Third quarter surge helps New Haven race from Michigan Collegiate lead by Romeo Weems Triple Double
Rockets outscore Cougars 24-6 in third quarter and cruise to a 79-50 win
By Chuck Pleiness
New Haven boys basketball coach Tedaro France II kept his squad in the locker room at halftime a little extra longer to make a point on Thursday night.
His Rockets heard him loud and clear.
New Haven responded with 24-6 third quarter and cruised to a 79-50 win over Michigan Collegiate to claim the Rocket Holiday Classic championship.
“We had to talk over some things,” France II said. “We had to calm them down. We rushed some. We just had to relax and play our own game.
“We couldn’t come out lax on the defensive end,” France II continued. “If we were going to be lax there we were going to be lax on offense. We needed to turn our defense into offense and that’s just what we did.”
Things started to pick up defensively for the Rockets (4-1) to close out the first half as they finished on an 8-2 run.
“Games are won and lost in the first five minutes of a third quarter,” France II said. “We wanted to come out and set the tempo there.
“I also told them, we can have an off night shooting the ball, but we should never have an off night defensively,” France II added.
New Haven started the third quarter on a 10-0 run, which was highlighted by back-to-back dunks from Eric Williams Jr. and Romeo Weems.
“I wasn’t calm,” France II admitted after the game about his halftime talk to his team. “I’m calm now. We had to calm down some. We just had to play our game, don’t rush and stay to what we do. Don’t do more, don’t do less, just do your job.”
Weems finished with a triple-double for the Rockets – 25 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists. He also had four blocks and four steals.
“We should never have an off night on team defense,” France II said. “What we do starts from there. Our first drill each year is a defensive drill. Kids know if they want to play here you have to defend.
“We can turn our defense into offense, into transition points,” France II continued. “The kids are starting to understand that and that allows you to score in so many different ways instead of jump shots or going to the basket. We can get points off our defense.”
Eric Williams Jr. chipped in 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while AJ Crawford III followed with 11 and Tavares Oliver Jr. finished with 10 points. Ashton Sherrell grabbed 10 boards and Crawford totaled four assists.
“I just our guys succumb to turnovers,” Michigan Collegiate coach Anthony Tolbert said. “Our whole thing coming into the game was take care of the ball, take care of the ball. Don’t shorten the court. Don’t make it easy on them.
When the turnovers started to rack up it was just a huge mountain to overcome. It’s like a faucet, once it turns on it’s hard to turn off. They make you pay. When you turn the ball over they make you pay.”
Antonio Simley led the Cougars (5-1) with 18 points and Ty Lawrence netted 10.
“I thought we played tough, but defensively I don’t think we communicated well enough,” Tolbert said. “Their length combined with their athleticism is hard to overcome.
“It’s basic, fake a pass, make a pass,” Tolbert added. “Those are things we practice all the time. In the heat of the moment, when things are going, they just lose focus on that.”
NEW HAVEN - They put on a show.
The New Haven boys basketball team is quickly proving itself to be the best entertainment value in town. At the New Haven Basketball Tournament on Thursday, the Rockets broke open the game early in the second half and then sealed it with several high-flying, spectacular dunks along the way.
By the time the onslaught had concluded, New Haven earned a 79-50 victory over Michigan Collegiate.
"I feel like when we sit down on defense and pressure, we get our offense going," New Haven sophomore Romeo Weems said after recording a triple-double with 25 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists, four blocks and four steals.
"We got our offense in transition and we started knocking down shots on offense. We play better as a team.When you are unselfish and you play together, you have fun and you can really get going."
New Haven (5-1) led Michigan Collegiate 31-23 with under a minute remaining in the first half. But the Rockets finished the half on a flurry to take a 37-25 lead into halftime. Then in the second half, New Haven got off to a torrid run to take full control of the momentum.
All told, New Haven went on a 30-8 run.
"I think sometimes we start too slow," New Haven senior forward Eric Williams said after scoring 15 points to go along with seven rebounds. "But we picked it up. We knew it was a championship game and we had to get it done.
"I think this year we are more unselfish. It expands everything for us in what we can do."
Antonio Simely scored a team-high 18 points for Michigan Collegiate (5-1).
"Our guys succumbed to turnovers," Michigan Collegiate coach Anthony Tolbert said. "Our whole thing coming into the game was take care of the ball, take care of the ball. Don't shorten the court. Don't make it easier for them. And when the turnovers started to rack up it was a hard mountain to overcome.
"It was like the faucet turned on and you can't turn it off. As you can see, you turn the ball over and they make you pay."
For New Haven, the victory was yet another step in the right direction as it focuses on preparing for league play and ultimately a state title run.
"Like I tell my team, we might have an off-night shooting the ball, but we should never have an off night playing defense," New Haven coach Tedaro France II said. "What we do starts from there. Our first drill of the year starts with defense. Kids know that if you want to play here, you have to defend.
"We can turn our defense into offense and steals and transition points. Now the kids are starting to understand we can score in so many ways and create points off our defense."
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Joseph_Hayes11.
Congratulations to the JV South Lake Boys Basketball Team for winning the Junior Varsity Rocket Classic Division
New Haven rolls past South Lake and Michigan Collegiate upends Mt Clemens in the Semi-Finals of the Rocket Holiday Classic
NEW HAVEN ROCKET HOLIDAY CLASSIC
NEW HAVEN 63, SOUTH LAKE 29: Romeo Weems (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Ashton Sherrell (11 points, 11 rebounds, four steals) each finished with a double-double to lead the Rockets (3-1).
Eric Williams Jr. led all scorers with 16 points and Tavares Oliver tossed in 10 points.
South Lake got 10 points from Jamall Dees.
New Haven will meet Michigan Collegiate at 6 p.m. Thursday for the championship.
MICHIGAN COLLEGIATE 58, MOUNT CLEMENS 44: Jordan Davis finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Jaylen Branch (nine rebounds) and Antonio Simely (11 rebounds) netted 13 points apiece to lead the Cougars (5-0). Reggie Lawrence totaled six assists and three steals.
