Tavares Oliver Jr dribble the ball in a game. Tavares is having a great freshman season at Mott Community College
Duquesne Dukes guard Eric Williams Jr. dunks over top of Fordham Rams forward Ivan Raut Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, at the A. J. Palumbo Center, Pittsburgh.
By Jared Purcell | email@example.com
WARREN, Mich. -- The fans behind Romeo Weems were chirping. Weems could hear them chant “overrated” over and over after his 3-point shot attempt early in the first quarter during Tuesday night’s boys basketball game failed to hit any part of the rim and net.
It was an air ball.
Instead of using the more obvious “air ball” chant, the Warren Mott student section decided to take a different jab at Weems, hoping to take him down a peg or two. After all, Weems is considered the top recruit in the state of Michigan’s 2019 class and he is heading to DePaul next year to continue his basketball career. A four-star recruit ranked 51st in the nation by the 247Sports composite rankings, a lot is expected of Weems when he walks into a gym.
But as the fans blustered behind him, the 6-foot-7 New Haven forward paid no attention to the mocking. Instead, he continued to play, eventually steamrolling Mott with a monstrous performance. After the air ball, he went on to score 34 more points, finishing the game with 36 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks and 6 steals.
Weems reminded the Mott student section -- and everyone else, for that matter -- that he is not overrated. In fact, he showed why he is considered a favorite to be named the next Hal Schram Mr. Basketball, an annual award given to the state’s top senior as voted on by members of the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan.
“He loves playing in front of crowds like that,” New Have coach Tedaro France II said, letting out a chuckle before speaking. “He loves the chants. That kind of gets him going. He’s just a kid that can make great plays and can turn a close game into a game that’s so quickly."
When Weems chucked up the air ball, Mott was up 7-2. After that, New Haven went on a 20-0 run that was aided by 9 points from Weems. He had 27 points by halftime as New Haven went on to beat Mott, 84-50.
Lesson learned, Mott fans.
Still, Tuesday night’s effort is just one dominant instance of many throughout Weems' high school career. He was a huge reason why New Haven won the program’s first Class B title during his sophomore season two years ago, averaging 18.1 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.9 steals, 3.6 assists and 2.8 blocks during that campaign. Last year, Weems averaged 23.5, points 10.8 rebounds, 5.3 assist, 4.8 steals and 2 blocks per game as a junior to help New Have make it to the state semifinals.
So far this season, Weems has had an excellent senior campaign worthy of Mr. Basketball consideration. In a win over St. Clair Shores Lake Shore, Weems had 34 points, 19 rebounds, 10 blocks, four assists and four steals. He also had another triple-double in a win over Grosse Pointe North, tallying 30 points, 11 rebounds, 10 steals, five assists and four blocks. His résumé is staggering.
With a chance at eclipsing the 2,000-career-point mark this winter, Weems has a real shot at being named Mr. Basketball. Perhaps, he has the best shot -- and Weems knows it.
“That’s a goal I want to get,” Weems said of the Mr. Basketball award. “I’m going to bust my butt every game. I play every game the same: I play my hardest and leave it all out there.”
Yet, Weems nearly opted to dash his dream of being Michigan’s Mr. Basketball. Over the summer, Weems came close to leaving the state of Michigan altogether and finish his career elsewhere. With top basketball talent from within Michigan opting to leave to finish their careers elsewhere more and more, Weems nearly became another significant statistic of that group.
“I was probably going to go out of state, (to a) prep school,” Weems said. “Oak Hill, La Lu -- probably a big prep school somewhere. SPIRE wanted me too.”
Oak Hill Academy is a prep school in Virginia that draws in all kinds of talent. Lansing native Trevor Manuel, a top talent in the class of 2015, opted to play basketball there after spending his first two years of high school at Lansing Sexton. La Lumiere -- or “La Lu” as Weems put it -- is an Indiana’s version of Oak Hill and has drawn in the likes of five-star Saginaw native Brian Bowen (class of 2017).
SPIRE Academy is the new kid on the block when it comes to basketball academy schools but the Geneva, Ohio program has sucked in five Detroit area recruits already, including former Old Redford players Mark “Rocket” Watts. Heading into the this season, Watts was expected to be the main player to challenge Weems for Mr. Basketball but he decided to leave for SPIRE in October.
