Posted On: 11/13/17 7:28 PM
Each day brings us closer and closer to the start of the regular season here in Michigan. While we’re certainly quite some time away from the state championship, the beginning of the road to the Breslin Center will be here before we know it. Plenty of things can and will happen to make things interesting as the season progresses – breakout seasons, impact underclassmen, upsets and injuries are just a few possibilities that could make the season interesting. That, however, remains to be seen. Let’s take a preseason look at some Class B teams that have a legitimate shot at playing in the Breslin Center this year:
Godwin Heights – Godwin Heights has been a perennial contender in Class B in recent history and this year will be no different. They do, however, lose a couple key pieces from last year’s roster in point guard Christian Rodriguez (currently playing at Cornerstone) and guard Payton Harley (transferred). With that being said, the Fighting Wolverines bring back the dynamic duo of Lamar Norman (signed to UTEP) and Markeese Hastings (signed to Butler). Those two alone are more than enough to carry them through a successful season – both have the opportunity to take home the Mr. Basketball award should they explode for a monster season. However, Godwin Heights goes deeper than just those two, as they will have plenty of role players who can make an impact, most notably senior guard David Kellah.
Grand Rapids Catholic Central – Grand Rapids Catholic Central has to be considered a top team in Class B this year. Led by one of the best frontcourt duos in the state in 6’10” Marcus Bingham (signed with Michigan State) and 6’8″ Jacob Polakovich (handful of D2 offers), the Cougars will have the height advantage over most teams they play. In addition to Bingham and Polakovich, they have a reliable point guard in Austin Braun. GRCC also has a ton of solid role players, including Bingham’s younger brother Mykel Bingham, who stands at 6’7″ as a sophomore, as well as Darrell Belcher, Darell Boyd and Jose Torres. The Cougars may be the deepest team in Class B.
New Haven – New Haven is the reigning Class B champion and returns gold-medalist Romeo Weems. Weems, who’s the number 1 player in the 2019 class, has the ability to carry a team by himself. However, he will have support from several other players. Up front, 6’7″ senior Ashton Sherrell and 6’5″ senior Ascuan Johnson will give New Haven additional size next Weems, who’s 6’7″. In the backcourt, the Rockets return guards Tavares Oliver and Ronald Jeffery, who both played impactful minutes last year. While they certainly have lost some pieces from last year, New Haven still has weapons – look for them to make a deep run yet again.
River Rouge – Last year, River Rouge lost to Ludington in the semi-final on a buzzer-beater in overtime. While certainly they would’ve liked to finish better, the Panthers still had a better season than most. What hurts more is the fact that River Rouge only brings back 4 players from last year’s semi-finalist team. However, those returners include Jayvien Torrance-Jackson and Nigel Colvin, two guys who are very talented and capable of leading a team. In addition to those two, the Panthers will also have support from guys such as Donavan Freeman, who is poised for a breakout year. Despite losing nearly the entire team from last year, River Rouge has reloaded and will once again be one of the top teams in Class B.
Benton Harbor – Last year, Benton Harbor made it to the Breslin center before falling to eventual-champion New Haven in the semi-final. They graduated seven seniors this year, however, only of two of them were regulars in the rotation. They return most of their key players from last year and head into this season with valuable playoff experience. Benton Harbor is headlined by top-5 2020 Carlos Johnson. In addition to Johnson, the Tigers also return Elijah Baxter, Shawn Hopkins and Dennie Brown, all of which played good minutes last year.
Old Redford – The transfer of Isaiah Jackson makes Old Redford a top team in Class B. The 6’8″ forward is the number-2 ranked prospect in the 2020 class who can do a bit of everything. Jackson, alongside fellow 2020 Aundre Polk (6’9″) will give the Ravens size and length in the frontcourt. Old Redford also has a guy named Rocket Watts, who holds double-digit D1 offers, including a handful of high-majors. Watts and Jackson will form a dynamic duo that most teams in the state will not be able to match. However, the Ravens are deeper than just Watts, Jackson and Polk. They welcome point guard Troy Lattimore this, who will have to sit the first five games of the season due to transfer rules, but will make an impact once eligible. They also have a pair of freshmen guards in Trayale Solomon and Kenjuan Andrews who will see significant minutes. Old Redford will certainly be a contender in Class B this year, as well as in coming years.
Other notable Class B contenders: Williamston, Detroit Country Day, Goodrich