Archive for August, 2012

Flint Carman-Ainsworth’s Denzel Watts commits to UAB

Posted: August 30, 2012 by Jared Field in High School

Flint Carman-Ainsworth senior Denzel Watts. (Mlive.com photo)

The outstanding lead guard for the Flint Carman-Ainsworth Cavaliers is officially off the board. Denzel Watts, who has been an impact player since his freshman season at C-A, will play college ball for UAB and its new head coach Jerod Haase. He made the announcement on Thursday at C-A.

A friend and newly-named head coach at Flint Powers, Jeremy Trent, thinks Watts is the best point guard to come out of Flint since Mateen Cleaves. And while that sentiment is certainly debatable, what isn’t is that Watts is about as ready for college as any guard I’ve seen in high school. The kid is a tanker truck of a guard (sort of like Mateen in that way) and can shoot the lights out from 3-point range.

You can forgive Trent for being so high on Watts after he bludgeoned Trent’s Swartz Creek team last season for 38 points (Trent’s team still got the win, though).

Watts is one member of a 2013 class in the Flint area that is nothing short of spectacular. He is the second of the Big Four to commit. Beecher’s Monte Morris committed to Iowa State this summer while Swartz Creek’s JD Tisdale and Flint Northern’s Richie Lewis remain uncommitted (Lewis has plans to attend a North Carolina Prep School for his senior season).

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It’s always great to see under-the-radar players show up on the radar at four-year schools. The latest Flint Northern graduate Clavontae Brown who  recently signed his letter of intent to play for St Andrews University in North Carolina.

Brown, known only as an undersized forward with big-league bounce in high school, went the JUCO route to develop guard skills and on to the NAIA. Last season, Brown was a reserve guard for a very talented Oakland CC squad.

By Marcellus Miller

On August 3-4, 2012, I had an opportunity to be involved with a camp specially designed for young men ages 3-18 right here in the city of Flint.  You say you didn’t hear about it?  That figures because it was not sponsored by one of our local athletes nor did it fit the bill of the “normal” Flint negative newsworthy material.  What it did though was give 61 young men a chance to learn and grow physically and mentally over the course of a couple days.

Kingdom of Heaven Ministries (KHM located on G-3196 W. Pasadena Ave. on Flint’s north side) hosted the camp for the group they dubbed yM.O.V.E. (Young Men of Valor and Excellence), a spin off from their men’s group M.O.V.E. (Men of Valor and Excellence). The idea was initiated by Pastor/Founder Lonnie W. Brown as a tool to reach the underserved demographic of inner city boys and give them life principles and experiences through pairing with the men of M.O.V.E. in a safe, spiritual environment.  Church member Julie Leighton picked up the idea and ran.  Per the camp administrators, Min. Antoine and Deria Brown, the thought behind KHM’s plan was that “athletes who have gone on to pro careers often reach back and make a deposit [to the youth].  How much more should successful men in corporate careers and ministry do the same?”

The itinerary consisted of workshops on respecting yourself, respect your sister, obeying your parents, and honoring God, all of which we see day-to-day being violated in our city by our young men.  However, it did not just stop with mental teaching, the second day included an obstacle course run by former Army Drill Sergeant Alvin Sanders (who is now an elder at KHM) who drilled the boys on self-discipline and physical endurance.  In addition, local high school basketball star JD Tisdale and his AAU coach/mentor, yours truly, ran the boys through various hoop drills and stations to give back athletically as well.  Lunch was served daily and the boys were given t-shirts and school supplies.  Prizes were also awarded in various categories.

Oh yeah, forgive me for forgetting to mention that this was all offered totally free of charge.  When asked why, Deria replied, “we wanted the people that needed it most to be able to participate…a cost, however minimal, could deter attendance.”

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Malik Albert, Detroit King (DPS photo)

Backing up a fourth national championship and a school record 35-1 record  just got a little easier for Steve Schmidt. The hall of fame coach at Mott Community College in Flint just reeled in the final player in what, at least on paper, is the most talented recruiting class in the storied program’s history.

The Basketball City welcomes Detroit King’s Malik Albert, arguably the Motor City’s top senior guard. The 6-3 combo guard led King to the PSL championship this past season, lighting up Detroit Pershing to the tune of 30 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals in the clincher. Albert is athletic, versatile and a big-game performer. As a senior, he averaged 22 points per game with five rebounds and two assists.

The last recruiting class that was at this level (2005) included several players from Detroit.. Historically, Mott has been a tremendous jumping off point for Detroit-area prospects  — Jerel Allen, Jesse Bunkley, Thomas Kennedy, Terrence Watson, DeAndre Nealy, Jay Youngblood, Carlos English, Rob Giles, Demarcus Ishmael and more.

