The high school boys basketball season is rolling as teams prepare for various invitationals and showcases that December is becoming known for. With that said, it is time for MLive to rank the top 25 overall teams in the state of Michigan
These rankings will take a break through the rest of the year and will resume in January. A lot can change in that time so make sure you stick with MLive throughout the season to see which teams are among the best in the state, regardless of class.
25. Southfield ChristianRecord: 1-1
Bryce Washington returns for his senior season after his junior averages of 20 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals helped him get named Co-Player of the Year for Class D by the Associated Press. Also, junior guard Harlond Beverly (12.5 points) returns after an excellent season last year and can be considered the top junior in the state in Class D while fellow junior teammate Caleb Hunter -- the third son of former Pistons star Lindsay Hunter to play for Christian -- is right up there with him. Also, sophomore DaJion Humphrey is shaping up to be the next future star for the Eagles as well. It looks like the Eagles' dynasty is still alive and well.
The Eagles dominated Southfield A&T of Class A to open the season before taking a tough 81-74 overtime loss to Detroit Pershing.
24. FrankenmuthRecord: 1-0
Frankenmuth was 21-3 last season and lost, winning a district title and sharing the Tri-Valley Conference East Division title with Bridgeport. The Eagles return four-year starter and one of the top players in Class B this season in 6-foot-4 guard Mario Whitley, who averaged 25 points and 14 rebounds last season. Frankenmuth picked up a 74-67 win to start the season.
23. Detroit PershingRecord: 1-0
Pershing returns four starters and nine players, including senior guard Ron Hill (17 points) and senior forward Jaylen Benning (11 points, 7 reb). Yet, a brutal schedule will test Pershing throughout the season . The Doughboys got a nice boost to start the season with an 81-74 win over Class D power Southfield Christian.
22. CantonRecord: 2-0
Not too many people were talking about the Chiefs on a grand scale to start the season but they are making sure people take notice with two great wins over Belleville and Detroit Country. The guard trio of junior B. Artis White, senior Eian Barker and junior Vinson Sigmon gives the Chiefs good ball handlers and scoring while 6-6 forward Chase Meredith will be a physical force near the boards.
21. Warren De La SalleRecord: 0-1
Warren De La Salle, which finished runner-up in the Catholic League A-B tournament a year ago, is back to end Detroit U-D Jesuit's streak of five-straight titles. Forward Luke Pfromm just led the Pilots football team to a state title as a quarterback. Expect his scoring ability and leadership to payoff big for De La Salle this winter. Also, Justin Fischer (6-5) returns as one of the longest guards in the league with great shooting range and should be crucial at both ends of the court. De La Salle suffered an 82-62 loss to Class B defending state champion New Haven in its season opener.
20. River RougeRecord: 2-0
Despite losing its top scorers due to graduation from a year ago, senior guard Jayvien Torrance-Jackson will run a roster with younger talent, including a trio of juniors made up of guard Micah Parrish and forwards Donavan Freeman and Dan Few. After making the semifinals a year ago, River Rouge will look to make a push for its first state title since 1999. River Rouge already has two solid wins over Detroit Osborn and Detroit Western International.
19. BellevilleRecord: 0-2
Led by the return of future Michigan State Spartan Gabe Brown (6-8), Belleville's entire starting lineup is back to try and win the Tigers' first state championship and first state title appearance since 1998. Brown (15.9 points) and guards Delvin Alverson and Davion Williams (Michigan State football commit) each averaged in double figures for scoring last winter. Belleville also added sharpshooter Kaevon Merriweather, who transferred in from arch rival Romulus. Yet, Belleville has started the season 0-2 with a 65-61 loss to Canton and a 65-45 loss to Detroit Edison. Belleville lost just three total games all last year.
18. TroyRecord: 1-0
Troy is going to be senior-led team, including a trio of guys returning that averaged double-figures scoring in Jason Dietz (16.7), Leon Ayers (12.8) and Danny Sully (11.5, 10.5 rebounds). Keep an eye on freshman guard Brody Parker as well. Troy opened the season with a 74-58 win over Auburn Hills Avondale.
17. Grand Rapids Catholic CentralRecord: 1-0
Catholic Central is led by 6-foot-10 Marcus Bingham, who has signed with Michigan State, and 6-8 Jacob Polakovich. Bingham averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds a game last year, while Polakovich averaged 15 points and 9 rebounds. Catholic Central went 19-6 and lost in the regional finals to Spring Lake. The Cougars opened with a 90-84 win over Detroit Country Day to start the season.
16. WilliamstonRecord: 2-0
Williamston has been knocking on the door of the state championship game for the last two seasons and it is hoping that it can finally break through this season. Senior guard Cole Kleiver (16 points, 4 assists) and junior forward Sean Cobb (13 points, 8 rebounds) are back to make that happen. Senior guard Frankie Toomey and sophomore guard Mitchell Cook.
