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19th annual Motor City Roundball Classic: Recap

Inside Prep Sports/By TJ Kelley

1/3/14

In its 19th year, the Motor City Roundball Classic is Michigan's staple for multiple game events over the holiday season as there are over 40 games on the boys side and another almost as many on the girls’ schedule.  With over 75 teams competing over the five days, the Roundball is the place to be while college coaches, high school coaches, players, and fans are well aware of the competition and notoriety on a year in year out basis.  Below is a list of the top performers that includes the Motor City Roundball “Starting Five”, the Roundball’s “Glue Guy”, “Breakout Player”, and a list of underclassmen to watch.

Day 1 Games: December 26, 2013

Day 2 Games: December 27, 2013

Day 3 Games: December 28, 2013

Day 4 Games: December 29, 2013

Day 5 Games: December 30, 2013

6’1” 2014 combo guard Pakiya Ellis (Detroit Allen Academy) The single day leading scorer put up 44-points in just the third game of the event.  While he is a name that those with their ear to the round know, he has been the hot name among local Division 2 schools with Division 1 schools from coast-to-coast inquiring about the athletic scoring guard.  44-points (18-26 fg, 4-6 3fg), seven rebounds, six assists, and four steals

6’7” 2016 shooting guard Josh Jackson (Detroit Consortium) The state’s top player did his damage early as Consortium built a 15-point halftime lead against Saginaw.  His ability to score from 21’ and in has long been known.  He has become the state sheet filler through the first month of the season.  The all-around player put up 28 (10-16 fg, 4-8 3fg) with eight rebounds, three assists, three blocks, and two steals in limited playing time.

6’4” 2014 shooting guard Marq’ywell Jackson (Detroit E. English Village) Michigan’s top unsigned guard led the Bulldogs to a two-point win over Toledo Rogers with 26-points (10-13 fg, 2-4 3fg) and nine boards.  His recruiting interest has been up and down over the past year, but performances such as Monday’s nights already have high major coaches picking up the phones.

6’8” 2014 power forward Yante Maten (Bloomfield Hills) The state’s top unsigned senior was the complete front court player in an eight-point win over Chicago Hyde Park as he produced on either end of the court including what very well could have been a block that all but seized the game for the Blackhawks.  Already having a stellar game, Maten went down with an ankle injury with a Hyde Park player, but he soon returned and put up the Roundball’s only triple-double of 2013.  23 points (7-10 fg, 9-13 ft), 14 rebounds, ten blocked shots, six assists, and four steals.  *Captain

6’4” 2015 small forward Derek Murphy (Warren Mott) The only game MVP from a losing team, Murphy truly broke out in front of handful of Division 2 and division one coaches such as Central Michigan, Dartmouth, Niagra, and St. Bonaventure.  Like his teammate, Kenny Goins, more than likely played themselves up to the Division 1 level.  Murphy’s Achilles heal has been his shooting, but Friday there was no evidence of that as he poured in 30 points (10-18 fg, 4-8 3fg, 6-10 ft) including a half-court buzzer beater.  He’s a legit 6’4” with the frame and athleticism that screams mid-major.

Motor City Roundball Classic Glue Guy:

5’11” 2014 point guard Keyon Addison (Saginaw) He plays with such intensity that teammates have to pick it up another notch and Saginaw already plays hard.  Addison was amongst the events top defenders and his clutch play three at the end of regulation led to the one of the Roundball’s best games, an 80-76, overtime loss to Gary (IN.) Bowman Academy.  He averaged 20 ppg, 4.5 assists, and 2.5 steals in two games.

Breakout Players to Watch:

6’3” 2014 shooting guard Kris Clyburn (Romulus) The event’s second highest one game point total was Clyburn’s 34 (14-22 fg, 4-6 3fg) in a down to the wire 76-72 loss to Gary (IN.) Bowman.  The lefty is a near spitting image of his brother, Will, and has an unassuming body manner on the court, but plays with aggression.  He added eight rebounds, three assists, and four steals.

6’6” 2015 forward Frederick John (Southfield-Lathrup) His buzzer-beating three gave him 23 points and sealed the deal for the Chargers in their win over.  Prior to him stepping out to the perimeter he put in work in the paint where he grabbed ten rebounds and occasionally in the mid-range.  The game MVP has good size and is a good athlete who has some small forward skills.

