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December 17, 2001North Muskegon junior Drew Naymick, a 6-10 center, told The Wolverine on Sunday that his college plans currently involve a decidedly in-state focus. "Michigan and Michigan State are number one and two right now," he said, and did not find it necessary to even mention any other schools. Naymick said that he does not have a leader at this time.
Michigan has Naymick very high on its list of recruiting priorities, and recently provided him with what he called "a pleasant surprise." More on that and other comments of Naymick's can be found in the post-Citrus Bowl issue of The Wolverine. To subscribe or order a single issue, call (800) 421-7751 during normal business hours.
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Chris Hunter (right) seems to have hit his stride since transitioning from summer, when he received criticism for playing soft, to his senior year at Gary (Ind.) West Side. The 6-11 Michigan power forward/center signee is enjoying a solid season to date, picking up where he left off as a junior, when he was ranked among the top 25-or-so players in his class nationally. In the process, he has helped West Side assume the No. 1 spot in the Munster (Ind.) Times' state rankings.
"Michigan got a good one when it inked Hunter, whose size alone would make him a difficult matchup for almost every team in the state," a recent Times article stated. "The fact he brings varied skills to his post position makes it nearly impossible. Hunter moves very well for a big man, can handle the ball and is working on an outside shot and his perimeter defensive skills."
In the Cougars' most recent game, they faced a surprisingly strong challenge from Horace Mann High School. In the waning seconds, Mann shot a potential game-tying three-pointer, but the shot was off the mark, and Hunter corralled the rebound and was fouled. He converted both free throws to seal West Side's 59-54 victory, and finished with 16 points and 12 boards as his team improved to 6-2 on the year and remained undefeated against Indiana competition.
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Hunter is not the only Michigan signee who has his team atop prep polls. Cedar Hill (Tex.) High School, led by 6-3 guard Daniel Horton, is ranked as the No. 1 Dallas-area Class 5A school by the Dallas Morning News. The Longhorns are just ahead of 8-2 The Colony High School, led by two future Big Ten rivals of Horton's: Indiana signee Bracy Wright and Illinois signee Deron Williams.
Cedar Hill took an 11-1 record into a recent game against Garland Lakeview, and easily improved to 12-1 as Horton knocked down five three-pointers en route to a 70-45 win. Horton's 25 points provided the margin of victory for the Longhorns.
Horton again led all scorers in Cedar Hill's next contest. His 28 points was more than sufficient to lead his team to a 72-57 win over South Garland. Horton's younger brother, highly regarded sophomore Jason Horton, added 13 in the win.
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Yet another No. 1 team, Pontiac Northern -- the top-ranked squad in Michigan's Class A -- had a much easier time than expected in its Friday matchup with Flint Northwestern. The Wildcats were without acrobatic 6-6 junior Olu Famutimi, who, according to the Flint Journal, "suffered a lacerated gum and several loosened teeth" in Northwestern's preceding game.
The Huskies did not have to rely on Abram (right) nearly as much as they had in their first game of the year, when he scored 34 and ran the point in the second half of his team's win over Ferndale. His 15 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists against Northwestern were all that was needed to lead Northern to an 87-65 win on the road.
In other Michigan prep action:
Junior shooting guard Dion Harris posted totals of 25 and 23 in Detroit Redford's consecutive wins over Detroit Mumford (74-43) and Detroit Henry Ford (67-41), respectively. Redford is 4-0 on the year, thanks in large part to Harris' 24.3 points per game.
Juniors Walter Waters, a 6-9 center, and Brandon Jenkins, a 6-3 point guard, took turns leading Detroit Southeastern in back-to-back victories over Detroit Pershing and Detroit Northern. Waters' 21 points led all scorers in the 82-62 win against Pershing, while Jenkins posted solid totals of 15 points and 10 boards. Jenkins stepped up his performance against Northern, barely missing a triple-double with 24 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Waters chipped in an even 20 in the 74-49 defeat of Northern, helping Southeastern stay perfect at 5-0.
Detroit Loyola Academy provided little challenge for Detroit De Porres, succumbing 87-50. Junior point guard Brandon Cotton contributed 30 points, nine assists and seven steals in the rout.
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Both Prep Spotlight and Michigan Preps recently released new lists of juniors. Prep Spotlight's ranks the top 20 in the Midwest, while Michigan Preps' consists exclusively of in-state players.
The top Michigan junior on each list is Dion Harris, followed in succession by Brandon Cotton and Olu Famutimi (Harris, Cotton and Famutimi are 4th, 5th, and 7th among Midwest players on Prep Spotlight's list).
After that, the lists diverge somewhat. Prep Spotlight's No. 4 through No. 7 Michigan juniors are, in order Brandon Jenkins (No. 10 in Midwest), Walter Waters (No. 15), Drew Naymick (No. 16) and 6-7 Detroit Country Day power forward Ije Nwankwo (No. 20 -- tie).
Michigan Preps, on the other hand has Nwankwo at No. 4, followed in order by 6-3 Ann Arbor Pioneer point guard Whitney Davis, Jenkins, Naymick, Waters and, at No. 9, 6-0 Flint Southwestern point guard Brandon Bell. All of the aforementioned players have been identified as recruits U-M is tracking.
To see the full rankings and player commentary, click the following links: Prep Spotlight; Michigan Preps.