BALDWIN — Brandon Childress may hail from one of the smaller schools represented at the annual Reaching Higher high school basketball showcase, but he’s hoping to make a big name for himself against some of the top talent in the state.

Childress became the first player from Baldwin selected to participate in the fifth annual showcase of Michigan’s top high school basketball players. The camp returned to South Lyon High School beginning with the boys event on Wednesday of this week, followed by the state’s top girls prospects taking the floor July 25.

More than 220 athletes with aspirations to play at the college level will train and scrimmage under the tutelage of high school coaches from across the state and in front of college coaches expected to represent all three NCAA divisions, the NAIA and junior college levels. Coaches from 42 college basketball programs attended during the 2012 Reaching Higher events, including 12 from Division I schools.

The opportunity to compete against some of the state’s best is what intrigues Childress the most about the showcase.

”I want to go up there with the mindset that I can compete with the best players,” he said. “I want to see who the people say are the best and compare my game to theirs and see where I need to get better. It’s just an opportunity to see where I can improve.”

Childress proved to be one of the best all-around players in the area in just his sophomore season, averaging 19 points per game to go with eight rebounds, three assists and three blocks per contest. He earned first-team West Michigan D League honors while helping lead the Panthers to a district title.

Baldwin coach Scott Pedigo said Childress has earned notoriety early in his high school career as a member of the Parallel 45 AAU basketball team, garnering interest from a number of Division I college programs like Princeton, Colorado State and Central


”There are probably 30 Division I schools recruiting him right now,” Pedigo said. “Usually with an event like this, which is a state-sanctioned event, they like to put you on display where college coaches can watch you.”

The showcase will feature a number of skill stations where players will display offensive and defensive transition execution, shooting off the dribble, shooting off the pass and a number of game sessions.

During practices earlier this summer, Pedigo said Childress displayed a more diversified skill set, working on his 3-point shooting as well as development in his play in the post.

He’s had that mid-range shot, but he’s developed more of a 3-point shot,” he said. “He’s doing a little more work with his back to the basket. He’s going to be our tallest guy, so we’re going to have him in the post a little more. Defensively he’s continued to do very well, learning how to block shots without fouling.”

Childress said he has been putting up 300 shots a day from behind the perimeter to improve his outside shot, while spending three days a week in the weight room to get stronger.

The goal, Childress said, will be to show that he can compete at a high level while showing that Baldwin is a quality basketball program.

”Ever since I was invited, I’ve focused on showing up and believing in what I’ve been working on,” he said. “I want to show that just because I’m from a small school that doesn’t mean I can’t compete at a high level.”

An educational effort by the Michigan High School Athletic Association and the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan, the Reaching Higher experience includes classroom sessions for student-athletes and their parents as well as on-court drills and scrimmaging.

The events aim to give athletes a vision of what it takes to become a college basketball player and also succeed in college life.