The final recruiting haul

Size? Check. Quickness? Check. Championship pedigree? Check. Homegrown talent? Check. And at Mott, one doesn’t have to ask about athleticism. That’s basically a prerequisite in this program.

The names: Malik Albert (Detroit King), Devin Foster (Chicago Curie), Coreante DeBerry (Holland, Michigan), William Abbott (Detroit King), Trevon Banks (Detroit Cass Tech), Chester McFadden (Springfield, Ohio), Sy McDonald (Flint Northwestern, Summit Christian), Antuan Burks (Flint Beecher) and Myles Busby (Niles, Michigan).

With little doubt, I think this class is the best in Schmidt’s tenure. It was close even without Albert, just based on the size variable. Schmidt’s teams rarely have good size (he loves guards), but all that changes this season with DeBerry checking in at 6-9 and Abbott at 6-6. He has seven more players at 6-3 or taller as well (Kortez Ross, Chavis Mattison, Kory Billups, McFadden, Foster, Banks, Busby).

Schmidt needed a big class this season to offset the loss of sophomores John Taylor, Darryl “Boo” Marshall and Walter Davis. Also, freshman guard and second-leading scorer Ralph Eason will not be back with the team this season.

Is this roster better than last year’s national championship team? On paper, it is. We’ll see how they look on the floor in November.

The original fall hoops workout/showcase is back to where it all began, as the Bankhoops.com All-State Minicamp will be held at Aim High in Lansing on Sunday, Sept. 23.

Now in its eighth year, the camp affords top players from across the chance to play in front of over 30 Division II, III and NAIA college coaches from throughout the Midwest, as well as the Bank Hoops scouts and coaches. There is extensive camp coverage on MLive and Bankhoops.com, with evaluations and profiles sent to the 150 college programs that are Bank Hoops’ clients, as well as other coaches from across the country.

The camp is open to boys entering grades 9-12. It runs 10 am to 5 pm Sunday, Sept. 23 at Aim High, with drills run by college and high school coaches in the morning, and three games in the afternoon. The cost is $100 per player, and includes jersey and lunch.

Click Here to Register For the Camp

For more information, contact Stephen Bell at sbell@bankhoops.com

Bank Hoops All-State Minicamp alumni have gone on to play at schools such as: Albion, Adrian, Alcorn State, Alma, Bucknell, Butler, Calvin, Central Michigan, Chicago, Chowan, Cleveland State, Concordia, Cornerstone, Davenport, Delta, Denison, DePauw, Detroit, Eastern Michigan, Ferris State, Gardner-Webb, Goshen, Grace Bible, Grand Valley State, Hillsdale, Hope, Illinois, Indiana Tech, Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Valley, Kenyon, Lake Forest, Lake Superior State, Lawrence Tech, Lehigh, Madonna, UMass-Lowell, Michigan, UM-Dearborn, Michigan State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota-Duluth, UMKC, Mott, Mt. Vernon Nazarene, UNC-Greensboro, Northern Illinois, Northern Michigan, Northwood, Oakland, Olivet, Olivet Nazarene, Palm Beach Atlantic, Penn, Pitt, Rochester, Saginaw Valley State, Saint Anselm, Siena Heights, Spring Arbor, Texas Southern, Tiffin, Toledo, Trine, Trinity, Wagner, Wayne State, West Liberty State, Western Michigan, Wilberforce, William & Mary, Williams and Wright State.

Syro McDonald, a 5-11 power guard from Flint Northwestern, is another impact signee in the 2012 class for Mott head coach Steve Schmidt. McDonald joins Schmidt’s best recruiting class in recent memory, probably on par with the Kevin Tiggs and Terrance Watson class back in 2005 (more on that later).

McDonald played U-17 basketball for the Mid-Michigan Lakers a couple years back after our U-15 coach at the time (Marcellus Miller) invited him to practice. He was an instant impact guard and truly one of the best finishers we’ve ever had. He has a knack for staying with the play. He can take punishment, hang in there and score against bigger players.

Talent has never been a concern with McDonald. He’s stronger, quicker and more athletic than most players his size (he has a stocky build). If Coach Schmidt and company can keep him focused on academics and athletics, he can be an impact player at the next level.

I think his greatest appeal to Coach Schmidt, knowing how he operates, is that McDonald was sold out to Mott from the start. He wanted to be a Bear and he wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

Read more about McDonald from E-Wood on Mlive.