Former University of Detroit Mercy and Mt. Clemens High School basketball coach Jermaine Jackson is the head coach at SPIRE and Weems said Jackson pulled hard to get him to make the move south.
“I talked to Jermaine and I just told him I couldn’t do it,” Weems said. "I was thinking about it though. I talked to my family. We talked about it and I just decided to stay with coach France.
If it was not for Weems' relationship with France, Michigan would have likely lost another top basketball talent.
“I was going to leave but I just got so much love for coach France,” Weems said. “He’s a great coach. All of my coaches ... we just probably together more than me and my pops sometimes, you know, we’re in the gym.”
The decision to stay was a huge one for a New Haven community that thrives off of its basketball program. Yet, Weems' decision to stay did not surprise France, despite top schools looking to lure him away.
“He’s just a loyal kid,” France said. “His heart is here since Day One. Just a great kid. People don’t know about him as a kid. They just know about him being a great ball player. Just a humble kid. He works hard like he’s not a ranked kid. He’s a five-star kid but he works like he’s not even ranked. He great in the classroom and he’s great in the town with the kids.”
So far, Weems believes he made the right decision.
“No regrets, nah,” Weems said. “I just keep playing hard, getting better every day.”
Weems has helped get New Haven pegged as a favorite to win the Division 2 state title in March as the Rockets are off to an 8-1 start to the season. With Weems at the wheel, France believes anything is possible.
“To see him come out here and not even score points but just lead, play defense," France said. “He does all of the things that you ask of him to do. He’s just a great leader, a great player and just a great kid to coach.”
Weems has carried high expectations throughout his high school career and the Mr. Basketball conversion swirling around him only adds to the notion. Weems is not out to live up to any expectations -- or even disprove the criticisms of opposing fans.
Weems says he has nothing to prove to anyone except himself.
“Just prove to myself that this is hard work paying off,” Weems said. “Five o’clock workouts, 6 a.m. workouts on Saturdays -- I’m in the gym at nighttime, all day. It’s just proving to myself and prove it often. I’m going to get what I deserve.”
New Haven takes over 1st place in MAC White Division with a 84-50 victory over Warren Mott at Macomb Community College.
Big victory over a tough, scrappy and well coached Warren Mott team 84-50 to move to 1st place in our division. Proud of the boys and the effort they bring to practice everyday to get better. Playing hard, smart and together #BrickbyBrick #WintheDay #FAMILY
Chuck Pleiness, www.themacombdaily.com
New Haven’s boys basketball team let everyone know Tuesday night at Macomb Community College who’s the team to beat in the MAC White Division.
It is the Rockets.
Behind 36 points from Romeo Weems, New Haven easily got by Warren-Mott, 84-50, to move alone into first place in the MAC White.
“It’s not a statement game for us, we just want to come out and play hard,” Rockets coach Tedaro France II said. “Each game we play we want to play like it’s our last game. The kids knew this was for first place and they came out and played hard.
“They showed they’ve been working hard,” France II continued. “Practices have been so tough they get into the games and it’s their time to have fun.”
It took all of five seconds for Weems to show the kind of game was going to have, stuffing home an alley-oop to open the scoring.
“When Romeo comes out and plays like that there’s only so much you can do,” Warren-Mott coach Jeff Olind said. “He’s a heck of a ball player. You game plan for him, he hits some shots and you just have to tip your hat to him.”
Weems also grabbed 12 boards to go with five assists, six steals and two blocks.
“He just leads on the court,” said France II, whose squad lost in the Class B state semifinals last season. “He does all the things you ask him to do. He just a great leader and a great player. He’s a great kid to coach.”
The Marauders (3-1 MAC White, 7-2 overall) responded quite well after falling behind 2-0 as they went on a 7-0 run to go up 7-2.
But that was about the only highlight offensively Warren-Mott had on the evening as the Rockets (4-0, 8-1) went on a 20-0 run from that point to go up 22-7.
Weems finished with three dunks in the opening eight minutes that saw Olind call three of his timeouts.
