For the purposes of this series. I’m going to treat the state finals at the Breslin Center as a four team invitational tournament. Following are first and second teams broken down by position from the three game slate. First Team…
For the purposes of this series. I’m going to treat the state finals at the Breslin Center as a four team invitational tournament. Following are first and second teams broken down by position from the three game slate.
PG-6-3 2023 Ecorse Had to do some serious heavy lifting after losing his backcourt running mate Kenneth Morrast Jr in the regional final to an injury. As one of the top players in the state. Was up to the challenge for about three and half quarters. Was able to get to his spots easily on the perimeter with a his flashy but also controlled ball handling ability. Also used this skill to get to the basket with ease. Finished his exemplary career with a double double of 22 points and 10 rebounds. Is the rare 2,000 point scorer with a COVID shortened sophomore season in there. Not sure what his plans are for next year. But this is definitely a player with division 1 talent. Might have to be patient and take circuitous route to get there. But he can play with anyone in the nation. Just needs the opportunity.
SG-Jr 6-2 2023 Flint Beecher **MVP** Earned MVP honors for the division. In all honesty. If I was picking an MVP for the entire weekend. Regardless of division. It would be this player. Started slow in both contests. However his two huge second halves allowed Beecher to capture their seventh state championship of this century. Also might have had the highlight of the weekend as well. A late high flying two handed dunk over an Ecorse defender was scintillating. Finished with 17 points in that contest. Saved the best for last though. Was outstanding in Saturday’s final. Finished with game highs of 29 points and 11 rebounds. Also did this while appearing to play through a slight leg injury. Simply did it all. Showed a nice step back fade away on the perimeter. Scored at the rim. Also had another nice dunk in transition. Versatile player earned an offer from Wayne St after the weekend. It wasn’t hard to see why.
SF-6-4 2023 Traverse City St Francis (pictured) Capped off a stellar two sport career just short of winning a state championship. Had appeared in two previous finals on gridiron. Including this year as the Glads quarterback. However the hardwood is where his future lies. Was very aggressive offensively on Thursday. Highlight was a big time spin move with a unique high floating finish. The Breslin was buzzing a bit after that one. Finished with a game high 21 points. But it was the other end of the court where he really stood out. Used his length and lateral quickness to accumulate an eye popping seven steals. A few of them were crucial late. Got off to excellent start on Saturday. Nailed a deep three at the buzzer to give his squad the lead after the first quarter. Had another buzzer beating three at the end of the third quarter. This was much needed as Beecher unleashed a huge run to start the second half. Finished with a team high 20 points. Will be reclassifying and playing at the prestigious Newman School next year in Boston. Whenever he makes it to next level. That program will be getting a talented winner.
PF-Jr 6-3 2023 Flint Beecher The other half of Beecher’s dynamic forward duo. Scored eight in the championship. But that only tells part of the story. Competed hard against St Francis’ big and strong frontline. A part of the group effort that kept St Francis off the boards. Notched a hard earned five boards. Also a part of the defensive effort that forced the Glads into 17 turnovers. Like Lee is a versatile position less player. Son a former overseas professional player. Could be a late bloomer if he finds the right fit at the next level.
C- John Hagelstein 6-6 2023 Traverse City St Francis In what was most likely his last hardwood action. The Michigan Tech football commit had a big weekend. Exploited a size advantage against a smaller Niles Brandywine unit. As good as he was Thursday. Was better in Saturday’s final. Finished with 12 points. Also provided rim protection and competed on the boards. While his future is on the gridiron. Tech is the type of program that has had success with prospects that fit this physical profile. Played well against Tech post basketball commitearlier in the tournament.
PG-5-9 2024 Flint Beecher Thee is one adage that usually holds true. It is the need for a good point guard play to win a state championship. Menifield provided that for Beecher. Really stood out in the championship on Saturday. After St Francis dominated the second quarter. Had a much needed steal and layup to cut the halftime deficit to three. Also hit key three pointer to give the Buccaneers a double digit lead in the second half. But it was the defense that really stood out. Had six steals to go along with six assists. Should be the focal point of the Beecher attack next year. Could be on a similar late blooming physical development path of his older brother who is currently starting in the the PAC 12 (presently in transfer portal)
SG- Darrien Reddick 5-9 2025 Ecorse Did his best to help his squad make up for the recent injury loss of Kenneth Morrast Jr. Not very big but was fearless going to the basket against Beecher’s big frontline. Showed quickness and good ball handling ability. Kept coming hard even when the outcome of the game appeared to be decided. Finished with 14 points. The Raiders will lose quite a bit from a squad that has made back to back semifinal appearances. Reddick could team with fellow guard Dennell Kemp Jr to keep the Raiders in the conversation near the top of the division. They will also have help in the front court from 6-4 Deontae Jude.
SF- Jaremiah Palmer 6-0 2024 Niles Brandywine Part of a strong contingent of “Palmers” for the Bobcats. Leading scorer on the season for the deep and balanced squad. Came in below his season average of 13 points to finish with a team high eight. Those stats only tell part of the story. Kept coming against a St Francis lineup that featured a decided size advantage. Showed competitiveness and grit on his near constant penetration. I’m curious to see what he does this summer and who he runs with during this grassroots season. While I have not seem him much before this year. He has shown he can play with anyone. Bradywine’s only two regular season losses were to Division II state championship contender Benton Harbor. Will form a dynamic backcourt next year with Jamier Palmer and 2026 point guard Nylen Goins. Brandywine only loses one player from their entire rotation. If they stay intact and their enrollment keeps then in Division III. You could make an early case for preseason #1 for the Bobcats. That should help attract some recruiting attention for this player
PF- Drew Breimayer 6-5 2023 Traverse City St Francis Didn’t have his usual scoring output. But stood out on the defensive end. Was able to stay in front of a small Niles Brandywine unit that had plenty of speed. The numbers don’t lie. As the Bobcats did not have a single player in double digits. Used his size to get an important put back to tie things up in the first. Also had had nice block that helped set the tone defensively. Provided his usual deep shooting from beyond the arc. Stuffed the stat sheet in the final. Finished high school career with a line of nine points, four rebounds, and two assists and blocks respectively.
C- Wasir James 6-8 2024 Flint Beecher This is a bit of future pick. I did not see James play in Thursday’s semifinal contest. I wondered if he would play against a St Francis squad that featured a big frontline. He did and showed an intriguing skill set. Protected the rim well as you would expect from a player with his size and length. However also confidently nailed a corner three that was needed when the outcome of the game was in doubt. Is skinny and will need to add weight to better play in the post. However as far learning how to play down on the block. He should be well schooled. Head coach is former Michigan St big man Marquise Gray. Beecher is a program that doesn’t necessarily rebuild. Don’t be surprised if James has a big summer and is one of the better plays in the division next year.