Posted On: 12/19/17 8:40 AM
The first full week of basketball in the Detroit area did not disappoint. Several high-level events with tons of talent were on display, beginning with the Horatio Williams Tipoff Classic at Cass Tech and ending with the Hoops for Hope Classic at Ecorse HS.
Here’s a look at the notable teams and prospects from week 1:
Game of the Week: Detroit Pershing vs. Southfield Christian
This was as good as it gets for an early December matchup at the Horatio Williams Tipoff Classic, with Class D favorite Southfield Christian facing off against a Class C contender in Pershing. Several college prospects ranging from Division I to NAIA were on hand, simply put this was basketball heaven on paper and the action lived up to the hype. The first half was a high scoring affair, with SC’s senior standout Bryce Washington scoring from multiple spots on the court in an impressive display of shooting and transition play with 14 points through 2 quarters. 2019 wing Harlond Beverly got loose in transition late in the half with a few dunks and nice dumpoff passes for layups. For the Doughboys, D’Juan Seal was finishing in transition during the first quarter while Charles Brown and Pierre Hill did the heavy lifting in the second quarter both finishing with 10 points at the break. The Eagles took a 6 point lead into the break at 41-35. The third quarter is when the fireworks began, as both teams traded buckets for the first few minutes before Jalyn Benning took over for Pershing. The 6’5 southpaw would dominate in the paint and score 9 points in the stanza before a D’Juan Seal buzzer beater would cut the Doughboy deficit to 54-51 heading into the fourth quarter. Pierre Hill would take over the scoring load for Pershing in the 4th, but the Doughboys couldn’t get enough stops to wrestle the lead away from Southfield Christian. Down three with roughly 30 seconds left, the Eagles bailed Pershing out by fouling Doughboy guard Ron Hill on a three point attempt. The senior would calmly sink all three to knot the game. Both teams exchanged miscues over the final 30 seconds as the game went to overtime. Southfield Christian jumped out in OT with two quick triples by Bryce Washington and Elijah Hicks as it appeared the Eagles had seized control of the game. The Doughboys weren’t rattled, as they would get to the line for their next 3 possessions to tie the game up. A few moments later, another triple from Pierre Hill would prove to be the knockout blow, as Pershing went on to get the win.
Team of the Week: Hazel Park Vikings
Perhaps no team in the state has seized early season opportunity more than Hazel Park. Coach Brandon Barrett and his Vikings earned an impressive neutral site win over an East English Village squad with one of the most talent-filled backcourts in the Midwest to kick things off. A few days later HP followed that up with a huge road win versus perennial Catholic League and Class A contender University of Detroit Jesuit. The Vikings are taking the next step as a team following a deep run in Class B last year which ended in a narrow defeat to Detroit Northwestern in the regional finals. The backcourt trio of Carl Bow, David Hearns and Devin Pettus form a great combination of size, athleticism, skill and scoring ability. Tyler Washington is an athletic wing with a non-stop motor that impacts the game on both ends. Senior Forward Khari Adams is a difference maker, giving Hazel Park size, skill and versatility from multiple spots on the court. The Vikings are battle tested and this is no fluke, a legit top 10 team in Class B is exactly what they are. The two early season signature wins are simply validation of what has been in the works for well over a year now.
Player of the Week: Chandler Turner (2019/Detroit Renaissance/6’6/Guard-Wing)
Chandler has been on an absolute scoring binge, knocking down shots from all 3 levels in impressive fashion while averaging 22.3 points and 8.3 rebounds over 3 games. Against Flint Carman Ainsworth, Turner was at his best driving to the lane from the wing. He was able to get into the paint and finish using tremendous body control all game long. During his final game of the week versus Arthur Hill at the Hoops for Hope Classic, Chandler turned to his perimeter shot as his preferred weapon. He knocked down three triples, with one coming from 28 feet and added a midrange jumper off the dribble for good measure. He also came off down screens before weaving his way into the lane and finishing through contact. It’s clear that Turner is one of the most skilled and versatile prospects in the state regardless of class. Chandler’s ability to score from nearly any spot on the court while playing up to 4 positions makes him one of the most unique prospects. While he holds a handful of mid-major offers, he’s still under-valued as a prospect………..but it appears to only be a matter of time before he earns that first high-major offer.
Stockrisers: Khari Adams and Justin Rukat
Khari Adams (2018/Hazel Park/6’5/Forward) – Adams was a revelation at the Horatio Williams Tipoff Classic vs. East English, finishing with 14 points and 7 rebounds. From a physical standpoint, Khari is a very fluid athlete with some explosiveness at the rim and a nice frame, he passes the eye test for sure. While Adams checks the boxes in terms of physical tools, his skillset is the current buzz. Khari was able to create his own shot from the wing using advanced footwork to get separation before burying midrange jumpers. He also looked good in pick and pop action, burying an elbow jumper after screening for Carl Bow. In transition Adams handled the ball well and hit a defender with a beautiful euro-step to get an easy layup that looked extremely easy and finished with authority on a two hand dunk. While we need to see more, Khari has the look of a Division II combo-forward that can play multiple spots on the floor and crash the glass.
Justin Rukat (2019/Detroit Catholic Central/6’7/Forward) – Justin followed up his strong performance at the Prep Hoops 250 with a great effort in a matchup against Detroit Country Day. Finishing with 24 points and 7 rebounds, Rukat has the look of a stretch 4/5 at the Division III/NAIA level. The Shamrock big man buried a corner triple, as well as a few midrange jumpshots and looked really comfortable as a shooter. While he lacks explosion when finishing at this point, he was able to finish through contact on a few occasions and helps the cause by keeping the ball high instead of bringing the ball down and exposing the rock to swiping guards. Justin is fairly fluid, as he can move his feet at a decent clip on the perimeter and displays good body control. Not a robotic or stiff prospect by any means.
Impact Underclassmen: Julian Roper (2021/Detroit Country Day/6’2/Combo-Guard)
The DCD guard has exceeded any reasonable expectations for a freshman tasked with being a primary scoring option. Roper was an absolute stud against Detroit Catholic Central, tallying 20 points and dishing out 4 assists in limited playing time due to foul trouble. As a scorer, Julian has a lethal pull-up midrange jumper off the dribble, where he uses change of direction and speed to get separation before going up with superb balance to elevate over defenders for clean looks. He’s also extremely strong for a freshman, as he absorbs contact and does not get bumped off his spots or lose control of the ball when driving. Roper is going to be a 20-25ppg scorer in the near future without doubt, but his vision and playmaking ability for teammates is what really makes him special. Julian was able to get a step on his defender on several occasions and find teammates for easy dumpoffs once the helpside defense committed to cutting off his driving lane. That type of unselfishness and vision makes him the type of dual-threat combo-guard that is nearly impossible to shut down. Watching Roper develop over the next few years is going to be really fun.