Jared Purcell, www.mlive.com
It is an exciting time of year as the high school boys basketball season is off and running in Michigan. As teams begin the pursuit of a state championship in March, college programs from across the country are keeping track of some of the top talent that Michigan has to offer.
Unfortunately, many top names like Michigan State commit Mark "Rocket" Watts have transferred out of state. Watts, formerly the top-ranked recruit in Michigan, transferred from Detroit Old Redford to SPIRE Academy in Ohio with junior teammate Isaiah Jackson (Michigan State, Louisville offers) and senior teammate Aundre Polk (Cleveland State offer). Watts was the top-ranked recruit in the state before leaving and was expected to be in the running for the Hal Schram Mr. Basketball award.
Another top player from the class of 2019 left as Southfield Christian standout Harlond Beverley transferred to Florida Harlond Beverly transferred to Florida. Now, the latest top talent to leave is Carrington McCaskill of Detroit Renaissance. McCaskill, a Florida Atlantic signee, was supposed to be a Mr. Basketball contender this winter but as opted to transfer to SPIRE as well.
Although the trend of top talent from around Michigan heading out-of-state for prep schools and sports academies is nothing new, it seems to be happening more often.
Still, that does not mean the cupboards are bare. Recruits from Michigan have been getting into top schools across the country without having to leave the state and these players have either already signed to play at the next level or are up-and-coming talent that will surely play in college. Michigan is even home to some of the top freshman, sophomores and juniors in the nation. Whether or not they stick around is up to them.
Romeo Weems, 6-7 G/F, New Haven Senior
Weems is a front-runner for this year's Hal Schramm Mr. Basketball award and has been one of the state's top talents since his freshman season.
He surprised everyone back in May when he committed to DePaul over offers from the likes of Michigan and Michigan State.
"It was a tough decision," Weems said at his commitment ceremony. "I know everyone is going to ask, 'why DePaul?' and everything. But why not DePaul? They asked when I came to New Haven, 'why New Haven?' I've always been different."
Now signed with DePaul, Weems is capable of playing anywhere on the floor where the Rockets need him. Last winter, he averaged 23.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 5.3 assist, 4.8 steals and 2 blocks per game. Weems has 1,497 career points and is closing in on the New Haven school record of 1,840. He also shot 51-for-126 (40 percent) from 3-point range.
Last year, he even had a quadruple-double in the region championship win over Detroit Country Day by recording 21 points, 16 rebounds, 12 assists and 10 steals.
Tyson Acuff, 6-3 G, Detroit Cass Tech Junior
Still with plenty of recruitment ahead of him, Acuff has an offer from Buffalo and Cleveland State. Acuff is going to be the heart and soul of a great Cass Tech basketball team this winter and his continued exposure should help the point guard reel in more DI offers moving forward. Averaging 14 points and 6.5 assists last year, it will be no surprised to see his point totals get a nice bump this year. He will be leaned on at times but he should be up to carrying the load as Cass Tech will contend for a PSL championship.
Jaden Akins, 6-2 G, Farmington Sophomore
Akins' recruiting is still in its infancy but there is growing hype around the talented young guard. So far, he has offers from Cleveland State and Houston Baptist but you can expect that list to continue to grow this season and the next. As a freshman last year, he averaged 16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists for the Falcons.
Lincoln's Emoni Bates (21) dribbles the ball during the match up between Ann Arbor Huron and Lincoln in the 2018 Ypsi Tip-off Classic at the EMU Convocation Center on Monday evening, Nov. 26, 2018. Lincoln would take home the win after defeating Ann Arbor Huron, 80-69.(Tanya Moutzalias | MLive.com)
Emoni Bates, 6-8 F, Ypsilanti Lincoln Freshman
Bates is ranked as the nation's No. 1 recruit by various recruiting services and he has already started living up to the hype, recording 32 points and 15 rebounds in his first high school game. He already has a scholarship offer from DePaul, while Kentucky, Michigan and Michigan State have shown interest. Offers will likely come soon from all those schools, and likely many more.
Lorne Bowman, 6-2 G, Orchard Lake St. Mary's Junior
Committed to play for Wisconsin, Bowman also fielded offers from Oakland, Iowa, Nebraska and Buffalo, among others.
