Sophomores for the next level: 10 Michigan JUCO prospects to watch

Posted: January 25, 2012 by Jared Field in JUCO

Mott's John Taylor is among the top JUCO prospects in the Midwest.

With half the JUCO season now behind us, it’s time to start nailing down some top-tier talent for the next level. Certainly there are more than 10 players in Michigan at this level who will be on college rosters next season, but here are ten who I think can make an instant impact. They are in no particular order, though I tend to think the first two are the best two:

1.) John Taylor, 6-1 guard, Mott Community College: Big-time player in the clutch. Taylor, from Chicago, is the best ballhandler I’ve seen at this level and is fearless attacking the basket. He averages 24 points per game on the no. 1-ranked team.

James Johnson, Jackson Community College

2.) Jody Hill, 6-0 guard, Delta College: He’s slight, but an absolute killer on the offensive end. He can score in a multitude of ways. He made seven 3-pointers in a game against Glen Oaks earlier this season. He’s not a prototype point guard in any sense, though.

3.) James Still, 6-10 Center, Henry Ford: The D-1 transfer of “shaking the stigma” fame is now the man in the middle for Henry Ford. It’s rare to find quality big men at the JUCO level, but Still is about as close as you’ll get. He leads the Hawks with 18 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks per game. He hasn’t filled out as much as one would hope, but it’s hard to go wrong with a man his size at this level.

4.) Njoku Ugochukwu, 6-11 center, Oakland Community College: Ugochukwu seems to be a little under the radar at this point. He’s not flashy, but with his size and length he can be very effective in the middle. Thus far he has averaged 10 points, eight rebounds and more than four blocks per game. Even after two years at the JUCO level, I don’t think he’s physically ready to have a significant impact at the D-1 level.

5.) James Johnson, 6-5 guard, Jackson Community College: The kid who always had the upside is starting to meet my expectations. Johnson left Saginaw Heritage as raw and a bit passive. Today he’s much stronger physically and mentally and may well be the “Saginaw surprise” at the D-1 level. He leads Jackson with 16 points and six rebounds per game. He has also made 34 percent of his 121 3-point attempts.

6.) Jonathan Edwards, 5-9 guard, Kirtland Community: To put it plainly, he is Mr. Everything for Kirtland, no longer a gimme ‘w’ from the great white north of Michigan. Edwards can kill you with his quickness going to the basket and his perimeter game. He leads Kirtland in scoring (17 ppg), assists (5 apg), steals (2 spg) and is shooting 41 percent from 3-point range.

7.) Nate Duhon, 6-2 guard, Lansing Community College: Really solid all-around guard. He was a handful in high school at Lansing Sexton with his size an athletic ability. Since joining the JUCO ranks, he has been a consistent scorer for the Stars. I’ve never considered him to be a shooter, but he has developed a pretty decent outside shot. Duhon and freshman Cameron Sanchez make up a killer guard combo for LCC.

8.) Tim Bates, 6-6 guard/forward, Lake Michigan College: I was actually more impressed with Bates when I saw him last season. Early this season, he looked listless and seemingly out to lunch. There’s no denying his talent, though. He an all-around scorer with excellent shooting range. He is leading a mediocre LMC squad with 23 points and eight rebounds per game. He might be the first player I’ve ever seen actually taller than his listing (he’s listed at 6-5).

9.) Jared Mysliwiec, 6-0 guard, Grand Rapids Community College: I must admit, I wasn’t over the moon for this kid in high school, but he has come off an injury and been dynamic in his first five games back. In those games he has scored 100 points with 22 rebounds and 18 assists. The MCCAA Western Conference may well boil down to a battle between the aforementioned scoring tandem at LCC and Grand Rapids’ duo of Mysliwiec and Alex Lyle.

10.) Karl Moore, 6-7 forward, Schoolcraft College: Moore is a scoring machine. Earlier this month he scored 25 points with 15 boards against Henry Ford. On the season he is averaging 22 points and 13 rebounds for an improved SC squad.

  1. WEH says:

    I can’t deny that Jody Hill has talent… but I don’t advise anybody to go out of their way to see him play. Arguably the biggest ball hog this side of the Mississippi, and maybe even the other side of the Mississippi as well. I think a lot of JUCO guards could get relatively the same numbers (if not better), given that they took 30+ shots a night, where a bare minimum of 8 of those being 3’s…

    He can dribble though to be fair.

