Posted On: 12/25/17 12:20 PM
Southfield High School was the place to be Saturday, playing host to the Battle of the Best. Generally regarded as one of the better pre-Holiday events, this year was no different.
A full rundown of Saturday’s top wing/forward performances below:
Jalen Tobias (2018/6’6/Cass Tech)
Versatility is the best word to describe the senior forward. Tobias did a bit of everything on his way to a 13 point, 6 rebound and 1 block performance in a Technician victory over Flint Hamady. Jalen started out the game grabbing defensive rebounds and pushing the ball coast to coast before finishing with the left hand through contact for the ‘and 1’ upon knocking down his free throw. A few moments later he stepped out on the baseline and buried and 18 foot jumper off the catch. Later in the first half, Tobias caught a post entry pass before turning and converting on a jump hook over his right shoulder. Within 10 minutes of game action, Jalen’s skillset and ability to be effective from virtually anywhere on the court was obvious. The second half allowed Tobias to show more of his arsenal, as he attacked off the dribble from the wing before finishing at the rim and he crashed the offensive boards for putbacks. There simply isn’t much that the talented senior can’t do on the basketball court.
Khari Adams (2018/6’5/Hazel Park)
It’s not often that we can say a player scored 3 points in a contest and may have been the best player on the court. Well, that was the case for Khari Adams on Saturday versus DEPSA. The Hazel Park senior was an absolute beast on the defensive end of the court, blocking 6 shots, pulling down 6 rebounds and playing tremendous defense on the perimeter when he switched on to DEPSA guards. Adams came up huge in the 4th quarter, blocking a DEPSA layup attempt with under a minute to go and the Vikings nursing a 3 point lead. Khari is no doubt a division 1 level athlete with great explosion around the rim, good lateral agility and above average strength at 6’5 with the ability to add 20 pounds of muscle mass. While he didn’t get the ball much on offense this game, Adams has the ability to create his own shot from the wing with good perimeter footwork and a superb midrange jumper off the bounce or the catch. He’s also a nightmare in transition that can handle the ball and go coast to coast or finish as the wing man.
Khalil Whitehead (2019/6’5/Cass Tech)
Whitehead is quickly emerging as one of the best prospects in the entire state regardless of class, as he finished with 20 points and 5 rebounds in a CT win against Hamady. Khalil displayed his athleticism early on, throwing down 2 lobs for dunks in the first half before catching a Hamady defender with a 1 hand tomahawk dunk that brought the crowd to their feet. In the second half Whiteheaad showed off his perimeter stroke, knocking down 2 triples off pick and pop action. He battled on the glass on both ends, finished in transition and was the most athletic player on the court. Khalil is a very good 3 & D prospect at the Division II level, but is trending toward Division I status if he continue his development and show some shot creating ability off the dribble. His best attribute is upside, as he’s not even close to reaching his ceiling and his production looks effortless at times.
Gary Solomon (2018/6’5/DEPSA)
The LIU-Brooklyn commit had a strong performance in a close loss versus Hazel Park, chipping in 14 points, pulling down 7 rebounds, while adding a block and a steal for good measure. Known as a very good outside shooter, Solomon couldn’t get his shot going but that didn’t stop him from having a huge impact on the game. Gary got to the rim and forced contact repeatedly, knocking down 6 free throws and finishing at the rim as well. He was huge on the glass, coming up with defensive rebounds in traffic and played a physical brand of basketball. While he only had 2 assists, his vision was certainly on display as he dropped dimes once helpside defense arrived to cut off his lane.
Randy Gilbert (2018/6’6/Cass Tech)
Randy was a major force in the paint, repeatedly scoring on the block with quick spin moves and power drop steps before converting at the rim with soft touch. With Gilbert punishing the opposition at will early on, Hamady would be forced to foul and put Randy at the charity stripe where he was able to knock down free throws. He was also a force on the offensive glass, using quick feet to simply out-manuever the opposition before high-pointing rebounds and finishing putbacks. On the defensive end Gilbert was able to block a shot with authority while altering several more. While he didn’t knock down his attempts from beyond the three point line, we really like Randy’s mechanics. He has a fluid release with good rotation on his shot, and it looks like he can knock down perimeter jumpers with comfort. We really love what the athletic 6’6 forward will be for Ferris State down the road. With further development, he’s likely to be an athletic combo forward capable of stretching the floor with his jumper while over-powering smaller defenders in the post.
Brian Taylor (2019/6’6/DEPSA)
Brian has a TON of potential as a 6’6 wing with plus athleticism and a good looking stroke from the perimeter. He started off the game against Hazel Park knocking down a corner three but then settled a bit too much for the jumper in the first quarter. Taylor picked it up a bit in the second quarter with a strong baseline drive that resulted in two made free throws. Brian had a much more workman like effort in the second half, battling on the inside for rebounds, drawing fouls and converting pubacks. He finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds. Taylor is a Division I level athlete and has a plus skillset, but he needs to start utilizing his size and athleticism advantage to get to the paint off the dribble a bit more. Too often he settles for jumpshots and avoids contact when finishing. He has incredible upside and if he can be more aggressive off the dribble the sky is the limit for him. Brian has the potential to be a 20 point and 10 rebounds per game player at the high school level.