“When you’re playing New Haven it can go from you’re in the game to you’re out of the game real quick,” said Olind, whose team trailed 30-17 after one quarter. “I didn’t want that to happen in the first quarter.”
Things slowly got worse for Warren-Mott as it trailed 55-29 at the half and then 75-35 to start the fourth.
The 40-point deficit meant a running clock to begin the final quarter.
Also for New Haven, which won the Class B state championship in 2017, Ronald Jeffery III totaled 17 points to go with 10 rebounds and seven assists, while Jamir Farrior tossed in 11 points and added five assists. Brent Wiles grabbed seven boards and chipped in eight points.
De’Jon Gantz led Warren-Mott with 15 points and Dennis Mayfield added eight.
Jared Purcel, Mlive
WARREN, Mich. -- Time and again, Romeo Weems shows that he is worth the price of admission.
On Tuesday night at Macomb Community College's Sports and Expo Center, it took Weems all of five seconds to get the crowd to its feet. The 6-foot-7 New Haven senior won the tip off and went streaking toward the net to slam home an alley-oop dunk.
The dunk was one of five that Weems had in his dominant 36-point performance, leading the Rockets (8-1) to an 84-50 win over Warren Mott (7-2) in a battle of first-place teams in the Macomb Area Conference White Division.
"I just go out, play hard and have fun," Weems said. "I just try to get my teammates involved and I try to win -- do whatever I have to do to win."
After falling behind to Mott, 7-2, after Weems' opening dunk, New Haven used an incredible 20-0 run in under three and a half minutes to take full control of the game and never looking back. In the span of its scoring run, the Rockets shot 9-for-11 from the floor to take a 22-7 lead and an eventual 30-17 lead into the second quarter.
To go along with Weems' 36 points, the Hal Schram Mr. Basketball favorite also had 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks and 6 steals.
"He does all of the things that you ask of him to do," New Haven coach Tedaro France said about Weems. "He's just a great leader, a great player. He's just a great kid to coach."
Rockets' high tempo buries Mott
After falling behind 7-2, New Haven's tempo only seemed to increase as the back and forth nature of the opening quarter led to too many mistakes for Mott and easy baskets for the Rockets.
Senior guard Ronald Jeffery III sparked the massive run with a 3-point shot. After a quick Mott turnover, Weems hit a layup while drawing a foul, completing the three-point play right after. From there, Mott had three more turnovers, a blocked shot and four missed shots while New Haven scored quickly and seemingly at will for three minutes.
"Over winter break, we stayed in the gym and we kept running and stuff so we didn't come back slow," Jeffery. "We just tried to bring that intensity every game."
Jeffery finished with a strong night as well, tallying 17 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists.
"We just want to play hard," France said. "Each game we play, we want to play it like it's our last game. We want to play hard. The kids came out today and they knew it was for first place and they just wanted to show that they've been working hard. Practice is so tough that when they get into games, this is the time to have fun."
Weems had 27 points by halftime. He left the floor for the final 28 seconds of the first half. New Haven achieved enacted a running clock (40-point lead) in the third quarter when it went up 75-35. The clock ran for the entire fourth quarter as Mott could not close the deficit to within 30.
Weems and the rest of the starters went to the bench with around five minutes left in the game and did not return.
New Haven 30, Warren Mott 17It took all of five seconds for Romeo Weems to make his presence felt as he won the tipoff and then slammed home an alley-oop dunk just five seconds into the game.
After Warren Mott took a 7-2 lead, Weems air-balled a 3-point shot, prompting "overratted" chants from but New Haven responded with a 20-0 run over the next 3:19 of the clock, taking a 22-10 lead with 2:32 left in the quarter.
However, right after the New Haven run ended, Weems responded with his third dunk of the quarter, this one in emphatic, two-handed fashion over a Mott defender.
Mott managed a 7-0 run to cut its deficit to 30-17 by the end of the quarter. Weems ended the quarter with 13 points.
New Haven 55, Warren Mott 29 Weems picked up where he left off in the first quarter and opened the scoring in the second with a 3-point shot.
Weems nearly matched the entire Mott roster in scoring with 27 points in the first half. There was some concern with 28 seconds left in the quarter when Weems went straight to the bench, wincing while holding his quad.
