Everybody to the Lake?

John Millea's blog today has all 4 of the remaining Classic Lake schools being assigned to the Lake. Last Monday, each of the schools had an opportunity to present its case for where they wanted to play. Could this be a pre-emptive strike to put 16 in the Lake and then they split into 8 and 8 on the their own? I still don't get why Chaska and Chanhassen want to go to the Missota only to outgrown that league down the road, especially when Chaska has already been there and done that. The NW Suburban and the N Suburban still make no sense with 11 each. Cooper needs to get out out the N Suburban in a bad way.

A reminder that the realignment plans I put together in August 2007 (which I still think make more sense than anything I've heard so far) can be found at these links.

AAAA Realignment here

Remainder of the realignment plan here

Read John Millea's full update here.

2009 Dakota Showcase Predictions

A look at this weekend's Dakota Showcase as this big events starts the preparation for the July open period.

Pool A
Dakota Schoolers are the class of this pool with Cody Larson, Trevor Gruis and Derek Brown. Joe Terfehr of Breckenridge represents ECI East in the pool. Trevor Osen is the top kid to watch for IBCA Iowa Select I. MN Fury Gold 16s round out the pool with guards Anthony Lee and Terez Van Pelt. I don't see the Schoolers getting much of a challenge.

Pool B
Another weak pool with ECI West, MN Select Kruger and South Dakota Heat II. With that competition and coming off their championship in Mankato, I expect Magic Black to roll through this pool. Doug Sewall came over from TNL to Magic Black and was the tourney MVP in Mankato last week despite being a bloody mess on Saturday. Watch the shooting of Select Kruger's Brodie Raymond in this pool as well. He had 15 triples in 5 games in Mankato last weekend.

Pool C
This might be a better pool. MSB and Fury Gold represent Minnesota. North Dakota Jam Boyz and South Dakota Heat I round out the pool. Despite a depleted roster, MSB won a weak pool in Mankato thanks to the play of Lucas Brown. I'll take MSB to win the pool.

Pool D
Comets-Seevers and MN Select-James top this pool. Jordan Jackson joins Select this week and hopefully Jake Kreuser is healthy for them. Mitchell Kernels and WI Blizzard II make up the bottom of the pool. I look for Scott Nystrom and Martin Wind to be factors for the Comets. Tough pick here but I've picked Ben's team all year. So in the spirit of Chris Berman picking the Bills, I'll take Comets-Seevers to win the pool.

Pool E
MN Xplosion makes another appearance but the team I'm watching here is the Fury Elites.

Pool F
Minnesota Glory is in this pool with Connor Gunderson. Team I'm watching is the Wisconsin Blizzard top team with their 3 guards (Hass, Schalow and Mach) and Scott Carney up front. This time it is their real top team coming, not the Blizzard I team that was in Mankato last weekend. (read a preview of them here) A major threat to win the whole thing.

Pool G
ECI Minnesota here but the top Comets team of Josh Hanson is here and has to be the pick to win the pool. Will Shaun Condon be with the Comets or at Tubby's team camp with his MACCRAY teammates?

Pool H
Finally, we have the SW MN Stars playing at "home" (a few Sioux Falls Christian kids play for them). Alegent Crusaders come up from Omaha and I see them as the other threat in the pool. But after a runner up finish last weekend in Mankato, I'll take the home team to come out of this pool.

Championship Bracket Predictions (8 pool winners play for the big prize)
Dakota Schoolers over Magic Black
Comets-Seevers over MSB
WI Blizzard over MN Fury Elite (top quarterfinal game)
Comets-Hanson over SW MN Stars

Dakota Schoolers over Comets-Seevers
Comets-Hanson over WI Blizzard (another game that I think will be outstanding)

Comets-Hanson over Dakota Schoolers for the championship but it pains me to pick against the Schoolers on home turf.

Breakdown Summer Showcase Thoughts

My thoughts from Sunday at Minnetonka for the Breakdown Summer Showcase

Blue Pool A
Big Lake wins the pool with wins over GFW and Austin. Austin without Connor Gunderson despite Glory's 1st round playoff lost in Mankato. GFW with 5 points in the 1st 25 minutes of that game vs Big Lake. 38-22 final in an ugly one. 6'8 Center Tyler Hansen for Big Lake is an interesting player. Lanky athlete and can shoot a little. He played well.

Blue Pool B
Loaded pool here. Delano with Darius Clare and Mike Yahnke held off New London-Spicer who had Jayme Moten and Erik Tengwall 57-55. NLS then had too much inside for MACCRAY in a 69-53 win. Seth Hinrichs with 11 in the 2nd half but Shaun Condon only 3 FTs and 2 FG attempts. Condon finishes with 15. Hinrichs in a tough spot having the game of a perimeter player but having to defend the top post player. MACCRAY held off Delano in the last pool game 55-51. MACCRAY up 27-24 at half behind 16 points from their star Shaun Condon. In the 2nd half, when Delano would get close, Condon would make a play. He finishes with 28 in the win. Mike Yahnke with 15 points for Delano. So that means all 3 teams finish 1-1. Delano and NLS finish with the same points allowed so despite a head-head win, we go to the coin flip which Delano thankfully wins.

Delano couldn't generate any offense in the championship game vs Big Lake and the Hornets get the surprise championship.

Red Pool A
Apollo with all 3 of their stars from the class of 2011 on hand but it didn't matter vs a loaded Hopkins squad. Hopkins wins 72-49. Zach Stahl really made a case for that 5th spot with his play in this one. Only Riley Dearring missing, but Marvin Singleton, Siyani Chambers, DJ Peterson and Joe Coleman all on hand for the Royals. Cameron Selmer was the only kid from Mankato who made the trip back.

