CITYBEAT: Flint City Hoop Round-up; Northern

Posted: January 1, 2011 by Marcellus Miller in Citybeat, High School
By Marcellus C. Miller
GLH Columnist

No team has been more of an enigma in the city over the past few years than the Vikings, and this year is no different.  Ever since this site started, “what-ifs”  have surrounded this team each year regarding its potential and potential players.  Unfortunately, more often than not, that potential has not been reached by the team or the players.  Inconsistent is the word to best describe them and that can make a good team mediocre in a hurry.  They have losses by three and four points.  They have an unfortunate incomplete game where they “lost” by one as well.  Good teams find a way to win those.

Coming into the season, Shaquille Smith was on everyone’s board as one of the top-10 players to watch in the area.  After an impressive start versus Beecher with 18 points in the first half of play, Smith has largely become passive and defers to teammates.  That may work for some, but for Northern he needs to score the ball aggressively.  He has the most explosive first step in the area and maybe the conference, but teams playing almost exclusively 2-3 zone against the Vikings hampers that.  He needs 342 points over the course of the year to reach the 1000-point milestone, but it’s getting harder with the slow start.  He is one of four players on the team averaging in double figures scoring, but it is time to turn it up a notch.

The biggest surprise on this team and in the city has to be Dewrell Tisdale Jr.  The little-used freshman last year on varsity used that as motivation to make himself needed on the court this year.  Like McDonald from NW, Tisdale’s time this summer with the Lakers helping lead them to the programs first title, gave me a preview of what he is doing now.  Due to circumstances, he is spending time in the post, though he is most suited for the wing.  He has become the do-it-all for the team as evidenced by their most recent game against powerhouse Saginaw Arthur Hill where he had eight points, seven assists and five steals.  He is tied for second on the team in scoring, but needs to find a consistent outside shot to full maximize his potential.  Oh yeah, he can be found on youtube with a posterization of an Ypsilanti defender.

Dalvin David is a senior that showed promise last year at the start, but faded toward the end. This year, hopefully he maintains his stance as a force all year.  He is currently leading the team in scoring, after a nice 18-point performance against The Hill.  He has solid post moves and a pretty nice touch at the bucket.  The biggest problem?  He is a high school post player that has not been to the free throw line in five games!  With all of the undisciplined defenders at this level, how the heck is that possible?  Too much finesse.  Time to find your internal dawg, Mr. David.

Richmond Lewis made a splash last year as a freshman with the biggest statement coming in shutting down Powers’ Patrick Lucas-Perry.  Now entrenched as the starting point guard, he must learn how to make each one on the court better while also giving the team the scoring from that spot that they need too.  He gave us a glimpse of the promise with his 10-point performance in the 4th quarter against SAH.  However, he also showed us his biggest flaw in the 3rd quarter of that same game, turnovers.  The good part, if there is such a thing, is that his turnovers primarily come from trying to do too much, not lack of effort.  He just needs to translate some flash and dash to some fundamentally sound decisions.  True flash will get sprinkled in as part of a play when necessary.  No need to force it.

Eric Long, the subject of some debate in a prior article, is the one true bruiser that the Vikings have.  He is only about 6’3″, but is a solid 185-190 pounds and not afraid to use it.  When he has been on the court, he makes Northern a much tougher team to contend with on the floor.  The problem is keeping him on the floor.  Whether it’s foul trouble or issues in practice attendance, Northern needs him out there.  He also needs to be out there as this is his first and final season of basketball and any interest college coach will need some body of work to build on.

The enigma of all enigmas with this team is Donald Fisher.  Though completely invisible in the first 2 games of the season, he has started to wake up since then.  A 6’7″ “big” with a such touch, Fisher would rather be on the wing than in the post.  The problem with that is that he is the tallest player on the team and often on the court.  He has shown a propensity to block shots pretty well, but plays out of position too much defensively to do so.    He has to learn to use all of his considerable length to his advantage on offense and defense.

They also will get contributions from Antonio Rosborough, who is injured with a dislocated knee right now.  Freshmen Emmanuel Phifer and Ra’mon Lewis are looking to contribute as well.  But, until there is some consistency, they will lose just as many as they win.  In the SVL, they don’t have long to figure it out.  I see them finishing the city with a 3-1 record and tied for the title with NW.


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