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Next Year Starts Right Now
Next Year Starts Right Now
Jim Meadows
Published by Chris R
Next Year Starts Right Now

BEVERLY HILLS (MI) –- Expectations of a great match-up were high as I pulled into the overcrowded parking lot at the brand spanking new Ypsilanti Lincoln HS. Actually, I tried to park on the muddy grass in front of the school, until one of Ypsilanti’s finest informed me that there was a whole ‘nother parking lot behind the school. Who knew?

Redford HS featuring do-it-all player and Michigan Wolverine-to-be Copperyale “Manny” Harris vs. future Flyer Devin Searcy and Romulus HS in a Regional semifinal tilt. The winner would get Taylor Truman which defeated Adrian handily in the 5:30 game.

As I sat down in the end zone bleachers waiting for the first game to end, Terry Foster, my co-worker at 1270 XYT The Sports Station walked in. Terry also writes for the Detroit News, so that tells you that he had the same optimistic outlook on the upcoming contest. As Terry and I chatted between games, 3 gentlemen sat down with us and started pumping Terry with info. They referred to themselves as “the Gym Rats” and the fellas really seemed to know their stuff. When asked about Devin, they felt that he had all the talent in the world, but that sometimes he disappeared. As one of the “Gym Rats” said succinctly “it’s all a matter of heart—does he want it?”

From his very first NBA range three pointer, you could tell that Manny Harris is no ordinary high school hoopster. Rather than try and explain it myself, I’ll let Terry do the talking:

(BTW, that’s Romulus coach Nate Oats in the background of the picture.)

Devin was plagued by early foul trouble, picking up his second infraction with 1:30 left in the 1st quarter, which ended in a 19-19 tie. With Devin on the bench for the majority of the 2nd period, Redford was able to take a 27-19 advantage to the locker room at the half. In the 3rd quarter Devin showed some of that heart that the “Gym Rats” were questioning as he pulled down 5 rebounds and blocked 3 shots, including two absolute monster swats that had the crowd ooohing and aaahing as much as Manny’s 3 pointers did. One of the “Gym Rats” turned to me after a particularly impressive Devin block and said “that’s what I’m talkin’ about!”

The difference was down to 39-37 Redford as the two teams entered the final frame and that’s when Manny really took over, especially from the FT line when Romulus was forced to foul. Harris would finish with 41 of Redford’s 58 points in a 58-52 Redford victory.

As for our guy Devin, here is his line for the game:

Minutes: 20
Points: 9
Rebounds: 15
Blocks: 5
Shots Altered: 3

Devin played the majority of the game at the high post, setting screens for the Romulus guards. Per usual, they didn’t run any set plays for Devin, altho Coach Nate Oats did run a set play where RHS got the ball to Devin on the low block and he kicked it back to Dominique Buckley for a wide-open three, which he nailed. The problem was that while Buckley was making his shots from beyond the arch, none of the other Romulus guards were. Crunch-time turnovers again were a problem.

After the game, Coach Oats said that Romulus had played the hardest schedule in the entire state of Michigan so that the Eagles would be used to the big stage when they got to a game like this, but you would never know it. “They played scared” was his brutally frank assessment.

When Devin exited the locker room, I shook his hand and told him ‘good game.’ He was obviously distraught, so I left him by saying “Well, I guess next year starts right now, huh?” The big fella quietly replied “yeah” and then Devin slowly sauntered over and got a long, heartfelt hug from his number one fan, his mom.

That’s it “From the Swamp.”
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