Michigan's class of 2013 signees continue to impress, led by Fishers (Ind.) Hamilton Southeastern small forward Zak Irvin. The 6-6 Irvin, Rivals.com's No. 34 senior prospect nationally, remains a favorite for his state's Mr. Basketball Award. He'd follow former teammate and current MSU freshman Gary Harris as the winner, marking the first time in the state's rich basketball history Mr. Basketball went to a player from the same school in consecutive years.
"The thing both of them have done is make improvements year-to-year in areas of weakness," head coach Brian Satterfield told the Indianapolis Star. "It's probably been an even bigger jump for Zak. Gary made more strides when he was younger, and Zak has really come on in the past two years."
Irvin eclipsed 1,000 career points earlier this year and was averaging 24 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals as of Feb. 18.
"One of the obvious areas of improvement is his strength," Satterfield said. "He had to be able to take the physical pounding. Early in his career he didn't want to go inside … Zak has come a long way there. He'll mix it up and does a much better job attacking the basket off the dribble."
Irvin scored 31 points and grabbed seven rebounds in a loss to Lawrence North and followed up with 19 points in a 52-49 win over top-ranked Carmel Feb. 7.
Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy's Derrick Walton (6-0, Rivals.com No. 47 and ESPN.com No. 35), meanwhile, notched triple-double efforts in two of his last three outings as of Feb. 17. He notched 26 points, 10 assists and 10 steals in a win over Ford Academy and followed with 30 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds during a win over University Park.
He also notched 30 points, eight assists, eight rebounds and eight steals in an 88-74 win over Allen Academy Feb. 7. He's averaging 25.4 points, 10.1 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game.
Finally, Whitehouse (Ohio) Anthony Wayne's Mark Donnal has also played well recently, averaging 19.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game as of Feb. 16. He finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds in a 50-41 win over Toledo Whitmer Feb. 6, notched 15 and eight in a Feb. 8 loss to Bowling Green and recorded 13 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots in a 54-48 boys win over Perrysburg Feb. 13 that gave the Generals at least a share of their first Northern Lakes League championship since 1998.
"It's great to be a part of Anthony Wayne history," Donnal said. "Not many teams here have done this, and we've worked really hard to get to this point."