by Andre Barthwell, Kyle Bogenshutz, and Josh Newkirk
Michigan Basketball Assistant Coach Lavall Jordan could have used his coffee machine on Day Three of the Spring Showdown in Indiana. Jordan was running back and forth between courts and at times watching two games at once in order to keep up with all of the recruits/match-ups going on at the same time.
With pool play out of the way it was time for some of the top teams in attendance to battle one another and for the standout performers to go head to head with numerous college coaches looking on.
Battle of the 16U Top Centers
Chicago Mean Streets 16U C Tyler Wideman vs Team Rose 16U/17U C Cliff Alexander
Lake Central (IN) center Tyler Wideman squared off versus Chicago Curie center Cliff Alexander, in the 16-under 1st place pool play quarterfinals. The game looked good on paper, but didn’t live up to expectations. Alexander had just lost earlier to Zack Irvin in the 17-under quarterfinal, and barley played in the first half. But they still had their moments against each other. Wideman was able to take Alexander early off the dribble. However, Alexander adjusted, and was able to send Wideman’s next offering packing. Both players continued to defend and rebound, but there wasn’t much action after that. The Mean Streets would go onto a blowout victory.
Chicago Mean Streets 16U C Tyler Wideman-
He continued to get rebounds and block shots all tournament long. At 6-foot-7, 240-pounds, his size alone makes him a rarity on the AAU circuit. It helps when you’re built like a defensive end. He is simply just bigger than his opponents. He can score, defend, and rebound. He seems like a good teammate too. He already has a Purdue offer and certainly he will get more. Michigan certainly will give him a good look too.
Chicago Mean Streets 16U PG Drake Harris-
While Wideman was covering Alexander, Harris was taking over the game. Harris was able get the Mean Streets offense going with a pull up three pointer and a fast break dunk mid way through the first half. He ran mostly point guard, and that’s where the Grand Rapids Christian standout shined. Harris is able to take advantage of his height against smaller point guards. And when you throw in his excellent speed and court -awareness. It makes him a scary PG matchup. It remains to be seen if can he can become a true point guard. Even if he doesn’t, he will always be a good scoring option. Harris could be on the receiving end from Michigan come June 15th.
Southwest Illinois Jets 16U SG Darius Austin-
Austin was as consistent a performer as GBW saw at the Spring Showdown this weekend. Terrific length and athleticism allow him to not only get into the paint but finish between two and sometimes even three defenders. Austin struggled with his outside shot early against the Illinois Wolves 16U (Keita Bates-Diop) Sunday afternoon, but quickly realized in order to find a rhythm he had to create and get better looks – which he did. Going toe to toe with the long and quick Wolves team raised Austin’s competitiveness and even brought out leadership skills that are impressive for just a sophomore in high school. The best part of the weekend for Austin was being as productive as he was scoring the basketball and also on the defensive end with Michigan Assistant Lavall Jordan looking on.
Southwest Illinois Jets 16U SG Peyton Allen-
Allen, from a pure shooting standpoint, was the most impressive young man competing at the Spring Showdown. He hit seemingly every three pointer he took on Saturday and followed that up with a barrage of three balls in the Jets first game Sunday morning. At 6’4, Allen struggled in his afternoon game against the much bigger and athletic Illinois Wolves 16U, missing nearly all of his attempts from long range. Allen attempted to get into the lane and be more aggressive as the game went on but it was clear the swarming Wolves defense disrupted his offensive game. Key for Allen moving forward will be his ability to show college coaches he can put it on the floor and be effective finishing at the rim, but each coach in attendance is now more than aware of his outside shooting.
Others to note
Southwest Illinois Jets 16U PG Darreon Reddick
Reddick gained confidence with every possession as the weekend went on and could have been included in the “Weekend Warrior” section. Reddick has tremendous size for a point guard at 6’3, 200 pounds and uses that to his advantage on the perimeter and even in the post. On several occasions Reddick would take the point guard trying to defend him down into the post and use his body to finish in close. His perimeter shooting is something that will need to improve from a consistency standpoint but it’s very clear he can handle the ball and has enough wiggle to shake defenders when he penetrates. His style is similar to that of former UNC PG Kendall Marshall (though Reddick hasn’t ascended to Marshall’s level as a prospect).
Team Rose 17U C Cliff Alexander-
Cliff Alexander was without a doubt the most highly coveted prospect in attendance at the Spring Showdown over the weekend. At 6’10, he is physically bigger than most challengers and he used that to his advantage time and time again. Alexander has the long arms to block shots in and outside of the lane as well as the frame to push people around and get rebounds. Alexander’s offensive arsenal is something that will need to be improved, but with two more years left in high school he should be ready to contribute in a big way once he heads off to college. Word around the complex this weekend is that Alexander really likes the Michigan State Spartans at this juncture in his recruitment.
Detroit R.E.A.C.H. 16U Darrell Davis-
The Fredrick Douglas guard continued to showcase his tremendous ball handling skills. His first step off the dribble is flat out dangerous. He can blow by his opponents easily, and likes to set up the pass. He was able to hit a three-pointer early in his 16U quarterfinal matchup, then followed it up by still creating off the dribble and find open teammates. His best moment came when he was able to shake one opponent and float a tear drop in the lane. Like posted yesterday, his Manny Harris comparisons are justified. This kid is quick and skilled. That said, he stands at 6-foot-3, 145-pounds, so his size could be a major knock. But his skill-set gives him good upside.
2015’s on Display
Dorian’s Pride 15U PG Eric Davis –
It’s never too early to start evaluating a player in recruiting and Michigan Assistant Lavall Jordan made sure he spent some time checking in on Saginaw Arthur Hill PG Eric Davis. Davis, who plays for Dorian’s Pride 15U, has been on GBW’s radar since winter time after being one of the best players on the floor in a Holiday Tournament at Southfield high school. Davis has a slender 6’1 frame with strong handles and an above average mid-range jumper. At this point, the sky is the limit for this young man and Michigan will certainly have their eye on him this summer.
Chicago Mean Streets 16U C Trevor Manuel-
Manuel was playing for the 15-under Mean Streets team at first, but was moved up to play with the 16-under team on Saturday. The 6-foot-8, 200-pound Lansing Sexton freshman, displayed his raw talent in limited minutes. He is a rebounder first and was able to display his aggression in the paint. He has shot blocking ability and was able to score in his few chances. He can run for how big and lanky he is. Manuel is most likely still growing and needs to fill into his body. But his potential could be great, and he already has an offer from Eastern Michigan. The budding big man should expect more to come.
Stay tuned to GBW for video highlights and interviews from the Spring Showdown throughout the week. In the meantime for video analysis of Sunday’s Spring Showdown action and a look back at all three days of play, press play below.