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BOYS BASKETBALL: Michigan's top 40 players for the 2018-19 season

BOYS BASKETBALL: Michigan's top 40 players for the 2018-19 season
BY: TJ KELLEY Dec 2, 12:15pm

The Michigan High School season is upon us and despite the departure of a number of our proud Michigan players to prep schools, the Great Lakes State continues to boast a strong brand of basketball that shines throughout the nation.

Here are the top 40 players in the state for the 2018-19 season:

1. Romeo Weems, New Haven (6-foot-6 Sr. F) — The USA Gold Medalist and 2016 Class B state champion has a resume worthy of the state’s No. 1 ranking. He is also the front runner to win Mr. Basketball in mid-March. He averaged 23.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 4.8 steals, and 2.1 blocks per game as a junior and led the Rockets to 75-5 record over his three-year varsity career. The versatile senior is also 322 points away from becoming New Haven’s all-time leading scorer. Weems committed to DePaul in the spring of 2018 and signed in November’s early signing period.

2. Carlos “Scooby” Johnson, Benton Harbor (6-foot-6 Jr. F) — “Scooby” is tracking many of the same paths as the aforementioned Weems, as his 3-pointer was the difference maker in last season’s Class B state title game. Butler, Missouri, West Virginia, Detroit, Oakland, Duquesne, VCU, UIC, Kent State, and Cleveland State have offered while Michigan and Michigan State are following him closely.

3. Jalen Terry, Flint Beecher (6-foot Jr. PG) — A 2017 Class C state champion who averaged 18.3 points per game as a sophomore, Terry is following in the folds of Beecher point guards highlighted by the Denver Nuggets’ Monte Morris. He holds offers from numerous high major schools including Michigan State, Butler, Iowa, Iowa State, Missouri and many others.

4. Lorne Bowman, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (6-foot-2 Jr. PG) — Arguably the top shooter in the state and his commitment to Wisconsin was the first from Michigan’s 2020 class. His 22.5 points per game average as a sophomore in the tough Catholic League-Central led to All-League honors.

5. Daniel Friday, University of Detroit-Jesuit (6-foot-5 Sr. wing) — The Brown commit has been a match up nightmare for varsity opponents over the past two seasons as his guard skills, physical strength, and athleticism are mirrored by few. His numbers shot up last season to 14 points, eight rebounds, and four assists per game leading to all-state honors. Friday will be on the Mr. Basketball watch list.

6. Chandler Turner, Detroit Renaissance (6-foot-5 Sr. wing) — He’s a stat stuffer who plays all five positions and is just as likely to hit the boards as he would find the open man for an assist. The Bowling Green State commit is also a solid shooter who can score on the block. Turner will again be the goto player for the Phoenix, as he was last season averaging 19 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. He will also be on the Mr. Basketball watch list.

7. Maliq Carr, Oak Park (6-foot-6 Jr. F) — Arguably the top athlete in Michigan as he is an all-state receiver with coveted BCS offers and a standout on the track in the 200, 400, and long jump. On the court, his motor is matched by few, athleticism makes rims cringe, and strength is beyond his years. He averaged 17 points and 13 rebounds as a sophomore and holds offers from Oakland, Western Michigan, Cleveland St, LIU-Brooklyn, and Robert Morris with interest from the same schools who offered him in football.

8. Jalen Thomas, University of Detroit-Jesuit (6-foot-9 Sr. C) — The state’s top rim protector has made strides figuratively and literally since his underclassmen days as he is a dependable scorer in the paint, gets up and down the floor well, and finishes with authority. Thomas signed his national letter of intent with the University of Massachusetts in mid-November. He averaged 12 points, 10 rebounds and a handful of blocks as a junior and will be on the Mr. Basketball watch list.

9. Tyson Acuff, Detroit Cass Tech (6-foot-2 Jr. PG) — He will be a three-year starter and ran the point for DPS Championship as a freshman. His ability to get in the lane helped contribute to his 15.1, 6 assist, and 4.7 rebounds as a sophomore. He holds Horizon and MAC offers with Big Ten schools keeping a keen eye.

10. Emoni Bates, Ypsilanti Lincoln (6-foot-8 Fr. wing) — The state’s top prospect since Josh Jackson or any other Michigan player who was the nation’s No. 1 prospect. Yeah, he’s too low because this isn’t necessarily a prospect list. Skilled beyond his years, he has a legit mid-range and perimeter game with the athleticism to finish above the basket. Bates’ height, length, athleticism, skill set, and ability to shoot the ball takes out many of the “ifs” in his basketball future where the ceiling is infinite. And who didn’t need to hit the weight room when they were a freshman?