Champlin Park shorthanded as Kyle Zimmerman and Jasper Duberry weren't available. But they gave Hopkins all they wanted. CP had a late lead thanks to a Josh Pella steal and layup but a Hopkins 3 and a Dillon Hager miss allows Hopkins to survive 44-40.

Red Pool B
Sibley rolled through Pool B despite not having Jake Kreuser and Jimmy Ryan (2 key components of next year's team). Interesting that Kreuser didn't play on Sunday in Mankato with what appears to be a bum knee.

Red Championship (Hopkins vs Sibley)
This one had some intensity to it. Interesting to hear Hopkins talk smack about Jordan Jackson transferring to Sibley. I found the irony rather humorous. Then the game was chippy at times too as there was some chirping going on. 26-20 Hopkins at the half with Mike Rostampour scoring 8 points and Jordan Jackson with 6 points on 2 circus field goals. Sibley comes out with 9 in a row to start the 2nd half before a DJ Peterson 3 breaks the run. Rostampour on the bench to end the run as he has 4 fouls. But he returns with 9:30 left in a surprise move. 33-31 Hopkins with 8:30 to play. Siyani Chambers runs out for a pair of layins to push the lead to 6 with 4:20 left. Marvin Singleton with a 3 point play and then Chambers for 3 for a 12 point lead with 2:45 left to conclude a 10-0 run. But DJ Peterson misses a front end with 32.7 seconds left and Chambers misses another front end at 20.5 and Sibley is only down 2 with a chance to tie. But they turn it over with 12.1 to go. Chambers seals the 49-45 Hopkins win with 2 FTs. Mike Rostampour with 17 and 10 as Hopkins had trouble with him inside. Jordan Jackson with 10 points but his shot selection more than once left something to be desired. Jackson is still adjusting to the new style, but coach Dasovich is going to have to determine if he's a 1 or a 2 next season. He's a scorer in a PG body but his athleticism is a major plus. DJ Peterson with 15 points, Siyani Chambers with 12. Marvin Singleton did see plenty of perimeter touches during the day, but he's the guy who's going to have to be an interior presence for them in 09-10.

Mankato Day 2 Results

I made the trip to Mankato to see for myself what the Mr Basketball MN Showcase had on display. Last night the coaches were out in force, but a very very quiet day in terms of coaches sightings on Saturday (weak schedule didn't help).

Game 1: MN Glory was down 15-4 early to IBCA Iowa Select I as they couldn't buy a shot from anywhere. IBCA star Trevor Osen in foul trouble which limited his 1st half minutes. Glory's Connor Gunderson took advantage of their open-post motion with numerous curl cuts into the lane for easy hoops and then knocked down 3 triples in the 2nd half on his way to 24 points in a 60-51 Glory win.

Game 2: TC Elite vs Mitchell Kernels. TC Elite sleepwalks early but manages to take a 37-24 halftime lead. Mitchell closes to 58-54 with 5:32 remaining but Aaron McCrossan knocks down a pair of his 6 triples in the game and adds on a pair of assists as TC Elite opens the shooting gallery down the stretch. Jordan Gieske doing a nice job of running and working to get easy buckets. TC Elite wins 78-59.

Game 4: MN Select James vs WI Blizzard II. Jake Kreuser with a bunch of touches for Select in this one. Blizzard take a 26-25 lead to half and then open the lead up to 8 early in the 2nd half before Select comes back for a 50-47 win. Tyler Firme's 12 points leads the way and I like his game. Jake Kreuser with 8 points (3-9 FG), 8 rebounds and 2 blocks on my sheet.

Game 4: TNL out of gate quick vs the SW MN Stars 7-0 despite 0-6 shooting from their big 3 of Duberry, Knopke and Sewer. TNL gets 8 in a row including a pair of Duberry triples for a 29-21 lead only to give up the next 9. SW goes to the half up 34-33. 42 all inside of 12 minutes when TNL goes on a 17-4 run to take a 59-46 lead with 6:25 left. The lead gets out to 16 before SW makes a furious late comeback. A steal for 2 cuts the lead to 5 with 2:05 left, then a 3 pt play cuts the lead to 3 at the 1:15 mark and a triple with 55 seconds left cuts the TNL lead to 76-75. TNL misses a front end with 28.8 left and survives a wide open look at the tying 3 withi 18 seconds left. TNL wins 82-80. Jay Sewer leads the way with 23 points (5 triples) on 8-16 shooting. Jasper Duberry with 4 triples as he went 7-12 for 18 points. Devon Knopke struggled with his shot going 2-8 (missed 1st 6) but he went 11-14 from the charity stripe and I had him for 7 rebounds and 3 assists with 15 points.

Game 5: MSB blows out Magic Red 79-59. Richfield's Ben Webster with 19 points for Magic Red. Lucas Brown with 21 points after a cold shooting start as he continues to impress here for MSB. MSB missing key components Zach Vraa, Troy Klingsporn and Andy Jirik.

Game 6: Best thing I can say about the 73-36 WI Blizzard I win over IBCA Iowa Select II squad is to acknowledge the IBCA guard who had the Kurt Rambis glasses going. That was a quality visual. Adam Haidman with 8 triples and 26 points for the victors in the top scoring performance of the tourney to date.

