Posted On: 04/15/18 6:00 AM
This weekend, the Grand Rapids Storm hosts what may be the biggest and best tournament in the Mitten! The Classic features over 100 programs, many of which have multiple teams across the event’s five age groups. Needless to say, the event draws loads of talent and players that project to every level. Below is a list of some standout “bigs” who impressed with everything from their touch to athleticism. This list is by no means comprehensive of every talented forward, but these are some that I got to see.
Isaiah Jackson – 6’8 – 2020 – Old Redford HS/The Family 17u
If you don’t yet know Jackson’s name, you’re missing out! Currently ranked in the PH National top 5o and 1st in Michigan for his class, Jackson has been on the rise and is near the top as a prospect. The 6’8 forward has a wingspan that must be about 7+ feet, and he puts it to excellent use. His length and bounce combine for some nasty blocks and emphatic dunks, of which he got off several. Once the ball is in his hands, he aggressively attacks and finishes at the rim. He is also proving to be a threat from farther out, as I saw him hit a beautiful midrange jumper with ease. In the one game I saw him play, he had a double-double with blocks and points, something he has the skillset to do regularly.
Kip Clark – 6’6 – 2020 – Detroit Western HS/Michigan Playmakers 16u
Clark is the only player on this list I had never seen before this weekend, but it did not take me long to notice him. He is stocky with weight and strength that excellently complement his role as a power forward. He was very aggressive on the boards and had a double-double or close to it. When he got the ball on the low block, he had an easy time turning for a quick score. He also sometimes was fed a pass from farther out, but he still powered his way to the basket, showcasing his strength and finishing ability. Finally, he showed ability to pass with one very nice assist that particularly stands out in my mind.
Cory Ainsworth – 6’8 – 2019 – Wayland HS/West Michigan Lakers 17u
I last saw Ainsworth at the beginning of the season in a fall league. I wasn’t sure what to make of him, and, though he obviously had potential, he stood out more for his size than his skill. On Friday I saw a brand new player. I walked into the gym to see him dominating on the offensive block. His aggressive attacking led to his finishing again and again, and he was the Lakers’ go to option in a close game. On defense, he got a couple nice blocks that I saw, but also was able to just use his length to alter shot attempts. He has definitely raised his stock and is one to keep an eye on.
Maliq Carr – 6’6 – 2020 – Oak Park HS/The Family 16u
Currently holding a plethora of D1 football offers at the end of his sophomore year, Carr is a dual-sport phenom! He displayed impressive athleticism and aggression on both ends of the floor as he swatted shots or threw down dunks repeatedly. Pairing his bounce with his size and strength makes him a force to be reckoned with, whether on the field or hard wood.
Mykel Bingham – 6’6 – 2020 – GR Catholic Central HS/MBA 16u
Known for being the younger brother of C/O ’18 MSU signee, Marcus Bingham Jr., Mykel has big shoes to fill. However, with Marcus graduating and two years of high school ahead, now is his opportunity to make his own name. He played as a leader on Saturday in a tight game against the Michigan Playmakers. Mykel could be heard communicating with his teammates on defense. He made an effort on both ends of the floor to hustle for rebounds. From these or good cuts, he was able to get several layups from which most of his points came. Moving without the ball helped him a lot and showed he has a sense of where to be. He also got a nice corner three in off the dribble, reminiscent of his brother’s pullup.
Mike Fletcher – 6’7 – 2019 – Flint Carman-Ainsworth HS/Greenwood Elite 17u
Fletcher is an ELITE D1 football prospect, currently holding offers from Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin, just to name a few (out of 15+)! However, he has proven able to get work done on the court as well. With his height, weight, and strength, no one is lining up to get in this man’s way. He can a put these assets to work with strong moves to the basket. That being said, he also has a really nice, light touch in the short range.