New Haven 77, Warren Mott 37 Despite showing a minor limp going into halftime, Weems was on the floor the entire third quarter. He added a windmill dunk to his already monstrous night to give New Haven a 65-33 lead with 4:52 left in the quarter. Jeffery added nine points in the quarter for the Rockets, including seven points during a 16-0 in the middle of the quarter.
By attaining a 40-point lead with a 75-35 advantage, New Haven enacted the running clock rule with about 1:24 left in the quarter.
New Haven 84, Warren Mott 50 With about five minutes left, New Haven sat all of its starters and brought in the bench, up 81-43 at that point. Weems sat and finish with 36 points with 5 minutes still to play.
The running clock rule stayed in effect the entire fourth quarter. Although Mott cut the deficit to under 40 points, the running clock rule stays active until the point differential is within 30 points, which never happened.
David Goricki, www.detnews.com
Benton Harbor head coach Corey Sterling knew he had one of the state’s top players in 6-foot-6 junior Carlos “Scooby” Johnson, but didn’t know if he had a good enough supporting cast to go around him to repeat as state champions heading into the season.
Well, now Sterling — The Detroit News Dream Team head coach from last season — definitely feels Benton Harbor has the weapons to lift the Division 2 championship trophy this March at Breslin Center after hoisting the ultimate trophy last year when Johnson came through with a big effort (24 points, 11 rebounds) in a 65-64 overtime Class B title game win over Grand Rapids Catholic Central.
And, of course, Johnson is leading the way. Johnson is averaging 26 points and 13 rebounds to lead Benton Harbor to a 10-0 start and a No. 1 ranking in The Detroit News Super 20.
Johnson was at his best Saturday night with a 39-point, 14-rebound performance in a 79-70 comeback win over No. 6 Saginaw, scoring 20 of his points during the third quarter, making four 3-pointers.
“I didn’t know that my guards would develop this fast,” Sterling said. “They are really gelling and playing lockdown defense so I really think we have a chance at repeating now.
“Our guards, Jamon Walker and Quindarius Davis are playing great on-ball defense. They’re good at shuffling their feet and they are quick with their hands. They are fast and quick as far as vertically and laterally, and they can score the ball. They shoot the 3s well and they can get to the hole so they complement my three 6-6 starters (Justin Brown, Chris Conway, Johnson). We have a really solid lineup and their confidence is oozing.”
And of Johnson?
“He’s averaging 26 points and I didn’t know he had that many points (39 against Saginaw),” Sterling said. “He had that look in his eye and took the game over. It’s the best I’ve seen him play since I’ve been coaching him.
ADVERTISING“He just got hot, shooting the ball from 3, hitting the mid-range, post moves, just bringing out the total package and playing like the best player in the state.”
So, how has Johnson’s recruiting been?
“I’m sure I’ll get more calls after this,” Sterling said. “Coach Beilein has been down to the gym, watched Scooby play a game on the 28th. West Virginia (has offered), just the 10 or 11 that’s been there, but Iowa called today.”
Benton Harbor also has a win over South Bend Riley and will continue to face a strong schedule, including defending Class C champion Detroit Edison on Jan. 26 at Detroit Voyageur, Emoni Bates and Ypsilanti Lincoln Feb. 2 in the Grand Rapids Union Showcase and hosting No. 2 River Rouge on Feb. 16.
State Super 20
Come check out two of the top boys basketball teams in Macomb County on Tuesday night at Macomb Community College when Warren Mott and New Haven square off for with 1st place in the MAC White Division
Joseph Hayes www.thetimesherald.com
The Times Herald boys basketball poll is back and there is a familiar team on top.
The New Haven boys basketball program has developed into one of the best in the state and that is reflected in the first poll of the new year.
The Rockets (7-1, 3-0) are off to another fast start and are tied with Warren Mott atop the Macomb Area Conference White Division standings.
The two teams will collide in a key game Tuesday at Macomb Community College.
Richmond (9-0, 4-0) is another team to watch entering the new year.
The Blue Devils have already defeated local teams Algonac, Cardinal Mooney, Imlay City, Yale and Sandusky and will get a shot at Croswell-Lexington on Tuesday in Richmond.