Game 7: Magic Black vs MN Select Kruger. Magic Black out to a 7-0 lead but the Heat are pesky and won't go away. Doug Sewall now with the Magic (was with TNL) gets a nasty gash above his right eye and we've got copious amounts of blood visible. CLEANUP ON COURT 1 PLEASE! But he's tough and comes back with a big patch in the 2nd half. Though I wish he would have had the Cameron Rundles playoff headwrap of a few years ago vs Henry with the single dried trickle of blood down his cheek. Anyway, North (St. Paul's) Nathan Schouvieller takes the extra step and gets called for it but the hammer throwdown came out of nowhere. Surprisingly athleticism there. Jeff Fallat with a putback with 2:07 remaining to give Magic a 52-49 lead. Brodie Raymond with a clutch triple with 29 seconds left to push Select into a 54 all tie. Jalen Williiams hesitates and misses an open 3 and Jeff Fallat fouls on the rebound with 6 seconds left Raymond makes the 1st FT. Magic requests a timeout after possession of the 2nd free throw. 2nd free throw is up and off the rim, mad scramble, ball is loose. Wait. There's the whistle and Magic gets the timeout down 1 with 4.9 left. Good break for the Magic. Jalen Williams goes full court but its not good at the horn and Select Kruger wins 55-54. Jalen Williams perimeter skills were more than expected and he leads the way with 16 points. Raymond with 3 more triples and 15 points as he continues his solid play in his backyard.

Game 8: Heat Select struggled though the 1st 3/4 of the game vs the Western Iowa Knickerbockers. But they make a run and win 69-61. David Mooers comes up big with 19 points for the winners. Nathan Kuck only 7 points as I had him 3-12 shooting, just one of those days. He's been Heat Select's top player all summer. Elijah Sabah quiet with 6 points on 3-5 shooting.

Game 9: IBCA Iowa Select I vs Mitchell Kernels. Game appears meaningless but it has impact on the next game. A Kernels win means Glory and TC Elite play head up for 1 and 2 in the pool. An IBCA win means a TC Elite win forces a 3 way tie. 1st place determined by point differential. Then 2nd place determined by head-head result of the remaining 2 teams. Glory at +29, TC Elite at +16, IBCA at -6. Long story short IBCA blows a 12 point 2nd half lead but comes back to hold off Mitchell 61-54. That means going into game 10 below. TC Elite not only needs to win, but they need to win by 7 or more to win the pool. 6 or less would put them in the 2nd place head-head tiebreaker with IBCA which IBCA won yesterday by 3 and therefore TC Elite would be 3rd and not play in the championship bracket.

Game 10: TC Elite vs Glory. Remember TC Elite needs a win by 7+. Glory out to a 28-16 lead with 5:18 left in the 1st half. Josh Pratt back with a pair of triples to cut the lead to 3 2 minutes later (9-0 run). But Glory makes clutch shots and they lead 36-29 at the half. TC Elite to the bonus and within 2 with 8:23 left when they miss the front end of the bonus that would tie the game. Glory's Nate Miller counters with back to back triples and the Glory lead is 57-49 with 7 minutes left. Pratt with a steal for 2 but then he misses the front end with 3:41 left and TC Elite down 63-58. David Gschneider with a hoop and 2 FTs and after we get the scoreboard straightened out, we're tied at 63 with 1:30 to play. Aaron McCrossan's 3 at 1:15 counters a Miller layin and now TC Elite leads 66-65, but remember they need a 7 point win so now the foul game starts. Glory misses 3 front ends (we're only shooting 1+1 in this tourney, no double bonus) but TC Elite can't convert. After 2 Justin Bosman FTs with 18.8 left, Pratt nails a triple with 4.5 to go to tie the game and send us to a 2 minute overtime. New life for TC Elite? No. Glory wins 79-75. Josh Pratt and Connor Gunderson lead their teams with 22 points each. Pratt hot from deep as he had 5 triples.

Game 11: TNL vs MN Select James. Interesting contrast of Select and Jake Kreuser vs the helter skelter style of TNL. Sam Onsomu (I think a mini Bryce Webster when I see him) is a nice piece inside along with Tyler Firme. He's got a big frame and works hard inside. Offense hard to come by in this one as TNL wins easily 65-42. Onsomu leads Select with 10 points. Jake Kreuser 9 points on 3-6 shooting with 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. Biggest shock though is how easy TNL won despite the woeful shooting of their guards. Jay Sewer 15 points on 6-15 shooting. Devon Knopke cold again as I had him 2-11 shooting. Nice game of 14 points and aggressiveness at Kreuser from Kyle Zimmerman.

MN Glory, MSB, Magic Black and TNL win the 4 pools.

Mankato Day 1 Results

Final results from the first day of the inaugural Mister Basketball Minnesota Showcase in Mankato.

Game 1) Magic Red vs WI Blizzard I. 77-41 Blizzard win. Sam Koslowski (17.3 for Menasha St. Mary Central last year ) with 19 points for the Blizzard. I wish this was the top Blizzard team, but this is their 3rd or 4th team. WI Blizzard II is a group of 16s.
Game 2) Lucas Brown's 25 was the top scoring performance of the day. In MSB’s 61-49 win over IBCA Iowa Select II.
Game 3) MN Select-Kruger over Western Iowa Knickerbockers 60-36 (no 6'8 Patrick Kurth or Tim Olejniczak for WIK).
Game 4) Magic Black over Heat Select 67-56. 3 guys in dbl figures for each team. Magic’s Jeff Fallat with 14 to lead all scorers. Doug Sewall with Magic Black and not TNL. Elijah Sabah 11 with a pair of triples for Heat Select.
Game 5) IBCA Iowa Select I 58-55 over TC Elite. Edina's Stephen Asp with 24 in a losing effort. Josh Pratt held to 6 points.
Game 6) MN Glory 61-36 over Mitchell Kernels. Nate Miller 19 points for the Glory. Connor Gunderson 10 points.
Game 7) SW MN Stars 65-35 over Select-James in a result that surprised me most from this day because of the margin. Jake Kreuser does lead all scorers with 13 points.
Game 8) TNL 66-47 over WI Blizzard II (16s). Devon Knopke 18 points.
Game 9) IBCA Iowa Select II 71-51 over Magic Red.
Game 10) MSB over WI Blizzard I 62-59. Kennedy's Ryan Vikesland with 12 points. 5'8 Nick Whalen with 3 triples and a game high 22 points for the Blizzard. Appears that there was no Zach Vraa for MSB. Drat I want to see him play.
Game 11) Magic Black over Western Iowa Knickerbockers 77-44. Jalen Williams with 16 points to lead 4 players in double figures for Magic Black. Nice to see big Matt Sellers get 13 points. He's done double-duty all summer and many will say he should have played more (at any level) for DLS last year.
Game 12) Heat Select def Select-Kruger 68-65. Nathan Kuck leads Heat Select in scoring again in this one as he had 20. St. Peter's Brodie Raymond with 5 triples and 24 points for Select-Kruger.

