For now, Josh Horford has to look up to his brothers — literally.
Horford, a senior-to-be at Grand Ledge High, is the younger brother of Al and Jon Horford, who each stand 6-feet-10. Josh is 6-6.
“I’m expecting a growth spurt,” he said Wednesday at the seventh annual Reaching Higher camp, sponsored by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan and the Michigan High School Athletic Association, at Milford High.
On a team that included Steven Lloyd of Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, Kevin Wunderly of Kalamazoo Christian and Kenny Davis of Big Rapids, Horford’s goal was to be versatile and unselfish.
“I try to show people I can do more than score,” Horford said. “I do defense. I do anything to get the job done. I try to be as versatile as I can. This year I want to show off a little more of the stuff I’ve been working on. Last year it was a lot on defense and little on offense. This year I want to be more balanced.
“I’m a team guy. I love being a team guy. I’m an unselfish player.”
Being the younger brother of a professional center (Al) who perhaps had his greatest season for the Atlanta Hawks and another (Jon) who did well at Michigan at Florida, young Horford said there’s no pressure trying to carve out his own identity at Grand Ledge.
“Jon and Al help me in all sorts of ways,” he said. “Physically, mentally … they give me a lot of confidence. They tell me to play my game. They give me advice, and I take it as much as I can. Because of my family name, I tend to stand out a little bit. It’s not that big of a deal. I don’t try to make it anything.”
Because of Jon being in Gainesville, Fla., and Al playing for the Hawks, the family rarely gets time to be together.
“We all went to Atlanta during Christmas, and it was great,” Josh said. “Al and the Hawks were in the middle of having a great season. I thought he had his best year as a pro, and I was happy and proud of him.”
As players have become more versatile, Horford has tried to keep up with the times, being comfortable playing small forward, power forward and center.
“I’ve been working on my outside game and my perimeter game,” he said. “I want to expand my game a little bit. I want to be able to do everything and anything on the court.”
According to BCAM, Horford averaged six points, four rebounds, two blocked shots and one steal last season.
With Malek Adams back and some other veterans, Horford hopes to make a run to the Breslin Center next season.
“We had a great run last year,” he said. “This year we’re going to be all right. We have a lot of younger guys. We’re trying to toughen them up, especially mentally. It’s more mental than physical right now, especially at the varsity level because some of the guys are playing varsity basketball for the first time. Malek and I plan on taking a leadership role. We expect to have a good season.
“I think I have to show more by example this year. I think last year I got the vocal part down. Coach has been on me about being more demonstrative as opposed to just telling the younger kids.”
Getting noticed: Garrett Kraatz might be at Class D Allen Park Inter-City Baptist, but he showed a big-time game in helping the school reach the regional final this past season before losing to Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes.
Last season he averaged 19.5 points, 5.4 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals.
He’ll be an all-state candidate again and in line for Class D player of the year.
“It’s a good opportunity to play in front of some of the top coaches,” Kraatz said of the Reaching Higher camp. “I just want to come out and compete with some of the best players in the state.
“My main goal going into my senior year is to lead my team further. We’ve had a goal of the state championship. As far as my game, I want to expand on certain things. I want to make myself a better point guard, distribute the ball better and learn how to score better. It’s good to be here and see different players and different skill sets. As a point guard, you try to find those type of things and see how you can exploit them. I try to see what we have and play my best.”
Kraatz is in his second year coming to Milford, and he was better equipped this season.
“It’s nice know what you’re doing coming in for the second time,” he said. “Last year was a good experience, a good confidence boost going into my junior year. I’ve played varsity basketball for four years and lost in the regional final three years in a row. I know that when it comes down to it, you have to learn how to win.”