Left to right, Vince Adams, Ryan Hickoff, Syrus McDonald and Shaquille Smith.
I’ve been contributing some articles to Michigan Preps, the state’s Rivals-owned, subscription-based high school sports page, throughout the last month or so, and they’re online if anyone has a pays to subscribe and wants to check them out. Here are excerpts from a few recent ones:
On Powers Catholic’s Vince Adams
(DeMarco) Sanders, in particular, was able to provide sage advice. Sanders’ junior year, he played scarce minutes on a state-title winning team stuck behind another All-State player in Shane Moreland. When Moreland graduated, Sanders spent his summer working on his game, moved into a primary role as a senior, and earned not only All-State honors himself, but also a scholarship to Ferris State University.
“I was able to learn a lot from them. O’Brien, he got every loose ball,” Adams said. “He taught me a lot about having that hunger for the ball. DeMarco was a great player. He could shoot from anywhere on the court, and I hope I can shoot it like him some day.”
On Fenton’s Dylan and Ryan Hickoff
Both score in a variety of ways, slashing to the basket, playing in the paint and even hitting 3-pointers, a shot both have had to work on since their freshman season.
“It (the ability to get to the basket) opens it (the perimeter shot) up,” said Ryan Hickoff. “They sag a little more to protect the basket and it leaves the perimeter open.”
“It’s really nice that we have shot-blockers,” Dylan Hickoff said. “We can play really good D (knowing) if we get beat, we got help behind us.”
On Northwestern’s Jay Magee and Syrus McDonald
With other capable scorers on the team, finding them all enough opportunities is a delicate balancing act for any point guard, but McDonald doesn’t sweat it.
“I just have to find ways to get all of them shots,” he said. “I want to average a double-double this season (in points and assists), and with these scorers it should be easy to get the assists every game.”
McDonald, along with Magee, forms one of the most underrated senior backcourts in Michigan. Magee is a versatile scorer who is adept at getting to the rim, drawing contact and using his strength to finish.
“When I was younger, I played a lot in the post,” Magee said. “I learned how to take contact and finish from that.”
And the most recent one, on Northern’s Shaquille Smith
During his career, Smith has played and held his own against some of the top point guards to come out of the Saginaw Valley League in recent years, including Arthur Hill standout Maurice Jones (who is now at USC) and former Saginaw High player Daniel West (who has committed to Rhode Island). He has tried to adopt pieces from their games and learn from them and other players he’s faced.
“I learned that even if they’re down or if they’re up, they would still lead and push their teams,” Smith said. “Every night, they don’t ever give up. They play hard every game.”
— Patrick Hayes | Great Lakes Hoops