Pools A and D (MN Glory, TC Elite, MN Select-James and TNL) all play twice on Saturday. Magic Black and MSB will play their final pool games with a chance to sweep their pools. MN Select-James will likely need 2 wins to finish in the top half of their pool and make the championship bracket. But without the injured Alex Koch (dislocated ankle suffered last weekend at Hamline), a major perimeter threat is lost. I'm rooting for the TC Elite vs Glory game to determine who wins the pool or who advances.

Stillwater blasts the alma mater

Stillwater opens up tourney play in La Crosse with a 76-41 win over my alma mater La Crosse Central. Coach Randy Jordan has his guys going on full cylinders it looks like. Stillwater plays Central archrival La Crosse Logan in their final pool game later in the weekend. Let's hope that score is just as bad. :) At least that game isn't at The Swamp. Logan's fieldhouse is my least favorite basketball facility on the planet. So much for my beloved Red Raiders.

Chaska and Shakopee are also in La Crosse. One of Shakopee trio of 2011 kids, Ethan Petrill is out with a injured ankle. Pump N Run will need him to give Aaron Ziman some minutes of rest during July.

Teams back to the road this weekend

A busy weekend for kids with the Badger camp in Madison, Mr. Basketball MN Showcase in Mankato and the Dakota Showcase up in Wahpeton, ND/Breckenridge, MN. Not to mention a Breakdown HS tourney at Minnetonka. (Czar's Note 6/17/09: Chaska, Stillwater and Shakopee will be in The Old Kingdom for a HS tourney in La Crosse, including games at my alma mater. Hopefully Stillwater will go easy on Central but make up for it against Logan. 6 games for each of those teams with 3 on Friday and Saturday before bracket play on Sunday)

Dakota Showcase (schedule here)
MN Triple Threat makes the trip north and they get Trevor Gruis and the Dakota Schoolers in their pool. Bad break there in the draw. MN Glory 16s are also there. In the 15s, visions of the MN Select Classic appear. MN Southside, Comets Elites, Dakota Schoolers 14s and 15s along with Martin Brothers (1 of the top programs in Iowa) are all in the 15U bracket. If this is the Martin Brothers team I expect you're looking at possibly Marcus Paige (though he may in Madison with his Linn-Mar teammates), Mike Gesell and Adam Woodbury (top Iowa kids in 2012) all appearing. Should be a terrific 15U bracket. Southside vs Comets 3 PM Saturday as they have split their last 2 meetings if I recall correctly. Martin Brothers vs Southside at 6:30 PM Saturday.

Mr. Basketball MN Showcase (schedule here)
One of easiest setups for fans like me since its 1 court only for the 1st 2 days. Tough with the Sunday night final though. MN Glory and TC Elite should be interesting in Pool A (7:30 PM Saturday). Connor Gunderson vs Josh Pratt in a nice perimeter matchup in that game will be fun to watch. Pool B has the Wisconsin Blizzard top team which I think is a favorite here (read a preview of them here). Trevor Hass should be fun to watch for them as he leads their terrific group of guards. But MSB is also in Pool B and gets their shot at the Blizzard at 7:30 on Friday night. Let's hope I finally get to see Zach Vraa play for them. Magic Black highlights pool C but the Western Iowa Knickerbockers have 6'8 Patrick Kurth in the middle to deal with. Not to mention Tim Olejniczak who was the top small school scorer in Iowa last year at 24 pts per game. Minnesota Select's 2nd team (Kruger?) with St. Peter's Brodie Raymond and MN Heat Select with Elijah Sabah are also in the pool. TNL Express and MN Select I (James I'm assuming) are the tops of Pool D and play at 8:40 Saturday night in my most anticipated game of the day. This MN Select squad will look very different than what I saw at the MN Select Tournament. Alex Koch and Jake Kreuser are now on board (though Kreuser could be with Sibley this weekend). Looks like they may also have the 18 and 7 that Matt Baldwin averaged at East Grand Forks. Sami Onsomu and Jesse Briggity DNP as well in May when I saw them. They're a big wildcard in this tourney.

The Czar's Pool Winners: Glory, Blizzard I, W. Iowa Knickerbockers, MN Select I

Breakdown Tourney (schedule here)
6 teams in the Red bracket with 3 nice teams Apollo, Champlin Park and Faribault in 1 pool. Sibley headlines the other pool with Northfield and Owatonna. Sibley to win their pool, especially if Mike Rostampour and/or Jake Kreuser play for them. They steamrolled last weekend at Hamline. The other pool is tougher. What will Champlin Park have with TNL playing in Mankato? Hopefully Mike Emge is playing for Faribault as he's a heck of a shooter.

The Blue bracket is Big Lake, GFW and Austin (Connor Gunderson appearance?) on 1 side with Delano, New London-Spicer and MACCRAY on the other. If all players show up, you'd have nice kids in Mike Yahnke (Delano), Jayme Moten and Eric Tengwall (NLS), Seth Hinrichs and Shawn Condon (MACCRAY). MACCRAY coming off winning the event last weekend at SW MN State.

