Posted On: 05/16/18 6:00 AM
This past weekend, the West Michigan Lakers hosted the annual Wes Leonard Strength and Honor Tulip Tipoff! The event offered a great look at some local, West Michigan talent, and many players across a variety of positions stood out from the crowd. Below are some combo guards who had an impressive weekend!
Brady Swinehart – 6’2 – 2019 – GR Storm/Ionia
Swinehart was probably the best scorer in the entire event! When he saw a driving opportunity, even with 3/4 of the court in front of him, the jets were on and he was at the rim. He did a great job penetrating. He could maneuver past players or speed through gaps, then draw a foul or finish through contact. Then there’s his shooting; he was lights out in the part of the championship game I watched. He connected on three threes off the dribble from the top of the key and likely hit more after I left. Finally, Swinehart has point guard/leadership traits. He brought the ball up a lot, sometimes scoring in transition, other times setting up the offense. He proved to be a good passer, aided by the fact that he was covered heavily as a scoring threat. Late in a close game, he drew two defenders to himself and faded away for what seemed to be a shot. Time seemed to stand still as he was in the air–then he found a teammate left open by the double-team for a beautiful assist. He also made crunch-time shots and was the go-to for free throws in that win.
Jeremiah Pittman – 6’3 – 2020 – GR Storm 16u/Grand Rapids Union
Pittman is long and looks to still be getting used to his length. However, he proved to be a major problem for opponents. He drove to the rim again and again, using his speed and length well to finish. The majority of his points came from strong takes like these. He attacked from a pass to the wing or could bring up the ball to attack or start the offense. He also hit some shots from outside, forcing defenders to play him honestly. When on defense himself, he has quick and active hands and feet and is in his man’s face. Another great thing about him is the passion he plays with. Both in high school and AAU, Pittman’s a guy I’ve noticed celebrating plays and hungry for wins.
Emcee Williams – 6’0 – 2020 – Impact Elite 16u/Reeths-Puffer
Williams stood out for his rim attacking. It was strong, aggressive, and effective, even in traffic as he converted or drew fouls on contested drives. He used his speed and athleticism to blow past defenders off the dribble and get himself into the paint. Then he employed some creative finishes to respond to defenders. He positioned his body to draw contact and get to the line repeatedly, and he did an excellent job protecting the ball. Williams definitely looked to have the inside game of a future college player. He also played both on and off the ball. Sharing the court with another PG, he would be available for a pass on the wing for a shot, or he could bring it up himself as a threat to drive or to set up the offense.
Mason Wojtusik – 6’3 – 2020 – Champs Sports Navy 17u/Mt. Pleasant High
Wojtusik was similar to Williams in that he excelled on the inside. He has greater height which lends itself to this. He also has great protection of the ball and body control which, all these combined, make him very difficult to stop on short finishes. In one game I watched him play he was not super productive, but then, as if a switched had been flipped, he attacked relentlessly off of drives and fast breaks, and the opposition just had no answer. In addition to this, he has an outside shot, so defenders must cover him honestly. Complementing these skills further is a nice handle. He showed great ability to beat or shake defenders off of him with hesitations, explosiveness, and the crossover. In the end, Wojtusik offers the range of offensive versatility one looks at in a scoring guard.
Vernon Nash III – 5’9 – 2020 – GR Storm 16u/Muskegon
My notes on Vernon from when I saw him play with Muskegon were very similar to those from this weekend. I identified him first as a shooter, and this is what he was to me primarily in the winter when he came off the bench and finished with six threes. However, this time I also noticed great speed and moves to penetrate that I had not seen before. On one particular play, he drove quickly along the baseline, lost his defender with a super fast spin move, and freed himself for a quick shot in the paint. Traits like these, when perfected and added to an already excellent shooting game, scream the emergence of a great scoring guard.