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Michigan Prep Players' Recruiting Picks Up

Inside Prep Sports/By TJ Kelley

1/28/14

As the second month of the Michigan High School basketball season draws to a close, there are plenty of juniors and seniors who have seen their recruiting pick up.  Some would be called late bloomers and others are off the beaten path, but they all have been noticed and starting to see the rewards for their efforts.  Here's a look at seniors and juniors at the season's halfway point and how their recruiting is going:

Dorian Armstrong- The Mt. Clemens' forward produces and is a double-double machine for arguably the state's top team.  Wagner has shown interest as have GLIAC programs.  He has the size (6'6", 200 pounds), athleticism, toughness, grades, and motor to earn a scholarship on one of those two levels.

Pakiya Ellis- Detroit Allen Academy's high scoring guard has interest from GLIAC programs as well as Central Michigan and New Hampshire.  At 6'2" and able to score from anywhere inside 20' Ellis has been Allen's leading scorer for the past two years, but he can also defend and brings a lot of energy.

Evan Kraatz- The lefty point guard has an offer from Cedarville of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference with interest on different levels from Navy, Liberty, Lehigh, and Harvard.  He makes the quick decisions as he's often double teamed which has resulted in a 9:2 assist to turnover ratio.  Kraatz is also the Chargers' defensive stopper. 

Yante Maten- TCU and Virginia Tech were in to see him the past two weeks, as were Oakland, California-Davis, and Toledo who have offered the 6'8" senior power forward.  Florida State, St. Bonaventure, and Wake Forest are also showing increased interest as the stat filler regularly goes for 20 points, 15 rebounds, and five blocks per game.  That's a strong stat line and his passing is why his teammates get a lot of perimeter looks.

Mike Nicholson- This late bloomer extraordinare scored less than 75-points for his entire junior season and this year he's doubled that with over a month remaining.  Bigs generally develop late and Nicholson is producing double digit stats in points and rebounds nearly ever contest.  He has most of the GLIAC programs on board or showing very strong interest.  Western Illinois was in to see him last week.

Kyle Steigenga- Grand Valley State, Cornerstone, and Calvin have offered the versatile forward who plays every position in high school.  He has the athleticism to play on any level as well as the grades.  Michigan State has a walk-on spot for him if he chooses that direction.  Holland Christian isn't a path that college coaches not familiar with the area have taken, so it's either win with him or read his stat lines in the years to come.  IPFW is the Division One school who has shown the latest interest.

Brandon Childress - Perhaps the hottest name in Michigan and by far the biggest mystery except for a few internet highlights is this 6'4" junior shooting guard.  If you've seen his videos you can see he's a phenominal athlete and skilled, the problem is Baldwin is in the Manistee National Forest north of Grand Rapids where fishing and ice cream are the trend.  He is the player that everyone is planning to see as Bucknell, Harvard, and California-Davis were hoping for Tuesday night, but Mother Nature had different plans.  Michigan State knows who he is as do Indiana, Iowa, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.  If you make the trip to Muskegon Heights on February 15, don't be surprised to see 10-20 coaches in the stands.

Florida A&M stopped in last week and offered Detroit Pershing's 6'2" junior shooting guard Marquel Ingram and Mt. Clemens' 6'1" junior shooting guard Josh McFolley.  You can say that making stops at those two winning schools is a step in the right direction especially if you walk in the gym dressed for summer weather as a reminder that it doesn't get very cold in Florida.  Ingram and McFolley are efficient scorers who can put up impressive numbers in a short amount of time.

With all the depth that Michigan has at the shooting guard and small forward positions, 6'5" junior wing Derek Murphy of Warren Mott has made as much noise as anyone not named Eric Davis and he is producing regular 25 point per game performances with a couple 30-point breakouts sprinkled here and there.  Size, athleticism, grades, and a competitive spirit were never the question with Murphy as his shot has taken his game to the next level and mid-majors are taking notice.

N. Farmington's Jeron Rogers is the state's top junior small forward prospect at 6'6" with good size, ability to score inside and out, and a player who has a knack for finding the ball.  He has instate mid-major offers and the interest of high major programs in the Big 12.  His list will continue to grow as his 25 point per game average has come in a variety of ways.

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