6’7” 2014 power forward Kenny Goins (Warren Mott) “Be good enough that my boss will offer, but not good enough that his boss will offer.”  Goins did everything that Central Michigan, Bowling Green St., Dartmouth, and Niagara were there to see and a lot more than GLIAC coaches wanted anyone else to see.  The 4.0 student dominated the boards, stepped out to hit perimeter and mid-range shots, scored in the post, and added a couple of blocked shots and steals.  He rebounded at the rim, played above the rim, and when he adds college weight he has a chance to make one school very proud.  Possible Big Ten walk-on.

6’1” 2015 shooting guard Josh McFolley (Mt. Clemens) The quick trigger, lefty  scored 37 (13-26 fg, 7-16 3fg) in two games and just as impressive were his seven steals and nine assists.  His game is starting to develop into a combo guard as scoring dominated his stat line and as he becomes older his lateral quickness is starting to pick up on defense.

6’7” 2015 small forward Lamont West (Cincinnati Withrow) The long, athletic, skilled lefty, covered a lot of ground in the corner when Withrow went to their 2-3 zone.  He also added 20 points and 17 rebounds in two games.  Gaining strength should help him from getting moved around in the post but for now he’s a forward who can make mid-range jumpers, get down the floor to finish fast breaks, and a sneaky offensive rebounder.

6’7” 2014 power forward Demarco White (Southfield Christian) He will look to hold down Southfield Christian’s defensive post as they work for their third straight state championship.  He runs the floor like a deer, has the length to and speed to guard away from the basket, and athleticism and energy to rebound outside of his area.  His 19-points (9-13 fg, 1-4 ft) and ten (five offensive) rebound night vs. Walled Lake Western is just another day in the office.

Underclassmen to Watch:

5’10” 2016 guard Cameron Copeland (Toledo Rogers) The kid is tough as nails and be the floor general or shooter weaving through picks to find an open jumper.  He scored eleven (5-13 fg, 1-5 3fg) in a win against Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy and 19 (6-15 fg, 3-7 3fg) in a loss against Detroit E. English Village.  He also added nine rebounds, six assists, and four steals over those two games.

6’6” 2016 power forward/center Algevon Eichelberger, jr. (Saginaw) Plenty of coaches have been watching and I don’t think there are many coaches who haven’t heard about the soft-handed sophomore.  He had a monster game with 25 points (10-16 fg, 5-7 ft) and 17 or 20 (twelve offensive) rebounds vs. a very athletic Gary (IN.) Bowman squad.  He finds position and scores in array of Kevin McHale like moves. 

6’ 2017 point guard Amauri Hardy (Southfield) A top ten player in the 2017 class, the lefty cracked the starting lineup, and he fits in offensively very well.  Hardy’s ten points (4-6 fg, 2-5 ft) came in the mid-range and at the basket.  He plays well on and off the ball, but can create for himself and showed a solid pull up jumper.

5’6” 2017 point guard Jermaine Jackson, jr. (Mt. Clemens) Subtract an unselfish cross-court pass, which was picked off, “Triple J” had a near perfect two games.  He scored 29-points (10-17 fg, 7-13 3fg) with six assists and four steals in games vs. Cincinnati Withrow and Chicago Hyde Park. 

6’5” 2016 wing Daniel Pippen (Detroit Allen Academy) While teammate, Pakiya Ellis, is the hot name on the Allen Academy roster, Pippen was a monster in his own right as he threw in 17 (7-8 fg, 3-4 3fg) while grabbing six boards.  His baseline drive for a lay-up will be a dunk in a year, he knocked down the spot up three from the corner, and has a three level scoring game which has the potential to be very scary at 6’6” and lonely a sophomore.

6’2” 2016 shooting guard Justin Turner (Detroit Rennaissance) Turner played in the shadow of Wayne State freshman Clark Bishop a year ago and people should get used to seeing him lead the Phoenix in scoring over the next three years.  He won MVP honors in a win over Dearborn Heights Robichaud where the smooth scorer reached 20 (7-19 fg, 6-7 ft).

6’ 2016 point guard Jason Williams (Detroit Allen Academy) When someone scores 44-points there usually a facilitator and Williams was that guy with eight assists.  He can also score-15 points (7-14 fg, 1-7 3fg)-and is an efficient table setter.  He adds to the depth of Michigan’s 2016 point guards which could soon resemble the 2013 class where everyone is having successful freshman campaigns. 

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