Mount Clemens got 14 points from Delano Williams and 11 out of Jordan Cotton.
New Haven's JV & Varisty Rocket Holiday Classic Boys Basketball Tournament Schedule
Wednesday, December 28th, 2016
Thursday, December 29th, 2016
All Boys Basketball Games are played at
New Haven High School 57700 Gratiot Ave New Haven, MI 48048
"It is always a great time of fellowship and bonding. It is always great to see all of our former players come back each and every year to participate and give back to our program. The game is always competitive but most importantly it is fun and is a great opportunity for our players to learn and meet the former players and for the former players to teach and guide the present."
New Haven Boys Basketball 2016 Annual Holiday Alumni Game will pit the past vs the present. Great "FAMILY" time. (ALUMNI ROSTER AND PICTURES BELOW)
Coach France and the New Haven Rockets will host its annaul alumni game Friday December 23rd at 1:00pm at New Haven High School.
The Alumni game matches up former Rockets against the current New Haven boy's basketball team. Last years 2015-2016 boys basketball defeated the alumni 108-83
"It is a great tradition and it is great to see all of our former players come back to speak and play against are current team. It is always an exiting and very competitive game! It is a great opportunity for the older guys to spread their knowlegde & wisdom along to their Rocket brothers. It is awesome to see the alumni teaching,helping and motivating our team. The young guys learn a lot and they all seem to embrace and pay homage to those that came before and laid the foundation for our program. We are all FAMILY!!!" Coach France
2016 ALUMNI ROSTER
MacoGeoff Robinson is a freelance writer
Macomb — In a Macomb Area Conference crossover between a couple of boys basketball heavyweights, The Detroit News’ top ranked team, Macomb Dakota, was able to hold off a hard-charging 18th-ranked New Haven squad, 72-66, Friday night.
Senior New Haven guard Eric Williams was able to cut his team’s 13-point, fourth-quarter deficit to 66-64 with just over a minute remaining, but Dakota’s Jermaine Jackson was able to trigger his clutch gene one last time and hit a few free throws that iced the game.
“It’s early in the year and we’ve got some things we need to work on,” Dakota coach Paul Tocco said. “But we battled to the end. They’re a pretty good team, but it was definitely not our best effort. In the end, we still pulled it out and I’m proud of the boys for doing some good things down the stretch.”
Jackson finished with 26 points to power the Dakota attack.
Williams scored 26 for New Haven, while teammate Romeo Weems had 27 and 15 rebounds.
“I just like the heart we showed,” New Haven coach Tedaro France said. “We didn’t quit. We were in a great position to win it and we’ve got to continue to grow from this day.”
After going into the half down 33-28, New Haven was able to reel off the first seven points of the second half to take a 35-33 lead. Jackson answered with a 3-pointer that spurred a 20-5 Dakota run to end the period. His 10 third-quarter points helped Dakota (3-0) build a 53-40 advantage heading into the fourth.
“My teammates kept telling me to shoot the ball,” Jackson said. “They really gave me confidence. I was looking for them early on, but I found some open spots and they found me.”
“It starts and it ends with (Jackson),” Tocco said. “The ball’s going to be in his hands and we’re going to go to him when we need points, and he knows how to generate points for us.”
It was a back and forth affair in the first half. Senior Dakota forward Jack Ballantyne got off to a hot start with six points and seven rebounds in the first quarter, but when he picked up his second foul early in the second, New Haven was able get out in front behind stellar play from Williams and Weems.
That was when Jackson awoke from his slumber.
The highly sought-after recruit finished the first half with a flurry, scoring 10 of his 12 first half points in the second quarter’s final four minutes. He also dished out a nifty assist to junior forward and Michigan State commit Thomas Kithier to push the Dakota lead to 31-24.
Ballantyne finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds for Dakota, while Kithier scored 14.
Weems emotional afterwards:
Despite a solid effort against the top team in the state, Weems, a sophomore sensation with a bevy of colleges interested in his services at the next level, couldn’t contain his emotions after a game he so badly wanted to win.
“I feel like I let my team down,” a teary-eyed Weems said. “I got a great team and teammates, and people keep talking about how we ain’t got nobody, we ain’t going to be nothing. But we are somebody, and I wanted to prove that tonight. I really wanted to win so nobody could say anything about us.”
Jackson knows the competitor that Weems can be, as they provide a formidable 1-2 punch on Detroit’s AAU team The Family.
“He’s a great player,” Jackson said. “We knew coming into this game that we had to lead for our teams. He’s a great guy and athlete.”
Because Dakota is Class A and New Haven is Class C, the only way these two teams could meet again this season would be in the MAC Tournament.
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.
By George Pohly
@GPohly on Twitter
Jermaine jackson Jr. took over the showdown.
The Dakota senior guard scored 26 points to lead the Cougars to a 72-66 victory over New Haven in a much-anticipated MAC crossover boys basketball game Friday night
Jackson, who scored only two points in the first quarter, had 10 in the second and 10 more in the third as the Cougars (3-0) built a 53-40 lead in a match-up of teams that both won regional championships last season.
“It starts and ends for us with Jermaine,” Dakota coach Paul Tocco said. “He’s our Mr. Basketball candidate.
“We were a little stale for a while, but he picked us up. He’s a true point guard.”
Jack Ballantyne scored 17 points and Thomas Kithier 14 for defending MAC Red Division champion Dakota. Ballantyne also had 14 rebounds and Kithier 10. Jackson made eight assists.
Romeo Weems scored 27 points and Eric Williams Jr. 26 for New Haven (1-1). Weems also had 16 rebounds and five assists.
“I’m proud of my guys,” New Haven coach Tedaro France said. “We came into their gym and took them to the wire.”
Weems made a basket and a free throw to pull New Haven to within 64-60 with 2:07 left, and the Rockets inched a point closer when Weems made one of two free throws six seconds later.
Ballantyne got loose on the baseline for a layup with 1:41 to play, but the transfer from De La Salle missed two free throws with 1:23 left.