A victory would keep Richmond atop the Blue Water Area Conference standings. Coming in at No. 3 is Yale (8-1, 3-1), riding a three-game win streak. The Bulldogs' only loss was to Richmond and in the time since have knocked off Port Huron Northern and Croswell-Lexington. They have important matchups against Algonac and Almont this week.
Croswell-Lexington (6-1, 3-1) are ranked No. 4 in the poll after an outstanding start to the season. The Pioneers have already defeated Port Huron and Port Huron Northern this season and are currently tied for second in the BWAC, just a game behind Richmond. They will now get an opportunity to challenge Richmond for the conference race.
Rounding out the top five is St. Clair (7-2, 2-2), which has a few impressive wins of its own. The Saints have victories against Port Huron, Marysville, Marine City and have a key game approaching against Warren Woods Tower. A victory at home Tuesday and on the road Friday at St. Clair Shores South Lake could propel St. Clair into first place in the MAC Gold.
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Joseph_Hayes11.
Times Herald Boys Poll
Major career milestones highlight MLive's Mr. Basketball watch list: New Havens Romeo Weems leads group
Jared Purcell, www.mlive.com
Diving into the 2019 portion of the high school boys basketball season, there are a lot of players throwing their name into the Hal Schram Mr. Basketball award conversation.
Some players have made some big additions to their résumés, including Dansville's Caleb Hodgson grabbing his 1,000th career rebound and Wayne Memorial's Isaiah Lewis recording his 1,000th career point. Lewis is also one of the two new players on the list as well, joining Caleb Bates of St. Clair Shores Lake Shore.
The players below are presented in alphabetical order of last name. MLive's Mr. Basketball watch list neither officially associated with BCAM nor its Mr. Basketball voting process. Also, if there is a senior we are missing or you would like to pass along stat updates on anyone, please let us know in the comments section or email email@example.com with your thoughts.
Voted on annually by members of the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan, the award is presented in March during the week leading into the state championships.
Romeo Weems, G/F, New Haven 6-7
College commitment: DePaul
Finalist potential: High
Weems has been nothing short of dominant for the 7-1 Rockets so far. Weems had 34 points, 19 rebounds, 10 blocks, four assists and four steals in a win over St. Clair Shores Lake Shores. He also had another triple-double with 30 points, 11 rebounds, 10 steals, five assists and four blocks in a win against Grosse Pointe North. He also tallied up 27 points, 11 rebounds, seven steals and five assists in a victory over St. Clair Shores South Lake while adding 27 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Detroit U-D Jesuit. New Haven faces 7-1 Warren Mott Tuesday night at Macomb Community College and then hosts Romeo on Friday.
SirQuarius Ball, F, Bridgeport 6-5
College commitment: Uncommitted.
Finalist potential: Moderate
The first full month of the season was a good one for Ball and Bridgeport. With the Bearcats off to a 7-0 start, Ball is averaging 22 points per game including a trio of 30-point games. One was a 30-point effort against Everett while adding 14 rebounds and five steals. He also had a 30-point effort in a win over Detroit Henry Ford, where he was 11-for-14 from the field. He will face Frankenmuth on Friday.
Caleb Bates, F, St. Clair Shores Lake Shore 6-6
College commitment: Uncommitted
Finalist potential: Moderate
Lake Shore averages 70 points per game and it is no surprise since Bates is one of the top scorers in the state. Averaging 26.4 points and 13.0 rebounds per game, he has recorded a double-double in every game this season. In an 83-68 win over Waterford Kettering, he piled on a massive double-double with 44 points and 22 rebounds. He'll look to continue to dominate at home against Warren Cousino on Tuesday and at Utica on Friday.
Mike Fletcher, C, Flint Carman-Ainsworth 6-7
College commitment: Michigan State (football)
Finalist potential: Low
Fletcher got off to a strong start this year 19 points and 8 rebounds in a season opening win. Since then, he has not been lighting up the scoreboard as much but he has remained a key fixture on both ends of the floor. He also had 10 points and 12 rebounds in a win over Davison and 10 points in a low-scoring win over Flushing. He will face Flint Powers Catholic on Friday.
