Mick McCabe’s top 20 boys basketball teams

Mick McCabe’s top 20 boys basketball teams

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Mick McCabe’s top 20 boys basketball teams

U-D Jesuit's Cassius Winston, right with his finger up, celebrates with his teammates after he made the game winning shot as time ran out for their game 56-54 win over Clarkston in their boys basketball Class A quarterfinals at Calihan Hall on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 in Detroit.

U-D Jesuit’s Cassius Winston, right with his finger up, celebrates with his teammates after he made the game winning shot as time ran out for their game 56-54 win over Clarkston in their boys basketball Class A quarterfinals at Calihan Hall on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 in Detroit.

ALL PLAYERS SENIORS UNLESS NOTED

1. U-D Jesuit

2014-15 record: 22-4.

Outlook: Class A semifinalists the past two seasons, the Cubs are the odds-on favorite to win the state championship behind the play of the state’s No. 1 player, guard Cassius Winston (MSU). In the off-season, he improved his deep shooting range. Junior Greg Eboigbodin, 6-9, is a tremendous rebounder and will block a boatload of shots. Junior Ike Eke has developed a jump shot and is more confident. Matt Schearer is the team’s glue guy, specializing in defense. Sophomore Elijah Collins is another defender, and he has improved his scoring. Freshmen Julian Dozier (point guard) and 6-8 Jalen Thomas (post) will contribute, and 6-6 junior Kamani Johnson, a transfer from Kentucky, will add three-point shooting and rebounding when he becomes eligible in January.

2. Wyoming Godwin Heights

2014-15 record: 26-1.

Outlook: The defending Class B champs will be good enough to repeat, thanks to the return of four starters. They will be led by Leon Redd, the most explosive scorer on the team. Richard Major, the only other senior, is more consistent and will provide more scoring. Junior Christian Rodriguez has improved his shooting and is an excellent passer. Sophomore Lamar Norman, 6-3, has grown a couple of inches and will need to grow into the role of a rebounder. The development of sophomore Markeese Hastings, 6-5, will be a key to Heights’ state tournament success.

3. Macomb Dakota

2014-15 record: 21-3.

Outlook: This should be Macomb County’s No. 1 team with the county’s No. 1 point guard — junior Jermaine Jackson Jr. (16 points per game last season) — leading the way and being more of a distributor. Steven Marshall, who has been a fixture in the backcourt since his freshman year, gives the Cougars two players capable of playing either guard spot. Sophomore Thomas Kithier, 6-8, became a defensive presence last season and will be more of a scoring threat this season. Jacob Patton adds a perimeter shooter and a good rebounder to the mix.

4. Grand Rapids Christian

2014-15 record: 12-10.

Outlook: The big news is the transfers of 6-9, 260-pound junior Xavier Tillman from Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central and 6-7 junior James Beck from Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills. Tillman was a first-team Class A all-stater as a sophomore and a do-it-all player. Beck is an inside player developing his perimeter game. They won’t be eligible until the second semester, but they will make Christian a Class A contender. Until then, the load will rest with sophomore point guard Duane Washington and 6-5 junior wingman Emmett Warners, who were good players last season.

5. Detroit East English

2014-15 record: 19-5.

Outlook: George Mason commit Kamari Newman (23 points) should be the best player in the PSL, and this should be the best team in the PSL. Chris Rollins (IPFW) is an excellent point guard who has improved his on-the-ball defense. Junior Gregory Elliott, 6-3, has grown a couple of inches to become the most improved player on the team and has a high basketball IQ. Jaylin McFadden (Ferris State), 6-4, is a defensive specialist who must come through on the boards. Cedrick Lattimore (Iowa football), 6-5, adds toughness and gives the Bulldogs someone who can score with his back to the basket. Nate Boleware and Lamar Neely will provide scoring off the bench.

6. Ypsilanti

2014-15 record: 19-5.

Outlook: Corey Allen (Detroit Mercy) is back and should be the leading scorer for the fourth straight season. This season, he moves from the post to the point and leads a team that will be better when Ray’Jon Williams-Jackson recovers from a medial collateral injury. Mike Bruce, a 6-5 transfer from Belleville, will help on the perimeter and inside. Junior Marlin Talley adds depth at the point, and junior Jamezell Davis is a definite perimeter threat. Sophomore John Perkins, 6-6, and Jalen Maxwell, 6-4, will make Ypsi tough inside.

