Tuesday night I took in a double feature of Belsay Road’s finest with Burton Genesee Christian/Lansing Christian and Burton Bentley/New Lothrop. Both games were fairly competitive from what I could tell — I didn’t stay to see the end of either one because I was a little worried with the weather and wanted to somewhat take them both in.

While the games were fine, in and of themselves, one thing that stood out to me was the overall lack of talent. It’s not a shot at these programs, but something I’ve been struggling with overall in Genesee County. We used to always have killer class A and B teams, and our smaller area schools always had a few diamonds in the rough that could play for anyone.

Just a few years ago, this same double-header would have featured college level players like GCS’s Scott Soldan and Kevin Payne, LCS’s Peter Bunn, DeOndra Callahan, Mickey DeVries and Jonah Hatt, Bentley’s Joey Jerisk, Patrick Ellison and Jermaine Wyatt, and New Lothrop’s Ryan Praski, Brian Sheridan and Jason Knieper, just to name a few.
Now, things are definitely different. The top player I saw Tuesday was probably Justin Denny, a 6’5” senior, who has looked talented since he was in junior high. The long and lanky wing has a tendency to be streaky, but when he’s on, he’s tough to stop with his point forward game. Junior Adonis Brooks provided LCS with its greatest boost off the bench.

And Bentley has some tough kids like Brendan Green and Dylan Michael who seemed to be in control for most of the game, while New Lothrop could counter with Tyler Bennett and Michael Mucha.

Overall though something seems to be missing. It could be the recent coaching changes in New Lothrop, LCS and Bentley. Or maybe it’s a natural cyclical shifting to other schools. Whatever the reason, Genesee County is different all the way around.

But I am confident at the same time. This area is filled with a lot of talented youth. GCS has a really nice backcourt made up of the Selby brothers. They were recently pulled up from the JV, and since have added a lot to the varsity. LCS looked pretty young too with freshmen like Jordan Terry. And New Lothrop is loaded with sophomores and Bentley had a few guys that looked like they could be underclassmen – not for certain.

So my hope is that things get better with these younger classes as the new coaches learn to gel and develop their players and system. If not, I’m probably going to make a lot more trips to the Lansing area. That area seems to have scooped up the talent we lost.

— Gavin Raath | Great Lakes Hoops

  1. gregjohnson says:

    You should have Patrick check out Denny’s scoring average. I believe it should be good enough to be listed in the top half of his scoring leaders list. Thanks for checking out the “small” schools. I do agree that the talent level is down but, these kids like to see their name in print once in a while.

  2. prepfan says:

    It is sad to say out county school it is football or nothing. Then again look at all the state championship they have brought home in that sport. Take out Montrose and New Lothrop and you have a few at best. When basketball was king this area was the best in the state. I’m tired of driving to Saginaw twice a week! Even the city schools never seem to be at that top level any longer. Not sure way coach’s can not build a program you only have 5 kids at a time on the floor. Some schools have never had much and do not look like that will change soon.

  3. hoops says:

    LCS back in the day with Peter Bunn D Callahan and Mike Garza were sick three players all went above d2 for college

  4. Too many games being played and not enough fundamental skill being developed. That’s what you are witnessing. I would bet that, outside of school basketball, kids are playing 3 games to every 1 hour of practice. We should be flipping the script with 3 hours, or more, to every 1 game.

    There’s no substitute for working ON your game rather than trying to do the work IN your game.

  5. HS hoops says:

    Thanks for checking out the small schools the kids do enjoy reading about there team. With the 30 pts Denney scored on Tues he is avging a little over 22ppg.

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