Michigan Elite camp features state's top playersBasketball  |
Dearborn – Several Mr. Basketball candidates for the 2017 season were in attendance to tipoff the fourth annual Michigan Elite 25 showcase camp at the Hype Athletics complex in Dearborn Monday. The camp runs through Friday.
Firmly-established candidates like Grand Rapids Christian power forward Xavier Tillman, Detroit Cornerstone small forward Jamal Cain, Detroit East English Village shooting guard Greg Elliott and North Farmington combo guard Amauri Hardy all delivered superb showings. Lesser-known “sleepers” like Lowell guard Matt Beachler and Clarkston swingman Dylan Alderson were making strong arguments for consideration with heady, efficient efforts.
Michigan Elite 25 was co-founded by former Clarkston, Michigan and NBA center Tim McCormick and Mike Dietz, the owner of a Farmington Hills-based sports management firm. Every year in the first week in August they invite 100 of the state’s top players (25 in each class) for five days of learning lessons on and off the court. Classroom work and life-skill development are key ingredients of the Michigan Elite 25 program.
For the 6-foot-9 Tillman, a consensus four-star recruit and Top 10 player at his position nationally, according to ESPN, made his second appearance at the camp. He was at the inaugural camp hosted by Detroit Cass Tech in 2013, however despite invites in 2015 and 2014 he was a no-show due to football obligations.
“I look at coming back here as a personal challenge,” Tillman said. “I want to push myself as hard as I can and do it while going up against the best the state of Michigan has to offer. This camp is all about expanding your skills, getting better as a player and a person. I’m happy to be part of it again.”
The long, sweet-shooting Cain (6-7) is also a four-star prospect and Top 10 player at his position nationally according to ESPN. This is Cain’s fourth year attending the camp.
“These kind of experiences help you so much,” he said. “You just soak up a ton of knowledge. And then you try to take that knowledge and mold it into your game so when you finally hit the floor, you let it all out and can see the results right in front of you.”
Monday was Elliott’s first appearance at the camp. He received his first nod this year after a breakout junior campaign last winter on an East English team that captured their first PSL championship.
“I feel like I’m on the rise as a player and getting selected to be at the Michigan Elite 25 kind of confirms that in my mind,” Elliott said. “Being here at this camp lets me gauge my progress. When you see all the most talked about guys in the whole state in the same gym it makes me want to play harder to prove myself. The lack of notoriety, the sneaking up on people is what’s fuels me.”
McCormick was selected in the first round (12th overall) of the 1984 NBA Draft by the Seattle Supersonics and spent eight seasons in the NBA with six different teams. Since his retirement, he’s found success in the world of sports broadcasting. McCormick got together with Dietz, a longtime friend, to start Michigan Elite 25 in 2013.
“The camp has materialized exactly how we envisioned it,” McCormick said. “We wanted to change the culture with these kind of things (showcase camps) and I think we have.”
Recent NBA Lottery pick Denzel Valentine (Michigan State, Lansing Sexton) of the Chicago Bulls is scheduled to speak at the camp on Wednesday. Friday is career day and will feature a field trip to a series of trade schools, plants and factories.
Potential Mr. Basketball candidates not in attendance at this year's Michigan Elite 25 included point guard Jermaine Jackson, Jr. (Macomb Dakota) and forwards Ike Eke (U-D Jesuit) and Isaiah Livers (Kalamazoo Central).