Division title in its first year in the division with a win at Stevenson on Tuesday. Warren Woods Tower await on Friday.
3. Clarkston 12-2
Clarkston only seems to be getting stronger as January presses on. After a 31-point win over Bloomfield Hills, the Wolves dismantled rival Lake Orion, 64-38, thanks in part to some stellar 3-point shooting. The freshman guard pair of Fletcher Loyer and Keegan Wasilk certainly have a bright future as the next great tandem in Michigan.
2. Detroit U-D Jesuit12-2
Picking up three more wins last week, its win over Flint Beecher was as close as it gets as Jesuit won, 70-69, despite holding a 17-point lead at one point in the second half. The Cubs will attempt to wrap up an undefeated season in the Catholic High School League Central Division this week with a home matchup against Orchard Lake St. Mary's on Tuesday and a trip to Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice on Friday.
1. River Rouge
River Rouge notched two more victories last week with a 10-point win over Harper Woods and a 48-point win over Detroit Henry Ford Academy for Creative Studies. A three-game week is up next with trips to Detroit Voyager on Tuesday and Hamtramck on Friday. The Panthers will cap the week on Saturday at home against Southfield Christian.
New Haven Alumni 6-7 Guard Austin Sherrell lead his Kentucky State Thoroughbreds to victory over LeMoyne-Owen College
Former longtime Free Press columnist and current special writer Mick McCabe provides his weekly boys and girls high school basketball rankings. Follow him on Twitter: @MickMcCabe1.
Ranking, school, record, division.
Ranking, school, record, previous ranking.
Rockets #3 in the State Super 20 and #1 in the East David Goricki's boys high school basketball rankings: Jan. 27 Detroit News
Here are new high school boys basketball rankings as of Jan. 27, 2019, by David Goricki of The Detroit News. Goricki ranks the top teams in the state, and in the four Metro Detroit regions.
State Super 20
It was great having the Jr Rockets basketball team as our guest and being apart of our pregame preparation and speech & then leading us out the locker room to victory. Big thanks to Maks for being my shadow coach and top assistant for the night
Big victory over Warren Mott 64-37 to win our 5th straight league title. Proud of our boys & the hard work they continue to put in daily. Great team defensive effort! Hard, smart and together!
*Weems 28pt 11rb 6ast 3stl 5bk
*Jeffery 19pts 11reb 5ast 3stl
*Wiles 7pts 4reb
*Payne 6pts 5reb 2ast 2stl
*Dandridge 2pts 2stl 2blk
*Brooks 2pts 4reb 4ast
*Farrior 3reb 3ast
*Lewis 5reb 2blk
By Kevin Lozon For The Macomb Daily
New Haven’s Romeo Weems and Ronald Jeffery III wear the numbers 1 and 0, respectively for the Rockets.
Combine the two digits and you get a perfect 10, which is what the two seniors were on Friday night against visiting Warren Mott.
Weems and Jeffery III combined 47 points, leading the Rockets to a 64-37 MAC White Division win over the Marauders, securing the division championship in the process.
“We knew coming in here that this game was for first place because Mott was a game behind us,” New Haven coach Tedaro France II said. “Our kids knew this was the championship game. We played great team defense on the defensive end, and it led to great offense.”
The Rockets dominated from the opening tap racing to a 29-9 lead after one quarter behind 14 points by Weems, and nine by Jeffery.
Weems added 13 more points in the second quarter, sparking a 21-9 New Haven spurt, pushing its lead to 50-18 at halftime.
“Romeo’s just a kid who works so hard,” France said. “He’s shooting the ball and defending at a high level. He’s a great scorer, but he also gets his teammates involved and makes them better by the way he plays.”
Jeffery led an 11-6 Rocket run in the third quarter with six points, which ended with New Haven comfortably in front 61-24.
“Ronald is having a great year, shooting the ball extremely well,” France said. “He’s one of the best unknown players in the whole state. He can play and he complements our team so well.”
Weems finished with 28 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, five blocks and three steals, while Jeffery added 19 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals. Brent Wiles chipped in seven points, while Darrius Brooks finished with four assists. The win improved New Haven’s record to 13-1 overall, 9-0 league.
“I’m so proud of my group because they continue to play hard and unselfish,” France said. “We also defend at a high level.”
Warren Mott, which fell to 11-3 overall, 7-2 league, was led by De’Jon Gantz with 11 points, while Darius Willis added seven points, and Jermaine Bowie finished with five points.
Congrats to Romeo Weems on receiving a Certificate of Achievement on becoming New Haven’s all-time leading scorer from Rocket great Eli Sims who held the record for 48 years. Romeo has 1, 927pts & is averaging 30.1 points a game this season.
New Haven Basketball