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PREP NOTEBOOK: Southfield grid star gets mom on board & inks with MSU, batch of area cage squads in search of coaches WITH PHOTO GALLERY

  • Southfield All-American football player Malik McDowell finally signed his National Letter of Intent with Michigan State this week - his mom, Joya Crowe, too. (The Oakland Press file photo)
  • McDowell (left) and his teammates go through preseason drilling back in August. (The Oakland Press file photo)
  • McDowell is nasty on the field, plugging run-gaps and attacking opposing quarterbacks. (The Oakland Press file photo)
  • Mims (#25) was a vicious small forward on the hardwood in his three seasons hooping for Avondale. (The Oakland Press file photo)
  • Mims swoops in for the deuce in Avondale's district showdown with Troy Athens. (The Oakland Press file photo)
  • Southfield Christian's Bobby Banks committed to play his college football at CMU this week. (The Oakland Press file photo)
  • Walled Lake Central all-league senior floor general was impressed with Kentucky's Aaron Harrison and let his feeling out on Twitter. (The Oakland Press file photo)
  • Birmingham Groves is looking for a new head boys basketball coach, after Scott Sheckell resigned last week (The Oakland Press file photo)
  • Waterford Kettering is looking for a new head boys hoops coach after the Captains and Ben Kelso parted ways last week. (Oakland Press photo file)
  • Walled Lake Western is in need of a new head boys basketball coach, following the Warriors and Raredding Murray splitting ties last week. (The Oakland Press file photo)

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Mom and son are in lockstep.


Following nearly two months of acrimony and speculation, Southfield All-American football player Malik McDowell (6-foot-7, 300-pound defensive lineman), the state’s No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2014, and his mother, Joya Crowe both penned their signatures on McDowell’s National Letter of Intent to play his college pigskin at Michigan State University last week.

McDowell committed to the Spartans in mid-February on Signing Day, but never inked his letter with the school due to a squabble with his mother over his decision.

In the days leading up to their son making his choice between Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Florida State, McDowell’s parents each did interviews with the media expressing their desire that he went to school out of state. Crowe, his legal guardian, specifically told reporters that she didn’t want him to land in East Lansing with the Spartans, questioning the Michigan State campus for being “too social” and the coaching staff for not being able to eventually get him into the NFL.

A letter of intent requires the signature of a player’s legal guardian to be considered valid. The dispute between McDowell and his mother, which garnered nationwide attention and headlines, placed things at a standstill for seven weeks until Crowe relented on Tuesday.

Michigan State’s football office received McDowell’s letter of intent late Tuesday evening via fax.

“Letter signed and sent in last night, finally a Spartan Dawg,” he tweeted Wednesday morning.

Able to speak on the Spartans' ace snare for the first time, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio told the press that he thinks McDowell has a very good chance of playing as a true freshman this fall.

As a senior, McDowell corralled himself 90 tackles and nine quarterback sacks in his first season playing at the Division 1 level (he played at D7 Detroit Loyola prior, combining for 30 sacks in his sophomore and junior seasons)

Vacancy signs posted

The boys basketball programs at Walled Lake Western, Waterford Kettering and Birmingham Groves are all looking for new head coaches.

Raredding Murray leaves Western after three seasons. Sheckell was at the helm of the Groves’ boys squad for the past four years (coming over from the girls team), while Kelso spent a single campaign holding the reins at Kettering.

Murray led Western out of the doldrums, going over .500 in all three years he was there. Kelso, who won three straight Class A state titles on the bench at Detroit Cooley in the 1980s, also got Kettering out of the basement in his short tenure on the sidelines.

Sheckell guided Groves to surprise league and district titles in 2013. When he was heading the girls, he took the program to its first-ever league-championship trophy.

With honors

Auburn Hills Avondale two-sport senior star Jabbar Mims has been awarded a 2014 High School Heisman Trophy presented by Wendy’s.

The High School Heisman award was created in 1994 to honor those around the country’s prep landscape that excel in ‘”learning, performing and leading in the field, the classroom and the community,”

Mims’ was an all-league selection on the basketball floor the past three years and started at wide receiver for the Yellow Jacket’ football team the last two seasons. On the hardwood, he played on the wing and was one of the area’s top slashing threats.

Making a pledge

Local prep standouts Bobby Banks (Southfield Christian) and Karl Kauffman (Birmingham Brother Rice) each recently accepted Division I college scholarships in their respective sports

Banks, a junior and star tailback on the gridiron, committed to play football at Central Michigan and Kauffman, a sophomore pitcher on the diamond, committed to play baseball in the Big Ten at the University of Michigan.

Last fall, Banks (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) ran for 925 yards and 10 touchdowns in helping lead Southfield Christian to league and district championship-banners. As only a freshman last spring, Kauffman made the Brother Rice varsity club that captured a Catholic League crown and advanced into the Division 1 state finals and has a fast ball that is already approaching the low 90s.

Tweet of the week

"Aaron Harrison....this guy is just so darn clutch," Walled Lake Central all-league senior basketball star Justin Nafso, after Harrison hit his third straight game-winning 3 Saturday vs. Wisconsin to send Kentucky into the NCAA Championship Game.

Last Updated: 4/7/2014 6:10:07 AM EST

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