The Family Detroit (MI) narrowly missed out on Peach Jam in 2018, and having one of the youngest rotations on the circuit was the main reason why they fell short. Detroit's EYBL representative will return six players from last season's roster, ultimately giving them more experience than any other roster on the circuit. On paper, this looks to be the best 'The Family' team in years. This rotation appears to be ready top-to-bottom which has resulted in some fairly lofty expectations. It would be stunning if this squad fails to qualify for Peach Jam for a third straight year. Head coach Courtney Williams has been around the program for years, and 'The Family' alumni is ready to take on the head coaching duties.
"As someone who played for The Family from the age of 10 years old all the way until I graduated High School, and now to be back coaching with the same program that has done so much for me," Williams said. "It’s a blessing."
The Family's roster features five players ranked by 247-sports, and the star duties will be split between 2018 veterans Isaiah Jackson, Jalen Terry and Carlos Johnson. The 6-foot-10 Jackson (247 No. 16) is a 5-star recruit according to every major recruiting outlet, and the junior forward is just starting to tap into his potential. Jackson is a good finisher around the basket offensively, but the bulk of his impact will be noticed on the boards and as a rim-protector. Jackson averaged 6.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game in 2018, and he will enter the 2019 season on the short list of contenders to lead the EYBL in blocked shots. Jackson wants to be known as more than just a defender, evidenced by his answer when he was asked about what he's most eager to show off about his game.
"Probably my shooting," Jackson said. "I didn’t really get to shoot the ball this season because of how my team played so I think this EYBL season everybody is going to see a lot of shooting from me."
Terry (247 No. 31) is committed to in-state power Michigan State, and the Spartans will be getting a certified stud in 2020. The 5-foot-11 Terry averaged 22.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 3.6 steals per game during the 2018-19 high school season for Beecher (MI). Terry put up modest 2018 EYBL averages of 6.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game, and there's no question that he will increase those numbers across the board. Terry, who says his favorite player is De'Aaron Fox due to similar playing styles, is razor-focused on one aspect of his game.
"Defense," Terry said bluntly when asked what he was working on. "On-ball defense. That's really it."
The Family Detroit junior Jalen Terry
Terry will be joined by his backcourt mate at Beecher and longtime friend Earnest Sanders. A 6-foot-2 junior who doubles as a 3-star wide receiver recruit on the football field, Sanders will be one of the best athletes on the circuit. He currently holds 10 offers in football, and he brings aggression and toughness to The Family backcourt that will be welcomed with open arms. Sanders and Terry have played together for years, and Terry raved about their team chemistry.
"It's fun," Terry said of running with his friend. "It's like me controlling two people, because I know almost everything he's going to do, whether he is on the fast-break or everything else. Off the court we are always together."
Like Terry and Jackson, Sanders put up modest averages last season, accruing per-game tallies of 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 11 games. 6-foot-3 juniors Ryan Rollins and Kevin-David Rice will both see significant minutes alongside Terry and Sanders. Rollins is a quick guard that likes to attack the defense, while Rice is coming off a strong junior season for Grand Blanc (MI).
Isaiah Jackson dunking out
Jackson's return gives The Family a lot to be excited about, and the positive vibes continue when looking at the rest of the frontcourt rotation. Carlos 'Scooby' Johnson and Maliq Carr return from last year's squad, and both will assume much bigger roles as juniors. Johnson (247 Composite No. 106) is a super-athletic 6-foot-5 swingman with a mean streak. Johnson plays with a tough-as-nails physicality on both ends of the floor and offers great passing skills. Johnson has a nose for the ball on the boards and will likely be at the tops of the circuit in offensive rebounding. In the 2018 EYBL, Johnson averaged 6.0 points and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 57% from behind-the-arc. Johnson can do a bit of everything, and his scholarship offer from Michigan State should tell you all you need to know about his next-level potential. Carr, also a 6-foot-5 super-athlete, is set to make an impact during his encore EYBL season. The 3-star wide receiver recruit will channel the physicality and toughness needed to excel on the football field, and apply those same traits to the hardwood. Carr averaged 8.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, proving to be one of the most impactful sophomores on the circuit last year. 7-foot junior Matt Nicholson will see major minutes in the frontcourt, and he has a chance to be one of the biggest surprises on the national level. Nicholson averaged 13.6 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 5.2 blocks while shooting 57.2 percent from the field during the 2018-19 high school season for Clarkston (MI). Nicholson, who sports a 7-foot-3 wingspan, will be counted on to rebound and block shots at a high rate, but the development of his offensive game has been a sight to see. Nicholson didn't play a lick as a sophomore at Clarkston, but he didn't pout The junior kept working and putting in his time, and now he's on the verge of a well-warranted breakout. 6-foot-11 big man Aundre Polk plays alongside Jackson at SPIRE Academy in Geneva, Ohio, and the Detroit-native desperately needs minutes against elite big men to prove his worth.
The Family Detroit junior Maliq Carr (247 3-star WR football recruit)
On paper, The Family Detroit has their strongest roster in three years. They have veteran leadership, elite size and a massive amount of athleticism across their rotation. This group has played with each other for quite a long time, and have found success before, taking home the E15 Peach Jam in 2017. Terry understands remembers that accomplishment vividly, and he's hoping to repeat history.
"We won the E15 Peach Jam," Terry said. "And we want to do the same thing as a 17U group."