Storm Classic: Friday Recap
Inside Prep Sports/By TJ Kelley
The first day of the Grand Rapid Storm Classic gave the opportunity to transfers - shut out by the Michigan High School Athletic Association' transfer rule - an organized arena to compete for the first time in Michigan, the King James Shooting Stars 16u played in the 17u age bracket and made a 29-point statement, and the host team won handily. Here's a look at the standouts:
West MI. Lakers-Black handled the Grand Rapids Storm- Blue 17u squad by a solid margin as 6'6" 2015 small forward Matt Mass (Holland Christian HS) and 6'7" 2015 forward Aaron Overhiser (Fennville HS) hit the boards and showed scoring aggression from 15' and inside while playing like scholarship players. One of the intriguing pregame matchups was between the Lakers 6'11" 2015 center Kyle Bartholomew (Holland HS) and 7'2" 2014 center Enrico De Coste (Grand Rapids Catholic Central). The matchup was more a race about who can get up and down the floor fastest and Bartholomew won the race the majority of the time with much of the contribution going to Bartholomew's conditioning and a more aerodynamic look of 245-pounds. De Coste, playing in his first game after sitting out due to the MHSAA transfer rule, is getting a feel for playing against solid competition and is far more comfortable facing up from the mid-range then playing with his back to the basket.
King James' Shooting Stars- Quincy 16u vs. ACB Hoops 17u might have some fooled that the sleeveless team using red tape for jersey numbers could actually play a little. That's exactly what 6'9" 2016 power forward Derek Funderburk (Lakewood St. Edwards), 6'7" 2016 forward Derrick Daniels (Dayton Marshall), 5'10" 2016 point guard Xavier Simpson (Lima Central Catholic), and others provided as they coasted to a big win over ACB Hoop. Funderburk has shown great development over the past two years, gained a few pounds to his slender build, and shown the skill to score in the mid-range as well as the post against the bigger 6'11" 2015 center Seth Duggan (Otsego). Daniels was an active rebounder and scorer from 15' and in while showing an improved handle gettin to the basket. Simpson worked his way to the basket from the top of the key, the baseline, and the wing. He was able to finish through contact and often chose to go to his strong hand on his way to the basket. ACB's 6'7" 2015 forward Lacey James (Wayland Union) scored in the mid-range and with his back to the basket while rebounding and scoring at the rim. Duggan has had better games and a lot of credit goes to Funderburk's defense. King James faces the REACH Legends at 12:15pm and The Family at 4:30pm tomorrow at the MVP Fieldhouse. ACB gets The Family at 2:30pm and the REACH Legends at 4:30pm tomorrow at the MVP Fieldhouse.
In a situation similar to De Coste's, the Storm 17u's 7' 2014 center Khadim Dieng (Grand Rapids Northpointe Christian) saw action after sitting out his only year in Michigan. He moves well and while he sometimes loses rebounding position due to his slender stature he had to be accounted. He showed that he has been working on his post offense which was all but non-existant less than a year ago. Dieng is a no brainer for mid-major programs to see as he will more than likely pick up offers when April's open period rolls around in two weekends. 6'11" 2015 center/power forward Brad Brechting continues to show a well-rounded game that is highlighted by solid footwork, length, passing, above the rim play, rebounding, and blocked shots. 6'8" 2015 forward Brent Hibbits (Hudsonville) hit short jumpers, rebounded well, and has a great frame. 6'3" 2015 shooting guard DeLeon Brown is a solid lefty who scored from the perimeter and in. 6'4" 2015 combo guard Delaney Blaylock is coming off a strong junior year in high school and showed flashes off what can be a very exciting season.
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