  2. Freddie McCoy says:

    Nate Duhon should be ranked higher because he is playing out of position but this made him a better rebounder and it made him tougher, something he didn’t have in high School. John Taylor is very good but he has a great supporting cast at Mott and he do not have to do lot of things on the defense end.

    • Jared Field says:

      It wasn’t meant to be a ranking, just ten guys you should check out for the next level. I do think Taylor and Hill are the best JUCO players in Michigan, though.

      • Freddie McCoy says:

        But you do have them numbered which look like they are being ranked but having coached and played basketball for over 30 years, you have more than talent to win games, Like I said before, John Taylor is in a great system at Mott that make him look great, he could be overrated when playing Division 1, remind me lot of a player that Mott have a couple of years ago that went on to play at Ohio St and didn’t put up big numbers as he did at Mott. Now Nate Duhon who is now 6″3 and in this second half of the season is averaging over 20pts a game along with 8 reb a game plus he is only playing no more than 25 min a game. He just played his best game tonight against Muskegon in a comeback win for 33pts

      • Jared Field says:

        Jeremie Simmons didn’t put up great numbers at Ohio State, but that’s the highest of high major basketball. He started a lot of games for the Buckeyes, though. At the JUCO level, he won two national championships and the national player of the year award. I don’t know of another JUCO player in recent years who can come close to that. No offense to Nate Duhon, but he’s not at the same level as Simmons.

      • Freddie McCoy says:

        Come on Jared, we know that lot of Division 1 programs is filled with overrated players and very political on how they selected their players, I know this by experience but it always depend on what level of coaching the player get and what type of system,he/she played in to be a good or great player. Nate Duhon is on the same level of Simmons and have more potential than Simmons. Duhon has been subject by inferior coaching in High School and JUCO Level. What make a good player is hunger, talent and intelligent. The NBA is made up of more players that didn’t get that hoopla or smaller schools . The only way that we would really know if Nate Duhon play at Division 1 level

  3. Big_Scout says:

    John Edwards Its Not Jonathan Edwards…He Is A Great Leader By The Way! Very Tough And With Alot Of Heart.

  4. Big_Scout says:

    But Do You Think These Top 10 Players Can Impact On The D1 Level?

  5. Big_Scout says:

    Do you think john edwards will? despite his height?

    • Jared Field says:

      I’d be shocked if he did.

      • Freddie McCoy says:

        Jared, you are a great motivator, Mr Duhon read your comments and went for 33pts,Wednesday and 32pts, Sat

      • Jared Field says:

        What was so controversial about my statement? I said Nate Duhon wasn’t at the same level as Simmons, who won the national player of the year, two national championships and played two years at Ohio State, among the top high-major programs in the country. How is that a slam on Duhon? I put Duhon on that list because I think he’s really good. I thought the same when he was in high school. He’s a really nice player.

      • Freddie McCoy says:

        Mr Duhon, appreciate your praise of him since high school, Jared but lot of people in Lansing feel that Duhon have much more potential to be better and he didn’t get that attention when he played at Lansing Sexton because Coach Valentine focus more on his boys and Nate got lost in the shuffle in his Senior year in high school, It would been have better if he had played with Henton at Lansing Eastern. In other words,he just didn’t get quality coaching at Lansing Sexton those four years.

      • Jared Field says:

        Again, not a knock on Duhon. I just don’t think you understand what kind of player Simmons was in high school and at Mott. Thad Matta tried to make him a PG and clearly it didn’t work.

        In high school, Simmons was playing against big-time players all the time and was among the top players in Chicago.

        Read this, from 2005, when he went head-to-head with Derrick Rose (which he did on numerous occasions):

        Rose finished with 22 points, six assists and three steals. He put on a crowd-pleasing one-on-one show in the fourth quarter with Von Steuben’s Jeremie Simmons, who led all scorers with 27 points.

        “Derrick Rose is a great player and I like his game,” Jeremie Simmons said. “I had to step up in the fourth quarter (15 points) to match him. This definitely shows Von Steuben is as good as any team in the state.”

      • Freddie McCoy says:

        No knock on Jeremie Simmons, with his size, need to be a PG and his outside shooting was too inconsistent for me. One for my ex- Player Kevin Tiggs was a better player than Simmons and we might see him in the NBA in the next few years. I seen Mr Tiggs’s talent when he played for me at a Rec league in Grand Blanc before he got to Mott. I told him that he was young and wasting his talent and he should be playing college basketball somewhere, the rest is history,NJCAA Player of year and a championship while playing for Mott, yeah Simmons did the same thing but I like Tiggs better. On a short note, Nate Duhon has just be named NJCAA Division II Player of the week

  6. Freddie McCoy says:

    John Edwards, maybe Saginaw Valley or Northern Michigan

  7. steven jones says:

    wat about Hill? do you feel he is a d1 athlete because i feel like he really can play at that level along with taylor.

