HYPE Mega Scrimmage: Recap
Inside Prep Sports/By TJ Kelley
The first mass scrimmages of the preseason took place Saturday at the HYPE Rec Center in Dearborn Heights and at Lansing Eastern High School. Lansing Eastern's Thanksgiving Scrimmage like the HYPE Mega Scrimmage drew teams from across the state and with an upcoming scrimmage next Saturday at Saginaw Arthur Hill and Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills, staying in Metro-Detroit had it's advantages.
A two session day which featured top 25 teams in their respective classes Chandler Park Academy, Detroit Henry Ford, Detroit Pershing, Detroit Western, Ecorse, University Prep, and Westland John Glenn starting in the morning followed by an evening session with Detroit Allen Academy, Ferndale, Grand Rapids Union, and Hazel Park provided a solid day of hoops action.
Their should always be a disclaimer to preseason scrimmages as coaches use them in different ways whether it be to tinker with a lineup, rest players, find experience for bench players, win at any cost, or work on defensive and/or offensive strategies. The Detroit Lions have had a few undefeated exhibition seasons and have one playoff win over the last 45 years so expecting too much or too little from a team...you get what I'm saying.
Detroit Pershing had wins over Dearborn Fordson and in double-overtime sudden death over Dearborn Heights Crestwood but started off with a loss to Walled Lake Central. Pershing will be a consensus top three team in Michigan regardless of class and no one should be surprised if they win Class A. That being said head coach Wydell Henry will need to iron out some wrinkles and find more continuity as a tough December schedule and brutal League schedule poses them as a possible 4-5 loss team by the time the playoffs start. VCU commit Justin Tillman was the scrimmages dominant big man while their senior point guard Dar Woodson was solid setting the table for scoring guards Mory Diane, jr., a senior transfer from Detroit Country Day and Buffalo commit, and junior Marquel Ingram. 6'8" senior Duane Embry was rested for this scrimmage.
Detroit Western is the up and coming team in the state as they boast a trio of junior bigs in Kheir Maxwell, Julius Palmer, and Antwain Smith. Much of the scoring will go to junior wing Aaron Austin and a trio of experienced sophomore guards Brailen Neely, Karim Murray, and Kyree Boynton. Freshman Will Weems was impressive as he made mid-range jumpers, scored on the block, rebounded, and blocked shots throughout the day. Head coach Derrick McDowell and his coaching staff have a history of winning. Saturday's victory was over Dearborn Heights Crestwood and losses to Westland John Glenn and Chandler Park Academy.
Westland John Glenn has as many pieces and experience as nearly any team in the state as seniors James Pruitt and Isaac Everett provide energy and offense, junior Michael Edwards is a developing big, and junior Michael Bradley provides scoring on the wing. Senior point guard Dre Black was absent from Saturday's game but is expected to be the starter. Head coach Dan Young and company will battle Canton for the Kensington-South division title and are the favorite to win the conference playoff championship. Westland John Glenn won each of their three games
Detroit Henry Ford was without their sophomore post player but stabilized by solid play from their from sophomore point guard James Towns II and scoring from junior wing Josh Davis (pictured). The Trojans are in Class B this season and as the rest of the pieces come together they could make some noise in the playoffs as defense is a staple. Don't be surprised if they're the state's best sub .500 team after facing Cass, Douglass, E. English Village, Pershing, Southeastern, and Western in league play. Detroit Osborn was in a similar boat last year and managed only one league but still beat Downriver League Champion, Taylor Truman in last season's Winter Breakout.
Chandler Park Academy will adjust to a new head coach and the graduation of current Michigan freshman Derrick Walton, jr. The Eagles have pieces in senior point guard Michael Jackson, jr., senior forward Jordan Williams who scored from the mid-range and in, and sophomore wing Jalen Martin was their top rebounder as well as their most energetic player. First year head coach Greg Martin will need to find the calming presence that Walton, jr brought to the table but at the same time realize some easy season wins shouldn't let them get sloppy when March arrives. They had their moments in each of their three games as players adjusted to different rolls.
Ferndale is a senior laden squad with CMU football commit Nate Brisson-Fast anchoring the post, small forward Justin Kearney, and shooting guard Rob Deiz who should be the favorite in the OAA-Blue Division. Also showing promise on Saturday for head coach Herb Golliday's squad was junior point guard Trevin McKeithan.
Grand Rapids Union's 6'4" 2014 small forward Rashaud Orange seems to be fully healthy after a bothersome shoulder injury this summer played well scoring from the corners, getting to the basket, starting the break, rebounding, catching lobs, and making a case as one of the top five players currently on the Westside of the state. He inked with Grand Valley State during the signing period and the Lakers are getting a good one. GR Union Head Coach Brandoen Guyton and company will have to stay scrappy and have a very tough schedule as they face Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills, Ypsilanti Lincoln in the Winter Breakout on December 14, Detroit Community in the I96 Challenge, Muskegon Heights, along with Muskegon and Zeeland East two times a piece.
Detroit Allen Academy will be centered around senior guard Pakiya Ellis and his ability to score while sophomores Daniel Pippen and Jason Williams provided a lot of upside. They Wildcats should be a solid upper middle of the road team in the MMAC as they will face Consortium, Ecorse, River Rouge This is Craig Covington, jr.'s first year with Allen Academy as he returns to Michigan after coaching out of state on the Division 2 level for the better part of the 21st Century.
Ecorse will be a top 15 team in Class C and have the pieces to battle with Detroit Consortium in the MMAC. Senior point guard Javon Wasson-Curry is a four-year starter and Darius Williams is a space eater in the paint with good hands. Head coach Mike Talley II also has his son, freshman Marlin Talley who saw extensive minutes throughout the day.
Farmington won and while they will be good in the the OAA-Blue, senior guard Avon White will be good around the state. The Falcons were clearly a different team with him in the game as the native New Yorker carved up defenses on his way to the rack where he found easy buckets for teammates, finished in acrobatic style, or drew a foul. In the time watching him, he went without a turnover and made all of his free throws. Let's just say the South Hadley, MA. transfer will keep Head Coach Terrance Porter's phone busy until he commits. Their games with division foe Ferndale just got that much better.
Dearborn Fordson is anchored by senior's Moussa Harb and Hassan Doghman and a solid offensive plan that relies on getting open perimeter shots as they lack any serious height in the post. After matching up with crosstown rival Dearborn to open the season they'll face Ypsilanti Lincoln at the Motor City Roundball Classic, and then face Western Wayne Athletic Conference foes: Belleville, Dearborn Heights Robichaud, Redford Thurston, and Romulus. The winner of the Blue Division of the WWAC should be decided by Fordson or Redford Thurston.
University Prep has long time Renaissance assistant coach Yusuf Sabree in his first year as varsity head coach. They have a lot of athletic 6'2" to 6'5" amoeba type players who all had their moments of success throughout the day. Their best player was out as not to rupture a healing injury.
Walled Lake Central did beat a Justin Tillman-less Detroit Pershing but the Doughboys are still good without him so that's a definite positive for head coach Chuck Spolsky as he doesn't have the star power but rather a scrappy bunch of players who play well together. They should finish in the upper to middle of the pack in the Kensington Lakes- North Division.
Hazel Park has veteran Troy Athens' assistant coach, Brandon Barrett in his first year as a varsity head coach. Hazel Park has a chance to give Ferndale and Farmington problems in the OAA-Blue and should be a middle of the pack team.
Follow Inside Prep Sports on Twitter @ScoopIPS