Initial Thoughts on the Saline Boys' Varsity Basketball Team

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Initial Thoughts on the Saline Boys' Varsity Basketball Team

A few thoughts after Saline won its first two games to start the 17-18 season.

  • They'll have some big tests coming yet. Pioneer has Drew Louder. Skyline has Brandon Wade. Huron is Huron. So when it comes to basketball, the SEC Red is tough. Still, the Hornets start is promising.
  • Our basketball writer Steve Sheldon loves nicknames for all the Hornets. Personally, I'm not a big nickname guy. But "The Beast" works for Emmett Turner. The guy has savage work ethic on the floor. He kept the 6'7 UNC-Asheville recruit Anthony Crump in check, winning rebounds, taking charges, blocking shots, and scoring points. Connor Terech and Adam Heisler do a nice job following his lead.
  • Just like the Saline girls have a great young talent in freshman Ella Stemmer, the boys' have one in sophomore Griffin Yaklich. He came to Saline when his dad, Luke, was hired as assistant to Michigan basketball coach John Beilein. This kid is smooth. He's got quick feet and the uncanny ability to shake his guard. It's not just that he gets to the basket. It's that he does it so seemingly effortlessly. He's had some foul issues. But he could be the most talented player to come through the Saline basketball program since I began covering the team in 2010.
  • The Hornets have another young weapon in Trevor Arico. Like Yaklich, he's a sophomore guard. Like Yaklich, he has a Michigan basketball connection. His mom, Kim Barnes Arico, coaches the women's team. 
  • There's great young talent emerging in Saline basketball. But what makes it so exciting is these young kids are experiencing the kind of intensity that coach Jake Fosdick demands and Emmett Turner personifies. We've seen how that intensity can turn a bunch of athletic kids into a good basketball team. It's going to be fun what that intensity does to kids with natural basketball skill.
  • Kind of like Joe Palka's football teams, this Saline team can win with conditioning. By halftime, the Plymouth team looked gassed. They'd pressed and pressed and couldn't force turnovers. By the fourth quarter, the Hornets had them on their heels. "Hell week," as it's known around Saline High School, is already paying dividends.
  • Erik Wenning had a great game. He was money at the free throw line. He was confident and sure-handed with the ball against the press. He turned steals into points. He hit a three. But my favorite play was this nifty pass to Turner. 
  • With Yaklich in foul trouble Pete Jacobsen stepped in and played wonderfully.
  • Fosdick said nobody in the program has improved more than Ryan Koch. He's quick. Fairly tall. Tough. Combative.
  • If you follow Michigan High School basketball, you need to be reading Steve Bell is THE man when it comes to high school hoops. Bell, by the way, picks Skyline as a potential challenger for the Class A title. So Saline has some interesting measuring-stick games coming this season.