AAU basketball program, The Family churning out Elite Football Recruits (Story)

Written by
Jeff Corrion
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Jeff Corrion

The D Zone was on the road during the Spring and Summer of 2018 at various AAU events where Michigan High School players were competing. We saw our fair share of top basketball and football recruits during this time.

No other program was quite like the Nike EYBL team, The Family Basketball Organization. The Family has since 1992 developed some of the best basketball players in the state, players such as: Chris Douglas-Roberts, Malik Hairston, Jordan Crawford, James Young, etc.

The Family's current nucleus is full of dual-sport athletes who are going to be signed with Division 1 Football programs in the next 3 years and that is rare for AAU programs to have.

In The Family's storied history most have solely focused on basketball. Kevonte Martin-Manley in 2010 out of Brother Rice who went to Iowa is one of the exceptions.

The Family's Program Administrator, Marcel Smith shared The Family's vision on athletes competing in both sports, "It's awesome for kids to be multi-talented and create more options for themselves in the future."

On The Family's top team, two players; Earnest Sanders and Maliq Carr are both ranked in football in the top 12 in the class of 2020 in Michigan and are 4-stars on various national recruiting websites. Both have played at the highest level in The Family, their 17U program and both are having monster seasons as juniors with their high school programs. Throughout their younger programs, dual-sport athletes are a common fixture; Tyson Davis was on their 15U team last year and Will Johnson was on their 14U team last year.

"These 4 players have a rare athletic ability to play both sports and be high impact players," said Marcel Smith. "It's special to see."

Maliq Carr is a 6'5 215 lbs WR/TE prospect who has over 30 combined football and basketball offers. The football offers are starting to roll in bunches now, Power 5 offers include: Texas A&M, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Miami-FL, Kentucky, etc.

"The Family has taught me life lessons," said Carr. "Such as, to win in life you need leadership and the need to come together to win a lot."

Earnest Sanders is a freakishly athletic 6'3 190 lbs prospect who has a few basketball offers, but its football college coaches who cannot get enough of Sanders who was timed running a 4.5 forty-yard dash last year. Sanders scored 25 touchdowns as a junior in 2018 and holds Power 5 offers from: Kentucky, Iowa State, and Washington State as well as a half-dozen non-Power 5 offers.

"Playing with The Family really was an eye opener for me, playing with guys and against guys who are athletic as me (which is a good thing)," said Sanders. "I love competing against them, it makes me become a better athlete."

2021 WR/CB Tyson Davis entered the high school football scene unlike anyone in a long time. As a freshman in 2017 he returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and in the first game of his sophomore season, he returned a punt for a touchdown. Davis is ranked as one of the top 20 players in the Class of 2021 already and has since picked up his first offer from MAC program, Central Michigan. Davis was the PG on The Family's 15U team last year.

"In basketball I’m the motor of the team," said Davis. "I’m the one who gets us going and also the leader. So in football before the games I’m the hype man or the one with a pregame speech and a lot of guys just come to me or look up to me on the team."

In The Family's 14U program last year, Will Johnson stood out. This year as a Freshman at Grosse Pointe South he played both varsity football and basketball. Johnson has earned a half-dozen football offers and received his first Big 10 offer this past weekend from Michigan State.

The Family is expected to bring back one of the state's brightest stars this upcoming AAU season in 2024 Isaiah Marshall who recently received a football scholarship offer from the University of Michigan as a QB.