BOYS BASKETBALL: Impressions and standouts from the Tom Izzo Shootout |
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Tom Izzo Spartan Shootout was loaded once again this year. While two of the state of Michigan's best weren't in attendance with their teams, power forwards Deyonta Davis and shooting guard Eric Davis, plenty of other talent was on hand to check out.
The class of 2017 has a few studs in it, not only locally, but on the national level as well. They call him "Tuggs", and he certainly pulled out everything in his arsenal to lead his Saginaw Arthur Hill team to the semifinals, without Eric Davis. Brian Bowen can play multiple positions on the floor with his 6-7 frame and skill set. Most of the times he was too tall, long, and skilled for anyone checking him over the weekend. Bowen is already considered a top ten player in his class in the country, and the scary thing for him is that he is still growing physically, as well as developing his game.
You can take your pick of which Tillman is the best in the state, Donnie or Xavier. Detroit Cass Tech looked average this week, compared to last week at Detroit's team camp. Donnie Tillman didn't look as dominate, but still showed flashes of what he could be in the future. He's still learning how to dominate in the post offensively, but already has rebounding, and blocking shots down pat. Cleveland State offered him not to long ago, something you rarely see, freshman getting offered. Unless they will be extremely good down the road.
Xavier Tillman, who plays for Grand Rapids Forest Hills, was impressive at the camp over the weekend. He moves extremely well for someone his age and size, at 6-5, 220-pounds. In his game against UofD Jesuit, Tillman was dominate on the glass, snagging just about every rebound around him, and getting most of his points off put-backs. Tillman is a physical specimen already, and should grow more by the time he leaves high school. Continuous work on his offensive game, and he'll be a well sought after prospect in due time.
Greg Elliott, a long, playmaking point guard at Detroit East English Village Prep, a much improved Will Weems of Detroit Consortium, and the next Felder out of Detroit Pershing, Armonee, all had solids games over the weekend for the class of 2017.
A lot of talk was made about Billy Thomas deciding to transfer out of UofD Jesuit at the camp, but Thomas was able to ignore all of that, and play his game. He play at Genesis Academy (Va.) next season, but ran with Trishton Jackson and West Bloomfield over the weekend. Thomas is a pure scorer, and shoots it well from deep, but will have to sharpen his point guard skills if he wants to play on the next level. Thomas is only 5-11, so the point is where he'll play, but it's hard to overlook his natural skill of scoring the ball. Jackson also played well, using his ability to score to be a facilitator instead, and score when he needed too.
Haslett 2016 point guard Brandon Allen was also impressive at the Izzo Shootout. At first sight he doesn't look like much, but his game speaks volumes. One of those throwback point guards, the 5-10 Allen always looked to pass first, and score second, even racking up nine assists against a much more athletic Detroit East English Village Prep team. Football may be where Allen makes his money, holding an offer from Central Michigan, but basketball is something he does just as well.
A big question that hasn't been resolved just yet, is who is the best team in the Detroit Public School League. Western, Renaissance, East English Village Prep, Cass Tech, and Pershing all made their cases over the weekend. Of course they all have a lot of talent, but a lot of flaws as well. Western was impressive, with 2016 point guard Brailen Neely, center Julius Palmer, and add-on's Josh McFolley and Gerald Blackshear. The Cowboys are deep at every position, so playing as a team consistently will be their only issue.
The same goes for East English Village Prep. They have all the talent in the world, with 2016s Karmari Newman, Cedrick Lattimore, and new editions Jalen McFadden and Chris Rollins. But they are still a very young team, and lack size down-low.
Renaissance has the chance to be very special, with 2016s, Justin Turner and Richard Talley in the back court. They have some size in Alaric Jackson and Mike Jacobs, and if they can keep transfer Tedd McCree healthy, have the pieces to win the league.
Cass Tech and Pershing both have glaring needs. Both are basically bringing back different teams from last season, with the exception of seniors Rob Edwards at Cass Tech, and Marquel Ingram at Pershing. Both teams are extremely young, and not as talented as their teams from last year. Coaching will play a big part in both team's success, as well as the play of Edwards and Ingram respectively.