    • Jared Field says:

      I think Hill and Taylor are the only two players in Michigan right now that I am confident can make an impact at some level of D-1. A few of the others will get there (including James Still), but I’m pretty confident in Hill and Taylor. Both have a ton of talent.

  8. steven jones says:

    I mean i have witness Hill play and i fill like he is the best juco player in michigan. Ball hog is not him i fill like he just try to put his team in the best situation to win, i mean he averages 27 ppg 4 rpg 3 spg and 3 apg how is that a ball hog?

  9. Joe Ball says:

    I see a lot of Nate Duhon comments that I must provide clarity on shooting has never been a problem for Nate Duhon at 16 I witness him shooting at Merrill elementary school(Flint,MI) knock down 15 three pointers in a row in a shooting contest wiith adults. I personally addressed the favorite player(s)syndrome on the Sexton roster to coach Valentine.I believe we will live to see him go on to Div. 1& NBA greatness

  10. Big_Scout says:

    Okay….What About Karl?

    • Jared Field says:

      I’d be shocked, honestly. He’s a really good big man at the JUCO level, but this is not a big man’s level. At a higher level he would be going up against much bigger and stronger players. As far as I can tell, his game does not extend much farther than the paint.

      • dave_simmons says:

        Honestly, i feel like ur opinions are overated! How can you say that this league is not based upon big man when you have had great big men like doug anderson who are successful at playing at a d1 college. i remember seeing karl moore play almost 2yrs ago at a tournament in new york and the guy finish the game with 46pts and 17rebs. As talented as these guards are, in the michigan juco league i still haven’t seen nobody score over 46pts other than him within the last 2yrs. I do agree that all 10 players can be successful at the next level but strongly disagree when you talk down on the big men as of if the work that they put in on the court day in and day out to help their team get a win is not good enough. As far as stats wise, Karl Moore should be brought up in the conversation when talking about the best michigan juco player because he is averaging 23pts & 13rebs a game. Even JAMES STEEL is not averaging them type of numbers. Last year schoolcraft college record was 9-20 (3-13 conference) and this year their record is 16-10 (8-7 conference) this guy has changed their program around! I’m really not a fan of big men but i do believe in giving credit when credit is due and here you all are over looking his great talented because of the fact that your impressed with these michigan juco guards.

      • Jared Field says:

        Doug Anderson is a great big man? He’s 6-5 at most and lacks a post game. How can you call him a big man? He’s the best athlete I’ve ever seen, but he’s not a post presence.

        And as far as Karl Moore, I’m talking about how he projects at the D-1 level. He’s not a shotblocker and scores all his points right around the basket. At that height (6-7), and with his frame, I don’t know how he could be an impact player at the D-1 level.

      • Freddie McCoy says:

        Jared, made a good point here, the big men in Michigan JUCO this year is lacking and the level of competition down low make Karl Moore look great esp in league play, I can only think of the big guy from Oakland and James Still that is worth while and this year, the guards dominated this year because the taller guards are playing out of position and doing more on their respective team

      • Jared Field says:

        To be honest, it’s very rare to get a great big man at his level. Most guys who have the talent and the size go D-1 straight out of high school or go the prep school route. If Moore had a perimeter game, he’d be a no-brainer at the D-1 level.

  11. Karl Moore says:

    “I Choose…
    to live by choice, not by chance;
    to make changes, not excuses;
    to be motivated, not manipulated;
    to be useful, not used;
    to excel, not compete.
    I choose self-esteem, not self-pity.
    i choose to listen to my inmer voice,
    not the random opinion of others”

    • Freddie McCoy says:

      Criticism of your play can only motivate and enhanced your play, you should go far and the only person that can stop you, is yourself.

  12. MArk says:

    to be honest even tho hes a freshman Deon Gunn from Schoolcraft next year will be a beast …He’s a great defender…great team player …and has great court vision

  13. […] a Lansing Sexton grad, made the second team. He averaged 18.1 points per game this season. Field wrote this about Duhon earlier in the season: Really solid all-around guard. He was a handful in high school at Lansing Sexton with his size an […]

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