Williams then converted a three-point play with 1:09 left to draw New Haven to within 66-64.
Jackson’s two free throws put Dakota ahead 68-64, and Weems countered with a pair of free throws with 61 seconds left.
But Ballantyne made a layin with 32 seconds left to give Dakota a four-point lead and a dunk by Kithier just before the buzzer capped the scoring.
Jackson’s final points of the third quarter came on a baseline-to-baseline layup that gave the Cougars a 51-40 lead with 1:13 left.
Earlier, his 3-pointer lifted Dakota from a 36-35 deficit, and he made another triple to put the home team ahead 42-36 with 3:39 left in the third quarter.
The Cougars maintained their lead in the fourth quarter. A three-point play by Michigan State commit Kithier gave Dakota a 57-46 lead with 6:03 left. Ballantyne’s dunk about a minute later put Dakota ahead 60-50.
Jackson and Ballantyne carried Dakota in the first half with 12 and 11 points, respectively. The Cougars led 33-28 at the break despite 12 points by Weems, a 6-foot-6 sophomore who has made official visits to Michigan and Ohio State.
Ballantyne scored six points in the first quarter as Dakota built a 12-11 lead. Weems and Sherrell had four apiece for New Haven in the first quarter.
Dakota scored 92 points and New Haven 90 in victories over Warren-Mott and Grosse Pointe South, respectively, on Tuesday.
New Haven, the defending MAC Gold Division champion that has moved to the Blue Division, plays Detroit Loyola at Calihan Hall on Sunday.
On Saturday, Dakota plays Detroit East English Village, and on Tuesday Dakota takes on U-D Jesuit, the Cougars’ 2016 state semifinal opponent, at Calihan Hall.
Rockets start the season with a 90-74 victory over defending MAC Blue Champions Grosse Point South
Romeo Weems lead the Rockets with 28 points 12 rebounds 8 asisst and 5 blocks Eric Williams Jr chipped ins with 17 points 7 rebounds and 10 assist. Ashton Sherrell had 14 points 10 rebounds 2 blocks. Tavares Oliver put up 13 points. AJ Crawford 8 points 7 rebounds 4 assist 5 steals and Ronald Jeffery 8 points and 3 steals.
They haven't even played a game. But they are still the team to beat.
The New Haven boys basketball team enters the year with renewed optimism after returning 10 players, including senior Eric Williams and sophomore Romeo Weems. That makes the Rockets the top team in the Times Herald Boys Basketball Poll.
"We have 10 guys returning and we are hoping the guys we had last year will step up," New Haven coach Tedaro France said. "Eric Williams has become a great leader on and off the court. His game has improved tremendously. His knowledge of the game has improved 100 fold.
"We like to throw them into the fire in practice to see how they respond. We would rather them make mistakes in practice and learn from failures. We put them in and see how they respond to adversity and failure."
New Haven's season opener at Detroit Loyola was scheduled for Sunday, but was pushed back a week due to inclement weather. They will host Grosse Pointe South on Tuesday.
"We will get better as time goes on. I like our leading guys and we have really good role players. That's the key. How well will our role players play."
St. Clair High School enters the week No. 2 in the Times Herald poll, after an impressive victory over Marysville.
The Saints were led by Ben Davidson, who scored a game-high 29 points while dominating the action. With Davidson in charge, they could eventually threaten the Rockets for the top spot in the poll.
"He had a really good game," St. Clair coach Shawn Sharrow said. "He let the game come to him and made good decisions with the ball. I was really proud of our kids. They let the ball move and we did a nice job on offense.
"We moved it and Ben hit the majority of them but some of the other guys made some shots and our defensive pressure was consistent."
Richmond meanwhile is third in the Times Herald poll after returners its top three players from a season ago. Richmond's D'Sean Hamilton, Anthony Tavano and Chase Churchill will give the team plenty of firepower in a deep Blue Water Area Conference.
"We like what we have," Richmond coach Josh Presnell said. "We have some really good players. We have a chance to be a solid team and we need to make the most of it."
Times Herald Boys Basketball Poll
1. New Haven
2. St. Clair
5. Port Huron
6. Port Huron Northern
8. Marine City
9. Cardinal Mooney
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @Joseph_Hayes11.
Prep Hoops Michigan selects Romeo Weems as Pre-Season All-State Class B Player of the Year and Eric Williams Jr All-State
With Class B preseason top 10 rankings just being posted, we will also post Class B preseason All state teams with it. Class B has tons of tough teams and with there being lots of good teams, that means that there are lots of really good players out there who are going to produce. We based our all state selections on a variety of factors. Some of those factors are: production, potential and predicted Win/loss records. Below are our Preseason Class B All State Teams:
Clas B MVP: Romeo Weems: 2019 6’6 SF New Haven
Last year as just a freshman, Weems averaged a double double a game. He was the star of a team that was top 5 in Class B. This year, there is no debate as to who the main man is, and he should put up over 20 points and 10 rebounds a game. The 5 star wing will again lead a top 10 team in Class B and is going to be one of the toughest players to stop in the state.
Mark “Rocket” Watts: 2019 6’2 PG Old Redford Academy:
Watts is already one of the best shooters in the state and has experience leading top teams. He starred last year as a true freshman for the now closed Detroit Allen Academy. His shot has range and he can do it both off the dribble and spotted up. His handles are also smooth as he has tons of moves and combo moves to get by his defenders. Watts is one of the top scorers in Michigan and is going to put that on full display this year.
Zack Nieuwkoop: 2017 6’8 PF Wayland Union (Davenport commit):
One of the best low post bruisers in the state, Nieuwkoop should put up double doubles with regularity. He is freakishly strong and uses that strength along with his size to dominate the glass and consistently finish through contact down low. He is also a pretty mobile, athletic big who can finish above the rim and run in transition. A great communicator and leader as well, Nieuwkoop has all the necessary skills and teammates to complement him to make him a strong favorite for all state. He is committed to GLIAC school Davenport university.
