GRAND RAPIDS, Mich -- Grand Rapids Catholic Central senior-to-be Darrell Belcher has been raising eyebrows on the AAU basketball circuit but says his best game this summer came at team camp in June.
"Michigan State, we played River Rouge," Belcher said. "I had a big game, scored the ball good, got everybody involved."
Belcher had a very good junior season for the Cougars, averaging 14 points and six rebounds in helping lead CC to the Class B state championship game, all after playing in the previous year junior varsity basketball.
"I just stayed in the gym," Belcher added. "My sophomore year, I just thought to myself, I thought, I could go far and do good, and basketball could take me somewhere."
So far, he has picked up offers from Division II schools Grand Valley State and Northwood. Division I schools could be next to make offers: That is where the Brawl for the Ball tournament this week in Grand Rapids comes into play, "One Nation being one of the top teams in the tournament," Belcher said about his AAU team.
"I get to play against all the top players in the state and just see where I rank against them."
One thing college coaches like about Belcher is his ability to play with talented big guys as he did during his junior season at Grand Rapids Catholic Central, when he played along side Marcus Bingham Jr. (now at Michigan State) and Jacob Polakovich (now at Indianapolis).
"One of the things that Darrel did -- not just his tip dunk and his knock-down threes that he had -- but a couple post feeds that he had into Marcus and into Jacob are impressive, because there aren't a lot of high school programs with bigs like we had last year that showcase guards that can play with bigs," Grand Rapids Catholic Central boys varsity basketball coach TJ Meerman said. "And as soon as you get to college, that is the first thing that a guard is going to have to transition into, is how to play with really good bigs. So Darrell got a taste of that last year."
The question now: Can Belcher become a Division I basketball player?
"He is, for sure," Grand Rapids Catholic Central point guard and senior-to-be Austin Braun said. "I know he is a D-I player. I've seen kids with D-I offers that he's dominated, so I know that he is a D-I player."
"Yeah, without a doubt," Meerman added. "I played in the MAC; I've seen that level. Michigan State's coaches called last week, and when I talked to them about him, they said the same thing: Tthey could see him playing at the Division I level. So he has just got to keep progressing the way he is, keep working at his game."
"My long life dream is to play college basketball and go pro," Belcher said.
His 1 Nation team opens play in Brawl for the Ball Thursday at 6:30 p.m. against the Grand Rapids Storm at MSA Woodland. Play is scheduled to continue through Sunday.