Basketball isn’t sleeping in Michigan even after a lengthy July in which most players were on the road for more than half the month. Inside Prep Sports followed and was happy to be involved with the exclusive Michigan Elite 25.
The Michigan Elite 25 is a five day invite only camp where the top 25 players from each of Michigan’s four classes (2017-2020) are taught life lessons, basketball drills, basketball skills, and compete in games.
The Michigan Elite 25 was started four years ago by Tim McCormick, many of the state’s top high school coaches provide instruction, and this year's guest speakers ranged from NBA rookie Denzel Valentine to US Veteran Colonel Doman, MHSAA official Wallace Whitfield, Hydaration and Nutrition specialist Melissa Gerharter, and a trip to Operation Engineers 324 training facility where opportuities await after the ball is done bouncing.
6’3” 2017 shooting guard Matt Beachler (Lowell, MI./Greenwood Elite 17u) participated in the Michigan Elite 25 for a third time and was solid all-around. The stand out shooter has also improved his ability to finish at the basket on cuts and drives where his athleticism allows him to finish over out stretched shot blockers. His commitment to Central Michigan was public on Monday, August 8, 2016.
6’ 2017 point guard Jesse Hillis (Caledonia, MI./Grand Rapids Storm 17u) committed to Davenport this past weekend and the quick playmaker will fit in well as Davenport makes the jump to the GLIAC. Hillis jumped on the scene as a junior standout with his high school team and carried that over to the Grand Rapids Storm 16u squad. His ability to make pull up jumpers, get to the basket and finish, and solid defense are compliments to his ability to create for others.
6’7” 2017 forward Isaiah Livers (Kalamazoo Central, MI./Meanstreets 17u) made his commitment to the University of Michigan this past week. While he didn’t compete in the Michigan Elite 25, he was a standout over the past couple of years and his abilities were highly noticed over the past two years with his high school team and on the circuit. His ability to make perimeter and mid-range jumpers were magnified this spring and summer as were his finishing abilities closer to the basket. A solid rebounder, Livers has a lot of diversity to his game and his roll changed as he lost weight over the past year pushing him from a mid-major player to high-major player.
6’4” 2017 wing Dylan Alderson (Clarkston, MI./MBA-National 17u) was very good at the Michigan Elite 25 and Michigan’s College Camp in games and one on one competition. The key to his success was his ability to makes perimeter shots, creating space in the mid-range for jumpers, and using his athleticism as well as his strength to finish at the basket. He was the Elite 25 dunk contest winner for the second time (2014 and 2016). He visited Toledo and Wisconsin-Milwaukee last week. He more than doubled his offer sheet in July to double-figures. Top ten player in Michigan’s 2017 class.
6’4” 2017 wing Eric Williams (New Haven, MI./Michigan Playmakers 17u) was solid all-around in his first Michigan Elite 25 experience and was a solid producer in drills, games, and soaked in the instruction. The lefty showed he could consistently make the mid-range jumper and finish at the basket. He seems to keep growing year after year and he will more than likely have his first D1 offer(s) by the end of the year.
6’7” 2017 forward James Beck III (Grand Rapids Christian, MI./Spiece Indy Heat 17u) made his first appearance in the Michigan Elite 25 this past week and didn’t disappoint as he was engaged with the instruction and flourished in drills as well as games. His length, athleticism, rebounding, defense, and ability to stretch the floor or score going to the basket were keys that made him one of the top invites regardless of class. Beck holds offers from Youngstown State, Toledo, Depaul, Northern Kentucky, Ball State, Richmond, and Oakland with a visit to Valpo expected in September. Top ten player in Michigan’s 2017 class.
6'6" 2017 power forward Anthony Bethea (Muskegon, MI./MBA-Regional 17u) strong lefty with a Northern Michigan offer and toughness in the paint. A mid-range and in scorer, Bethea is a solid athlete who rebounds well and makes opponents work in the paint. He's a solid finisher in the post and can be a matchup problem.