15. Benton HarborRecord: 2-0
It has been a long time since Benton Harbor has won a state championship. Fifty-two years for those counting. However, Benton Harbor got close last year, making it all the way to Class B semifinals before losing to eventual champion New Haven. Sophomore forward Carlos "Scooby" Johnson averaged 16 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists last year. Elijah Baxter will be the floor general as a senior point guard. Benton Harbor already has two dominant wins over Dowagiac and Goodrich.
14. Wayne MemorialRecord: 0-1
Last year, the Zebras rose to prominence by winning the KLAA division, conference and association titles. Wayne saw its season end with an 18-4 record, falling against eventual semifinalist Romulus in one heck of an entertaining district final. Senior point guard Rashad Williams (Cleveland State) returns, who developed into one of the area's top scorers, especially from 3-point range. He has already been mentioned as a possible Mr. Basketball candidate. Senior Terrance Williams is another guard who averaged double figures scoring as well, giving Wayne plenty of depth at the position. Wayne Memorial lost to top-ranked Clarkston, 65-55, to open the season.
13. NoviRecord: 1-0
Traveon Maddox was a standout on the football field as a wide receiver for Novi in the fall but now the 6-foot-4 athlete is back on the hardwood where he is even more of a force as a guard. Committed to Oakland University, Maddox averaged 20.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3 assists last fall. Maddox will be joined by newly added senior center Tariq Woody (6-8) who transferred in after averaging a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) at Plymouth last year. Jiovanni Miles is a point guard coming off of a strong sophomore season (9.7 points, 6.3 rebounds). Novi’s first game was a 72-56 loss to Ann Arbor Skyline.
12. Flint Carman-AinsworthRecord: 2-1
The Cavaliers will look to be the top team out of the flint area this season and one of the top teams in the state thanks to plenty of talent. Junior forward/center Mike Fletcher (11.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.2 blocks) is an athletic powerhouse as he has offers for basketball and others for football as a defensive end. He will be complimented by senior wing Omari Duncan (15.1 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists) while Ja’Kavien Lewis (11.7 points, 3.6 assists, 3.3. rebounds, 3.1 steals) will be a reliable presence at guard. Although Ainsworth has lost to top-ranked Clarkston already, it bounced back with a win over Detroit Renaissance.
11. Detroit East English VillageRecord: 0-1
East English returns only two starters but one of them is a potential Mr. Basketball front-runner David DeJulius (Michigan). A clear favorite for Mr. PSL this winter, DeJulius returns after averaging 26 points last winter alongside star guard Greg Elliott, who is now at Marquette. Junior guard Tariq Shepherd is the other returning starter for the Bulldogs after having a very productive season last winter. After a great offseason, Shepherd should give East English an excellent duo in the backcourt once again.
East English has already suffered a tough loss to ranked Hazel Park, 86-72.
10. Detroit Martin Luther KingRecord: 1-0
After losing to Cass Tech in the PSL championship and the district finals, King will be looking to improve on its great season from a year ago. King picked up Marcus Gibbs, a player who blew up off of the bench for Cass Tech last winter. He will be a difference maker from the start, joining fellow talented senior Antonio Marshall and junior John Massey on a solid scoring roster. King has already picked up a 20-point win over Saginaw Arthur Hill.
9. Detroit Edison Public School AcademyRecord: 1-1
Joining the PSL for the first time last winter, DEPSA made it all the way to the Class C semifinals. Despite going 14-12 last season, the tough PSL payed off in the Class C run. Although key scorer Jamal Keesee and starter Amari Hudson graduated from last year's team, the cupboards are far from bare for the Pioneers. Point guard Pierre "PJ" Mitchell (Central Michigan) will return for his senior season, joining 6-foot-5 All-State guard Gary Solomon. A key paint presence returns as well as 6-foot-8 Deante “Spider” Johnson (Cleveland State) is back for his senior season.
Despite a tough overtime loss to Detroit U-D Jesuit to open the season, DEPSA bounced back with a dominant 65-48 win over Belleville.
8. Detroit U-D JesuitRecord: 2-0
After winning the last five Catholic High School League A-B tournament championships, Detroit U-D Jesuit finally has a rebuilding year ahead. After graduating two Division I forward/centers in Ikechukwu Eke and Greg Eboigbodin, its top guard, Julian Dozier, moved to Arizona over the summer. Although Zachary Winston returns -- younger brother of Michigan State point guard Cassius Winston -- as a top scorer while guard Elijah Collins (Michigan State football) and rising junior Daniel Friday return too. However, Jesuit will have some growing pains as a lot more players will be getting new minutes and workloads. Still, this is a team you don't want to get into a track meet with.
This team already showed its going to be a problem to handle with an overtime road win over Detroit Edison to open the season followed by a dominant 28-point win over Macomb Dakota.
Lamar Norman (MLive.com)
7. Wyoming Godwin HeightsRecord: 2-0
Godwin went 22-2 a year ago, and they return a pair of Division I seniors in 6-foot-4 combo guard Lamar Norman and 6-7 forward Markeese Hastings. Hastings has committed to Butler. Norman has signed with UTEP, however, he reopened his recruitment Wednesday night, explaining that the recent announcement that Tim Floyd has been released as coach was the reason behind it. The offense is already rolling with two wins, including a 90-73 win over Hudsonville.
