Posted On: 10/15/16 5:00 PM
The Prep Hoops Michigan Top 250 expo at Cornerstone University hosted hundreds of kids over the course of both sessions. There was plenty of quality in each class and each event was filled with good competition.
Northern Michigan is not generally considered a hotbed for basketball talent. It generally falls to the wayside when put to comparison to areas like West Michigan, Mid Michigan, Detroit area and Saginaw and Flint areas.
However, Northern Michigan was very well represented at our event, as Northern schools like Buckley, Bellaire, Frankfort and Gladstone schools had kids who had very strong performances at the event. Virtually every Northern Michigan kid who came to the event played very well.Below are a few Northern Michigan kids who put really strong performances in in front of scouts and College Coaches. :
6’2 SG Gabe Meriwether (Bellaire – 2017)
We obviously have to start with the MVP of our event. Meriwether played fantastic the entire event. In the skill session he was dominant as he got to the hoop at ease. In the games he was finishing at the hoop through contact consistently and had a few impressive above the rim finishes to go with it. He was also mixing those drives to the hoop up up with mid range pull ups and 3 pointers. He picked up an offer from Madonna University after the event and has picked up additional interest in the days following. What also really set Gabe apart was his energy. He simply outworked everyone on the floor and even when the final whistle sounded and the camp was ending, Gabe was still going hard and was throwing down dunks with ease. NAIA’s should be offering without much thought and D2s should take a look at this Northern Michigan star.
Below are some highlights from Gabe Meriwether’s junior high school regular season: http://youtu.be/w3gftMheg-o?a
6’2 SG Denver Cade (Buckley – 2018)
Cade again made his claim to be one of the state’s best shooters. He was his usual self as he connected on multiple threes from deep from anywhere around the perimeter. Whether off the catch and shoot or even off 1 or 2 dribbles, Cade shot with relative ease. He also has enough range on his shot to shoot comfortably from several feet behind the line. He was also crafty enough though to take advantage of opponents closing out so hard on him by using head fakes and pump fakes to get them in the air and dribble by for easy layups or 1-2 dribble pull ups. He’s not blow by quick but he is very smart and picks the right moments when to put the ball on the floor.
6’3 Guard Austin Harris (2018 – Buckley)
Harris is a jack of all trades kind of player. He can do a little bit of everything and does it all fairly well. He is fairly physical for a guard and can bully kids to the hoop. He has a really nice jumpshot as well and can hit from deep or mid range with ease and showed he can burn teams who disrespect the shot. He also can handle the ball and was like a second point guard for his team during the games. His biggest strength is that he does anything and everything for his team without complaints and because of it, his teams are generally better than most. He showed that he is one of the best leaders on the court there is. If not vocally then by example at the least.
6’2 Guard Matt Loney (2018 – Frankfort)
Loney is another jack of all trades kind of player. He has a very high motor that is unmatched in games. To go with that motor, he has a ridiculous wingspan that allows him to play inside against larger players both on offense and defense. He can jump passing lanes and pick pocket players when on the ball and offensively he can put the ball on the floor and act as a point guard, or he can play off the ball and be an effective wing. He really stood out though with his rebounding on offense and defense. He was relentless going after the ball and was aggressive when looking to score. Really am a fan of how this kid plays the game. He never takes a second off and goes full throttle until he is subbed out. I first watched him his freshman year in the quarterfinals and was impressed then. Going GLIAC is possible for him if he can continue to refine his skill set and bulk up. Loney has been one of Northern Michigan’s best known players and he strengthened that case further with his impressive all action display at the Top 250 Expo.
6’1 Guard Jaylon Rogers (Frankfort – 2018)
Rogers is a score first guard, and he thrived in that role again. He has an aggressive mentality with the ball and is constantly looking for a moment to try and score on his man. When he is on he is nearly unguardable as he can hit shots that can be extremely low percentage for most others. He also is an underrated passer who surprised opponents by dropping some dimes to teammates when the opposing defenses were expecting him to take the shot. He is a score first guard but mixes it up well enough to show he is more than just a one trick pony. Rogers, along with Gabe Meriwether and Jason Whitens, are three of Northern Michigan/UPs best pure scorers. Rogers is a scholarship level guard. How high that is will come down to if he can continue to work on his point guard abilities a little more and if he can continue to add even more range to his shot.
6’2 Guard Brad Spindler (Gladstone – 2018)
A lesser known name among this list, Spindler showed that he could be a solid small school prospect. At 6’2 he’s got decent height for a potential small school prospect as a 2 guard. In transition he was solid and although he doesn’t have over the top athleticism, he does have lots of craft and can finish tricky plays in traffic. He showed that he is a streaky shooter but when on he can hit some really tough shots. When he gets going he is really tough. Whether from deep or at mid range he showed that he can be a solid scorer in the halfcourt. He needs to get quicker defensively but once he does, he will be a very enticing prospect for D3s. He is a high GPA kid who’s character is great too. Expect him to get quicker before next year and for him to become one of the better players in the UP.
5’11 Guard Cade Contreras (Munising High school – 2018)
I have watched Contreras once before in July at the Brawl for the Ball. Then playing for the Northern Michigan Drive 16u, he seemed to be a pretty solid player. He is pretty crafty and knows how to create for himself. He is not blow by fast but he has decent speed. At Cornerstone he did more of the same. When he was able to penetrate he showed that he was crafty and finished pretty well inside. He also has a solid jump shot from deep that helps him to keep defenders honest. He also played with a lot of heart and outworked a lot of his opponents. Contreras will likely have a pretty big season up in the UP this year.
6’0 Guard Ben Schultz (Bark River-Harris – 2018)
Showed he was decent floor general for his team. Playing with strangers that is a good trait to have. Shot the ball fairly well between both the skill session and games. Schultz also did a solid job at penetrating the defense and then finding teammates spotted up or around the hoop. Moved the ball pretty well on offense and kept play moving along without it sticking in his hands. Also moved well without the ball which is crucial despite not showing up on a stat sheet. Is well coached and has discipline in his game. Shares the ball well and looked to get others involved as much as he looked for his own shot. In camp settings, that is a great thing to see. Will need to be a leader for his high school team this season but based on what I saw that should not be a huge concern.
Like Meriwether, Castor made our Prep Hoops Top performers article. He is so fundamentally sound. Not just for his age or grad, but in general compared to nearly everyone I have seen this year. He can handle the ball well, has a fluid and smooth jump shot, has decent athleticism, and posesseses a very high IQ. Another skill that makes him unique is his footwork. Whether on the perimeter and especially down on the block, Castor uses his near perfect footwork to get by his opponents. On the block he has a post game that is better than nearly every post player I have seen. Castor is a really good on ball and off ball defender as well and his long arms and good size allows him to cover multiple positions on the floor. He is extremely unpredictable and will switch up his moves and counter moves inside and out on the perimeter to keep his defenders guessing. If he can continue to get quicker and more athletic, he will become even scarier. Castor is already receiving plenty of D1 and D2 interest, it is only a matter of time before he begins to pick up offers. He is an easy top 10 player in the 2019 class and it will be interesting to see how much more he has improved come the high school season.