Some of the top high-school basketball players in Michigan have left the state in recent years to play for top prep teams across the country.
Josh Jackson (Detroit Consortium), Devon Daniels (Kalamazoo Central) and Brian Bowen (Saginaw Arthur Hill) are among the most notable.
Now, several of this year’s top players have packed up and left, starting with Detroit Country Day junior guard Wendell Green to La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.) last month. And now senior guard Rocket Watts and 6-9 juniors Isaiah Jackson and Andre Polk — all from Detroit Old Redford — have all moved on to Spire Academy in suburban Cleveland to play for former Detroit Mercy assistant Jermaine Jackson.
“I’ve known he was going for quite a while,” said Craig Covington, who coached Watts at Old Redford before resigning and accepting the athletic director job at Detroit Cornerstone. “He wanted a better opportunity, which he really doesn’t need. But after playing on USA Basketball this summer and playing against the better competition on the AAU circuit, he wanted to play against nationally-ranked kids on a night in and night out basis.
“He also wanted to finish up with a strong academic background. It gives him a jump start on preparing for the college level. I definitely supported his decision. Isaiah Jackson is down there also and my other big fella, Andre Polk, all three of them went to Spire.”
Watts is a 6-1, 175-pound combo guard who is ranked as a four-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite. He is ranked the No. 6 combo guard nationally for 2019 and has been offered by Michigan and Michigan State, and many other top programs.
Jackson (6-9, 190) is a five-star prospect ranked the No. 3 power forward nationally for 2020 by the 247Sports Composite. He has been offered by Michigan State, Louisville, Indiana, Syracuse and Xavier, among others.
Covington said Watts visited Florida State on Labor Day weekend and has a visit set up for Louisville on the weekend of Sept. 28-29.
Had he stayed in Michigan, Watts would have been a Mr. Basketball Award candidate, along with Romeo Weems of New Haven (DePaul commit) and Harlond Beverly of Southfield Christian.