Malen Lewis has made up his mind about New Haven teammate Romeo Weems.
“He’s Mr. Basketball,” the senior forward said. “That’s what I believe.”
Whether Weems becomes on March 11 the first Macomb County player to win the award remains to be seen, but there’s no doubting the resume quality of the 6-foot-7 wing who Friday was named one of four finalists for the award.
The most intensely recruited county player in the last 50 years, Weems has 2,021 career points, which makes him No. 1 in county history and places him between Magic Johnson (2,012) and Dugan Fife (2,032) on the all-time state scoring list compiled by the Michigan High School Athletic Association.
A member of two gold medal-winning age-group teams with USA Basketball, Weems has displayed a well-rounded game while helping the Rockets win four consecutive MAC division championships and three regional titles with the 2019 state tournament still ahead.
He had a quadruple-double with 34 points, 12 rebounds, 10 blocked shots and 10 steals in the Rockets’ 74-58 victory over Detroit Edison Academy on Wednesday.
“Romeo Weems does a great job of doing everything,” DEA coach Brandon Neely said. “He does everything right.”
“I just do what I can to affect the game,” Weems said. “You don’t have to score 1,000 points a game.
“I’m double-teamed, triple-teamed a lot, so I dive on the floor, try to make the right play, do whatever I can to affect the game.”
No matter when it occurs, no matter the outcome, Weems’ final game in a New Haven uniform will mark the end of an era in county basketball history.
The DePaul signee, who picked the Blue Demons from a short list that included Michigan and Michigan State, has been the centerpiece of a program that has won a county-record four consecutive regional championships.
The Rockets won the 2017 state Class B championship, only the second won by a county boys team. They won their final 26 games that season, starting a streak that stretched to a county-record 52 in 2017-18.
New Haven went 42-0 in MAC (Gold, Blue and White) division games with Weems on the roster.
In his four seasons, the Rockets lost only two home regular-season games -- to Ford when Weems was a ninth-grader and Roseville in the second game of this season.
New Haven is 19-1 with an 18-game winning streak in play as the Rockets enter the state tournament at a district they host beginning Monday.
Their cumulative record in Weems’ four seasons -- he missed a handful of games -- is 94-6.
“He’s a great leader, and his teammates love to play for him,” New Haven coach Tedaro France II said of the player who passed Eli Sims, the first two-time county Player of the Year, to become New Haven's career scoring leader. “He’s a great, great player. I’m blessed to be able to coach him.”
New Haven won its state championship with a lineup that included Eric Williams Jr., a shooting guard who’s averaging 13.2 points per game in his second season at Duquesne.
Last season, the Rockets went unbeaten until they lost to Grand Rapids Catholic Central and Michigan State recruit Marcus Bingham Jr. in a state semifinal.
Since the loss to Roseville, which the Rockets avenged in the MAC Red/White tournament championship game on Feb. 16, New Haven has retooled its lineup.
Transfer Trenell Payne became eligible in January, and players like guard Darrius Brooks and Lewis have taken on more prominent roles.
“This is the deepest team I’ve had in years,” France said.
And Weems , the county 2018 Player of the Year, isn’t New Haven’s only star.
Guard Ronald Jeffery III, who scored 26 points in the tournament victory over Roseville, scored the 1,000th of his career against Detroit Edison Academy.
“I feel like we’ve got a chance to win (the state championship),” Weems said. “We need to keep getting better every day.
“We’ve got a lot of depth. If we keep rotating on defense and working hard, we can do it.”
The MHSAA went from the class format to divisions in boys and girls basketball this season.
County teams are involved in 16 district tournaments. Games are Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
New Haven is in Division 2, and the Rockets play host to Lutheran North at 6:15 p.m. Monday.
The winner of that game plays Algonac on Wednesday night.
“Everyone’s goal is to win state,” Lewis said.