This weekend, some of the state’s premier basketball talent will ascend upon the city of Grand Rapids at Union High School for the third annual Redhawk Showcase. This five-game, ten-team event will start at noon Saturday, and it will feature four West Michigan teams that are ranked in the top five of the Remax-United Power Poll.
Below are the five games (with approximate tip-off times listed), and a brief preview:
1:30—Detroit Old Redford (6-6) vs #4 West Ottawa (10-1)
The West Ottawa Panthers are the leaders in the OK Red, with an incredible 10-1 start on the year, defeating all ten of their opponents by double figures and suffering an eight point loss at #1 Grand Rapids Christian. They are led by Jake Van Tubbergen, who will be playing basketball at Grand Valley State next season. Tyler Bosma and Drew Pederson have also provided key scoring outlets throughout the year.
For Old Redford, they have been inconsistent in their scoring, as they have scored in the nineties twice, but they have also been held in the fifties three times. Their top player is sophomore Mark Watts, a Class C First-Team All-State player a year ago at Allen Academy. Known as ‘Rocket’, Watts has scholarship offers from Detroit and Oakland, and he has also drawn interest from Michigan and Michigan State. In last year’s Showcase, Watts scored 35 points. Senior Jawan Snoddy has also joined Watts at Old Redford this year, following the closing of Allen Academy.
3:00—Hazel Park (9-2) vs Grand Rapids Union (8-4)
The host Redhawks have had a strong start to the season, with their four losses coming against four strong basketball programs. Senior guard Quantes Jackson is one of the more underrated guards in the area, and he can be an explosive scorer, as he scored a season-high of 35 points against Detroit Community back in December. They also have been led by senior Jared Sietsema and sophomore Jaivian Fowler.
Hazel Park’s one loss to a team in the state of Michigan was on the road at Clarkston, so they really have been a very solid team, and they will provide a stout challenge for Union on Saturday. They are led by a pair of junior guards, Dave Hearns and Carl Bow Jr. Hearns has fielded offers from St Peters and Cleveland State, while Bow Jr. has drawn a scholarship offer from St. Peters. The Vikings also have senior Chris Lafayette, who has turned in a great start to the season as well.
4:30—Detroit Cornerstone (8-2) vs Wayland Union (10-2)
Wayland, who is one of the top teams in Class B throughout the entire state, is currently ranked #5 in the Remax-United Power Poll. Their only two losses are to arguably the best teams in the state in Class A and Class B respectively (Grand Rapids Christian and Godwin Heights). The Wildcats are led by a pair of senior Davenport commits in guard Avery Hudson and forward Zach Nieuwkoop.
Detroit Cornerstone, who participates in Class C, can be considered a state title contender based on a tandem of senior players as well. A Mr. Basketball candidate, senior forward Jamal Cain has had a tremendous year, and he will continue his basketball career at Marquette University next fall. Another senior is guard Davion Bradford, who has drawn interest from a handful of Division 1 programs. The matchups between Bradford and Hudson and Nieuwkoop and Cain are sure to be amongst the best individual battles of the afternoon.
6:00—Detroit Edison (5-7) vs Godwin Heights (12-0)
The early favorites to win it all in Class B, the Wolverines have had little trouble reaching 12-0 on the season and a #2 spot in the Remax-United Power Poll. Godwin Heights is averaging 79.9 points per game, producing one of the most explosive offenses in the state. Senior guard Christian Rodriguez is one of the best passers in the state, and he will certainly have the opportunity to play basketball after his time at Godwin Heights ends. Junior Lamar Norman is an underrated scorer, and he has fielded offers from Central Michigan, Detroit and Oakland. The third head to this offensive monster is junior forward Markeese Hastings, who has earned offers from a plethora of GLIAC teams.
Despite owning a losing record, Edison will be no easy win for the Wolverines. This Pioneer team has been well-tested facing a gauntlet of a schedule that includes games against the defending champions in Class A and B. Junior PJ Mitchell has committed to Central Michigan, and Deante Johnson has earned a scholarship offer from Toledo. This Class C team also has the ability to put up points, as they knocked off East English Village Prep by scoring 99 last week. This contest has the possibility to be an exciting shooutout.
7:30—Lawrence North (IN) (13-5) vs Grand Rapids Christian (10-0)
In the nightcap, the #1 team in the Remax-United Power Poll and arguably Class A’s best team, the Eagles of Grand Rapids Christian will be in action. In what has been a dominant season, Christian High has defeated eight of their opponents by at least twelve points, including wins over Remax-United Power Poll #4 West Ottawa, #5 Wayland and #6 Catholic Central by an average of 24.3 points per game. They are led by a frontcourt duo that includes senior Mr. Basketball Candidate and Michigan State commit Xavier Tillman, and senior Oakland commit James Beck. They also have junior guard Duane Washington to score from the outside, and he will most certainly play Division 1 basketball in the future, as he has racked up a handful of mid-major offers and even visited Michigan State this past weekend.
Lawrence North, a team from Indianapolis, Indiana will make the four hour trek to Grand Rapids for a big matchup with Grand Rapids Christian. Tillman and Beck will have their hands full with junior forward Kevin Easley, who has committed to VCU, and senior forward RA Kpedi, who has fielded eight scholarship offers from various mid-major programs. Duane Washington will more than likely be given the task of defending junior point guard Antwaan Cushingberry, who has an small Division 1 offers.