Lamar Norman: 2018 6’2 CG Godwin Heights:
One of the purest scorers in the state, Norman has plenty of big game experience. He had a monster game as a freshman in the state championship and made a name for himself then. Now he is considered by many to be one of the state’s top guards in 2018. He scores at all three levels very well and in transition, is almost an automatic bucket because of his quickness and bounce. He is considered a 4 star prospect in some national scouting services and recently picked up a D1 offer from CMU.
Trevion Williams: 2018 6’8 PF Detroit Henry Ford Academy:
Williams is going to dominate the stat sheet this year. He has a very unique skill set. He is great down on the block due to his height and his massive frame, but he also has lots of athleticism and quickness in that large body and his footwork and post moves are excellent. He also has handles that are better than the vast majority of point guards in the state and is a very capable three point shooter as well. He has 7 D1 offers already. Most notably from schools like MSU, Xavier and UNLV. Williams could easily put up 25 points and 15 rebounds a game this year.
Demetri Martin: 2017 6’4 SG Big Rapids:
Martin led Big Rapids to their first ever State semifinals appearance last year and was Class B all state as a junior. He averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists a game last year. Due to the graduation of multiple players important to last year’s team success, his numbers should increase even more this season. If their draw is similar to last year, then they have a pretty favorable chance to get back to the Breslin. Martin is excellent at breaking down his man in a 1 on 1 situation. He has pretty crisp handles and uses hesitations, head fakes, and changes of pace along with those handles to consistently create space or get by his opponents. His pull up jump shot is also very smooth both at mid range and from 3 and it really makes him difficult to defend with his size and athleticism. He shoots the ball well from three and also is pretty athletic attacking the rim.
Darian Owens-White: 2017 6’0 PG River Rouge:
He had a great season last year as River Rouge made it to Class B quarterfinals. This year though they are expecting nothing less than a state title. White is one of the top players still available in Michigan in 2017 and his numbers have backed that. He scored nearly 25 points a game last year and he is known to be a fairly efficient, pass first point guard. White will have a very strong team backing him this year again, and the incoming transfer of Drequan Bell will help him even more. White should become even more efficient both scoring and playmaking and will be the leader for one of Class B’s favorites.
Jalen Miller: 2017 6’3 CG Lake Fenton:
A very underrated guard who will lead one of the most underrated teams in Class B, Miller should have a massive year this season and will be a stat stuffer. He can step out and hit with regularity from three, or he can put the ball on the floor and use his very strong frame to finish inside. A real mismatch problem who can even take his game down to the block and post up smaller players. Miller also can be a tough defender. His physcial gifts can allow him to bully guards on the perimeter and he is quick enough to check most defenders. With his solid size also, he can alter lots of shots on the perimeter.
Quinn Blair: 2018 6’6 SF Divine Child:
He had a breakout summer where he picked up 4 D1 offers and now he is ready to lead Divine Child to the Breslin. His size allows him to guard multiple positions and his skills and physical gifts allow him to play multiple positions on offense as well. He shoots the ball very well when spotted up and has a underrated ability to put the ball on the floor. He is also a standout football player and physcially he is stronger than most he plays. When he puts the ball on the floor he can muscle through them to the hoop and when he rebounds, he can muscle opponents out of position. Blair could be a 20 and 10 a game player this year for a top 10 team in Class B.
Mario Whitley: 2018 6’4 SF Frankenmuth:
One of the more athletically dominate players in the state, Whitely already has multiple D1 offers entering his junior season. He is very springy off 1 or 2 feet and finishes off tons of plays with powerful dunks. His motor also allows him to be Frankenmuth’s workhorse who defends the 1-5 spots and plays multiple positions on offense as well. He is a fierce rebounder who is very strong and never gives up on plays. His shooting has improved and he is also able to step out and knock down threes with improved consistency as well. Frankenmuth lost quite a bit from last season’s team but with Whitley making steady improvements, we think it is possible for him to carry Frankenmuth to heights that have not been reached since Brad Redford was there.
Eric Williams: 2017 6’5 SF New Haven:
Williams alongside Weems will be the stars for New Haven. Although Weems is the more household name, Williams should have an equally massive season. He can score at all three levels well and has good size which allows him to cause problems for teams. He has a good touch from mid range and in and is efficient when he has the ball. Williams, like Weems, could be a 20 point per game player this season.
Carlos Johnson: 2020 6’5 SF Benton Harbor:
The fab frosh is poised to have a breakout opening season at the high school level and there is a pretty strong chance he will do just that. He looked real tough at scrimmages in Grand Rapids the last two weeks. He is undersized playing in the post but held his own against top level competition. He appears to already be a double double threat this season and will be one of the leaders for a Benton Harbor team that could be top ten in the state in Class B.
Avery Hudson: 2017 5’8 PG Wayland Union (Davenport commit):
Hudson forms one of the best guard/post combos in the state alongside teammate Zack Nieuwkoop. He has endless amounts of energy that helps Hudson get a lot of rebounds and a ton of steals. He is also one of the more impressive scoring point guards in the class of 2017. Hudson scores at the rim and from three equally well and also has an impressive pull up that he uses. His athleticism is also really good for his size as he can finish around the rim. He should be able to improve upon his numbers from last year, which were already all state worthy.
Christian Rodriguez: 2017 5’9 PG Godwin Heights:
He will lead one of the state’s top teams in any class. He was a key piece to that state championship team 2 years ago alongside Lamar Norman, and both should be top performers at the guard spots. Rodriguez is considered one of the best passers in the state, and with the quality and depth that Godwin Heights has, he should put up massive assist numbers this season. He also shoots it very well from 3 and is an efficient scorer who can score 20 a game if he had to. Rodriguez should have NAIA and D2 offers aplenty come the end of the season.
Marcus Bingham: 2018 6’9 SF Grand Rapids Catholic Central:
A transfer from Ottawa Hills, last year Bingham was a promising but very raw prospect. One year later and he finds himself as one of the most intriguing prospects in Michigan. His combination of size and inside out skillset makes him one of the toughest players to defend in the state. He comfortably steps out to the three point line and shoots the three and also can go down to the block and utilize his mobility and length to control the paint. With Bingham and teammate Jacob Polakovich, Grand Rapids Catholic Central has one of the top frontcourts in the state.
