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Posted On: 07/30/18 6:00 AM
The Grand Rapids Storm hosted what is likely Michigan’s finest event last weekend in its annual Brawl for the Ball! Teams from all over the midwest converged in Grand Rapids for four days of games some featuring phenomenal talent. Saturday the 21st marked the first round of bracket play for both the 17u and 16u divisions, and it was no exception to the greatness of the weekend. Below is a list of point guards who stood out on Saturday, displaying the ability to dominate, play with versatility, or carry their team to success.
Wendell Green Jr. – 5’10 – PG – Detroit Country Day (MI)/Michigan Playmakers
Green is just a young rising junior, yet, in many ways, plays like a man among boys at the 17u level. He is an excellent passer, the best I saw all day! He proved deceptive in the direction he would pass the ball, could always find teammates, and threaded gaps other players wouldn’t dare to attempt. Green averaged a double-double or close to it over the weekend and is sure to do the same in the winter. Outside of scoring, he offers hustle, a great handle, and the ability to score from both at the rim and outside the arc. After mostly being a facilitator one game, assisting and creating plays, he suddenly went off scoring too. With moves off the dribble, he danced around with taller defenders to shoot daggers over them. He’s been good every time I’ve seen him and, honestly, looks better each time!
Isaiah Thompson – 6’0 – PG – Zionsville (IN)/Indy HEAT
I didn’t see as much of Thompson as I wanted to, but the flashes I saw explain the four-star rating and verbal commitment to Purdue. He seemingly scored at will, shooting in two different games with a consistency that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before! Outside of downright phenomenal shooting (off the pass or off the dribble ), he displayed great speed, great footwork, a nice touch in the midrange, and ability to create for and find teammates. His skillset makes him a deadly threat on or off the ball, and, as a scorer is clearly D1-ready!
Christopher (CJ) M. Anthony – 6’0 – PG – Harvest Prep (Ohio)/Ohio Bulldogs 16u
Anthony was the floor general for the Bulldogs in a tight game with one of MI’s best teams in Greenwood Elite. The ball was in his hands very often, and he handled it confidently despite what was heavy defensive pressure at times. With the ball in his hands, he proved capable of creating for himself and others. He could drive in all the way to the rim, drawing bumps along the way; pull up out of his drive for a nice midrange shot; or find an open teammate in a scoring position and fire him a pass off the bounce. He finished the tight game I watched leading all scorers with 25 points.
Collin McCrackin – 6’0 – PG – DeWitt (MI)/Lansing Prospectors
I believe this was my first time seeing McCrackin in action, and he certainly put on a show. He hit threes off the catch right away, establishing himself early as a shooter. Throughout the game he would also prove confidence in driving or bringing up the ball in traffic and finishing at the rim. In the game I watched he was the Prospectors’ scoring leader, finishing with close to 20 points. Outside of scoring, he impressed me with his ability to artfully assist teammates. He got the ball through narrow gaps several times, cleanly and off the dribble. Finally, he provides a less tangible contribution with good defense and hustle plays, pestering ball-handlers, trapping, and getting after loose balls and rebounds. Overall, he is a hard worker with a good eye for the game and the ability to score.
Andre Gordon – 6’1 – PG – Huntington Prep (WV)/C2K Elite
This was my second time seeing Gordon this summer. What stood out again this time was his ability to get to the rim and finish with great athleticism. His elevation makes contesting him a tall task for any guard, and his ability to finish with either hand on either side of the rim adds to the versatility of his game. From farther out, he always threatens from three whether off the bounce or pass. Finally, he is guy anybody would want to play with. Whether it is with his feeding of teammates around the arc (which he does a lot of) to his celebrating their accomplishments on the court, Gordon is a team player who can create for and be excited for both himself and his others.
Jimmy Scholler – 6’4 – PG – Forest Hills Central (MI)/Greenwood Elite 16u
Playing with his high school team, I’ve seen Scholler go off as a shooter. I’ve seen him wow the crowd with his sniping from deep, then turn around for a steal and a dunk. With competition raised at the Brawl for the Ball, I saw less flash than before (though it was there at times). However, Scholler still largely led within this space. He took advantage of his height as a guard to get to the rim. Off the dribble, he does a great job penetrating. Then, despite bumps and contests, he gets himself to where he needs to be to score. Many of his finishes were conventional, though he did show creativity on a few, changing hands middair to dodge defenders and such. Overall, Scholler remains a major contributor regardless of where he is, and he has a lot in his bag depending on what is called for.