Daniel Friday, G, Detroit U-D Jesuit 6-4
College commitment: Brown
Finalist potential: Low
He has been leaned on a lot to start the season as Jesuit has had to play without star center Jalen Thomas (Massachusetts). Despite missing a game with the flu, Friday has stepped up plenty for Jesuit. He had 17 points in a win over Grand Blanc and 16 more in a loss to Chicago Morgan Park. Jesuit has a big road matchup tonight at Orchard Lake St. Mary's and then hosts Birmingham Brother Rice on Friday.
Caleb Hodgson, C, Dansville 6-10
College commitment: Central Michigan
Finalist potential: High
The big man has been off to a big start this season. Through nine games, he is averaging 24.7 points, 17 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game. He has scored less than 20 points just once -- a 19 point effort in early December -- and is coming off of a 35-point, 17 rebound effort to cap 2018. He also has three games of 20-plus points and 20-plus rebounds. To top it all off, he collected his 1,000th career rebound with a 28-point, 17-rebound effort in a win over Potterville on Monday. Dansville hosts Fulton on Friday.
Isaiah Lewis, G, Wayne Memorial 6-1
College commitment: Uncommitted
Finalist potential: Moderate
Lewis recently had two great accomplishments in one night. In a 91-56 win over Dearborn, Lewis set a new school record with 50 points in a game and surpassed the 1,000 career-point milestone as well. So far he is averaging 25 points, 7 assists and 5 steals wile shooting 49 percent. Wayne Memorial hosts Livonia Stevenson on Tuesday before traveling to Dearborn Fordson.
Note: Lewis' averages have been updated to be more current.
Drew Lowder, G, Ann Arbor Pioneer 6-0
College commitment: Holy Cross
Finalist potential: Moderate
Lowder has been the heart of Pioneer's 7-2 start. He had 23 points in a win over Arbor Prep, 18 points in a win over Jackson and 19 in a loss to Canton. He will be looked upon for a bif performance on Friday this week as Pioneer hosts rival Ann Arbor Skyline.
West Bloomfield guard Donavan Moore 6-2
Donavan Moore, G, West Bloomfield6-3
College commitment: Toledo
Finalist potential: Moderate
Despite the Lakers entering the week with a 4-4 record, it has not been for a lack of effort on Moore's part. An explosive athlete on the court, Moore has looked unstoppable most of the time. He had 31 points in a win over Warren De La Salle, 29 points in a buzzer-beater loss to Macomb Dakota, 27 points in a win over Troy, 27 points in a loss to Clarkston. He leads West Bloomfield into a home Tuesday matchup against Oak Park before traveling to Bloomfield Hills on Friday.
Eonte Tornes, G, Muskegon 5-9
College commitment: Uncommitted
Finalist potential: Low
Muskegon is off to a 4-2 start and Tornes has had some solid performances but sometimes gets overshadowed in Muskegon's balanced roster. He had 14 points in a 4-point loss to nationally-ranked Chicago Curie, 12 points and 4 rebounds in a win over Kenowa Hills and 7 points in a win over East Kentwood. Muskegon travels to Grand Rapids Union for its only game this week.
Chandler Turner, G/F, Detroit Renaissance 6-6
College commitment: Bowling Green
Finalist potential: Moderate
With Renaissance losing Carrington McCaskill to transfer (SPIRE Academy, OH), Turner has been doing everything he can to lead Renaissance. He had 14 points and 20 rebounds in a win over Detroit Henry Ford, 16 points and 9 rebounds in a win over Detroit Mumford and 18 points and 12 rebounds in a win over Detroit CMA. In a win over Detroit Edison, he had 25 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.
Ryan Wade, G, Ann Arbor Skyline 6-1
College commitment: Holy Cross
Finalist potential: Moderate
Following in his brother's footsteps, Wade has been a consistent scorer and distributor for Skyline so far this season. He had 21 points and 5 assists in a win over Dexter, 20 points in a last-second loss to Saginaw. He also had 19 points and 5 assists in a win over Belleville. He had 20 points and 6 rebounds in a loss to Wayne Memorial. He has a big game this week on the road at rival Ann Arbor Pioneer on Friday.
