2009 Howard Pulley Sabes Invitational Preview

Here are my thoughts going into the 2009 Howard Pulley Sabes Invitational. View the tournament schedules here

Pool A
Teams: Howard Pulley Black, St. Louis Eagles, Chicago Demons, All IA Attack

This is Howard Pulley's top team with Chad Calcaterra and Jacob Thomas being the noteworthy players to watch. I love the irony of seeing the Demons in the same pool after HP beat the Demons by 40 in pool play only to lose to them in the quarters last season. All Iowa Attack has their 2nd team in this bracket. The Demons come in with 6'7 forward Floyd Campbell who was an honorable mention all-city pick in Chicago. The St. Louis Eagles bring point guard Karl Madison and stud sophomore Brad Beal to the party. Beal fantastic last weekend in St. Louis in the 16U division losing to MN Pump N Run in the final after a big win over PNR in pool play. Beal's a 6'3 smooth shooting guard with a versatile game. Kansas, Missouri, Purdue, Florida and Illinois are listed as offering him.

Predicted Order of Finish: HP Black, STL Eagles, Demons, All Iowa Attack
Pool Game of Note: 1:15 Saturday STL Eagles vs HP Black

Pool B
Teams: Metro Hawks, Playground Elite, Team Nebraska, RBS All-Stars

I've got no idea on the Metro Hawks or Team Nebraska. I can only hope Nebraska big Elliot Eliason is with them, but I highly doubt it. I'll be watching 5'11 guard Ryan Walker for RBS. But being a Wisconsin guy only the Playground Elite matter to me here. 6'4 wing Chim Kadima leads the way. He's #7 in the wishoops.net rankings and had previously committed to Iowa State. He had a decent showing at the East Metro Showcase in January. #9 sophomore 6'6 F Cinmeon Bowers is also featured on this team. Also ranked from the team are #48 6'5 wing Troy Hoff , #49 5'10 PG Terry Taylor, and #29 6'7 shot-blocker and banger Jon Macklin. He was a monster when I saw him at the start of last season.

Predicted Order of Finish: Playground Elite, Metro Hawks, RBS, Team Nebraska

Pool C
Teams: Mac Irvin Fire, KC Pump N Run, SYF Players, Dakota Schoolers

This is one of the 2 pools that is absolutely stacked. Trevor Releford was the 16U MVP last year for KC PNR with his Willis Reed performance and the 6'0 PG is back this year. He had 30 points in the loss to Harrison Barnes and All Iowa Attack in the Jayhawk final. Kansas State has offered and his stock is quickly rising. 6'6 wing Ricky Kreklow holds a handful of mid-major offers and has some interest from Minnesota. 6'4 guard Marc Braden was also named to the Jayhawk all-tourney team.

The Dakota Schoolers bring in a few familiar faces. Iowa recruit 6'9 F Cody Larson along with Ellsworth star Trevor Gruis return. 6'0 PG Derek Brown played in some summer events with the MN Magic 16 Elites last year and is now with the Schoolers.

The SYF Players bring in the #6 (Rivals), #9 (Scout) player in the 2010 class 6'9 Dominique Ferguson. He had previously committed to Kentucky before John Calipari took that job. PF Brandon Dawson and SF Markus Crider (Dayton, Akron, Wright State offers with Ohio State and Minnesota watching) are also SYF players to watch in the tourney from the 2011 class.

The Mac Irvin Fire are absolutely loaded with talent. Rivals rankings for their roster. 6'8 F Jereme Richmond is #19 and was a monster last weekend at the Spiece Run and Slam tournament. He's committed to Illinois. #23 6'5 guard Crandall Head will also attend Illinois. The Illini also get a big guy from the roster in #69 ranked 6'11 center Meyers Leonard. Scout has those players ranked #6, #37 and #29 respectively. And that's just the 2010 class. The Fire also feature 2 of the top 2011 prospects in the nation. 6'8 F Mike Shaw is ranked #7 by Rivals and #10 by Scout with his versatile game. He has an Illinois offer. 6'5 Wing Wayne Blackshear is ranked #8 by Scout. He's been offered by Texas and Illinois. And you can't forget about Reggie Smith or Tim Hardaway's son, Tim Hardaway Jr.

Predicted Order of Finish: Mac Irvin Fire, SYF Players, KC Pump N Run, Dakota Schoolers
Games to See: 11:50 AM Saturday Mac Irvin Fire vs SYF or KC PNR vs Mac Irvin Fire at 4 PM.

Pool D
Teams: Houston Hoops, Illinois Warriors, All Iowa Attack Red, Minnesota Comets

The other pool that is totally stacked. All Iowa Attack brings in Scout.com's top 2010 player Harrison Barnes (#4 Rivals). But don't overlook 6'5 wing Zach McCabe. He received an Iowa offer after all of the defections from that program.

The Illinois Warriors bring in the #82 player in 2010 (per Rivals), 6'3 Brandon Spearman. A glue player with great effort. No Vander Blue for them this weekend which is a shame for a Badger fan like me.

The MN Comets Elites will have their deep roster on hand with guys like wing Taylor Filipek but they will throw 10 guys at you in waves.

Houston Hoops is also stacked. Their backcourt of 6'1 LJ Rose and 6'0 J-Mychal Reese are only freshman but they can play. Reese especially is a star in the making. But its not just guards. 6'8 Tobi Oyedeji is the #60 player in the country according to Rivals. 6'11 Alex Kirk is from New Mexico but plays with this squad and has interest from Minnesota amongst others high majors.

Predicted Order of Finish: All Iowa Attack, Houston Hoops, Illinois Warriors, MN Comets
Games to See: 10:25 AM Saturday All Iowa Attack vs Houston Hoops

Pool E
Teams: Howard Pulley White, Grassroots, ECI, MSB

The weakest of the pools, but you've got to have some love for the local teams. Home cooking, mmm, mmm. For HP White, I look for Jalen Jaspers to lead them. ECI will bring in Breckenridge's 6'7 Joe Terfehr. He missed the Comets tournament so I'm looking forward to seeing him. MSB not spectacular but always solid and ready to pounce on the team that doesn't take them seriously. 6'3 soph Lucas Brown is one to watch along with Rosemounts Zach Vraa. Grassroots with Jordair Jett will always be entertaining and I'm hearing they may get Steve Tecker and Dyami Starks for the weekend with Pump N Run taking the week off. I'm hearing they may have 1 other noteworthy addition too.

Predicted Order of Finish: Grassroots, HP White, MSB, ECI
Games to See: 1:15 Saturday Grassroots vs HP White

Everybody makes the championship bracket which means we have 10:40 PM games for the 16s with the winners coming back for 8 AM games on Sunday morning. Ouch. The 17s except for 1 game are done with the 8 PM game and don't play until 9:25 Sunday morning

I see the early playoff rounds as a formality. In the semis, I'll take All Iowa Attack Red over the Playground Elite, Mac Irvin Fire over HP Black. Mac Irvin Fire over All Iowa Attack Red in the final.

16U division players of note: 6'7 F Christan Kirk from KC Pump N Run 16U, #2 ranked in WI 6'3 Darrell Longstreet and 6'3 Kevin Mays from Playground Elite 16U (#12 in WI), #6 ranked freshman 6'3 Otis Pirtle of the Playground Elite 15U team. Siyani Chambers and Isaiah Zierden from the Howard Pulley Black 15s. They both made the Jayhawk all-tourney team last weekend. Marcus Alipate and Nick Latzke from the Howard Pulley Black 16U squad.

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