Covering Prospective Student-Athletes in the SouthEast US and beyond
Livonia, MI – For the 2nd straight year, I headed to the Michigan Mega Scrimmage hosted by Lady Baller Insider (LBI) and Jason Wilkins. Last year this event featured 30+ teams, all of which were Michigan HS teams. This year the event expanded to 59 teams from Michigan, Ohio, and Canada.
1st off Hats off to Jason and the LBI Staff. The entire event was well organized and well run. The scheduling was excellent and permitted me to see EVERY team for at least a few minutes. Packets were organized and easy to find teams. Always pleased with LBI events.
As I have been doing this year, I’m going to offer up some lists and cover a few players. Having seen many of the top players in this event previously, I was already familiar with many of them but still managed to take notes on approximately 75 players.
Story Lines –
Exactly How Good Is DESPA?
I was asked this morning by a prominent High School “ranker”, if I thought Edison was a national Top 25 Caliber team. This particular “ranker” has made the argument to me against DESPA being a Top 25 school due to travel limitations, strength of schedule and “class” level of the school. Based on my observation, I made a strong case for DESPA to be ranked. My argument was that despite those factors, all of which are out of the control of the DESPA players and coaches, the team features some tremendous talent in Rickea Jackson, Gabby Elliott, Daija Tyson and freshmen Damiya Hagemann. Not only are they talented but they play well together and have experience of playing together in the DESPA system. The biggest obstacle for Edison is not slipping up, not getting complacent and somehow dropping a game somewhere along their journey to another state title. If they can do that, then there is no question they deserve a national Top 25 ranking.
All MI Mega Scrimmage Event Team – Every event I try to name an All-Tournament or All-Event team, to highlight not necessarily the best players, but the best players on that particular day. I will discuss top prospects in a section below. All 5 of these players while not only super talented, also performed well on Saturday.
Del’Janae Williams – 2019 CG – Detroit King – Coming off a torn ACL, still athletic, can really shoot the 3 ball, smooth handles.
Kierstan Bell – 2019 F – Canton McKinley (OH) – Big time body and game to go with it. Easy comparison to Lebron. Plays inside/out, can dominate in many ways.
Rickea Jackson – 2019 W – DESPA – Long lanky athlete, plays with a high motor, competes, guard in a forward’s body.
Destiny Strother – 2019 SG – Flint Carman-Ainsworth – Smooth lefty shooter, big time scorer, has already committed to Marquette.
Janae Terry – 2019 CG – Wayne Memorial – Awesome handles, long, big for a PG, nice midrange game, really elevates to shoot and score.
Top Committed Seniors –
Lasha Petree – Arbor Prep – Bradley
Kayla Luchenbach – Clarkston – Oakland
Kaela Webb – Country Day – Providence
Jaida Hampton – East Lansing – Wichita St.
Cam’ree Clegg – Wayne Memorial – Clemson
Maddie Waters – Williamston – Western Michigan
Allison Peplowski – Williamston – South Dakota
Top Uncommitted Seniors with brief notes –
Triniti Lee – 6’2 Post – Canton McKinley (OH) – Very long and very thin, Lee did a good job grabbing boards, running the floor and altering some shots. While she’s not the star of her team, she played her role well and seemed like a player with some upside. She’s a project but someone worth taking a look at, especially if your a program that needs some size.
Molly Nicholson – 6’1 Post/F – Clarkston – Similiar to Lee, in so much as she’s not a polished player, sh’e got a great body and good upside. She did enough for me to think some D-1 school would take a chance on developing her.
Areej Burgonio – 5’1 PG – Crestwood Prep (ON) – She’s really small, which I know scares some people, but she’s fearless and if she were a 5’6 or 5’7 kid, I wouldn’t be writing about her in the uncommitted section. She’s fast, handles the ball just fine and can shoot the 3 ball. She makes hustle plays and is someone I think other kids like playing with.
Mariah Mitchell – 5’9 SG/W – Detroit King – The previous 3 mentioned players all have some attribute which makes it understandable that they are uncommitted. This kid having no current offers is insane. She didn’t finish/shoot as well as I remember her doing last year, but she’s every bit a mid major caliber player. Athletic, long frame, gets steals, talks on D and is definitely a team leader. I can’t understand why she’s available. Stock is going to rise during the season as schools get desperate to find servicable kids to sign late, she’s someone worth getting on now!
Erica Whitley-Jackson – 5’10 SG/W – Detroit King – Thick wing who can handle the ball enough to be a guard and shot it well from 3 point range on Saturday. She’s got upside, especially if she can tone her body some.
Aazh Nye – 5’8 SG – East Lansing – Hard to believe this smooth guard is still unsigned and uncommitted. Had some injuries and didn’t play last summer, but she’s clearly a scholarship caliber player. East Lansing didn’t play as well as they did last year at this event, but Nye is a capable performer on the college level.