He averaged 22 points and 5 assists last season for St. Mary's. A great shooter from beyond the arc, he will be hoping to guide St. Mary's into a deep playoff run after the Eaglets made it to the region championships last year before losing to Clarkston, the eventual state champion.
Pierre Brooks, 6-5 G, Detroit Douglass Sophomore
A rising sophomore, Brooks has brought in offers from the likes of Oakland, Detroit, Cleveland State, Houston Baptist and Duquesne.
Maliq Carr, 6-6 F, Oak ParkJ unior
Carr is so talented, he has many offers for football and basketball. An MLive Detroit Dream Team selection for football this last fall as a wide receiver, Carr will once again be one of the best in the state as a forward on the hardwood for the Knights. With big time offers coming from the likes of Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State for football, he also has offers from Oakland, Western Michigan and Cleveland State for basketball. He averaged 17 points and 13 rebounds last year.
Julian Dozier, 5-9 G, Detroit U-D Jesuit Senior
Although undersized, Division I schools have not shied away from offering the talented shooter. Oakland, Eastern Michigan, Southern Mississippi and Western Kentucky are among the teams offering him.
After spending last year at Bella Vista Prep in Arizona, Dozier has moved back to Michigan to join Jesuit once again. It is safe to say that the Cubs are happy to have him back. A member of the 2016 state championship team as a freshman, Dozier really grew into a difference maker. He averaged around 18 points last year in Arizona and gives Jesuit another great weapon on the perimeter.
Donavan Freeman, 6-4 G/F, River Rouge Senior
Seriously, where are the offers for this kid? Don't worry, they'll come. With great overall athleticism, the high-flying scorer should swoon recruiters this winter.
Daniel Friday, 6-4 G, Detroit U-D Jesuit Senior
Signed with Brown, he also had another Ivy League offer from Harvard. He also hauled in offers from University of Detroit, Central Michigan, Buffalo and more.
Friday will likely be running the point most of the time this year. Last year, Friday shot an impressive 64 percent from the field while averaging 15 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists. Committed to play for Brown, Friday will be a key fixture in Jesuit's legitimate attempt at Division 1 state championship this season.
Carlos Johnson, 6-6 F, Benton Harbor Junior
A four-star talent, Johnson has 10 offers that include West Virginia, Missouri, Butler, Duquesne, Oakland and Detroit. He has also gained interest from Michigan State along the way as well. Last year, he averaged 19 points, 13.9 rebounds and two blocks per game while helping Benton Harbor claim the Class B state title. He sunk the game-winning 3-point shot in the title game.
Drew Lowder, 6-0 G, Ann Arbor Pioneer Senior
Last year, Lowder averaged 19 points and four assists per game, shooting 46 percent from the field while he was at it. He picked Holy Cross over the likes of Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Toledo, Northern Illinois and Ferris State.
Jiovanni Miles, 6-3 G, Novi Senior
Miles is going to be the leader of the West Bloomfield squad this year and he has the talent and experience to do just that. He has offers from Central Michigan and Detroit.
Donavan Moore, 6-3 G, West Bloomfield Senior
Signed to play with Toledo next year, he picked the Rockets over Central Michigan, Detroit, Miami (OH), Bradley and Tennessee State.
Moore is a high-flyer that dominates with pure athleticism. Averaging 21 points per game last season, he is hard to stop once he streaks toward the basket. Moore made an immediate positive impact for the Lakers last year after moving from Hillsboro in southern Illinois.
Matt Nicholson, 6-11 C, Clarkston Junior
He is definitely one of most intriguing players to watch moving forward. Work through the grape vine says that he had a huge leap in development on the AAU circuit and, of course, Nicholson's size already sets him apart from his peers. His only offer at this point is from Ferris State but that should change moving forward. After not seeing a lot of playing time last year thanks to Clarkston's stacked roster, Nicholson will be relied on a lot this season in the paint as Clarkston is looking to recover from graduating its entire championship starting five.
Kasean Pryor, 6-8 F, Ann Arbor Pioneer Senior
Transferring in from New Mexico before last season, Pryor made an immediate impact for Pioneer, averaging 15 points and nine rebounds. With nearly a dozen offers, Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan are both in the mix for him.