Josh Pratt Profile

I had a chance last weekend to get in touch with St. Anthony's Josh Pratt and his summer coach Bryan Schnettler of TC Elite. They were kind enough to answer a few questions for me about Josh's season with St. Anthony, his experiences this summer (including comments about the big buzzer beater vs the Pump N Run 16s at the Comets Shootout), what he working on and who may interested in Josh at the next level.

Minnesota Preps subscribers can read the article here.

Pool Play at MN HS Hoops Classic

So I made my way to "The Birthplace of Intercollegiate Basketball" for the MN HS Hoops Classic. A nice field with Osseo, Forest Lake, Henry Sibley, Spring Lake Park and Minnehaha among those participating.

Osseo vs Forest Lake highlighted the 1st session. Aaron Anderson arriving at the half for Osseo after the morning's ACTs. Forest Lake uses a 9-2 run to end the 1st half for a 7 point half time lead and they win 77-64. Forest Lake's open-post motion offense in mid-season form getting them great looks. Osseo with no answers on the defensive end.

Minnehaha vs Sibley for the highlight of the 2nd session. No Taylor Hanson in this one for Minnehaha which is never a good sign when you're up against Mike Rostampour and Jake Kreuser. Jordan Jackson also getting action with his new teammates (Como Park transfer). That's a big get for Sibley especially if Jackson can reign in some of the habits he had at Como. Rostampour had to have 20 and 10 in this one. Not much from Parker Hines for Minnehaha and Sibley goes on to an easy 64-36 win.

Osseo against St. Anthony in game 3 of the day. St. Anthony bombing away from deep to keep the game tied at 14 in the 1st half. Osseo extends to 37-28 at the break. Josh Pratt with a big 3 at the 11 minute mark of the 2nd half for a 48-47 St. Anthony lead. But Osseo is too much. A 13-3 run for Osseo gives them the lead for good. Osseo goes on to a 81-68 win.

Session 4 had Sibley with another big win 66-33 over Farmington.

My last session had Spring Lake Park vs St. Louis Park. Full house rosters for each team though not having Derek Dahl for Spring Lake Park was a big loss. Alex Koch leading the way despite some forced shots. The Orioles get a 12 point lead in the 1st half and never look back. 72-61 St. Louis Park wins. Aaron Ziman is the 1 player who doesn't play 1000 miles per hour for them though he has the ability. He's key to getting them in their sets. Elijah Sabah again showing a developed perimeter game. Nice to see Sean Scott getting some time with them as well.

Mike Rostampour easily the player of the day. Absolutely dominant in the paint and he even got in a couple of passing lanes to take passes the other way in the Farmington game.

Apple Valley announces new head coach

Assistant Zach Goring takes over at Apple Valley for Mike Fritze. Here's the press release.


Apple Valley, June 10, 2009: Apple Valley High School is pleased
to announce that Zach Goring has been hired as the head boys basketball coach.
He replaces Mike Fritze, who resigned the position in April.

Goring is a 7-year assistant coach for AVHS Boys’ Basketball. He is a 1995
graduate of AVHS and is the school’s all time leader in assists. He also holds
records for assists in a season and assists in a game. Goring was a 3-year letter
winner in basketball. During his junior and senior seasons, his teams won two
Lake Conference titles and he was named to the All-Conference team both
seasons. He was also a two-year letterman in baseball.

After graduation from Apple Valley, Goring attended St. Olaf College in
Northfield for one year before transferring to St. Cloud State University.
During Goring’s senior year, he helped lead the Huskies to the NCAA Division
II National Basketball Tournament.

After his graduation from college, he served as an assistant coach at St. Cloud
State University. During Goring's time as an assistant coach at AVHS, he has
been a part of two state tournament teams in 2007 (3rd place) and 2009. The
2007 team also won the conference title.

Thoughts from the latest MSHSL meeting

Some interesting developments from this week's MSHSL meeting.

1) Teams will be limited to a total of 3 scrimmages/jamborees.

I like a limit, but I don't know that it was ever really an issue. This has more practical impact than our next item.

2) Teams may not travel outside of neighboring states/provinces (thank you Manitoba) unless its a round trip of less than 600 miles.

This is totally ridiculous on a couple of accounts. First, how much is this actually happening and how much of an "advantage" is it. Second, most of those trips are funded by the event being attended (e.g the Hopkins trip to NY this year) or by fundraisers by the team (e.g baseball trips over spring break). I much prefer Wisconsin's solution of saying you can play 22 games if they're all in Wisconsin or neighboring states, otherwise you only get 20. Admittedly Wisconsin had Milwaukee schools going to Chicago and outstate all the time so they felt a pressing need for change. Maybe there's something to a pre-emptive strike. But if a tournament is paying Hopkins to come play, I want to see our Minnesota team to be able to go and showcase our talent.

3) From John Millea's post tonight, a 7 person committee will meet next Monday to start the process of placing the 4 remaining Classic Lake schools in leagues. Other than that, just a rehash of the expected. 2 to the Lake, 2 to the NW Suburban, appeals, complaints etc. Then the real fun begins with the Lake Conference finally seeing they're in this whether they want to be or not. Millea has predicted for a while that Chaska and Chanhassen would move to the Missota which would bring that league to 9 teams (remember Hutchinson is leaving for the Wright County). You'd end up with 13 in the NW Suburban so something would have to happen there. As much as I think Armstrong should have joined the North Suburban to be with Cooper and set that league at 12 teams, you know they won't be leaving after all the trouble they went through to get in that league.

2009 AAU District Championships Thoughts

My thoughts on vomit, horse racing hats, officiating, defensive struggles and whatever else of note from this weekend's AAU District Championships.