Rachael Niles – 5’4 PG – J. Addison (ON) – Another small guard which is probably the main reason she’s uncommitted. She’s explosive with the ball and makes some really nice plays. Good passer in the pick and roll and attacked the rim fearlessly.
Tasya Gant – 6’ F – Toledo Rogers (OH) – On first glance, she has a prototypical basketball body. Good size and build with good athleticism. I thought for sure she’d be committed somewhere. She has good hands, caught some tough/no look passes from her guards and finished fairly effortlessly around the basket. She doesn’t have as high of a motor as she could have, but my feeling was that it due more to understanding the game than lack of effort. Good upside.
Underclassmen to Keep an Eye On –
Kyla Foster – 2021 – 5’8 SG – Canton McKinley (OH) – Fast athletic guard, was able to get a ton of deflections and steals. Finished well on the break. Really played well within the context of her team.
Jasmine Powell – 2019 – 5’8 PG – Detroit Country Day – Explosive PG who has the ball on a string. Got to the rim when she wanted but looked to pass and set teammates more than anything. Great off the bounce.
Latasha Lattimore – 2021 – 6’4 Post – Crestwood Prep (ON) – A kid I’ve seen since last year, she’s had great size and potential but is really just starting to scratch the surface. Game is improving. Puts the ball on the floor and starts the break now. Hit an opponent in the open floor with a cross over. Starting to make moves and finish around the basket.
Shayeann Day-Wilson – 2021 – 5’5 PG – Crestwood Prep (ON) – Shifty PG, can really change speed and direction well. Has yoyo handles and can knife thru traffic. Good explosiveness.
Damiya Hagemann – 2021 – 5’7 PG – Detroit Edison – Thick strong PG with a great frame. Nice handles, physical player who can get to the rim and finish or distribute. Really good passer.
Gabby Elliott – 2020 – 5’11 WF – Detroit Edison – Long lanky wing, is really good in transition. Nice finisher, uses a euro step to avoid and displace defenders. Smooth player.
Daija Tyson – 2020 – 5’4 PG – Detroit Edison – Fun player to watch, just coming back from an ACL tear. Competitive and feisty. Really physically strong, nice compact frame. Can score and is great running and executing offense.
Jillian Brown – 2021 – 5’10 CG – East Grand Rapids – Awesome size at the position, already built like a senior. Can shoot the ball and has a great feel for the game. Going to be a high major player.
Aaliyah McQueen – 2020 – 5’9 SG/W – Flint Carman-Ainsworth – Physically strong tough player. Can over power opponents on way to the basket. Has range to the arc, very aggressive.
Saniaa Walker – 2021 – 5’7 SG – Flint Kearsley – Scrappy player who plays with a nice motor, got a lot of deflections and steals, while playing tough on the ball defense. Still raw offensively but has good upside.
Ally Vantimmeren – 2021 – 6’2 F – Jenison – Unbelievable talent at a young age and height. Good height and build, can play inside and outside. Has ability to play on the wing and hit perimeter jumpers. Understands concepts, good rebounder.
Cameron Grant – 2020 – 6’1 F – Macomb Dakota – Physically strong inside/out player. Good range, knocked down multiple 3s. Nice stroke on jump shot. Great rebounder.
Lamariyee Williams – 2020 – 5’8 CG – River Rouge – Really explosive rim attacker, plays fearless, gets to the rim and finishes. Good handles, strong frame and doesn’t lose the ball or get tied up. Tough
Madison Royal-Davis – 2021 – 5’7 SG/W – Toledo Rogers (OH) – Really long arms and lanky frame. Good finisher, very good in transition. Runs the floor well. Gets a ton of deflections and steals.
Honorable Mention –
Mahri Petree – 2019 – 5’11 W – Arbor Prep
Kayla Drummond – 2020 – 6’2 F – Crestwood Prep (ON)
Olivia Brown – 2019 – 5’9 CG – East Grand Rapids
Aaliyah Nye – 2020 – 5’11 SG – East Lansing
Laura Barhacs – 2019 – 6’3 Post – J. Addison (ON)
Taylor Williams – 2019 – 6’2 W/F – Macomb Dakota
Dena Moyer – 2020 – 6’2 Post – Macomb Dakota
Maizie Taylor – 2019 – 5’8 CG – Midland Dow
Molly Davis – 2019 – 5’6 PG – Midland Dow – committed to Central Michigan
Kaya Wilson – 2020 – 5’6 G – Oak Park
Laya Hartman – 2020 – 5’10 G/F – Okemos
Jasmine Clerkley – 2020 – 5’11 F – Okemos
Cheyenne McEvans – 2020 – 5’10 CG – Southfield A&T
Cortney Gardner – 2021 – 5’6 PG – Toledo Rogers (OH)
Alana Micheaux – 2021 – 6’2 Post – Wayne Memorial
Jayah Hicks – 2019 – 6’ F/G – Wayne Memorial
Makailah Zeigler-Griggs – 2020 – 6’ G/F – Wayne Memorial
Mya Bobo – 2020 – 5’6 CG – West Bloomfield