B. Artis White, G, Canton 5-11
College commitment: Western Michigan
Finalist potential: Moderate
He has done a great job of lobbying himself as one of the top point guards in the state. Showing up big night after night, White scored 23 points in a win over Northville, 17 points in a win over Ann Arbor Pioneer and 17 points in a close loss to Detroit Edison. Canton hosts Novi on Tuesday and travels to Hartland on Friday.
On the bubble
Michigan high school basketball: Mick McCabe's state rankings. Rockets #4 in Super 10 #3 in Division 2
Former longtime Free Press columnist and current special writer Mick McCabe provides his weekly boys and girls high school basketball rankings. Follow him on Twitter: @MickMcCabe1.
Boys basketball Super 10
Rank, school, record, class
Rank, school record
Jared Purcell www.mlive.com
The arrival of a new year also brings the heart of the boys basketball season. It is a long, tiring grind for every team hoping to hoist a state championship trophy at the Breslin Center on March 16.
Although 2019 has just arrived, the games on the 2018 calendar have shown that that things might be a bit wild in the Detroit area basketball landscape this winter. With surprise teams, Hal Schramm Mr. Basketball candidates and exciting matchups, here are the top storylines as the 2019 portion of the boys basketball season unfolds.
NEW HAVEN: Weems living up to Mr. Basketball hype Romeo Weems has been touted by many as the top player in the state's 2019 class for a long time. The New Haven star helped lead the Rockets to the Class B state title as a sophomore and then averaged 23.5, points 10.8 rebounds, 5.3 assist, 4.8 steals and 2 blocks per game as a junior. He is already a two-time MLive Detroit Dream Team selection and, this year, his is a Mr. Basketball favorite.
So far, Weems is delivering on the claims that he is the top player in the state with some impressive performances.
Weems had 34 points, 19 rebounds, 10 blocks, four assists and four steals in a win over St. Clair Shores Lake Shores. He also had another triple-double with 30 points, 11 rebounds, 10 steals, five assists and four blocks in a win against Grosse Pointe North. He also tallied up 27 points, 11 rebounds, seven steals and five assists in a victory over St. Clair Shores South Lake while adding 27 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Detroit U-D Jesuit. His efforts have helped New Haven get off to a 7-1 start.
Jesuit is good and is only going to get better Entering this season, Detroit U-D Jesuit was expected to be a team that could contend for a Division 1 state championship. So, the fact that Jesuit is 6-1 entering 2019 should come as no surprise.
However, Jesuit hit some unexpected bumps along the way, making the Cubs' current record seem more impressive.
In the first game of the season on Nov. 28, Jesuit lost 6-foot-10 center Jalen Thomas (Massachusetts) to a broken ankle during the game. Jesuit held on for a 54-47 win over Detroit Edison Public School Academy but Thomas, a potential Mr. Basketball candidate, has not played since.
Thomas' absence from the floor was evident in Jesuit's second game as the Cubs' smaller lineup had no answer for New Haven's 6-foot-7 forward Romeo Weems, who scored 27 points with 14 rebounds and five blocked shots as the Cubs fell, 70-58, after surrendering a second-half lead. Weems is Mr. Basketball favorite and committed to DePaul. Also, in that game, Jesuit guard Julian Dozier left with a minor injury in the third quarter and did not returing.
Since that 1-1 start, Jesuit has reeled off five-straight victories for a 6-1 record heading into 2019. Jesuit beat Grand Blanc to start the streak, playing without Dozier and Thomas. Dozier returned in the next game and Jesuit has since pulled off thrilling wins over Detroit Catholic Central, Warren De La Salle and Chicago Orr, all by a combined five points.
Along with the boost that Dozier brings, senior guard Daniel Friday (Brown) has been the steady heartbeat and top scorer as Jesuit ground out victories. Guard Jordan Montgomery and forward J.T. Morgan have also provided valuable minutes for the Cubs.
Jesuit coach Pat Donnelly hopes Thomas will be healthy and back in the lineup by the second week of January, meaning the Cubs will have to continue to find ways to win without their big center for at least another game. Jesuit travels to face Chicago Morgan Park on Saturday.
