Posted On: 12/12/17 9:35 PM
The Southfield Christian/Detroit Pershing matchup was an instant overtime classic that was as entertaining as can be in the early season. Bryce Washington came out cooking for the Eagles, scoring 16 points in the first half alone, but SC only held a 6 point lead as their defense wasn’t hitting on all cylinders. Pershing took better care of the ball in the second half, quickly tying the game in the third quarter before senior guard D’Juan Seal left the game with blood dripping from his eye area. Seal would return a few minutes later and the action would go back and forth until the final minute. Caleb Hunter would commit a critical foul on a three point attempt by Pershing guard Ron Hill, Hill buried all 3 at the line and the game headed to OT. Southfield Christian raced out to a 6 point lead in the extra session before the Doughboys stormed back with a Pierre Hill three to take a 1 point lead with one minute remaining. The Eagle defense couldn’t contain D’Juan Seal on the final two possessions, as he scored 4 straight points to ice the game and give Pershing the seven point victory.
As we look toward the future for both teams, here are five items that stick out following the epic showdown at the Horatio Williams Foundation Tip off Classic at Cass Tech.
Taking in the Doughboys for the first time this year on Saturday, it was very clear that Pershing has the talent and balance to win the Class C title. That may raise a few eyebrows considering the 9-14 record last year, but I’m solid in projecting that Pershing has Breslin potential barring injuries.
The talent is there at literally every position, with the point guard spot filled by senior Ron Hill, a sharpshooting guard with range out to 28 feet and underrated playmaking ability that will be a steal for any small college. Manning the 2 guard spot is D’Juan Seal, an electrifying athlete and scorer that is a darkhorse for Mr. PSL that holds Division II offers. On the wing is 6’5 senior Charles Brown, a versatile prospect that can space the floor with his jumpshot while thriving as a distributor out of pick and roll. Pierre Hill is the other wing, a lengthy prospect that is a disruptive force on defense and a solid shooter. Jalyn Benning holds down the post and is a legitimate back to the basket scorer that controls the glass and has the look of a solid Division II prospect. 6’8 senior Johnny Davis will return to the lineup soon and will provide rim protection and rebounding.
What makes Pershing such a threat is the versatility and multitude of ways in which they can win a game. With 4 players that are legitimate threats from distance, the Doughboys can beat teams with pace and space. If they want to impose a size advantage, the 6’5 Benning can play the power forward spot while Davis goes to the middle at 6’8 to cog the paint with a few shooters on the perimeter to discourage double teams.
The only shortcoming is a potential lack of depth, as Coach Wydell Henry has a solid 6, but is unproven beyond that. That said, Pershing went 6-3 down the stretch last year with a single digit loss to DEPSA in the state playoffs. The Doughboys lost a whopping 9 games by single digits last year……..we’re banking on the fact that will be turned around with another year of experience and chemistry.
Humphrey showed flashes of what is to come down the road versus Pershing. The sophomore knocked down catch and shoot triples, finished in transition and was able to create shots off the bounce on a few occasions. DaJion would finish with 12 points in a tough loss, but his upside is very obvious despite being the third or fourth option depending on the game.
Having viewed Humphrey at the Michigan team camp in June, he has a plus handle, good size and a very nice looking stroke from the perimeter. Although he’s only a sophomore playing in a talented and crowded backcourt, we expect him to average double digit points on good efficiency in a supplementary role. With the departure of Bryce Washington next year, don’t be surprised if DaJion is one of the very best guards in the state averaging 15-20 points with a few Division I offers.
The Doughboy shooting guard had a tremendous game against Southfield Christian, finishing with 21 points and making a huge impact on both ends of the court. He was able to create separation off the dribble by changing direction before finishing through contact in the half court. In the transition game, Seal was magnificent as usual, filling the lanes and finishing with highlight reel dunks. On the other end he provided rebounding and rim protection from the guard spot all game long.
While Seal holds a few Division II offers at this point, we still think he’s a bit undervalued as a prospect. At 6’3 with high-major level athleticism, a motor that doesn’t stop and above average ball skills, D’Juan should be getting looks at the low-major/mid-major level. While the Pershing guard has tons of upside considering his athletic ability and size, he has consistently produced at both the AAU and High School levels over the past year. He has put up numerous 20 point games, was a leading rebounder in the NY2LA circuit as a guard and plays harder than whoever is in front of him. He has the size and skillset of combo-guard/shooting guard at the next level, with some shot creating ability and a respectable jumpshot. Seal is absolutely electric in transition, where his supreme athleticism allows him to finish at an extremely high level. We also love his willingness to defend and be physical, as he’s willing to move his feet on the perimeter while being tough enough to mix it up on the glass.
The Eagles have arguably the best collection of guards in the state regardless of class. Bryce Washington, Harlond Beverly and Caleb Hunter all hold Division I offers while DaJion Humphrey isn’t far behind. They can out-talent most opposing backcourts for any given game, as they have a tremendous balance of playmaking, shooting and speed. That said, SC has some work to do on the defensive end.
Pershing was able to exploit the Eagles on the interior, repeatedly using off-ball screens to get easy baskets for cutters. They were also able to put SC bigs in no man’s land when they kept showing soft hedges on high ball screens, hitting midrange jumpers or layups. Eagle rotations need to be much better and although its still very early, the defensive end is something to monitor moving forward.
With the population shift away from Detroit proper in recent years, there has been a shift in terms of enrollment and the talent is spread out more than ever. Class A schools are no longer guaranteed to be the best teams in the state, there is balance across the board.
Look no further than Class C Pershing and Class D Southfield Christian as examples. Both of these squads would likely be top 20 teams in Class A and will win their fair share of games this year versus Class A opponents. With quality small school teams such as DEPSA, Pershing, Southfield Christian and Beecher, there is more parity than ever.