I start the weekend by seeing Tommy McDermott take the tip for 43 Hoops Daniels in the 8-9 game. vs 43 Hoops Gameli My kind of tip with a guard taking it. A pair of Kevin Jensen layups start a run that puts Daniels over the top 53-44. No real surprises in any of the bracket games. Suns came from 10 down vs Daniels in the quarters and won by 19 with a big 3rd quarter (21-2 run). Howard Pulley White took out Daniels last week and took out Pump N Run this week for bragging rights. Comets Elite took out Magic Elite and Southside defeated Heat Elite. Darian Pittman with 24 points (18 FTs) for the Suns as they defeated Pulley in the semis 72-61. Pulley with a pair of runs in that one but couldn't get over the top. That game took forever with all the whistle. Interesting that after a comment of mine to the assigning official about 1 of the refs, he jumped in at half and made it a 3 man crew. Joey King with 23 for Southside as they defeated a very game Comets team 68-60 in the other semi. That game was tied inside of 3 minutes to play. Southside defeated the Suns 49-46 in a war for the 15U title. Nice double teams from the Suns to try and keep King in check. We even had a fan (youngster I believe) leave some of the their lunch in the stands the hard way during the title game. What is that smell? Ewwwwwww, that's vomit. That set of bleachers is toast.

Pump N Run did get their shot at 43 Hoops (finally these teams play again at some level) in the consolation bracket instead of the winners bracket. PNR up 13 late in the 3rd quarter but 43 Hoops doesn't go away. Cortez Tillman goes up and comes down awkwardly on his left wrist late and has to leave. Kevin Jensen makes a pair of FTs to cut the lead to 3 with 1:34 left. But PNR gets 8 in a row thanks to a pair of 3 point plays and PNR wins 60-49.

The biggest shocker of the weekend for me had to be the Comets Elites (yes I picked them to win it) losing not once but twice on Saturday. Going out 61-53 to the Magic Elites isn't that big a deal, but the upstart MSB squad also beat the Comets Elites on Saturday. Remember that MSB gave Pump N Run all they wanted during bracket play at the Pump N Run tournament. I get Team Minnesota losing to the Wrath in the semifinals correct for a clean upper half of the draw. Wrath really handled Wear Out The Net from start to finish and I didn't expect that. Heat Elite took it to Magic Elite in the other semi 42-26. Heat Elite defeat the Wrath 44-39 in another major defensive struggle for the 16U D1 title. The Wrath are like a python in that they just squeeze the life out of you. Jack Klukas is known, but also keep the name Conner Nord in mind from Eden Prairie. Nice presence inside for The Wrath. Heat's end game execution wasn't ideal, but they managed to survive. MSB also took out WOTN on Sunday. SW MN Heat did make the 16U-D2 title game.

MSB wins the D2 bracket 40-36 over Fury Gold in another defensive struggle. Jalen Jaspers with Magic Black again this weekeend but I was surprised Fury Gold took them out by 24 in the semis. Now to the real fun, 17U-D1

Triple Threat took out TC Elite 65-43 in a major suprise in margin in the 8-9 game. 17-10 TC Elite after 1 quarter but they gave up a 26-3 run over about 1 quarter of play and were down 18 after 3. In the quarters, TNL needed OT vs Heat Elite before winning 79-74. Comets Seevers after beating Heat Select got down 30 to Fury Elite. But they cut the lead to 12 before bowing out 68-54. Comets Hanson defeated Triple Threat. Pump N Run 16s took out the Redhawks 58-56 in the last quarterfinal. PNR wins the 1st 2 quarters 13-12 for a 2 point halftime lead. Taylor Hanson 2 fouls in the 1st quarter cut his minutes and nothing from Parker Hines. The Redhawks go small and use a 2-3 zone nicely to end the 3rd quarter and a Taylor Hanson 3 gives them a 1 point lead going to the final stanza. Tied with 2:14 left and then Hanson fouls out. Jonah Travis with 3 of 4 FTs and a pair of dunks after that. Hines keeping the Redhawks close but his 3 at the horn only cuts the margin. PNR wins 58-56. Travis leads the way with 13 points. Parker Hines held to 9.

Fury and TNL close at the half of their semifinal, but Fury opens it up in the 2nd half and wins 68-55. Comets Hanson vs Pump N Run in the other semifinal. 1st 5 points of the game to PNR but a 9-2 Hanson run looks like it has them going. Jonah Travis with a reverse layin and PNR using some 2-3 which is contrary to the 1-2-2 they show. 15-14 PNR after 1. To the 2nd quarter and Travis has a monster 2 handed follow dunk, Jason Perkins with a straight away triple and Eric Robertson with a big triple. PNR 29-18 at the 1:40 mark for a 14-4 run in the quarter. The PNR lead is 7 at the half. The Comets make a run in the 3rd with a Taylor Filipek 3 point and a pair of triples from sniper Scott Willenbring. That cuts the PNR lead to 38-34 going to the 4th and it almost feels like PNR is just hanging on. But Alex Richter is back in to start the final quarter after his usual end of quarter bench rotation and he gets 5 in a row to push the lead right back to 8. Dan Kornbaum keeps the Comets close with a 3 point play at 4:13. 45-42 PNR leads. Perkins with another huge bomb inside of 3 minutes and the lead is 8. Kyle Noreen with a breakaway dunk and Richter with a layup to cap. PNR wins 58-49. Richter with 16 and Travis with 12.

