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BOYS BASKETBALL: McCormick's Michigan Elite 25 off and running

   | Scott Burnstein

BOYS BASKETBALL: McCormick's Michigan Elite 25 off and running

DETROIT – The opening session of the first-annual Michigan Elite 25 went off flawlessly this past weekend at Detroit Cass Tech, seeing 100 of the state’s top boys basketball players gather together for a one-of-a-kind showcase camp created by former NBA center Tim McCormick.

The Michigan Elite 25 is comprised of the Top 25 players in the state in each class and geared for both on-the-court and off-the-court skill development.

The first of three two-day camp-sessions went from Saturday morning to Sunday night and included talks from McCormick, Detroit Mayor and NBA Hall of Famer-inductee Dave Bing and 2013 NBA Draft picks Ray McCallum, Jr. (University of Detroit-Mercy) of the Sacramento Kings and Peyton Siva (Louisville) of the hometown Detroit Pistons.

Longtime Piston point guard and recent Phoenix Suns head coach Lindsey Hunter led the camp’s defensive drills.

Hunter's son, Lindsey Hunter IV, an incoming senior at two-time defending Class D state-champion Southfield Christian, was selected to participate. Hunter IV is a savvy combo guard with Division I college offers.

McCormick and his longtime friend Mike Dietz came up with the concept of the Michigan Elite 25, based partially on McCormick’s work with the NBPA’s Top 100 Classic, which runs in Washington D.C. every summer and hosts the most-highly coveted college recruits in the United States.

Dietz and McCormick have been friends since they were teenagers in the late-1970s starring on the local prep hardwood on opposite ends of Oakland County – Dietz with Brother Rice, McCormick with Clarkston.

Their dream became a reality over the weekend.

“It was a perfect way to tip things off, a realization of something we’d been talking about for a while,” said Dietz amid the hustle and bustle of Saturday’s action.

The players themselves have been the thing that has impressed McCormick.

“These kids are just amazing, I’m blown away by what I’ve seen in the way they’ve conducted themselves and really gone out there and strive to practice what we’re preaching,” said the retired eight-year NBA vet.

Those that got invites and attended the weekend’s festivities were a “whose who,” of the state’s blue-chip crop.

Mr. Basketball frontrunners for 2014, Justin Tillman (Detroit Pershing) and Jaylen Johnson (Ypsilanti) were just some of the primetime prospects that stood out with their play.

Taylor Truman senior forward Aaron Foster-Smith came to the event fresh off his commitment to the University of Detroit-Mercy and tore up his drill stations.

The camp will return to Cass Tech next month for another two-day session and then finish up for the year in October, leading into national "Signing Day."