Alex Ismail: 2017 6’10 C Dearborn Heights Annapolis:
He is one of the best throwback post players still available in Michigan and he should be a frequent double double for his team. Ismail also has the ability to step out to mid range and even three and hit shots if people leave him open. His size and skillset allow him to dominate on the block and he should post impressive numbers this season.
Carl Bow: 2018 6’0 PG Hazel Park:
A bouncy above the rim Combo guard more than a pure point guard, Bow is ½ of one of the state’s top backcourts. He is at his best in transition where he can finish plays or create for others. In the half court, Bow has solid moves to break his man down and he can finish plays at the hoop like few others can.
David Hearns: 2018 PG Hazel Park:
The other half of the dynamic duo at Hazel Park, Hearns is a little bit more of a natural pg than Carl Bow, but is still able to play at the 2 guard spot. Hearns has a pretty high motor that allows him to make hustle plays. Along with the hustle, he has a great skillset for a PG. He is very battle tested, having played in the UAA circuit this past spring and summer and should be ready to dominate the MHSAA.
Ben Davidson: 2018 6’3 CG St. Clair (Ferris State commit)
A good sized combo guard who can really fill it up, Davidson is ready for a big season this year. He finishes very well around the rim with either hand. And with his good size along with his ability to be ambidextrious, he is one of the toughest players to stop in 2018. He played more with the ball in his hands last year but this year he should be more of a 2 guard for St. Clair. He also is a pretty good shooter so him playing off the ball more should allow him to score more from three.
Drequan Bell: 2017 6’3 SG River Rouge:
Bell is one of the top scorers still available in 2017. He has 2 GLIAC offers and 1 D1 offer that he has picked up recently and he should pickup more at either level or both this season. Bell will have one of the most balanced teams in Class B playing with him, so it will be tough for teams to focus solely on him. This balance should allow Bell to flourish. He can score at all 3 levels really well and this versatility should cause him to be one of Class B’s top bucket getters.
Reece Castor: 2019 6’4 CG Gladstone:
Last year as a freshman, Castor scored 15 points a game and was the team’s go to guy. With a year of varsity under his belt and this young Gladstone team also having gained a year experience, I expect Castor and the Braves to make their claim as one of the UP’s top teams with one of the top players. Castor has an extremely well rounded skill set offensively, so you cannot just simply take away his ability to shoot and hope to stop him. He also defends very well as his length and fundamental defense allows him to almost always stay in front of his man. If they are going to score on him they are going to either have to muscle through him, or shoot it over him. Castor has lots of D1 and D2 interest already and we expect Castor to post really solid numbers this year for a much improved Gladstone team.
Kyle Peterson: 2017 6’3 SF Charlotte
Troy Summers: 2017 6’8 PF Grayling (NMU commit)
Liam Soraghen: 2017 6’7 PF Divine Child (NIU football commit)
Cole Kleiver: 2018 5’11 PG Williamston
Delbert Redfield: 5’11 PG Olivet
Deanta Ulmer: 6’0 PG Detroit Henry Ford
Khylan Shipp: 5’11 PG Detroit Northwestern
Jacob Polakovich: 6’8 PF Grand Rapids Catholic Central
Levi Lehman: 2017 6’7 C Ithaca
Sy Barnett: 2017 6’2 SG Williamson
Lamontae Ellis: 2017 5’9 PG Flushing
Shayne Scruggs: 2018 6’7 PF Sexton
Konner Vedrode: 5’10 CG Alma
DaVantaye Webb: 2017 6’0 PG Detroit Henry Ford
Jawan Snoddy: 2017 6’4 SG Old Redford Academy
Zach Goodline: 2019 5’11 PG Coloma
Payton Harley: 2018 6’1 PG Godwin Heights
Carter Nyp: 2018 6’7 PF Wayland Union
Malachi Walker: 2017 6’1 PG Flint Southwestern
Merritt Harmann: 2017 6’7 PF Montague
Isaiah Hoag: 2017 6’5 PF Ithaca
Steve Pearson: 2020 6’2 SG Detroit Northwestern
Jabril Abdur Rahim: 2017 6’6 SF Sexton
Sean Cobb: 2019 6’6 Fwd Williamston
Kristian Lafayette: 2017 6’9 PF Hazel Park
Wendell Green Jr.: 2020 5’9 PG Detroit Country Day
Delontae Peterson: 2017 6’5 Fwd River Rouge
Karl Brooks: 2018 6’5 PF Sexton
Austin Braun: 2019 5’10 PG Grand Rapids CC
Marcus McKenney: 2017 5’11 PG Menominee
State Champs pre-season boys basketball rankings has the Rockets Ranked #14 in the state of Michigan
Detroit – At long last teams won’t have to face U-D Jesuit and Mr. Basketball winner Cassius Winston.
Winston started all four seasons and led his team to three state semifinals and the school’s first title last season.
If you’re thinking the Cubs will be down this season think again. They actually have more depth than a season ago even if their superstar has graduated.
U-D, 28-0 a season ago, is, for the second consecutive season, State Champs’ No. 1 team in the preseason.
“We’re as deep as ever,” coach Pat Donnelly said. “Julian (Dozier) is ready to be a major contributor and our bigs are stronger and better.”
Dozier is a sophomore point guard who often played side by side with Winston last season and gained valuable experience going one-on-one with him in practice. Dozier will have the pressure of replacing Winston at the point but there’s so much talent here that Dozier won’t be asked to win a game, just set the table.
It’s difficult to imagine any team that can match U-D inside. Ike Eke and Greg Eboigbodin are 6-9 bookends who takes turns clicking on the highlight reel.
Eke is bigger and stronger this season, and he’s improved his offensive game tremendously in the offseason. He signed with Marquette.
Eboigbodin is the more physical player. He has a different skill set than Eke. Eboigbodin is more of a shot blocker who protects the rim. He signed with Illinois-Chicago.
