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2014 Mr. Basketball Preview

Inside Prep Sports/By TJ Kelley

12/17/13

Michigan's high school season is a week in and many of the state's top seniors are off to a great start.  That being said there is no clear cut front-runner for this season's award as many of past year's recipients have drawn favor by commiting to Michigan or Michigan State, been the dominant player in certain regions of the state, been the dominant player on a dominant team, or been must see players.  While some past winners haven't had the toughest schedules, playing a tough schedule does help and no uncommitted player has won.  Here's a look at dozen candidates and why they can win:

6'5" point guard Darrell Davis (Detroit Douglass) Despite two losses he has been great posting 32 and 23 against Chicago Bogan and Detroit Consortium.  He passed up on an offer to Michigan State to attend Dayton.  While he has the individual stats, he more than likely will need a City Championship and have to add big wins to his resume'.

6'7" forward Aaron Foster-Smith (Taylor Truman) The state's best player south of Detroit can put up big numbers and will come close to or average double-double numbers.  If, Truman nears 17-18 wins this season and is still alive when voting comes around after districts his chances increase dramatically.  In two wins the University of Detroit-Mercy commit scored 26 vs. Lincoln Park and 21 against Orchard Lake St. Mary's.

6'9" forward Jaylen Johnson (Ypsilanti) The Louisville commit opened up with a great outing against Wyandotte but only scored five in a win over Orchard Lake St. Mary's.  He is seen as one of the top three players in Michigan's 2014 class mostly due to a great spring and summer but this award doesn't have anything to do with April through November or National Rankings.  He will need to be dominant on the boards or defensively as he will share the scoring with teammates.

6'8" power forward Yante Maten (Bloomfield Hills) With three wins under the Knights' belt, Maten has been a stat stuffer this season with 19 points, 15 rebounds, and five blocks vs. South Lyon, 14 points, ten rebounds,and four blocks vs. Warren Cousino, and 17 points, eight rebounds, and four rebounds vs. Milan.  He is uncommitted, but has a very good OAA and non-conference schedule where he will get looks.  Winning the OAA will boost his appeal that much more.

6'5" point guard Edmond Sumner (Detroit Country Day) Sumner can be seen as the front runner as he is the lone candidate on this list to win a state title.  State title's help and the Xavier commit is a seen as a top three player in 2014.  He should consistently put up very good numbers as he did with 27 in a loss to Walled Lake Western and 20 in a victory over Windsor CC.

6' point guard Deshaun Thrower (Muskegon) Stuck in the nook and cranny known as Muskegon, Thrower is well known throughout the state for his abilities on the football field and not having any other serious contenders on the westside side of the state has been the difference in the past.  He committed to Stoney Brook and if he wins he won't be the only Michigan Mr. Basketball winner on Long Island (Mr. Basketball 201126 vs. Rockford

6'7" power forward Justin Tillman (Detroit Pershing) He had a big opening night with 30 points and 15 rebounds vs. Chicago Morgan Park and limited stats in game shortened win vs. Westland John Glenn.  Pershing is 1-1 to open the season and have one of the state's toughest schedules.  He can vault his chances vs. Big Game competition this December.  

Dark Horses:

6'6" center Jaleel Hogan (Mt. Pleasant) Anther University of Detroit-Mercy commit, Hogan is the biggest sleeper in the state and can really draw votes with big games vs. Saginaw Arthur Hill and Saginaw.  He is one of the state's most exciting players as he is a true rim rattler, but how many voters will he get as he doesn't play south of Flint.  He had 20 points and 18 rebounds in the Oilers win over Midland.  Expect similar stats throughout the year.

6'4" shooting guard Marq'ywell Jackson (Detroit E. English Village) While he's always been a top ten player in his class and put up solid numbers, Jackson has enough high profile games that a 40-point game or two can put him in the final five.  He's uncommitted and will have to battle Tillman and Davis in Detroit for votes.  He had 25 points in a lop sided win over Westland John Glenn and 22 in a loss at Massillon (OH.) Washington.

5'11" point guard Evan Kraatz (Allen Park Inter-City Baptist) He will battle the odds as no Class D player has won Mr. Basketball and he hasn't committed.  APICB is off to a solid start against with wins over Sterling Heights Parkway Christian and Allen Park where he had 26 and points.  As he has in the past, he will need to put up big numbers in high profile games vs. Southfield Christian and Detroit Country Day.

6'9" power forward Luke Meyer (Addison)  The future Central Michigan Chippewa was the first commit in his class and he was a sleeper then and is probably known as much nationally as he is in-state.  He will more than likely average double figures in points and rebounds, but will need to have huge games to really take a grip of the voter's attention.  He posted 21 points, 20 rebounds, five assists, and four blocks in a season opening win vs. Napolean.

6'9" small forward Jordan Nobles (Canton) The Eastern Michigan commit has had impressive outing in the first week and the Chiefs are 3-0.  He posted 26 vs. Salem and the next night posted 18 points and eight rebounds vs. Detroit Henry Ford.  Winning goes along way and as long as he's posting big numbers his name should remain in the loop.

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