PNR vs Fury Elite in the championship game. Yuriy Maleshenko with a pair of quick triples for the Fury, but PNR wins the rest of the quarter 13-6. Jack Wittenborg concludes a 6-0 Fury run with his 2nd post up against Aaron Ziman for a 16-13 Fury lead early in the 2nd quarter. 26-24 PNR at the half. LeDarian Horton with a nice 3rd quarter but neither team can gain a major advantage on the scoreboard. 36-34 PNR going to the final quarter. Aaron Ziman picks up his 4th foul seconds into the quarter and the problem that is Dajon Newell just became more so. Then again maybe not as nobody can seem to score. Jonah Travis with a great skip pass out of a post double team and Alex Kreuser nails a triple with 3:45 left for a 41-38 lead. Newell slips a screen and finishes. Richter counters on the other end. A missed 1 and 1 by Fury with 1:31 left is painful but PNR doesn't convert and Fury has the ball with 58 seconds left down 43-40. Newell with a jumper to cut the lead to 1 with 45 seconds left. After a Perkins FT, Wittenborg misses a good look at a 3. Ziman makes 2 FTs to clinch the win. PNR 16s win the 17U state title 47-42. Congrats to coach Miller on his 1st state title. Jonah Travis with 12 in the win for the only player in double figures.

Biggest story of the weekend is PNR's physical play. Normally its the older team having the advantage in pushing the younger team around. Not so in this instance. PNR was too physical for the Redhawks and beat up the Comets. And they were plenty tough in the war against a very rough and tough Fury team. The Comets had no answer for Alex Richter on the wing in the semifinal game and Jonah Travis was a beast in the championship game. In the 3 games against very solid MN 17s, PNR gave up 56, 49 and 42 points. Then they made big shots on the offensive end with the Perkins/Robertson/Kreuser triples in addition to plays from Richter or Travis.

A couple of nice posters handed out by the Comets Seevers squad during the weekend. Andrew Good handed out one with a 2 handed mash in the game vs Heat Select. Luke Januschka with a 1 handed breakout poster in the consolation game against Triple Threat.

And finally, long time readers may remember that Friday night at this event last year we had a lady decked out in full Kentucky Derby regalia (fantastic hat included). Well, this year didn't disappoint. We had both days of a lady wearing a nice purple fedora like hat with a "flower" on it (lack of better term) and matching outfit. It didn't meet last year's standard, but still high quality fashion that my simple mind found amusing in this setting.

2009 AAU District Championship 17U Predictions

To the fun, here's my thoughts on each bracket

Give me Comets-Seevers over Heat Select in the 7-10 game. The 8-9 game is the "We get no respect game" for the honor of playing the top seeded Comets-Hanson team. I'll take TC Elite but I won't be surprised if Triple Threat wins.

In the quarters, Comets Hanson takes out the 8-9 winner and Fury Elite takes out the 7-10 winner (Fury handled the Comets-Seevers club surprisingly easily last Saturday).

Most likely upset is in the 3-6 game with TNL vs Heat Elite. I like TNL here but a big game from Ryan Duxbury in the post would make this one very interesting. As always pace is huge here. A fast pace favors TNL, slow pace should allow Duxbury touches and favor the Heat.

The 4-5 game with the Pump N Run 16s vs Mpls Redhawks should be dynamite. PNR defeated the Redhawks at the Comets tourney. PNR without Eric Robertson in that one and I think the Redhawks were shorthanded. PNR has enough big bodies to defend Taylor Hanson. I look for Kyle Noreen to get the main task of defending Parker Hines. The Redhawks will run and PNR's size can cause them problems in transition defense. Keep an eye on that as well. Interesting that the 43 Hoops 16U-Carr team beat the Redhawks by 3 in the MN Select tourney championship game. Would the score of this game mean anything to those of us who do polls?

Semifinals: I'll take Comets Elite-Hanson and Fury Elite. I think those 2 teams have separated themselves from the rest of the pack.

Championship: Should be a classic. Will Mike Johnson get more time in an effort to better defend Dajon Newell or do they throw a group of guys like Tengwall and Riewer at him? I think the Comets matchup well in this one with a guy like Alex Hanks to guard LeDarian Horton and/or Danny Geiger. Bucholz and Kornbaum matchup against Casey and Wensmann. Taylor Filipek vs Yuriy Maleshenko would be fun to see. I'll take the Comets to win.

Give me Magic Blue over Old Skool and Glory over River City in the playin games.
Quarters: MSB over Magic Blue, Comets North over Comets Blue (northern bragging rights), Fury Gold over WOTN, Magic Black over Glory in an interesting game.
Semis: Magic Black over Fury Gold, MSB over Comets North
Championship: Magic Black over MSB

2009 AAU District Championship 16U Predictions

16U predictions for the AAU District Championships.

I'll take Team Minnesota and Magic Elite to win the 2 playin games.

Quarters: Team Minnesota Elite would then get another shot at Glory who got out with a 44-42 win last weekend on a last second putback. I'll take Team Minnesota in that one to knock out the "#1 seed" Glory.

Comets Elite to take out Magic Elite in the 2 vs 7 quarter. Comets Elite are just too much.

Heat Elite take out Fury Gold but they better show up as Fury Gold is dangerous.

Once again I love the 4 vs 5 game. MN Wrath vs Wear Out The Net. Expect a low scoring struggle and I think that favors the Wrath. But WOTN does have an interior advantage. A big game from Spencer Pankonin would go a long way.

Semis: I'll take the Wrath again over Team Minnesota. This seems like a bad matchup for Team Minnesota as I think the Wrath control pace and frustrate TM. Heat Elite vs Comets Elite sets up to be a huge rematch of a great semifinal game in St. Cloud to start the spring season. I think the Comets Elite are too deep and too big. But if the Heat hold down Simon Krych and Bryan Reeves, then their perimeter trio of the Preiner twins (I need to see that duct tape again) and Rob Daul can put them over the top.

Final: Comets Elite over MN Wrath. Wrath will try to make a game of it, but will run out of gas down the stretch.

Magic Red over Comets White in the playin game.
Quarters: 43 Hoops over the playin winner in a rout, TC Elite over Old Skool, SW MN Heat over Central Flyers, Fury Blue over Magic Blue.
Semis: 43 Hoops over TC Elite in a rematch from the Select tournament, SW MN Heat over Fury Blue
Final: 43 Hoops wins big over SW MN Heat.