Elijah Collins (6-2) and Scott Nelson (6-3) are standouts in football who contribute so much for Donnelly’s team as well. Collins is athletic and runs the floor well. Nelson is adept at taking a charge and often gets those garbage points near the basket.
Two sophomores will be in the mix. Daniel Friday (6-3) played on an undefeated freshmen team and Jalen Thomas (6-10) split time between the varsity and junior varsity. Thomas got stronger in the weight room and he’s more coordinated this season.
2. Macomb Dakota (26-1), A: The Cougars reached new heights last season advancing to the state semifinals for the first time. Now they’re looking to take another step. Jermaine Jackson, Jr., is a 5-10 point guard whom many say is one of the top five seniors in the state. Few can create the excitement Jackson can as a floor leader. “It’s all starts with Jermaine,” coach Paul Tocco said. “He has a ton of knowledge.” Junior Thomas Kithier (6-6) is the other returning starter and he committed to Michigan State. Jaylen Hall (6-4) was one of the top receivers in Metro Detroit this past season and he’ll start after his role as a reserve. Senior Chris McGee (6-0) played quality minutes and made the game-winning shot against Clarkston in the regionals. The player that could put Dakota over the top is Jack Ballantyne (6-9), a senior transfer from Warren De La Salle. Ballantyne is highly skilled and rebounds well. Brett Droski (6-3), the quarterback on the football team, will add depth as will fellow senior Deonte Estes (5-11). Tocco’s son, Mark (6-0), a sophomore, and freshman Ryan Rollins (6-0) will spell McGee at the shooting guard.
3. Clarkston (20-3), A: The Wolves return a bevy of players and many of whom are juniors. The top one is one of the state’s best, Foster Loyer (6-0). Clarkston is 44-4 with him as a starter and Loyer committed to Michigan State. Dylan Alderson (6-4) is a wing who can shoot from the perimeter and drive to the basket. His role as a scorer hasn’t changed but coach Dan Fife wants Alderson, who signed with Wisconsin-Milwaukee, to become more of a leader. Fellow senior John Chrenka (6-0) is part of a deep rotation. Junior C.J. Robinson (5-11), a part time starter last season, will spell Loyer at the point. Stewart Newblatt, a 6-4, 240-pound junior who started on the football team, will be an enforcer inside. Then there are two transfers who are expected to gradually have a positive impact. Tristan Myesen (6-5) is a junior who came in from Oxford and sophomore Taylor Currie (6-8) came to Clarkston from Ohio. Fife said Currie is “like Bambi” and has much to learn but he likes how Currie runs the floor and Fife said Currie is a good passer.
4. Grand Rapids Christian (22-2), A: Christian lost to Muskegon in the regionals and the Eagles return four starters led by the front runner for Mr. Basketball, Xavier Tillman. At 6-8 and 270 pounds, Tillman is a dominating player inside. He signed with Michigan State. Duane Washington (6-3) is a junior point guard and the team’s table-setter. He’s been offered a scholarship by Akron, Central Michigan and Western Michigan. James Beck (6-7) plays the wing and his midrange jump shot is his signature. He signed with Oakland. Coach Mark Warners has his son, Emmett, back at forward. Emmett Warners (6-5) led the team in assists and shot 39 percent from 3-point range. Junior Seth Miller (6-5) missed last season after suffering a broken leg and he could move into the starting lineup. Senior Thad Shymanski (6-0) provides instant offense with his long-range shooting ability. “We’re better than last year,” Mark Warners said. “These kids have put in the time in the offseason.”
5. East Lansing (23-1), A: Versatile junior Brandon Johns (6-8) is one of four starters returning for coach Steve Finamore. Johns and Co. will play with a chip on their shoulders after being upset by Lansing Everett in the regionals. DeAndre Robinson (6-4) averaged 9.5 points and is a college recruit. Caleb Hoekstra (6-1) made 65 3-pointers last season and can stretch a defense. Westin Myles (6-4) is a point forward whose assignment defensively is to guard the opposition’s best player. Xavier Odom (6-2) is athletic and a solid defender. Junior point guard Malik Jones “makes us go” Finamore said. But it’s Johns whom every opponent must key on.
6. Kalamazoo Central (20-4), A: The Giant Maroons have one of the top players in 6-8 forward Isaiah Livers who signed with Michigan. “He’s the best player in the state,” coach Ramsey Nichols said. A four-year varsity player, Livers shoots well, is a good passer and has become stronger in the post. Rog Stein (6-5) averaged 10 points and 8.6 rebounds, and he makes his home near the basket. Jeremiah Vincent (6-3) is the third returning starter and he plays the wing. Junior Tre Vallar (6-0) could start at the point and senior Grant Kubiak (6-6) is the team’s top 3-point shooter. Senior Steve Johnson (6-9) suffered an ankle injury and did not play last season. Nichols said Johnson will be a huge addition.
7. Saginaw (19-4), A: The Trojans were upset by Midland in a regional final and they return three starters led by senior Ronquavious Southard (6-0). Southard averaged 19 points and eight assists, and was named MVP of the Saginaw Valley but he’s out until January after suffering a broken finger. Eddie Thigpen (6-6) is a four-year varsity player, is a strong rebounder and is possibly Saginaw’s best all-around player. Henry Speight (6-4) and Chaz Wood (6-2) won’t be eligible until January. Anthony Sanders (6-4) is an athletic guard and a terrific perimeter defender. Two freshmen will contribute. James Baver (6-5), Draymond Green’s cousin, will play the wing and Freddie McIntosh (5-9) could start at the point until Southard returns.
8. Detroit East English Village Prep (19-4), A: The defending Detroit Public School League champions return just one starter but there’s no shortage of talent. Greg Elliott (6-3) averaged 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists, and has received numerous scholarship offers. Fellow senior Samuel Womack (5-10) saw extensive playing time a season ago and is the top defender. Sophomore Tariq Shepherd will likely start and share the point guard duties with junior David DeJulius (6-0), a transfer from Detroit Edison. Junior Zavon Godwin (6-6) is a transfer from Roseville and won’t be eligible until January. Tukeemo McGee (6-6) is a senior and looks to have a spot as a starter, at least until Godwin becomes eligible. Freshman Jayshawn Moore (6-3) will be one of the top reserves.
