Recruiting & Scouting

River Rouge guard Lamonta Stone, Jr., commits to Eastern, other state recruits garnering more attention

Basketball   | Scott Burnstein

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River Rouge – Lamonta Stone, Jr. likes it so much back home in Michigan, he’s decided to stay a few more years.

The 5-foot-8 sparkplug point guard at River Rouge committed to Eastern Michigan over the weekend.

Stone, Jr. and his father and River Rouge coach Lamonta Stone, Sr., returned to the state this past summer following several years in Bowling Green (OH) where the elder Stone was an assistant coach at Bowling Green University.

Born in Michigan, Stone, Jr. spent most of his youth in Ohio. He was a three-year starter at Bowling Green High School, departing as the program’s all-time assist king.

His new team at River Rouge is benefitting greatly from his presence. River Rouge is 11-4 and Stone is filling up the stat sheet to the tune of 23 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals per game.

“There aren’t a lot of guys like him left, he’s an old-school floor general,” Stone said of his son. ”His entire focus is on making the players around him better. It sounds like a cliché, he’s small in the size department, but big in the heart and desire department. The toughness and competitiveness he displays sets him apart and makes up for him being under six-feet tall.”

Stone played for the legendary Lofton Green at River Rouge then coached the program to a state title in 1999. He left River Rouge for the college ranks in the early 2000s. He was gone 15 years before taking back his old job this past August.

Where they stand

Most scouts rank U-D Jesuit’s Cassius Winston, Saginaw Arthur Hill’s Brian Bowen, Onsted’s Austin Davis, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central’s Xavier Tillman and East Lansing’s Brandon Johns (in that order) as the Top 5 uncommitted players in the state.

Winston, a high-scoring point guard, and Davis, a talented post player, are juniors. Bowen, a wiry and athletic wing and post player, and Tillman, a power forward with a chiseled frame and a soft touch around the rim, are sophomores. Johns is a raw and fast-improving forward, and is just a freshman.

When it comes to Winston (6-2), who is averaging 25 points per game and is the early frontrunner for the 2016 Mr. Basketball award, it’s an in-state affair in the recruiting game for his services at the next level.

“The race to get Winston is a battle between Michigan and Michigan State and if ends up going anywhere else frankly I’d be shocked” Scout.com’s Kyle Bogenschutz said.

Bowen (6-7) is the state’s top tenth-grader and already getting recruited by major programs. He’s been offered a scholarship by Michigan, Michigan State and Louisville.

“You don’t see many kids with his size, length and versatility at such a young age,” said Bogenschutz of Bowen’s intriguing skill set.

Tillman (6-6) is a relentless force on the block. He took home MVP honors at Duke’s elite big man camp last summer and broke his school’s single-game rebound record (21) in a victory last Friday night. Michigan and Michigan State are both in pursuit, and other Big Ten schools could be getting in on the action soon.

“Xavier has got great skill in the paint and great hands,” Bogenschutz said. ”The question is how much more is he going to grow? If he gets to 6-foot-8, he’ll have a lot of additional national programs come in on his recruiting.”

Davis (6-10) holds a half-dozen mid-major college offers and has begun taking visits to a number of Big Ten schools, including Michigan, Wisconsin and Northwestern among them. He visited Notre Dame this past weekend.

Johns (6-7) is the type of prospect that has recruiters calling early. Nearing the end of his freshman season, Johns is already receiving strong interest from Michigan and Michigan State.

“That kid is oozing with potential,” Bogenschutz said of Johns.