7. North Farmington

2014-15 record: 20-4.

Outlook: The record might not be as impressive this season, but only because of a more challenging schedule that will make the Raiders state contenders come March. Jacob Joubert has started every game since his freshman season and is an effective point guard. Billy Thomas is a scorer from the perimeter as while attacking the basket. Junior Amauri Hardy, a transfer from Southfield, is a capable point guard who can play a variety of spots and will add depth. The player who might put the Raiders over the top is 6-8 junior Nate Brooks, a transfer from Georgia who is an athletic post player and can be a dominating force in the paint.

8. West Bloomfield

2014-15 record: 18-3.

Outlook: With high-scoring Trishton Jackson (Michigan State football) and junior Kevin McAdoo, the Lakers have one of the top backcourts in the state, and junior Javion Johnson and Gervon Winn make the backcourt ridiculously deep. Jackson needs to stuff the stat sheet, especially rebounding-wise, and he and McAdoo are capable of playing either guard spot. Alex Sandberg, 6-5, can stretch the floor and play inside. Aubrey Hainsworth, 6-5, is an active inside player.

9. Detroit Renaissance

2014-15 record: 14-8.

Outlook: The Phoenix will contend for the PSL title and maybe more. Justin Turner, 6-4, is more consistent and playing like he did as a sophomore when he averaged 21 points. Alaric Jackson, 6-7 (10 points, 12 rebounds), is a beast inside and moves well for his size. Richard Talley, who was injured in the first round of the PSL tournament, is back, knows how to run the offense and will check the other team’s best player. Sophomore Jalen Tobias, 6-5, showed flashes of brilliance last season and is due for a breakout season. Freshman Chandler Turner, 6-4, is a top-notch shooter and will do more as the season progresses.

10. Kalamazoo Central

2014-15 record: 23-4.

Outlook: The Maroon Giants have a nice blend of experience and youth, and everyone can play more than one position, which will make them contenders in Class A again. Junior Isaiah Livers, 6-8, is highly skilled and versatile. He can score in the post with his back to the basket and play on the perimeter. Orlando Little, 6-4, can drill three-pointers and score in the paint. Jeremiah Richard is a lightning-quick point guard who is a terror in transition and has improved the range on his jumper. Junior Rog Stein, 6-5, is a rugged inside player who will provide points in the paint and will be a powerful rebounder.

11. Clarkston

2014-15 record: 24-1.

Outlook: The Wolves might not win as many games this season, but they will be dangerous come tournament time. Sophomore Foster Loyer (17.3 points, five assists) is a terrific point guard who knows how the game is supposed to be played. Tabin Throgmorton, 6-5, can shoot it and is a sleeper. Junior Dylan Alderson, 6-4, is a transfer from Davison who is another good shooter, and he can get to the basket. Mitch Heaton, 6-5, will help with rebounding, and Ryan Holmes is a steady off-guard.

12. Detroit Western

2014-15 record: 26-0.

Outlook: The defending Class A state champs graduated some talent, but don’t be surprised if the Cowboys are in the mix again. Brailen Neely (Oakland) has evolved into a crafty point guard who can pass and score with the best of them. Armani Tinsley is a deadly three-point shooter. Karim Murray is a do-it-all small forward who can defend and score. Jaye Patrick, 6-5, can shoot it and isn’t afraid to mix it up inside. Junior Josh Long, 6-5, adds a physical inside presence and runs the court. Kyree Boyton begins his fourth year as the sixth man; he comes off the bench and cools off opposing scorers.

13. Stevensville Lakeshore

2014-15 record: 18-3.

Outlook: You won’t find this kind of size on many Class B teams. Braden Burke (Robert Morris), 6-11 (16 points, 10 rebounds), is dynamite inside and can catch the ball on the perimeter and shoot it or attack the basket. Logan Steffes is in his third year running the point, and most people don’t know how good he has become. Junior Max Gaishin, 6-7, plays terrific defense, rebounds better and passes better than most. Gibson Archer is the glue guy who cleans up a lot of messes at both ends of the floor. There is good depth with two 6-6 inside players in Alex Warman and junior Colin Brushwyler, an emerging star. Junior guards Shane Clapp and Luke Meyer add instant offense.