-Steve Kaminski, The Grand Rapids Press
6. Hazel ParkRecord: 1-0
Hazel Park brings back a lot of depth and scoring this year as the Vikings move up from to the OAA Red and Class A in a bold move. Yet, Hazel Park has the talent to back it up as Carl Bow (20 points, 3 assists, 5 rebounds) and David Hearns (16 points, 5 assists, 4 steals) return as four-year starters. In fact, this is a senior-laden team can contend right away in the OAA Red and Class A. The Vikings already have an 86-72 win over Detroit East English Village where it had five players score in double figures.
New Haven celebrates a 45-36 victory over Ludington to claim the Class B state final at the Breslin Center at Michigan State University in East Lansing on Saturday, March 25, 2017. (Joel Bissell | MLive.com)
5. New Haven Record: 0-0
Led by highly-touted junior Romeo Weems (6-6), New Haven has a lot of talent to work with. Last year, Weems averaged 18.1 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.9 steals, 3.6 assists and 2.8 blocked shots. Although the graduation of Eric Williams leaves a crucial hole to fill in the starting lineup, 6-7 shooting forward Ashton Sherrell (12.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2 blocks) will look to do more to fill the scoring gap.
Also, Tavares Oliver and Ronald Jeffery are two players with starting experience that return to the floor with good shooting skills. This team is going to be alright and built to defend a title.
4. Ann Arbor SkylineRecord: 2-0
They return 6 of their top 8 players from last season, including Ann Arbor News 2016-17 Player of the Year Brandon Wade. Wade, a Duquesne commit, averaged 21.4 points, 6.6 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game last season and will be entering his fourth year on varsity. His brother, Ryan Wade, has four D1 offers, and senior guard Jack Ammerman is one of the top three-point shooters in the state. Skyline already has solid wins over Novi and Livonia Stevenson.
-Ryan Zuke, Ann Arbor News
3. East LansingRecord: 2-0
East Lansing has lost two games in the last two seasons, both coming in the region championships. This year, the Trojans are hoping for a taste of bit more – much more actually. With 6-8 senior forward Brandon Johns leading the way, East Lansing plans to be a formidable team once again. A Mr. Basketball candidate, Johns averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks last season. Joining him is an up-and-coming freshman named Marcus Wourman, who will be playing point guard.
There is a lot of experience on the roster besides Johns, including senior guard Noah Schon, senior forward Justin McAbee, senior guard Malik Jones, senior forward Ben Zeka and junior guard Jack Morse. The Trojans already have two convincing wins over DeWitt and Jackson.
Cass Tech's bench celebrates another 3-pointer during the Class A Boys Regional 4- A game against U of D Jesuit at Fordson High School in Dearborn Wednesday evening, March 15, 2017. (Tanya Moutzalias | MLive Detroit)
2. Detroit Cass TechRecord: 1-0
Cass Tech is coming off of a season that saw it claim its first PSL title since 1998 last winter, bringing back some solid depth after graduating some key guys like Leonard Silas and Micheal Green. Yet, Cass Tech returns six players that had starting experience as three-year starters Randy Gilbert (6-6), Jalen Tobias (6-6) and Matt Richmond (6-2) are all back and each averaged between 10 and 11 points last year. Also, Chris Murray (6-2) returns for his senior year after adding 11 PPG last year as well.
Beyond that, there is a senior-heavy roster with senior guard Noah Schon, senior forward Justin McAbee, senior guard Malik Jones, and senior forward Ben Zeka. Cass Tech already has a dominant 84-53 win over Flint Beecher.
Clarkston's Christopher Robinson (3) contests the fast break layup of Grand Rapids Christian's Setric Millner, Jr. (24) during the Class A state final at the Breslin Center at Michigan State University in East Lansing on Saturday, March 25, 2017. Clarkston defeated Grand Rapids Christian 75-69 to claim the Class A state title. (Joel Bissell | MLive.com)
1. ClarkstonRecord: 2-0
Despite Thomas Kithier being ruled ineligible to play this season due to the MHSAA deeming his transfer from Macomb Dakota as athletically motivated, Clarkston is still the team to beat in the state this year. Senior guard Foster Loyer (Michigan State) returns as a top Hal Schram Mr. Basketball candidate and is the best guard in the state. Loyer was the MLive Detroit Player of the Year last winter when he averaged 25.1 points, 6.4 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.7 steals. Then, there is Taylor Currie, the 6-9 power forward who reclassified to the class of 2018, making him a potential Mr. Basketball candidate. He is committed to Wisconsin.
Plus, there's a whole group of returning depth. including CJ Robinson, Nicholas Wells and Tristen Mysen, just to name a few. Clarkston already is 2-0 with both wins coming over ranked opponents as the Wolves beat Wayne Memorial, 65-55, and Flint Carman-Ainsworth, 72-67.