Baby Giraffes Find Footing
Inside Prep Sports/By TJ Kelley
It's been a good year for Michigan's developing bigs who have put in the work with patient coaches who are seeing serious playing time after seeing limited minutes in previous seasons. While Michigan's 2014 class doesn't have the size that the 2015 class there are more scholarship bigs than just Jaleel Hogan (Detroit-Mercy), Jaylen Johnson (Louisville), Luke Meyer (CMU), Justin Tillman (VCU), and Yante Maten who has high major offers and most recently hearing from VCU and Wake Forest. Here's a list of ten unsigned bigs who are more than surviving as highs school seniors:
6'9" 2014 center/power forward Jack Binegar (Parchment) He's a player hidden in the towns near Kalamazoo, poor post matchups as you can see from the picture above, and little to no travel basketball. He has good size and an athlete who can play above rim with a developing post game, but will also step out and knock down jumpers in the mid-range.
6'9" 2014 center Dietrich Cole (Detroit E. English Village) He always seems like he's balancing coordination with a growth spurt, but he's catching up as he's running better, playing above the rim, and rebounding with more efficiency. Cole still needs some meet and potatoes on his bones, but with a red-shirt year he could see the court from time to time his second year out of high school. His production will come his third through fifth year after graduating from high school.
6'8" 2014 center Devin Conley (Litchfield) Conley has been a producer for some time now, but still remains an uncommitted senior. He has good size with the preference to face the basket. Conley has good range and won't shy away from the perimeter. His defensive skill limits him to the post, but he's a solid pick and pop power forward. He rarely if ever faces anyone in high school who compares to his height now that the bigs from nearby Climax-Scott have moved on to college basketball.
6'8" 2014 power forward Dequandre Dentmond (Lansing Eastern) Dentmond is perhaps the most talented big in the state and at times he has shown that putting up 20 and grabbing double-digit rebounds in a half is within his abilities. Consistency is all anyone has ever asked for from the skilled big man.
6'9" 2014 center Danny Dixon (Grosse Pointe South) The transformation of this kid over the 18-months has been phenominal. He has shown dedication to improving in all aspects of his game as he has shown he can finish with either hand, play with his back to the basket, pivot baseline, pivot to the paint, finish above the rim, off baby hooks, or on the reverse. He's improved his hands and rebounds at the rim, gets up and down the floor very well, and blocks shots. Great student and a Division 2 lock.
6'8" 2014 center/power forward Dwayne Embry (Detroit Pershing) Not everyone grows 8-inches in high school and not everyone who is 6'8" plays second fiddle to one of the state's top players. Embry is able to handle the ball away from the basket and has a developing mid-range game. He's a solid rebounder and his athleticism isn't eye-popping, but he competes and plays a physical game.
6'7" 2014 power forward Kenny Goins (Warren Mott) A year ago, he was just a player putting up numbers that very few people knew about. Fast forward to 2014 and he's a player that legitimately played himself on to the division one scholarship scene as he has produced on either side of the court with college baskets, rebounding, and physical style. It's not only his ability on the court, but his scholastic abilities which have opened doors for his opportunities.
6'8" 2014 center/power forward Devin Louden (Onsted) He's a fantastic athlete with a good motor and developing basketball skills. He comes from a small town where he probably didn't realize the doors that could open up for him with his ability to want to improve on the court. Louden needs to get stronger, but moves well enough where he can defend away from the basket.
6'7" 2014 power forward Zach Medendorp (Grand Rapids S. Christian) Medendorp plays with a lot of energy and has standout athletecism. Coaches ask "What position does he play in college?" Saying that energy, athleticism, a high motor, and an encouraging teammate are skills he'll find someone that will give him a scholarhip. He blocks shots, plays above the rim, rebounds, and runs the floor like a deer.
6'8" 2014 center Michael Nicholson (Clarkston) Word is that he was a soccer player two-years ago and after a healthy diet he's grown into a basketball player with division 2 schools looking to offer and mid-majors looking for him to walk on. He moves well laterally and is a solid at the rim rebounder with good footwork and solid touch around the basket. He has some meat on his bones and a good frame.
6'7" 2014 center Jason Penn (Ferndale University) Penn posts great numbers on a game-in-game out basis and he has good size with length, but needs to up his competition as just being bigger doesn't push him 100% of the time. He's a qulaifier with very good grades and a test score that has interest from Low Mid Majors, Division 2, and championship NAIA programs.
6'9" 2014 center Darohn Scott (Grand Rapids Christian) He's on the juco radar and holds Horizon, MAC, and Missouri Valley offers. He has the size and athleticism to compete, but needs to work on his hands and footwork. He looks the part more than anyone on this list, but developing his skill set is a priority. He's an above the rim player and above the rim rebounder.
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