11. Caleb Hodgson, Dansville (6-foot-9 Sr. C) — The big man committed to and signed with Central Michigan this fall bringing inside scoring with the ability to pop for jumpers. Hodgson will more than likely add to his junior numbers of 23 points, 14 rebounds, 3.7 blocks, and 2.9 assists per game. He will be a four-year varsity starter and on the Mr. Basketball watch list.

12. Ryan Rollins, Macomb Dakota (6-foot-3 Jr. G) — One of the state’s top scorers, Rollins is efficient attacking the basket and pulling up for mid-range jumpers. Consistency from the perimeter over the last year will help his 20-point average he put up as a sophomore.

13. B. Artis White, Canton (6-foot Sr. PG) — The future Western Michigan Bronco was all-state a year ago when he averaged 16 points, four assists, four boards, and two steals. High basketball IQ coupled with crafty athleticism and a shooter’s touch helps makes him the top player in the KLAA and puts him on the Mr. Basketball watch list.

14. Ryan Wade, Ann Arbor Skyline (6-foot-2 Sr. SG) — One of two Holy Cross commits on the list, Wade is a sharp-shooting lefty and athletic finisher who averaged 13.6 points per game as an all-state junior. He’s also tough on the boards and a one of the state’s top perimeter defenders. The captain will also be on the Mr. Basketball watch list.

15. Drew Lowder, Ann Arbor Pioneer (6-foot Sr. PG) — Lowder is the second Holy Cross commit from Michigan’s senior class and both complement eachother as the future Crusaders point guard does a great job of disturbing defenders with his ability to penetrate and kick or score. The savvy point guard is also a reliable shooter who averaged 19 points and five assists. The captain will also be on the Mr. Basketball watch list.

16. KaSean Pryor, Ann Arbor Pioneer (6-foot-8 Sr. F) — The state’s top unsigned senior holds offers from Central Michigan, Detroit, Eastern Michigan, Canisius, Drake, New Mexico and a host of others. The skilled forward who produces from the perimeter and in averaged 15 points with nine rebounds as a junior.

17. Donovan Moore, West Bloomfield (6-foot-2, Sr. SG) — The Toledo signee averaged 19 points as a junior with numerous strong games in the tough OAA Red. Moore is a terror in transition while developing a more consistent perimeter jumper. Moore is arguably the top senior in Oakland County.

18. Julian Roper Jr., Detroit Country Day (6-foot-3 Soph. G) — Really Good. Iowa offered on an unofficial visit this fall, his first. Roper brings competitive energy and a scorers’ edge from the perimeter and in averaging 17 points and 8 rebounds as a freshman. Country Day’s next Mr. Basketball?

19. Kobe Bufkin, Grand Rapids Christian (6-foot-3 Soph. G) — Really Good. Pure energy and a pure scorer who is following a strong string of recent players from the 616. Bufkin finishes very well as his ability to cut into lanes or pull up for a quality jumper keeps defenders off balance.

20. Jaden Akins, Farmington (6-foot-2 Soph. G) — Really Good. “The Lefty from Shiawassee” a patron at Green’s Hamburgers said. #Fact Expect strong games throughout his sophomore season in the OAA White with four of the top 10 sophomore point guards in the state (Ethan Emerzian-Rochester Adams, Brody Parker-Troy, Trevor Smith-Rochester Stoney Creek).

21. Pierre Brooks III, Detroit Douglass (6-foot-5 Soph. SF) — The first freshman to ever be selected to the all-PSL first team averaged 18.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, and four assists a season ago. Brooks combines a great frame with skill and athleticism. He holds offers from Detroit-Mercy and Duquesne.

22. Kalil Whitehead, Detroit Cass Tech (6-foot-5 Sr. F) — Whitehead committed to and signed with Chicago State this November and will contend for Mr. PSL. He averaged 12.7 points and 5.5 rebounds as a junior where he was an efficient shooter (40 percent) from the perimeter. He brings length, athleticism, defense, and improving offensive skills to the Technicians front court.

23. Jayshawn Moore, Ferndale (6-foot-5 Jr. SF) — A transfer from Detroit East English Village, Moore is a mid-range and perimeter threat with the size to score in the paint. He holds an offer from Cleveland State.

24. Nolan Foster, Mattawan (6-foot-10 Sr. C) — The state’s top unsigned senior center, Foster holds offers from Central Michigan, James Madison, Toledo, and Ferris State. Foster is mobile, athletic, runs like a deer, and active. He averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds as a junior.

25. John Ukomadu, Roseville (6-foot-7 Sr. F) — The lengthy and athletic forward had a breakout year as a junior averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks. Expect those numbers to take a jump as he is a productive scorer in the paint, mid-range and from the perimeter. He holds offers from a few of the nation’s top junior colleges.