6’ 2017 point guard Davion Bradford (Detroit Cornerstone, MI./The Family 17u) was arguably the top perimeter defender at the Elite 25 as his energy, light feet, quick hands, anticipation, and athleticism made him tough to get by. Bradford is very explosive and a regular above the rim finisher as well as a terror in an up and down game. While his preferred scoring method is going to the basket, he can make mid-range and perimeter shots.
6’7” 2017 small forward Jamal Cain (Detroit Cornerstone, MI./The Family 17u) was very strong in one on one play and 5 on 5 games in the Elite 25. He is the top player in Michigan’s 2017 class because of his ability to score from the perimeter and in, rebound, defend, and upside that have him settled on a final four of Florida State, Georgia, Marquette, and Michigan. Also, a dunk contest finalist.
6’3” 2017 combo guard Greg Elliot (Detroit East English Village, MI./The Family 17u) made his first appearance in the Michigan Elite 25 and didn’t disappoint as energy is key and G.E. brings that every time he steps on the court. He shot the ball well, attacked the basket with aggression, defended, rebounded, and was a great addition to the E25! Top five player in Michigan’s 2017 class.
6’2” 2017 combo guard Amauri Hardy (North Farmington, MI./The Family 17u) had a great mindset coming into the Elite 25 and maintained leadership qualities throughout the week. The lefty was very strong in drills, one on one play, and games shooting the ball well from the perimeter as well as pulling up in the mid-range. Hardy looks like he’s in the best shape of his life and it showed through his athleticism, motor, defense, and ability to consistently play above the rim. Top ten player in Michigan’s 2017 class. He holds numerous offers from the Horizon, MAC, MVC, and ACC.
6’4” 2017 wing Austin McCullough (Portage Central, MI./Greenwood Elite 17u) did a great job of participating in drills, the classroom, and taking the extra step to attend despite an ankle injury. Good size, strong pull up game, above the rim athleticism, and a smart player who makes the extra pass leading to scores in half-court drills. He’s highly commended for his will to compete and still perform at a productive level. He’s a scholarship player as well as a high academic student.
6’2” 2017 point guard Deric Murray (Ann Arbor Pioneer, MI./MBA-National 17u) has interest from multiple levels and performed at a scholarship level throughout the week. He did a great job of using screens, attacking the basket and finishing, and saw the floor with precision. Also, a dunk contest finalist. He shot the ball well and if that continues along with getting stronger, the college basketball opportunities for this high academic student-athlete will grow.
6’8” 2017 center Tre Orr (Detroit King, MI./Michigan Playmakers 17u) was impressive scoring the ball in the paint and doing things he might not have done a year ago as far as showing polished moves and counter moves in the post. He’s strong, physical, and a solid position rebounder who has improved his ability to stay with the play in transition.
5’9” 2017 point guard Jesse Scarber (Detroit King, MI./Michigan Playmakers 17u) has really improved his ability to make mid-range pull ups and that element adds to his ability to get to the basket, create for others, and keep the front line of defense on their heels. One of the state’s top defenders, Scarber really competes and puts pressure on the defense.
6’8” 2017 center Troy Summers (Grayling, MI./Grand Rapids Storm 17u) is fresh off the IR with a hand injury and showed solid go to moves in the paint and the confidence is there from a year ago in his first Elite 25 appearance. He has good size and a frame that will absorb the weight room. He also showed production away from the basket in drills, but the post is where he does the most damage cleaning up boards and scoring with either hand.
6’8” 2017 center Xavier Tillman (Grand Rapids Christian, MI./Spiece Indy Heat 17u) is the state’s most productive low post scorer and he showed a great ability to pass the ball and more than a few Elite 25 players spoke highly about his defense, “He plays hard every time.” Playing hard, bring energy, rebounding, and defense are the consistent factors of the game which make Tillman a special player. He has official visits set up for Purdue, Michigan State, Florida, and Marquette.
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