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BOYS BASKETBALL: Terrance Sewell looks to make a name for himself and Detroit Northwestern

   | Branden Hunter

BOYS BASKETBALL: Terrance Sewell looks to make a name for himself and Detroit Northwestern

DETROIT - Northwestern High School is one of the city's oldest and most historical high schools. First opened in 1911, the school has had some famous people walk their hallways, including Willie Horton, Mary Wilson, Damon Keith, John Conyers, and many others. The Colts boys basketball program also has some history of its on, having won 16 city titles, by far the most ever. Curtis Jones, Carlos Rogers, Chris Douglass-Roberts, and Eric Evans were some of the best players to come out of Detroit.

The program has been in a slump as of late, last winning a city title in 2008, and hasn't a standout player since Evans graced the red and gray that same year. But sophomore guard Terrance Sewell hopes to change his school's fortune around. The 6-foot-3 combo-guard is one of the best in the state that many probably have never even heard of.

"I think we could turn things around," he said. "It's not hard. Everyone just has to be on the same page and get us back to where we want be. If we keep working as a team, anything is possible."

Northwestern went 4-5 in the Detroit Public School League West Division II and bowed out to Detroit University Prep in the second round of the state playoffs. But the Colts have shown some promise and should be better next year, especially with Sewell still having two years of basketball left to play.

"My sophomore year went well,'' Sewell said. "I learned a lot more this year than I did from last year and I hope my junior year goes way better."

Sewell will be a top-ten player in the PSL next season and is an absolute bully on the floor, in a good way of course. You would be hard-pressed to find another player that attacks the basket the way he does and has the body control to absorb contact and still be able to make the basket. It's like he seeks the contact out and feeds off of it.

"I have always played like that," he said. "I wasn't always tall, so I had to learn how to be crafty, draw fouls and finish strong at the rim. I got bigger, so I use it as a strength now."

Sewell also owes his toughness to growing up on Linwood Avenue, which is right down the street from Northwestern High. Not known for being the nicest neighborhood in the city, the Linwood area would make any child grow up fast, including Sewell, who uses basketball as a way to stay out of trouble and gain a better life.

"Being from Linwood makes basketball way more important," he said. "Growing up in that neighborhood, I could have easily been doing something else. Where I'm from not a lot of people make it out, but I want to prove that to be wrong and get my family out."

Accomplishing those goals should be no problem for Sewell if he continues to work on and off the court. It's AAU season now, an important time of year for all high school basketball players and Sewell has played well in his first three tournaments of the year. He plays with R.E.A.C.H.'s 16-Under team and one of the top performers from this weekend's Michigan Invitational. His team lost in the title game, but Sewell played well, leading the way with 15 points and 8 rebounds.

"I think I was okay and I could have been better," Sewell said. "But overall I think I played good enough to help my team win games and that's all that matters in the end."

The R.E.A.C.H. program has helped a lot of young men from Detroit, just like Sewell, better their situations and excel in high school basketball and eventually continue on to college. Keith Appling (Detroit Pershing/Michigan State), Jalen Reynolds (Livonia Stevenson/Xavier), Martez Walker (Pershing/Texas) and most recently Justin Tillman (Pershing/VCU) are all examples of that.

"R.E.A.C.H. has helped me out a lot in life," said Sewell. "They keep me away from all of the negative things around me and they make sure school is going good for me. They also help me out a lot on the court, learning to be a better player and improving overall. They push me so I can be the best player I can be."

Sewell has gotten looks so far from Xavier, UMass and Temple, but would love to hear from bigger programs like Kansas and Kentucky, as any young player would. It's still early in the process for him, but there is no denying that he is Division I material and of the best players in Michigan's class of 2016.

"I think I should be top five in my class," said Sewell. "But rankings don't mean anything to me. I'm just being patient, because the offers will come. I'm not rushing it."