26. Daijon “Bubba” Humphries, Southfield Christian (6-foot-3 Jr. G) — The skilled and athletic guard is a dynamic scorer whose shots and scoring will more than likely take a jump now that he is the go-to scorer for the defending Class D champions. He’s a quality mid-range and perimeter shooter who efficiently gets into the lane for buckets. Humphries averaged 10 points with five rebounds and two steals as a sophomore. He will be in the hunt for Class D Player of the Year and holds offers from Cleveland State and Northwood with interest from Brown, Eastern Michigan, Providence, William & Mary as well as Wright State.

27. Foster Wonders, Iron Mountain (6-foot-4 Soph. SG) — The sophomore holds offers from Central Michigan, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and hometown Northern Michigan, which offered him before he touched the court as a freshman. Wonders is efficient in the paint and as a shooter with the knack for finding great rebounding position. He averaged 19 points per game as a freshman.

28. Markeith Browning, Ypsilanti (6-foot-3 Sr. G) — A transfer from South Cobb (GA) Solidifies Ypsilanti as a top 10 team in Division 1 depending their guard play and adding explosive scoring to an already strong backcourt. The lefty is a productive shooter who gets into the lane and finishes above the rim.

29. Daniel Few, River Rouge (6-foot-6 Sr. C) — The Lake Superior State commit owns the paint and glass for the state’s top preseason team. Tough, strong, athletic, and all about business.

30. Micah Parrish, River Rouge (6-foot-5 Sr. wing) — Another key ingredient to a loaded Rouge team that made it to the Breslin Center the last two seasons. The lefty holds an offer from the University of Detroit-Mercy.

31. Simon Wheeler Jr., Ferndale (5-foot-9 Soph. PG) — Quick, crafty, and strong court vision with the ability to knock down jumpers have resulted in offers from Detroit-Mercy, Marist, and Wright State. He didn’t have eye-popping stats as a freshman while waiting patiently in the wings behind University of Michigan freshman Dave DeJulius at East English Village, before transferring to Ferndale.

32. Caleb Bates, St. Clair Shores Lakeshore (6-foot-6 Sr. PF) — “The Beast of Lakeshore” averaged 25 points and 15 rebounds as a junior. His scoring stretches to the perimeter but his bread and butter is dominating the paint. Wayne State offered this fall.

33. Donovan Freeman, River Rouge (6-foot-5 Sr. wing) — One of the state’s most exciting players to watch, Freeman puts on a show in the open court while serving as a patient scorer in half-court sets where defenses have to respect his ability to make jumpers and drive to the basket. He is being recruited by many of the nation’s top junior colleges.

34. DeAirrus Ware, Muskegon (6-foot-4 Sr. wing) — A dynamic athlete who efficiently gets to the basket and plays above the rim. His jumper is good enough to keep defenders honest and that extra window of opportunity given by the defense opens up a lot of doors for Ware and his teammates. The Northwood commit transferred to Muskegon from Muskegon Reeths-Puffer.

35. Michael Fletcher, Flint Carman-Ainsworth (6-foot-6 Sr. C) — The Michigan State football commit also held Horizon League basketball offers before channeling in on football. Fletcher is a tough scorer in the paint who averaged 12 points and 11 boards as a junior.

36. Will Dunn, Quincy (6-foot-8 Jr. C/PF) — The Big 8 Conference’s top player averaged 18 points along with seven boards as a sophomore and since last season he’s picked up offers from American, Ferris State, and Hillsdale. Dunn plays above the rim, pops off screens for jumpers, and rolls to the basket for buckets.

37. Xander Okerlund, Maple City Glenn Lake (6-foot-5 Sr. wing) — A key player from last season’s Class C’s runner-up team who signed with Lake Superior State this November will look to lead the Lakers to the title this season. Okerlund is a smooth mid-range scorer with length and a smooth passer who makes his teammates better. He averaged 17 points, five rebounds, three assists and 2.5 steals per game and will be a strong candidate for Division 3 Player of the Year.

38. Zach Goodline, Coloma (5-foot-10 Sr. PG) — He will more than likely eclipse the 2,000 points in late January as he starts the season with 1,609 career points. The all-stater has an offer from UM-Dearborn with heavy interest from Division 2 colleges.

39. Andre Bradford, Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy (6-foot-3 Sr. SG) — In a super deep Division 2, Bradford will lead top 10 Chandler Park as he did last season with a 15-point, five-rebound, and four-assist average. He’s an electric scorer and a threat to score from the perimeter and in. He’s currently being recruited by D1, D2, D3, and NAIA schools.

40. Omar Zeigler, Detroit King (6-foot-3 Soph. SG) — He adds to the depth of a strong sophomore class with his ability to produce on the offensive end and lockdown on the defensive end. Zeigler finishes through contact very well, has an improving perimeter game, gets to the basket with efficiency, and a reliable mid-range game.