9. Muskegon (20-4), A: The Big Reds return one starter, Anthony Bethea (6-5) who signed with Northern Michigan, and they will likely struggle early due to the fact that seven players played football and it’ll take time for them to regain their basketball legs. Senior Jermaine Goliday (6-4) was the sixth man and was the team’s second leading scorer (10 ppg). Coach Keith Guy’s club will benefit with the addition of senior Sam Cornett (6-5), a transfer from Grandville, who is immediately eligible. Cornett is a fine 3-point shooter and he averaged 13.5 points last season. Senior Markeel Jackson (6-6) is a Division I recruit and sophomore DeAndre Carter (5-10) saw playing time last season and will start at the point. Junior Willie Shanks (6-1) is the team’s top defender and junior A.J. Reid (6-8) adds girth to Muskegon’s interior defense.
10. Saginaw Arthur Hill (18-5), A: The Lumberjacks lost to Saginaw in a district final and return three starters notably Jakawi Moore (5-11), a junior point guard who plays like a senior. Vincent Johnson (6-2) led the team in scoring (19 ppg) last season and has received a number of Division II scholarship offers. Jimmy Bell is a 6-11, 327-pound post player who shows remarkable agility. He averaged eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks. He is a major Division I football recruit. Sophomore Brandon Long (6-5) is a physical, Ben Wallace type of player who will team with Bell to present an imposing front court. Santino Torrez (6-2) is a senior wing who can score.
11. Ann Abor Pioneer (19-5), A: The Pioneers have good depth but they won’t be able to use it until later this month and into January. Four starters return but two, seniors Jordan Currie (6-6) and Deric Murray (6-3), are injured. Murray (fractured foot) should return in a couple of weeks. Currie suffered an ankle injury on Dec. 4 and is likely out a month. It’s possible another returning starter (Chris McGaughy) won’t play this season due to a variety of injuries/ailments. Coach Rex Stanczak will rely on seniors Cedric Benton (6-2), a four-year starter, and Noah Osebor (6-4) to keep the ship steady until help arrives. Two outstanding sophomores will help make this team ready come tournament time. Drew Lowder (5-9) saw extensive playing time last season and Austin Young (6-4) is a transfer from Ohio and won’t be eligible until January.
12. Belleville (19-5), A: The Tigers are somewhat of a difficult team to read. They’ve got talent but the top six players are juniors so it’s possible the best is yet to come. Davion Williams (6-2) and Gabe Brown (6-7) are among the top players in their class. Williams, who averaged 19.9 points, has been offered a scholarship by Eastern Michigan, Oakland and Toledo, and Brown, who grew four inches the past 12 months, has been offered a scholarship by Akron, DePaul, Oakland and Toledo. Brown was on the junior varsity last season. Devin Alverson (6-3) is a wing who started seven games last season and Julian Savoury (6-9) is a wirery post player who runs the floor well. Kmare Carey (6-2) returns as the starting point guard and he’s a college prospect as a defensive back in football. Cameron Smiley (5-8) will spell Carey at the point.
13. Detroit Western (20-4), A: Balance is the optimum word in the Detroit Public School League this season and the Cowboys will be in the mix. Coach Derrick McDowell returns just one starter, 6-5 senior Josh Long who prefers playing on the perimeter. This team will be young and will likely stumble a few times early. Freshman Lauren Bowman (6-1) will start at point guard and junior LaTravion Jackson (6-7), who has been offered a scholarship by Eastern Michigan and Detroit, is Western’s top recruit at this point. Junior Anthony Roberts (6-4) was one of the top reserves last season and McDowell said Roberts’ forte is scoring. Rayvon Simpson is Western’s most versatile guards.
14. New Haven (22-3), B: The Rockets lost to Detroit Henry Ford in a quarterfinals and return 10 players including three starters. Romeo Weems (6-6) is the face of this team. The sophomore averaged 17.1 points and his versatility creates matchups problems. Eric Williams (6-5) is a left-handed wing who has received scholarship offers from Division II schools. Junior Ashton Sherrell (6-7) is a stretch four and A.J Crawford (5-11), a transfer from Warren Cousino, will start at the point. Tavares Oliver (6-0) or Will Moore (5-9) will be the fifth starter. “We’ve got more talent than the last two years,” coach Tedaro France said.
15. Flint Carman-Ainsworth (19-4), A: Carman-Ainsworth finished 10-0 in the Saginaw Valley South Division and won a district title. Three starters return plus a transfer from Flint Northwestern. The top two players are juniors. Ja’Kavien Lewis (6-0) is a point guard who can score. Tough-minded, Lewis isn’t one to back down from a challenge. O’mari Duncan (6-3) scores in a variety of ways and his motor never stops. Sophomore Michael Fletcher (6-6) plays the power forward spot but he’ll step out and shoot the perimeter shot as well. Senior Aaron Williams (6-0) started a couple of games and his midrange game sets him apart. Senior Troy Brown (6-2), the transfer, is a better football player and he’ll mix it up inside. Senior Chan Pearson (6-1) is likely the fifth starter and he likes to shoot from long range.
16. Detroit Cass Tech (11-10), A: Coach Steve Hall will use a three-guard offense and his best player is Leonard Silas (5-10), a four-year varsity player who led the team in scoring (16 ppg) last season. The program’s top college prospect is junior Randy Gilbert (6-6). Hall said Gilbert needs to display more consistency. Senior Teronnie Cook (6-2) has a sweet midrange game and freshman Tyson Acuff (6-2) will likely start at the point. Senior Michael Green (6-5) makes his home in the paint and could well be the fifth starter. Senior Trevion Gordon (6-0) and freshman Colin Golson (6-5) will be in the rotation.