Ty Rodgers, F, Grand Blanc Freshman
The nephew of Michigan State and NBA star Jason Richardson, Rodgers is one of the biggest up-and-coming talents in the state and, possibly, the country. The schools showing interest in Rodgers include Michigan, Michigan State, Louisville, Nebraska, Creighton and DePaul. He is a Saginaw native set up to be the next big star to come out of Flint area schools, adding to the rich basketball history of both cities.
Julian Roper, G/F, Detroit Country Day Sophomore
Although he has only one offer so far, he is only a sophomore. His lone offer came from Iowa in October but many schools have been showing interest in the young athlete. A lot of Big Ten schools are tuning into Roper's progress, including Michigan and Michigan State.
In his short high school career, Roper has developed into a difference maker on the court. Breaking the 20-point barrier was not a challenge for Roper last season.
Jalen Terry, 5-11 G, Flint Beecher Junior
Ranked as the No. 1 recruit in the state's 2020 class according to 247Sports, the talented point guard has a lot of top-level schools looking at him, including Michigan State. Michigan has also been showing great interest in him as well. Butler, Louisville DePaul and Iowa State have also offered, along with a number of other schools. Terry was first-team All-State last season, when he averaged 17 points, 5.3 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals.
Jalen Thomas, 6-10 C, Detroit U-D Jesuit Senior
Arguably the best center in the entire state this winter, Thomas had nine offers before signing with the University of Massachusetts. He also had offers from Detroit, Buffalo, Toldeo and Cleveland State, among others.
He averaged a double-double last year (10 points, 11 rebounds) and will continue to grow by leaps and bounds as a difference maker. With good weapons around him at the perimeter, Thomas will have the opportunities to do plenty of damage near the basket. If he can own the paint as expected, Jesuit will be hard to stop.
Chandler Turner, 6-6 G/F, Detroit Renaissance Senior
With the departure of McCaskill, Renaissance will be relying on Turner more than ever moving forward. He signed with Bowling Green after gathering offers from Kent State, Cleveland State, Milwaukee, Buffalo and IUPUI. Last year, he averaged 19 points and nine rebounds. He is capable of doing a bit of everything on the floor for Renaissance and will wind up at guard in college.
Ryan Wade, 6-1 G, Ann Arbor Skyline Senior
Holding 11 offers before signing with Holy Cross, he picked the Crusaders over the likes of Central Michigan, Detroit, Kent State and more. A kid who can flat out shoot, Wade averaged 13.6 points and 2.6 assists per game last season.
Jarvis Walker, 6-1 G, Muskegon Junior
Despite holding only DII offers at the moment, there is still plenty of time for Jarvis to pick up DI offers. Transferring to Muskegon from Mona Shores, he is slated to be the top talent in the Muskegon area this winter. As a sophomore, Walker averaged 22 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.
B. Artis White, 5-11 G, CantonSenior
White signed with Western Michigan, picking the Broncos over Cleveland State, Northern Kentucky and Division II's Ferris State. Averaging 16 points last winter, White showed that he has range with a killer instinct. The Western Michigan signee can get up to the rim with his great speed as well.
MORE PLAYERS WITH NEXT-LEVEL POTENTIAL
Caleb Bates, F, St. Clair Shores Lake Shore, Sr.
Ronald Jeffery III G, New Haven Sr
Legend Geeter, G/F, River Rouge, So.
DaJion Humphrey, G, Southfield Christian, Jr.
Caleb Hunter, G, Detroit U-D Jesuit, Sr.
Luc Laketa, G/F, Hanover-Horton, Jr.
Isaiah Lewis, G, Wayne Memorial, Sr.
Fletcher Loyer, G, Clarkston, Fr.
Davis Lukomski, F, Detroit Catholic Central, Sr.
Micah Parrish, F, River Rouge, Sr.
Ryan Rollins, G, Macomb Dakota, Jr.
Tariq Shepherd, G, Farmington, Sr.
Josh Warren, G, Woodhaven, Sr.
Keegan Wasilk, G, Clarkston, Fr.