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Michigan State commit Xavier Tillman and Michigan commit Isaiah Livers

Preseason Mr. Basketball Watch

Inside Prep Sports/By TJ Kelley

11/20/16

With Michigan’s 2016-’17 readily approaching, there is no clear cut favorite in any of the four classes and the same can be said as far as a single favorite to win the 2017 Mr. Basketball awarded by the Detroit Free Press and named after legendary prep sport writer Hal Schram.  The state’s top individual prize is voted on by registered members of the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan and the favorites are often those with a strong resume’ that can include a state championship, gaudy statistics, and the biggest nod is a commitment to either Michigan or Michigan State. 

Favorites:

6’8” 2017 center Xavier Tillman (15 ppg, 10.1 rebounds) The Michigan State commit is near unstoppable in the post and expect for preseason #1 Grand Rapids Christian to have an outstanding record when the 2017 Mr. Basketball votes are cast.  He’ll more than likely average close to 20 and 15 while his defense in the post is relentless.  http://www.mhsaa.com/schools/grandrapidschristian/boys/varsity/basketball

6’7” 2017 forward Isaiah Livers (16 ppg, 9.6 reb, 4 assists, 3 blocks per game) He committed to Michigan this summer and the transformation of his game from a pick and pop post player started last year when he dropped weight and his game took off.  He’s a do all player for the Maroon Giants and played all five positions a season ago.  K-Central is a top 5 Class A team.  http://www.mhsaa.com/schools/k-central/boys/varsity/basketball

In the Hunt:

6’7” 2017 small forward Jamal Cain (26 ppg, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks, 3 steals) Cain is the top prospect in the class and he recently committed to Marquette.  He’s in the group with Livers and Tillman had Detroit Cornerstone made a deeper playoff run in one of the past two years or had he committed to Michigan.  He will more than likely have gaudy stats and Cornerstone has a strong schedule. http://www.mhsaa.com/schools/cornerstonehealth/boys/varsity/basketball

Dark Horses:

6’5” 2017 guard Dylan Alderson (16.2 ppg, 7.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.5 steals, 58% fg, 36% 3fg) The Wisconsin-Milwaukee commit is amongst the most versatile players in the state and will play both guard positions as well as the small forward for Clarkston who will contend for the Class A state title and start the season at #3 in Class A.  http://www.mhsaa.com/schools/clarkston/boys/varsity/basketball

6’3” 2017 guard Matt Beachler (18.1 ppg, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals) Arguably the top shooter in the class, Beachler chose CMU this summer and two years after they were his first offer.  Lowell figures to have a strong season and Beachler is capable of posting 40+ points in a game as he put up 44 in a game his sophomore year.  http://www.mhsaa.com/schools/lowell/boys/varsity/basketball

6'9" 2017 center Gregory Mike “Ebo” Eboigbodin (11 ppg, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks) A Class A Champion a year ago with two trips to the Breslin with the University of Detroit-Jesuit.  He will have to split votes with team, Eke Ikechukwu, and they both play the post so they're both a stretch.  Greg is arguably the state's top defender.  He commited to Illinois-Chicago this fall.  http://www.mhsaa.com/schools/udj/boys/varsity/basketball

6’3” 2017 guard Greg Elliott, jr. (19 ppg, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2.5 steals, 1.5 blocks) Elliott is the top Detroit PSL senior and is the favorite to win Mr. PSL.  He’s uncommitted and has offers from Conference USA, Horizon League, and MAC schools.  Elliott is a stat stuffer who will draw votes by leading Detroit East English Village to a PSL Championship. http://www.mhsaa.com/schools/eastenglish/boys/varsity/basketball

5’7” 2017 point guard Malik Ellison (22.2 ppg, 5 assists, 3 steals) He’s a two-time State Champion and three year starter.  Flint Beecher is the favorite to 3-peat for the second time in seven years and his play on the main stage has been anything short of spectacular.  He hasn’t committed and a non-Division I player has never won the award.  http://www.mhsaa.com/schools/beecher/boys/varsity/basketball

6’5” 2017 forward Keion Epps (14 ppg, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals) The first player from Michigan’s 2017 class to commit did so to Eastern Michigan after his sophomore year.  He’s a high energy athletic producer who will be the heart to turn around Wayne Memorial’s sub :500 2015-’16 season.  Fortunately, Wayne Memorial has a solid schedule and Epps will have the opportunity to impress BCAM voters.  http://www.mhsaa.com/schools/waynememorial/boys/varsity/basketball

6’10” 2017 center Jaron Faulds (11.6 ppg, 11.1 rebounds, 3 blocks, 1 steal per game) The Columbia commit will anchor the post for Holt and brings a lot of energy, defense, and rebounding on either end of the court.  He’ll have to rely on the Rams’ guard play to improve his point production to make a serious charge for Mr. Basketball. http://www.mhsaa.com/schools/holt/boys/varsity/basketball