Also, the Cubs have another player waiting to take the floor as senior guard Caleb Hunter will be eligible to play after Martin Luther King Day after he transferred in from Southfield Christian. Hunter, the son of former Detroit Pistons veteran Lindsey Hunter, is a great shooter and should give the Cubs some of the best guard depth in the state. He was a starter at Southfield Christian and led the Eagles to a Class D title last year.
However, that was not all. Tim Wasilk also took over the head coach position after serving under former coach Dan Fife, who retired after 36 seasons as Clarkston's head skipper.
After an 0-2 start, it certainly looked like Clarkston was going to experience a rebuilding season that seemed inevitable. Instead, Clarkston quickly turned things around and holds a six-game win streak and a 6-2 record heading into Thursday's matchup at North Farmington.
Clarkston's win streak has been highlighted by handing Orchard Lake St. Mary's, White Lake Lakeland and Lake Orion their only losses of the season so far. Each of those wins were by at least 16 points. Clarkston also topped a talented Wayne Memorial team by 14 points.
"We've definitely had a turnover in players but the system has been intact," Wasilk said. "Getting players up here, we've got young kids that are eager to play and excited to play. They are ready to step into these roles. We told the kids that we can't wait. It's your turn now."
Wasilk is putting a lot of faith in two freshman guards to help lead Clarkston to victory this winter. One is Fletcher Loyer, Foster's younger brother. The other is Wasilk's nephew, Keegan Wasilk, who is running the point this season. Clarkston's 7-foot junior center Matt Nicholson barely saw the floor last year and is expected to control the paint and the boards moving forward.
LaMonta Stone has River Rouge rollingLaMonta Stone is in his first season coaching River Rouge -- for the third time. In his first stint as River Rouge's coach, he led the Panthers to a Class B state championship in 1999. After spending time as an assistant in the college ranks, Stone came back to River Rouge for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons and led them to the state quarterfinals.
After an offseason that saw the Panthers lose coach Mark White in the midst of a coaching controversy at Detroit Renaissance, Stone has helped right the ship so far. At 5-1, River Rouge's only loss is a 54-51 result against Division 1 contender Detroit Martin Luther King.
River Rouge is a favorite in Division 2 this year thanks to a great starting lineup that includes talented seniors like Donavan Freeman, Dan Few, Jason Norton, Bralin Toney and Micah Parrish -- to name a few. Rising sophomore Legend Geeter provides plenty of excitement as well, scoring 18 points in a recent win over Ypsilanti Lincoln.
Some surprises to follow: There are a few teams from around Metro Detroit that are off to some surprising starts this season:
After going 5-15 last year and 3-16 the year before, Pontiac is the biggest surprise of the year so far with its 8-0 start. Already equaling its win combined win total of the last two years, Pontiac is a favorite in the Oakland Activities Association Blue and could make some noise in Division 2. Picking up key wins over Clarkston and Ferndale already, Pontiac's biggest competition in the OAA Blue might turn out to be Oxford. Speaking of surprises, Oxford is 6-0 after going 8-14 last year while in the OAA White.
Roseville announced that it is going to be a force to be reckoned with when it knocked off Division 2 favorite New Haven, 65-60, in its second game. Already out to a 7-1 start, Roseville was a respectable 16-7 last year and only 9-12 the year before that. Even more intriguing, Roseville has moved up to the Macomb Area Conference Red Division from the White Division this season. So far, Roseville's only loss is a 55-52 decision to MAC Red perennial power Macomb Dakota. As of now, it looks like Roseville belongs in the Red.
Speaking of the MAC Red, Sterling Heights Stevenson is off to a 6-1 start after a 14-6 season last year. Opening the season with a six-point win over Clarkston, Stevenson also as a key 10-point victory over Ann Arbor Skyline. After finishing second in the MAC Red last year, Stevenson hopes to move on up. Two huge matchups await for the Titans next week as they host Macomb Dakota on Tuesday and travel to Roseville on Friday.
Walled Lake Northern is 7-0 after a 12-9 campaign last year. Warren Mott is 7-1 after going 10-11 and 13-9 in the last two seasons.
Regular season games worth marking on your calendar
New Haven Basketball