Archive for March, 2010

Some of the state’s better and lesser-known players are right here under my nose. Everyone knows Flint by its reputation, but ever-so-slowly Genesee County (Flint and the ‘burbs) is catching up.

Here are the 20 best players in the county for 2009-10, first and second teams:

First team

Patrick O’Brien, senior forward, Powers Catholic: Euro-style game with Irish hospitality. (Player of the year)

Demarco Sanders, senior guard, Powers Catholic: Arguably the best pure scorer in the area. Self-made player with virtually no hype.

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FLINT, Michigan — One of the top shooting guards in the state, Flint Powers’ Demarco Sanders, has verbally committed to Ferris State.

Sanders was the leading scoring on a Chargers team that landed three players on the all-state list in class B. He is a natural 6-2 southpaw shooting guard with a reliable outside shot and the quicks to finish at the basket. 

As a senior, Sanders averaged 19.1 points per game and led the Chargers to the class B quarterfinals. He shot better than 53 percent from the floor. As a junior, Sanders was an integral part of Powers’ class B state championship team.

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Here’s a great piece from Rivals regarding MSU head coach Tom Izzo and his recruitment by the University of Oregon and the rumors swirling around the NBA.

From Rivals:

Izzo is worthy of all the attention and overtures because he is so good at what he does. He is driven by how to do things his way, the right way. He loathes those who try to take shortcuts. At 55, he has said he doesn’t plan to coach into his golden years, as did his predecessor and mentor Jud Heathcote. His plan is to retire in time to enjoy some of what he has worked so hard for.

Doesn’t sound like a man interested in a rebuilding project.

My Take: Izzo is not cut-out for the NBA. He’s a prototype college basketball coach and, most likely, the best in the country at what he does. Oregon can keep its $200-million facility and its lackluster basketball tradition. MSU will keep Tom Izzo.

SAGINAW,  Michigan — One is left to wonder how Maurice Jones finished fourth in the voting for the Mr. Basketball award this month, now that the AP has named the 5-foot-6 Arthur Hill guard the class A player of the year. (Two of the players ahead of Jones in the voting are in class A, by the way.) 

The AP is right and the coaches are wrong this time around. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Jones is the Great Lakes Hoops player of the year for 2010.

The senior guard has quite a resume.

He poured in 49 points in a win over Detroit Pershing, the popular pick to repeat as class A state champions. He had 39 points and for the Lumberjacks in a win over Kalamazoo Central, the reigning class A champions. He beat Saginaw three times and got the dunk in a game that proved the doubters wrong.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Detroit Country Day’s 6-1 guard Ray McCallum finished second in the McDonald’s All American slam dunk contest tonight at Ohio State University.

Michigan’s Mr. Basketball, Detroit Pershing guard Keith Appling, defeated Harrison Barnes in the skills competition. Barnes is considered by many to be the no. 1 pick in the 2011 draft after a year at North Carolina.

Appling is headed to MSU and McCallum remains uncommitted, though at least one writer thinks he is staying in Detroit.

Here’s the rundown of all the action…

It’s official: Manny Harris is done at the University of Michigan. The junior shooting guard made it official today.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Manny Harris confirmed this morning that he is leaving the University of Michigan basketball program for the 2010 NBA draft.

“After long discussions with the U-M staff and my family and friends, I have decided to pursue my dream of professional basketball and leave U-M early for the NBA,” Harris said in a statement.

“I will always be a Michigan Wolverine at heart and bleed Maize and Blue forever,” the junior wing said in the statement.

My take: I think Manny has done everything he can do at Michigan. Staying for his senior season, while smart for his future (i.e. life after basketball), probably isn’t the best basketball decision. UM will be terrible next season and not having another scorer to take the pressure off would undoubtedly hurt his production.

Even so, Manny was as fun to watch as any Wolverine in the past decade.

Will he get drafted, though? Probably not.

[Editor’s note: What you’re about to read might make you a little squeamish. I started this site five years ago because I wanted to have a voice, to tell the truth, and to cover the game I love. I don’t have to kowtow like newspapers do. I can just tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may. It’s one of the many perks of being independent.]

Every season I’ll spot a few.

There are enough awards and distinctions from conferences, newspapers, websites and scouting services to fill gym-sized trophy case, so it stands to reason that a few head-scratchers would rise to the surface.

This season, however, is one for the record books — in one case, quite literally.

I’m bothered by processes more than people but, in the end, people should have to answer for their actions.

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Be there: MML tryouts coming Monday night

Posted: March 27, 2010 by Jared Field in High School

FLINT, Michigan — Tryouts for the Mid-Michigan Lakers will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 29 at Mott Community College in Flint. The tryouts should last no more than two hours.

The tryouts are $10 and open to all student-athletes ages 14-18. This season, like last, we will be offering three teams: U-15, U-16 and U-17.

The cost for a roster spot is $400 again this season. The cost includes practice time, uniform and at least six tournaments. Small scholarships have been extended to players in the past who have demonstrated need.

Keep coming back to mmlbasketball.com for more information or contact Jared Field at field.jared@gmail.com.

Valentine’s Day: Sexton advances to class B final

Posted: March 27, 2010 by Gavin Raath in High School

EAST LANSING, Michigan — it wasn’t a pretty four quarters for Denzel Valentine; in fact, it was down-right ugly as the sophomore star tried his best to steer his talented, but young Big Reds against Gull Lake.  But when it counted in the waning minutes of Friday’s semi-final, Valentine went from ugly duckling to elegant swan.

In the final minute of play Valentine hit a critical jumper, pulled down a big offensive rebound and capped it off with a crucial steal and no look dime to a cutting Anthony Clemmons.

Luckily for Valentine and Sexton, Gull Lake played poorly by getting zero production out of its bench [a whopping one point] and its stars Trenton Messer and Taylor Schultz, and really all the starters, save for Jason Schau, shot way below 50% from the field.

A late surge by Gull Lake brought the game close, but Valentine’s heroics closed out the game to likely decide second place to an overwhelmingly talented Detroit Country Day.

EAST LANSING, Michigan — It was a miraculous uprising.

In the second half of Detroit Country Day’s 72-47  win over Muskegon Heights, Ray McCallum, appearing injured, sat motionless on the Breslin Center floor for five seconds.

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