2009 MN Comets Shootout Preview

Here's my thoughts on this weekend's Comets Shootout. Let's be honest. There's not much to watch in the 16s since the Pump N Run and top 43 Hoops 16s are playing up. I assume the top 43 Hoops 15U team will be good and they play a good Heat 15U Elite team at Sartell High in the Auxillary gym bright and early at 9:10 AM. A shame they're in the same pool but the top 2 finishers in each of the 4 pools move on to the championship bracket so they could have a rematch in the 15U title game. I'm surprised that the Pump N Run 15s aren't playing in this one.

The Comets Elites 16s and the MN Select 16s are the 2 16U teams I'd watch during day session (8-3). Unfortunately the MN Heat 16 Elites play during the night session as I think they're the other favorite in the 16s. Yes they lost stud Alex Richter to Pump N Run, but the Preiner twins and Riley West still give them a very good core group from one of last year's top 15U teams.

On to the good stuff and the only stuff anyone will pay much attention to (besides me of course, it's who I am, its what I do). The 17s start at 3 PM and play on 8 courts in 3 buildings for 6 straight sessions thanks to ACT exam day. A dream and a nightmare all in 1. Let's look at the best games of each session and then I'll make my pool and bracket picks.

3 PM Session
A couple of games that interest me here. Grassroots vs 94 Ft should be a very up and down game. While I don't claim to know what 94 Ft of Game has for a roster, I won't be surprised if Jordan Jackson puts up big numbers for them this summer. A couple of Grassroots questions. Will Jordair Jett play for Grassroots since he's also in the All-Star series Friday night and Saturday afternoon? If so, how much? And a little birdie tells me there may be something else worth noting with Grassroots so that perks my attention. The other point of interest is Breckenridge forward Joe Terfehr vs the huge front line of the Pump N Run 17s. Both of those games are at Sauk Rapids-Rice high.

4:10 PM Session
Weak session here, but I'll take the game on court 1 at the Whitney Rec Center. Fury Elite vs Magic Black. With Danny Geiger, Dajon Newell and Charlie Kern outside and LeDarian Horton, Yuriy Maleshenko and Justin Casey up front, this is a team I wouldn't want to play against. This Magic Black squad was a good team last year with guys like Jeff Fallat from Burnsville so I'll be interested to see what they have this season.

5:20 PM Session
There will be no more humorous contrast of size and style this summer than the matchup of the Pump N Run 17s vs Grassroots (Sauk Rapids-Rice High). Pump N Run huge and slow, Grassroots small and lightning fast.

6:30 PM Session
I'm going to stick with the Magic Black theme and go back to the WRC for their game against the Mpls Redhawks. The Redhawks added SPA's tough Evan McMillan and Burnsville shooter Jack Ghizoni. Remember they made the state 16U final last summer. Don't sleep on them this summer.

7:40 PM Session
We meet the fairness doctrine as the 3rd location (Sauk Rapids Middle School) gets this featured game. That's TNL and their high-octane offense but with a post presence now. That's White Bear Lake's Spencer Cummings who comes over from Howard Pulley. They get Chris Carr's 43 Hoops top 16U team. Keep an extra scoreboard handy in that one. I don't see TNL putting up much defensive resistance and I don't see the younger 43 Hoops guys being able to stop TNL. This game should decide Pool C.

8:50 PM Session
A couple of nice matchups in this session. At Sauk Rapids High, The top 43 Hoops team of Al Harris takes on the Pump N Run 16s. I think that's the game of the day and will decide Pool H. Over at the WRC, the Redhawks take on the Fury Elite in a game that will decide Pool E.

POOL PICKS
Pool A: Comets Elite-Hanson
Pool B: MN Glory out of the weakest pool.
Pool C: TNL but 43 Hoops Carr wouldn't surprise me here.
Pool D: Pump N Run 17s but I won't be surprised if Grassroots comes out of here.
Pool E: Fury Elite out of the most balanced pool
Pool F: Heat Elite because of all the Stillwater kids playing together but Select I is a wildcard since their roster is unknown.
Pool G: Comets Elite-Seevers. The Terry Porter rosters don't have any of the studs they had last year. No ranked kids on the 16s or 17s. Read the Wishoops.net previews here, 16s preview, 17s preview.
Pool H: 43 Hoops-Harris but I won't be surprised if the PNR 16s get the win.

BRACKET PREDICTIONS
Quarterfinals: Comets Elite-Hanson over Glory, PNR 17s over TNL in another game of size vs speed, Fury Elite over Heat Elite, 43 Hoops Harris over Comets Elite-Seevers.
Semifinals: PNR 17s over Comets Elite-Hanson (great game), Fury Elite over 43 Hoops-Harris
Championship: PNR 17s over Fury Elite

Don't sleep on the Gold bracket which is going on at the same time. The Semis there could look like this. 43 Hoops Carr vs Grassroots and MN Select vs PNR 16s. That's not bad. While the quarters and semis for that bracket are going on at another building, the Gold final, 17U Championship and the 15U Championship are all at the Whitney Rec Center at 3 PM on Sunday. The 16U Championship and the 3rd place championship of 17U are at 1:50 PM.

(Czar's Note 4/3/09, this Carr/Grassroots game would actually have to happen in the quarters, who ever wins should move to the final, I also overlooked the Redhawks vs Select possibility in the other half)

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