14. Warren De La Salle

2014-15 record: 15-10.

Outlook: Wing Kevin McKay (CMU) has improved his three-point shooting and is 271 points away from the school’s career scoring record, which is quite an achievement given the Pilots’ history. Junior Jack Ballantyne, 6-10, moves well for his size and needs to become more assertive rebounding and shot-blocking for the Pilots to become a force in the Central Division. Sophomore Luke Pfromm, 6-4, will help inside and on the perimeter. Sophomore Justin Fischer could become an exceptional point guard. Collin Roach is the defensive stopper.

15. New Haven

2014-15 record: 25-1.

Outlook: This outfit will be a contender in Class B, built around three talented seniors. Innocent Nwoko, 6-9 (Central Michigan), was more of a defender and shot blocker last season, but his offense is rounding into shape. Jerry Ben, 6-9 (Cornell), has improved his defense and rebounding. Alante Stevens brings experience and defense to the lineup. Junior Eric Williams, 6-4, is a natural perimeter scorer. Junior guard William Moore adds quickness, and sophomore Tavares Oliver will run the point and shoot from the perimeter. Look for contributions from 6-6 freshman Romeo Weems and 6-6 Ashton Sherrell.

16. East Lansing

2014-15 record: 12-9.

Outlook: This should be the best team in the Lansing area and will revolve around 6-8, 225-pound sophomore Brandon Johns, who has gained 30 pounds over the summer. He hit 45% of his three-point attempts last season and will improve on that as he spends more time on the perimeter. Junior Weston Myles has a high basketball IQ and can push the ball on the break and get it to the right person. Junior Caleb Hoekstra is a terrific three-point shooter. Junior DeAndre Robinson can hit the perimeter shot and drive to the basket.

17. Walled Lake Central

2014-15 record: 20-6.

Outlook: Nobody attacks the basket like Walter Kelser (18 points), and no one spends more time at the free-throw line. The offense will run through Kelser, and junior point guard Dylan Hudspeth gives Central a solid backcourt. Anton Lucha, 6-4, is an excellent shooter who doubles as a lockdown defender. Malik Abiola, 6-5, is Central’s low post presence and will protect the paint. Sophomore Houston Tucker, 6-4, and Nako Zielger are threats on the wing.

18. Onsted

2014-15 record: 19-5.

Outlook: This team will revolve around the top big man in the state — 6-10 Austin Davis (Michigan), who will be an automatic double-double (26 points, 17 rebounds). He is almost unstoppable in the paint and relentless on the boards. If teams devote too much attention to him, 6-6 junior Skylar Lipinski can score in the paint, but he can knock down perimeter shots, too. The Wildcats have three perimeter players who are all combo guards. Dallas Heidbreder gets the ball to the correct people. Sophomore James Dietrich is a slasher and is aggressive taking the ball to the basket. Junior Gabe Richardson’s outside shooting will be crucial when teams pack the paint to stop Davis.

19. Flint Beecher

2014-15 record: 26-1.

Outlook: The defending Class C state champs will have a shot at repeating, especially with the way 6-4 Aquavius Burks is able to play all five positions and dominate them all. Junior Levane Blake, 6-8, has developed into one of the top post defenders in the state and can block shots or rebound with anyone, but he will battle an ankle injury early in the season. Junior guard Jordan Roland has made remarkable progress since last season, and 6-6 junior Delon Willis will have to carry the load inside until Blake is healthy. All-state football player Jalani Taylor (Cornell football) will provide athleticism.

20. River Rouge

2014-15 record: 19-6.

Outlook: Look for an improved Rouge team with a well-balanced scoring attack. Junior point guard Darian Owens-White always has been a pass-first guy, but he has improved his scoring over the summer. Junior Delantae Peterson, 6-4, is capable of playing either forward spot and scoring inside. Dorian Watson, 6-3, a transfer from South Lyon East, is a physical guard who is a tough matchup. Robert Blackwell, a stalwart from the football team, will be the defensive specialist, and 6-7 Javon Lawrence has a soft touch from the perimeter.

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