Farmington — Caleb Banks is a three-star, two-way lineman for Southfield A&T, but the 6-foot-6, 248-pound junior showed on Monday night that he is a talented basketball player as well.
Banks showed he didn’t want A&T’s season to end in Monday’s Division 1 district opener at Farmington High, scoring 10 of his 14 points during a fourth-quarter comeback to lead his team to a thrilling, 66-60 win over a Birmingham Groves team A&T (14-5) lost to twice during the regular season, 66-65 in January and 69-67 last month.
It looked like Groves would get the clean sweep in the series when it used a 22-6 run to close out the first half to take a commanding 42-27 halftime lead.
Groves led 51-45 after three quarters and held a 60-53 cushion with four minutes left before A&T finished with a 13-0 run to pull the game out … and Banks, who has 25 offers in football, was the catalyst.
Groves actually had a 58-47 lead and the ball with six minutes remaining when Banks made a steal and went the length of the floor, looking every bit like Zion Williamson, for a transition basket to start the comeback.
After a 3-pointer by Anthony Davis pulled A&T even at 60, Banks scored inside off a pass from Davis, then got a defensive rebound at the other end and scored off a putback with 10 seconds remaining to make it 64-60 before getting yet another steal which led to Jailin Lee’s layup as time expired.
“It was amazing, we just played as a team, you have to have teamwork and we played great defense,” Banks said of the comeback.
Of his ability to get things done on the basketball court as well as the football field, Banks replied: “It’s just being a dog, you just have to have the need, if you don’t have the need you can’t get it done on the field either, you have to be able to do it in both sports.”
When asked about his ability to get down the court and score in transition with his size, Banks replied: “It’s just footwork, basically just footwork and you have to be in shape.”
Banks — who played tackle and defensive end, getting in on 42 tackles, 12 for lost yardage — listed his top offers.
“Michigan State, Michigan, Louisville, Kentucky, West Virginia, Boston College and a couple of other schools,” said Banks who said he ran a 4.8 40 a couple of years ago. “I’m interested in every team right now, haven’t narrowed the field at all. I’ve talked to (Coach Mel Tucker), it’s an amazing program (at Michigan State). I like Michigan, really I like everything about Michigan, the program, school, coaches, the environment, everything.”
Senior guard Jailin Lee and A&T coach Darryl Buchanan had high praise for Banks.
“That’s the best big man in Oakland County,” Lee said of Banks, who is averaging 12 points and 10 rebounds. “His athleticism is out of this world. He turned it on. He’s really D1 in football, but he’s the best big man in Oakland County in basketball too.”
Said Buchanan: “That’s his motivation, that’s who he wants to be (Zion Williamson). His motor is really high and there’s a reason he’s a Division 1 recruit.”
A&T will play North Farmington (13-6) in a district semifinal at 7 tonight.