6’1 2017 guard Michael Flowers (25.1 ppg, 6.5 assists, 6.1 rebounds, 2.1 steals) One of the state’s top scorers committed to Western Michigan this past summer and he’ll have to lead Southfield past the .500 record from a season ago.  Individually, he’ll have good looks as Southfield faces a number of teams with Mr. Basketball candidates from this list.  http://www.mhsaa.com/schools/southfield-arts/boys/varsity/basketball

6’3” 2017 guard Amauri Hardy (21 ppg, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 6 steals) Hardy was part of a powerful three-guard back court a season ago in leading North Farmington to the Class A state championship.  He’s the loan returning starter and his production should soar as the weight of the offense will be on his shoulders.  The uncommitted senior will more than likely choose from his Big 12 or SEC offers.  http://www.mhsaa.com/schools/northfarmington/boys/varsity/basketball/2016

6'9" 2017 power forward Eke “Ike” Ikechuwu (10 ppg, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks) Look for his offensive production to be a major factor for the defending Class A Champions, University of Detroit-Jesuit, this season.  Name familiarity would help his cause but like teammate Greg Eboigbodin they will split votes coming their way.  He has a ton of upside but speculation doesn't win this award.  The big fella committed to Marquette this fall.  http://www.mhsaa.com/schools/udj/boys/varsity/basketball

5’9” 2017 point guard Jermaine Jackson, jr. (21.1 ppg, 4 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 3 steals, 42% fg) A dynamic scorer who will look to lead Macomb Dakota to a Class A state title and a return to the Breslin Center.  Jackson is also a ball hawk on defense and is ready to log big minutes for the state’s #2 team in Class A.  He has numerous Division 1 offers and recently took an official visit to Toledo. http://www.mhsaa.com/schools/dakota/boys/varsity/basketball

6’4” 2017 wing Jason Whitens (22 ppg, 8.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.8 steals, 54% fg, 80% ft) The loan Yooper will look to lead Power North Central to a third Class D Championship in as many years and he’s a do all player for a team that is riding a 55-game win streak, the longest in the state.  He has Division 2 offers waiting on his commitment. http://www.mhsaa.com/schools/northcentral/boys/varsity/basketball

Here are the past winners:

2016 Cassius Winston, University of Detroit-Jesuit (Michigan State)

2015 Deyonta Davis, Muskegon (Michigan State)

2014 Deshaun Thrower, Muskegon (Stony Brook)

2013 Monte Morris, Flint Beecher (Iowa State)

2012 Matt Costello, Bay City Western (Michigan State)

2011 Dwaun Anderson, Suttons Bay (Wagner)

2010 Keith Appling, Detroit Pershing (Michigan State)

2009 Derrick Nix, Detroit Pershing (Michigan State)

2008 Brad Redford, Frankenmuth (Xavier)

2007 Corperryale (Manny) Harris, Detroit Redford (Michigan)

2006 David Kool, Grand Rapids South Christian (Western Michigan)

2005 Wilson Chandler, Benton Harbor (De Paul)

2004 Drew Neitzel, Wyoming Park (Michigan State)

2003 Dion Harris, Detroit Redford (Michigan)

2002 Paul Davis, Rochester (Michigan State)

2001 Kelvin Torbert, Flint Northwestern (Michigan State)

2000 Marcus Taylor, Lansing Waverly (Michigan State)

1999 Jason Richardson, Saginaw Arthur Hill (Michigan State)

1998 Dane Fife, Clarkston (Indiana)

1997 Shane Battier, Birmingham Detroit Country Day (Duke)

1996 Winfred Walton, Detroit Pershing (Syracuse, Fresno State)

1995 Robert Traylor, Detroit Murray-Wright (Michigan)

1994 Willie Mitchell, Detroit Pershing (Michigan, UAB)

1993 Jon Garavaglia, Southgate Aquinas (Michigan State)

1992 Kenyon Murray, Battle Creek Central (Iowa)

1991 Chris Webber, Birmingham Detroit Country Day (Michigan)

1990 Anthony Miller, Benton Harbor (Michigan State)

1989 Michael Talley, Detroit Cooley (Michigan)

1988 Matt Steigenga, Grand Rapids South Christian (Michigan State)

1987 Mark Macon, Saginaw Buena Vista (Temple)

1986 Terry Mills, Romulus (Michigan)

1985 Glen Rice, Flint Northwestern (Michigan)

1984 Demetreus Gore, Detroit Chadsey (Pittsburgh)

1983 Antoine Joubert, Detroit Southwestern (Michigan)

1982 Robert Henderson, Lansing Eastern (Michigan)

1981 Sam Vincent, Lansing Eastern (Michigan State)

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