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BOYS BASKETBALL: Whole city of Bloomfield Hills breathes collective sigh of relief, hoops superstar Maten decides to stay put

   | Scott Burnstein

BOYS BASKETBALL: Whole city of Bloomfield Hills breathes collective sigh of relief, hoops superstar Maten decides to stay put

BLOOMFIELD HILLS – First he was gone.

Now he’s back.

Bloomfield Hills Blackhawks fans, you can breathe again now. The rollercoaster ride is over.

Following leaving the state to live with his father for his senior year of high school, boys hoops star Yante Maten has officially returned to the area and rejoined his Blackhawks teammates.

The past two years, Maten, a long and soft-handed 6-foot-8 center considered one of the state’s top prospects in the post, was an all-league pick at Bloomfield Hills Lahser, leading the Knights to two straight league and district championships.

Back in March, Maten and Lahser made a run into the Class A regional finals, losing to McDonald’s All-American James Young (Kentucky) and Rochester.

In the fall, Lahser and former intra-city foe Bloomfield Hills Andover will merge and become Bloomfield Hills, returning to the all-inclusive name originally held by the city’s high school through the 1960s.

Maten averaged a double-double as a junior in 2013, putting up 16 points and 14 rebounds per game. He also averaged close to six blocked shots an outing.

The colleges showing interest in attaining his services at the next level, include Xavier, Colorado, Alabama, Bowling Green, Oakland University, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Loyola (IL)  and Winthrop out in South Carolina.

With their primetime big fella back in the fold to add to fellow all-league selections Armand Cartwright (G) and Khalil Gracey (F), Bloomfield Hills will have a legitimate chance at making an appearance at the Breslin Center and the final four next winter.

After Lahser captured Oakland Activities Association titles in the Gold and Blue divisions, respectively the last two seasons, in the Blackhawks inaugural campaign they will move up to compete in the Red Division, OAA’s toughest division.

If the Bloomfield Hills wants a third league crown in a row, Maten and his running buddies on the hardwood will be forced to go through seven-time defending Red champion, Clarkston.

Last December, Clarkston narrowly edged past Lahser on the road.

The Andover players poised to help the Blackhawks’ cause the most in 2014 are senior guards Dylan Dietch and Eric Weiss and junior forward Josh Bender.

Warren De La Salle hasn't been as lucky as head coach Duane Graves (formerly at Lahser) and the Blackhawks hoops community: The Pilots lost all-state swingman A.J. Turner, who was set to be a senior and in contention for Mr. Basketball, to a prep school transfer out East earlier this summer.