If you are rating teams on their “get off the bus” look, Michigan’s Finest may not be high on your list. However, if you are judging on court production, you may need to flip that list.
“When people watch us warm up, they think they are going to smash us a lot of the time, but we’re pretty good,” Coach Darren Neil said with a smile. “We’re not big, but we have seven players who can shoot the basketball, and we’re fun to watch. We play hard, and we don’t give up. Last year in Las Vegas (at the Lake Las Vegas Classic), we reached the semi-finals, and nobody thought that would happen. There are some better teams out there, but they don’t want to play us.”
Michigan’s Finest will attempt to repeat it’s Vegas success at the 2014 Deep South Classic, which will be played in Raleigh, NC, on April 25-27. Now in its 17th year, the Deep South Classic annually hosts many of the nation’s elite travel teams in a field that will eclipse 200 squads, and hundreds of collegiate coaches will be on hand searching for talent. The 2014 event will mark the second year that the Deep South Classic has been held at the Raleigh Convention Center. The venue was a tremendous success in its debut last year, with all games played at one site on 18 courts, and it is in a convenient central location.
Michigan’s Finest will be led in Raleigh a by quartet of talented prospects. Makenna Ott (2015, 5-11, G) is the veteran, and she is ranked at No. 362 in her class by the All Star Girls Report. In the Class of 2016, Neil’s team features Kamrin Reed (5-7, G) and Madreeka Cook (6-0, F). Krystal Rice (2017, 5-7, G) is a rising star who already boasts six offers. She is the niece of former Michigan and NBA star Glen Rice.
“Makenna does everything well. She may not be great in one area, but she does it all for us,” Neil said. “She is getting a lot of mid-major looks, but I think she could play a notch higher. Madreeka is just a beast, and she already has an offer from Michigan. She can shoot the three or take people off the dribble, but her main thing is her energy. She is a relentless rebounder.
“Kamrin is an athlete with blazing speed, and she can jump. Her potential is way up there because she is so athletic. I really hope that she can become a true lock down defender this spring, because she has the athleticism to do that. Krystal is the real deal. She has a high basketball IQ, and she is just going to keep getting better because she works hard. Krystal is all about winning. Whether she gets 30 points or two, she is happy if we win.”
Here is a quick take on the Michigan’s Finest stars from All Star Girls Report analyst Bret McCormick: