Saginaw High center Algevon Eichelberger works to enhance abilities, Division 1 basketball offers

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SAGINAW, MI —As a Saginaw High Trojan, Algevon Eichelberger is a defensive force in the post, a shot-blocking and rebounding machine at center.

But at 6-foot-6, Eichelberger knows that machine may not work in college, even if it has a 7-foot-2 wingspan.

“This is a big summer for me, a big July for me,” Eichelberger said. “I’m playing both forward positions instead of center, so coaches can see me away from the basket. I’ve talked to a lot of schools who said they were going to watch me over the open period in July.”

Eichelberger averaged 13 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocked shots a game as a Saginaw High sophomore during the 2013-14 season. As a freshman, Eichelberger helped lead the Trojans to the Class A semifinal game, where they lost to Detroit Southeastern, 54-45. In that game, the freshman center scored seven points with six rebounds and nine blocked shots.

He has received official offers from Rice, Utah, Northern Illinois, University of Detroit, Central Michigan University and Nichols State. He made two unofficial visits this summer to Cincinnati and Xavier.

Eichelberger, 16, plays for The Family, a 16-under AAU team out of Detroit. The team has July tournaments scheduled for Grand Rapids; Augusta, Georgia; and an end-of-season tournament in Las Vegas; Bakersfield, California; or Louisville, Kentucky.

Expanding his role

“We understand that because of his height he has to move farther away from the basket,” said Red Winston, the coach for The Family 16-under team. “We’re giving him opportunities to expand his shooting range, get the ball off the glass, push it up. We’re expanding his role, expanding his game.

“We’re all still trying to figure out what his position will be in college. We don’t know how he’s going to grow. He’s 6-6 but has a 7-2 wingspan. He’s still a defensive presence in the post no matter who he matches up with.”

Eichelberger’s development was delayed last season thanks to a knee injury, which limited his mobility during the high school season.

“My knee is better, and I’m feeling healthy,” Eichelberger said. “I’ve heard from some coaches who have talked about how they like my aggressiveness this year. They want to see my athleticism. It’s coming back to me a lot better now that I’m healthy.”

Winston is asking Eichelberger to become a shooting threat away from the basket.

“I’m comfortable with him shooting from 15 to 17 feet out,” Winston said. “I’m not comfortable with him shooting the 3s, but depending on the score he can take a few.

“He’s a threat consistently from the 15-foot range. Defenders have to respect him. He can get to the rim. He is so fundamentally sound. We’re just working on different facets of his game. That’s what summers are for.”

Will wait until senior season to commit

Eichelberger, who carries a 3.8 GPA, says he will not commit until his senior season. His favorite programs are Kentucky and Duke.

“I look to see how the coach develops players,” Eichelberger said. “It’s not just how they develop players for the NBA. It’s how they develop players for after college, what they go on to do after they graduate.”

Winston believes Eichelberger will thrive as an NCAA Division I college basketball player.

“He’s a great kid, a smart kid, a hard worker,” Winston said. “He’s definitely a Division 1 player. It’s just real important that he finds the right fit for him.

“He’s proven that he’s a D1 player on the circuit, playing and holding his own against players identified as top D1 recruits."