17. West Bloomfield (14-8), A: The Lakers move up from the Oakland Activities Association White Division, where it finished in a three-way tie for first, to the Red. Seven players return led by senior point guard Kevin McAdoo (6-2), an unselfish player who’s received interest from a number of Division I and II schools. Tre Harvey (6-2) is a junior who is considered one of the top perimeter shooters in Metro Detroit. He could have a breakout season. Tyler Davis (6-3) plays the wing and is a high-energy type of player. Daniel Wrack and Garrett Winn are also expected to see valuable playing time.
18. Warren De La Salle (15-7), A: Look for the Pilots to play fast and shoot plenty of 3-pointers. Three starters return from a team that won a district title. The junior class is particularly strong and the top one is point guard Justin Fischer (6-3). Fischer suffered a broken ankle in the fifth game last season and his return is much anticipated. Seniors Josh Vailancourt (6-2) and Luke Pfromm (6-5) are accurate perimeter shooters, and senior Ryan Anderson (6-2) is a high energy player who excels on the defensive end. The fifth starter could be junior Kole Gjonaj (6-5), a strong rebounder. Easton Sikorski (6-1), a fine baseball player, is a leader and the Pilots’ top reserve.
19. Wayne Memorial (9-12), A: The Zebras return three starts plus two others who played significant minutes. Add to this Travez Nyk (6-4), a senior transfer from Detroit Consortium who is immediately eligible. Junior Rashad Williams (6-3) and Keion Epps (6-6) are the leaders of this team. Williams is a lead guard who has received scholarship offers from Cleveland State and Eastern Michigan. Epps averaged 14 points and eight rebounds, and he signed with Eastern Michigan. Sophomore Isaiah Lewis (5-10) is a shooting guard and Terrance Williams (no relation), a three-year starter, will move from the point to a wing. Wayne has depth and junior Kobe Price (6-4) could be the best of the bunch.
20. Holland West Ottawa (17-4), A: Not known as a basketball school, West Ottawa set a school record for consecutive (15) and total victories last season. Most of its players were sophomores last season. Of the seniors Jake Van Tubbergen (6-5) is the best. He signed with Grand Valley State. The other four starters are juniors with Nick Wehrmeyer (5-10) back at the point. Tyler Bosma (6-5) is athletic. He’s a left-handed pitcher on the baseball team. Xavier Wade (6-2) plays the wing and is a college prospect as a receiver on the football team. He’s also receiving interest from college basketball coaches. Drew Pederson (6-2) could start or provide instant offense off the bench. Seniors Nolan Eccker (6-3) and Hunter Bedford (6-3) add depth.
21. Holt (11-9), A: The Rams return two starters and this team, with one big exception, will be guard-oriented. Jaron Faulds (6-10) averaged 13 points and 11 rebounds last season, and his strength lies on the defensive end. He will attend Columbia and one of the school’s top recruits. Myles Baker (6-4) is also a fine defender and fellow senior Robera Mengesha (5-11) is the team’s top perimeter shooter. Ar’tavious King (6-0) missed 15 games due to an injury and he’ll play the point and a wing spot. Josh Denning (6-0) is the fifth starter. “It’s our best group of guards in a long time,” coach Matt Essel said.
22. Detroit Edison (17-5), C: Three starters plus one part time starter are back plus two transfers make this new member of the PSL a top contender for a league and state title. Pierre Mitchell (6-0) is a junior point guard who led Detroit Loyola to a district title last season. He committed to Central Michigan a year ago and won’t be eligible until January. Deante Johnson (6-8) averaged 14 points and nine rebounds as a sophomore and he’s received scholarship offers from Eastern Michigan and Toledo. Gary Solomon (6-3) is a transfer from Cass Tech and he’ll play both guard spots, is immediately eligible. Amari Hudson (6-2) and Jalen Stokes (6-5) represent half of the seniors, and both are tough-minded players who rebound well. Dreyon O’Neal (6-6) averaged 12 points as a freshman.
23. River Rouge (22-4), B: There’s a new, but familiar, coach at River Rouge as Mark White (former coach at Detroit Renaissance at Adrian College) returns to coach at the high school level. The Panthers lost in a quarterfinal last season and two starters return plus another who started elsewhere. Darian Owens-White, the coach’s son, is a versatile point guard. Toledo has offered him a scholarship. Delante Peterson (6-4) is an athletic forward and Drequan Bell (6-3) is a transfer from Detroit Allen, which closed. Bell has been offered a scholarship by Saginaw Valley State and Bethune-Cookman. “We’re young,” White said. “We have a lot of new parts.” Jarius Grissom, the quarterback who committed to Eastern Michigan for football, adds experience and a winning attitude. Four sophomores transferred in and won’t be eligible until January.
24. Detroit Northwestern Collegiate (20-5), B: The Colts lost to their rival and eventual state champion Detroit Henry Ford in the regionals and they return three starters plus a fourth who started part time. Four seniors will start led by Kylan Shipp (6-0) who plays what coach Matt Blount calls the “killer position”, ala Allen Iverson. “He shoots from the freeway,” Blount said of Shipp. John Ivory (6-6) is the most improved player. Cameron Lamar (6-0) played half a season and was predominantly Blount’s offensive spark plug off the bench. DeShawn Hardnett (6-3), nicknamed ‘Fats’, is a three-year varsity player who does all of the dirty work. Freshman Steve Pearson (6-3) could start at the point. The depth is young and sophomore Dorian Weiss (5-9) will also play the point.
25. Southfield for the Arts and Technology (new school), A: Four starters return for coach Mike Avery but the Warriors have been hit by injuries. Michael Flowers averaged 25 points and signed with Western Michigan but had knee surgery in September and won’t be ready until January, possibly early February. Junior point guard Gerald Hall suffered a groin injury and he, too, is out until January. Reme Torbert is a 6-foot senior and he’ll run the point at times. Senior Brandon Rucker (6-5) is a returning starter and he can play a variety of positions. Sampson Ekom (6-6) will mix it up inside and sophomore Marcus Fuqua, though just 5-10, rebounds well and causes problems inside for the opposition because of his aggressive style. The guard play should be sound as both Corey Whitte and Cameron McEvans add depth.
New Haven Basketball