Recruiting & Scouting

BOYS BASKETBALL RECRUITING: State's top hoopsters getting their due in recruiting game

Basketball   | Scott Burnstein

BOYS BASKETBALL RECRUITING: State's top hoopsters getting their due in recruiting game

Even with a good deal of talent leaving the state via transfers (see Detroit Consortium’s Josh Jackson, Southfield Christian’s Bakari Evelyn and Saginaw’s Algevon Eichelberger, among others), Michigan still boasts a current college basketball recruiting crop that is quite impressive

Now that Jackson, the No. 1 incoming junior in America, is off to prep school in California, Detroit U-D Jesuit junior point guard Cassius Winston, Lansing Everett senior power forward Trevor Manuel and Saginaw Arthur Hill senior combo guard Eric Davis emerge as the state’s most-coveted prospects.

Winston (6-foot-1), fresh off leading his prep club into the Class A final four in 2014, visited Michigan State last weekend, attending the school’s home football game Friday night. Saginaw small forward Brian Bowen (6-foot-7), maybe the state’s best player in a rich sophomore class, did the same in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan Saturday afternoon. Joining Bowen on the sidelines Saturday was Detroit Loyola incoming freshman floor general P.J. Mitchell (5-foot-10), who at only 14 is already garnering serious college interest.

Davis (6-foot-2) took recent visits to Louisiana State and the University of Texas. He lists his top choices as LSU, Texas, Michigan, Michigan State, University of Nevada-Las Vegas and North Carolina State. Although it hasn’t offered yet, Davis has visited Kentucky and made it known that if Wildcats head coach John Calipari did offer him, he would heavily consider it.

Besides holding offers from Michigan and Michigan State, Winston visited Ohio State, Iowa, Iowa State, Maryland, Georgetown, Boston College, Colorado and Georgia Tech this past summer and brought home scholarship bids from each.

Manuel (6-foot-9) returns to the state’s prep hoops scene after being out in Virginia at Oak Hill Academy for a year. When he was a freshman, Manuel came off the bench on Lansing Sexton’s Class B state-title team and as a sophomore he was an all-state selection. He has almost a dozen major Division I offers, including ones from Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon, Florida State, Kansas State, USC, Wake Forest, N.C. State and Providence. This weekend, Manuel will be in Eugene taking his visit to Oregon and is set to be on hand watching the Ducks tangle with Michigan State on the football field.

National recruiting experts speculate that Manuel is deciding between Michigan State and Oregon (where he recently visited), and Winston between Michigan and Michigan State, with the Spartans holding a slight edge over the Wolverines.

Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central power forward Xavier Tillman (6-foot-8), someone who gives Bowen a run for his money for top dog in the state’s Class of 2017, picked up a Purdue offer last week and took a visit to Kentucky over the summer.

Romulus senior Jaylin Walker is the state’s latest Division I college-commit. A crafty and explosive 6-foot-2 combo guard, Walker committed to Kent State University last weekend. As a sophomore in 2013, Walker was a reserve on Romulus’ Class A state championship squad. Last season, he was the leading-scorer on an Eagles team that won district and regional crowns before dropping a one-point heartbreaker (54-53) in the quarterfinals to Winston and U-D Jesuit.

Muskegon center Deyonta Davis, the frontrunner in the 2015 Mr. Basketball  race, has been committed to Michigan State since the summer following his sophomore campaign. He and Walker are two of the four Division I-commits in this year's senior class so far; Wayland Union's Lacey James (U-D Mercy) and Boyne City's Corey Redman (Central Michigan) being the others.