Detroit – After leading New Haven to the Class B state championship at the Breslin Center his sophomore year, Romeo Weems felt he had a chance to one day be Michigan’s Mr. Basketball.
Weems, a 6-foot-7 forward, continued to develop and improve his perimeter game, helping New Haven reach the Final Four again last year, losing in the state semifinals, then playing for USA Basketball, helping the U17 team win the world championship this past summer in Argentina.
And Weems realized his goal on Monday when he was named Mr. Basketball, with his family, teammates and coaching staff attending the ceremony in Detroit. He is the first player from Macomb County to win Mr. Basketball since it was first awarded in 1981.
“It was exciting, just a blessing, can’t say too many words right not since it’s hit me all at one time,” Weems said. “I was really just focused on the (state) tournament, so when I got this it all hit me at one time.
“I found out a few days ago when my coach (Tedaro France) told me, said we couldn’t tell nobody though. I was so happy. We were at practice so it was kind of hard keeping it to myself. I felt like after my sophomore year when we won it that I could be able to get one of these (Mr. Basketball award).”
Weems won it in a landslide, getting 3,689 points in voting by BCAM members, with B. Artis White of Canton finishing second (1,798), followed by Chandler Turner of Detroit Renaissance (1,520) and Joe Moon IV of Westland John Glenn (1,372).
While other top players from Michigan opted to play their senior seasons at prep schools – including former Southfield Christian four-star guard Harlond Beverly (Montverde, Fla.), former Detroit Old Redford four-star guard Rocket Watts (SPIRE, Ohio), former Renaissance forward Carrington McCaskill (SPIRE), and former Detroit Loyola forward Myron Gardner (SPIRE) – Weems decided to stay at New Haven and take care of unfinished business.
“I mostly stayed for the loyalty of my coaches,” said Weems, who had prep schools come calling, including Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, where Carmelo Anthony once played. “I love my coaches and love my teammates and pretty much stayed for them.”
Weems – who will play next year at DePaul, picking the Blue Demons over Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and several others – is averaging 27.5 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.1 steals, 3.7 assists and 2.2 blocks this season. He has 2,139 career points. In a 74-58 win over defending Class C state champion Detroit Edison last month, Weems had a quadruple-double with 34 points, 12 rebounds, 10 steals, 10 blocks and five assists.
“What is unique and special about Romeo is his versatility on the court and his ability to defend and play all five positions at a high level,” France said.
“Romeo has improved the most over the years with his shooting with his ability to shoot the 3-pointer. He has turned into one of the top shooters around. Becoming a great shooter really took his game to another level with already being able to do so many things on the basketball court.”
France was aware some prep schools were talking to Weems over the summer.
“We were aware, but we just tried to build that bond and knowing him, he’s a loyal kid and he wanted to be a part of this program here and be a part of this team,” France said. “He worked hard for four years and he wanted to finish what he started.
“It’s just a blessing to see how hard he works, to see how far he came to improve his game each year, his shooting, his ball skills, and just see him be that complete package now.”
Now Weems will try to earn his 100th win when New Haven – ranked No. 2 in the state by The Detroit News – plays Tuesday night in a Division 1 state quarterfinal game against unbeaten Harper Woods Chandler Park at Ortonville Brandon. Weems has a 99-6 career record at New Haven.
“He’s meant so much to us,” said France of Weems. “We were good before, but he’s taken us to another level. He brings out the best in everybody, his teammates, us as a coaching staff, makes us work harder. Just him being here has really transformed not just our school, but the county, and now he’s made history.”
Weems was able to ease into the program his freshman year, joining players who went on to play Division I ball, including Eric Williams Jr. (Duquesne) and Innocent Nwoko (Central Michigan). Williams made the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team last year and is averaging team-highs in points (13.7) and rebounds (7.5) this season.
Now, Weems is the man who has all the eyes on him, and Tuesday night’s game against Chandler Park will be no exception.
“Chandler Park is a veteran team with tons of senior leadership that plays hard and very good together,” said France. “They are led by a tremendous point guard in Derrick Bryant Jr., who really is the engine and glue for their team. They are long and athletic and they really get after it on both ends.”
Weems is averaging 23.6 points, 13 rebounds and six assists during the five postseason games this year.
“After this (Mr. Basketball ceremony), I just got to block all of this out, get back locked in and focus on my teammates,” said Weems. “I have to tell them that this is a good accomplishment and all, but we are still working on a state championship every day.”