Brock Bertam. James Jones. Quate McKinzie
These 2016 seniors comprise one of the strongest recruiting classes in UB basketball history. And impressively enough, none of them come from Detroit via the #NateOatsPipeline. You can find initial coverage on their commitments as follows: James Jones, Quate McKinzie, Brock Bertram.
This piece will focus on how their senior seasons are going both from an individual and team perspective.
Quate, a 3-star PF, has been a stand-out for Harrells Christian Academy where the Crusaders have posted a 15-9 overall record, including an impressive 9-1 in conference play. They currently sit 1st in the Cape Fear Rivers conference ahead of foe Coastal Christian, whom they have split their conference series, 1-1.
The Crusaders have now finished their regular season at the top of their conference, and look towards the NCISAA 2A championships, where they will need some upsets to get close to the championship. North Carolina is a strong basketball state, with some really strong teams that stand in their way.
As for McKinzie, he is averaging 16.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.5 steals, and 3.7 blocks per game. McKinzie can obviously do it all, and has an ability to fill out a stat sheet exceedingly well.
Some noteworthy games for Quate:
12/18 - 75-84 Loss @ Wake Christian Academy: 28 points, 20 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks
1/8 - 85-64 Win @ Fayetteville Christian: 28 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and... 10, yes 10 blocks.
Jones was a bit under the radar during his recruitment, although he did have offers from mid-major schools, and interest from a number of higher caliber programs. A 6-4 shooting guard, has a great frame and a lot of potential. I'll let James tell you about himself from a recent interview:
"I rebound, I play hard on defense, I can shoot it, I can drive to the hole, and I'm 6-4 so, I'm an all-around player."
An all-around player indeed.
Jones plays for Bogan Prep in Chicago, IL, a hotspot for basketball talent, and home of some of the nation's best high school teams, including Bogan. More directly, the Red South Conference to which they align, is one of the most competitive in the nation.
Bogan has won city championships, as recent as the 2015 season. In 2016, Jones and the rest of his team look to accomplish that again.
Currently, Bogan sits at 15-5 overall (6-3 conference). Last year, Bogan lost most of their high-profile games to teams such as Simeon and Morgan Park, just to beat them in the championships. It looks like that is the formula they are hoping to emulate this season.
Some noteworthy games for Jones:
1/5 - 68-67 (OT) Loss @ Simeon: 25 points, 8 rebounds
1/26 - 69-56 Loss @ Simeon: 24 points including six 3-pointers
Bertram, a 6-11 consensus 3 star center also plays on an elite team for the Apple Valley Eagles in Minnesota. He is considered a top 5 player in the state, and there are two other players on his team (Gary Trent Jr., Tre Jones) who are ranked above him.
Brock has had the most interest from too many programs to name. This included offers from Texas Tech, Miami OH, and Green Bay.
Apple Valley is currently 20-1 overall and 11-0 in the South Suburban Conference. They claimed the Class 4A championship last year, and have set themselves up quite nicely to replicate their success in 2016.
Brock is averaging 13 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. He is also shooting 67% from the field indicating a high success rate.
Some noteworthy games for Bertram:
12/11 @ Lakeville South: A season-high 28 points - and 4 blocks as well
1/5 @ Eagan: A season high 15 rebounds
I know the season for the Bulls is currently in full swing, and things are looking pretty positive so far through MAC play. But it's also very reassuring to see such talent that will soon be relocating to Buffalo, NY.