2009 AAU District Championship 15U Predictions

Predictions for the 2009 15U AAU District Championships

5 playin games here. The 2 43 Hoops teams take on each other. The Daniels squad is a little beat up and Gameli's team took a beating from Pump N Run last weekend. Best game of the playins, give me the Daniels squad thanks to the year age difference. Pump N Run over TC Elite White, Howard Pulley White over Fury, Comets Blue over TC Elite Green and MN Heat Elite over TC Elite Black.

Quarters: I think the Suns are vulnerable in the game vs 43 Hoops. They didn't impress me last weekend despite a 3-0 record. Good matchup of guards with Darian Pittman against the slew of guards that coach Daniels has in Maleek McHenry (brother of Angelo Johnson if I recall correctly), Marcus Marshall and Tommy McDermott. I'll take the upset here.

Pump N Run vs Howard Pulley White. Intense game here that should be close. I'll take Pump N Run. Magic Elite vs Comets Elite should be a very fun game as well. Southside vs Heat shapes up to be a nice game as well. I'll take Magic and Southside to play each other in the bottom half.

Semis: 43 Hoops Daniels vs Pump N Run and Southside vs Magic. Bright and early 8:15 Sunday morning too, yuck. Note to congress, I'd prefer noon but I'd take 9 AM as law that no basketball should be played before that time. Both of those games should be outstanding. Joey King too much and Southside moves on. Pump N Run will have to deal with the size of 43 Hoops. 43 Hoops has been up and down and Pump N Run played well last weekend, I'll take PNR here with either end result not being a surprise.

Final: Southside took it to Pump N Run last weekend. No good matchup for Pump N Run against Joey King. Southside wins the title. But PNR has 2 or 3 wins over Southside, don't be surprised if they win it. (OK, it sounds like the season series may be a 1-1 split)

Summer is the time for camping

Ah June, today marks 6 months from the true opening night of the 2009-2010 season (Friday December 4th, yes I'm counting). June is a month for summer leagues and kids getting a shot to blow up at elite camps. 2 things that I know absolutely nothing about so I took the opportunity to go over to 43 Hoops last night and take a look at their college league.

Al Harris had his top 17U team (sans Jordan Reetz) taking on St. Olaf with guys I should probably recognize but I only knew former Kennedy star Alfred Jaryan. St. Olaf hangs on for the win 64-61 if I recall correctly. You can really see the physical difference between the college kids and the high school kids. Good challenge for the 17s though. Nice to see Brett Ervin back and considering he's not in 100% game shape yet, I liked what he did for them especially giving them some kind of presence in the post. He hasn't been in a tournament yet but it looks like his return will be a big factor for that club in July.

Got to see Zach Towle with a team in the late game. Not to mention Maurice Hernandez and Isaiah Thomas playing with their Concordia team. Thomas with a high toss and sick reverse dunk during warmups. You can tell they're freshmen but its nice to see them start getting acclimated. Also must have been nice for the refs as its a laid back atmosphere where the fans really don't get on them.

Since I mentioned camping, here's some notes on kids going to camps this month.

Pump N Run
Kevin Noreen - Marquette and a Virginia, Virginia Tech, VCU swing and possibly Gonzaga
Other Pump N Run guys - Iowa State I think will have guys like Dyami Starks, Mike Rostampour, Jake Kreuser.
Steve Tecker - Colorado State and Portland

43 Hoops
Jordan Reetz and Brett Ervin - Northern Iowa
Vinard Birch - Drake

Net Gain
Chanse Creekmur - Marquette and Gonzaga
DJ Peterson - Santa Clara and Marquette
Cole Stefan - Washington State and Gonzaga
Joe Hanstad - Gonzaga (just coming off a stress fracture in his ankle which has kept him out all spring)
Tor Anderson - Montana State

Howard Pulley and the rest of the teams out there
I don't know of any, but if anybody wants to fill in I'll add to this list.

Mid-Summer 16U Top 10

In my last post, I took at look at the top teams at the 17U level this summer. Now let's take a look at the 16U level.
  1. 43 Hoops-Carr. Deep and athletic. Ross Travis has really come on for them this summer. Jordan Smith is one of the best shooters in the class. Freddie Young and Estan Tyler are a pair of quality point guards. Jake White and Thomas Schalk are 2 of the top 2011 prospects. Marquel Curtis is a powerful wing. Due to more impressive head-head wins against same opponents (SYF and Derrick Rose), they get the nod over ...
  2. Minnesota Pump N Run. A very different squad than the 43 Hoops squad, but just as dangerous. Alex Richter is a beast on the wing. Mike Yahnke is the purest back to the basket post player I've seen at this level this spring. What they lack in athleticism is made up for with the size and physical play. Having Eric Robertson at 100% for July will give them another major weapon. A head to head win in Kansas gives them the nod over...
  3. Howard Pulley Black. Marvin Singleton is a beast at the power forward slot and Marcus Alipate gives them a very solid point guard. Myles Barnes is a slippery post player and Nick Latzke is another standout shooter. Add in the grit of Evan Battle (who always seems to have a snarl on his face like somebody just insulted him)
  4. Just like 17U, the Comets Elites come in at #4. Jayme Moten (who thankfully got rid of the cornrows and went back to the world's best hair) at the point is tough and fearless, Seth Hinrichs is a big 2 and with Bryan Reeves and Simon Krych up front, this is a very good and deep team.
  5. MN Heat Elite. Rob Daul replaces Alex Richter on the wing as a bull in a china shop type. Add in the versatile Preiner twins (Luke needs to keep the duct tape on so we all can tell them apart) and bulldog Riley West on the perimeter with Ryan Burns and Jon Christenson inside. Not a fun team to play but not as deep as the top clubs.
  6. Now it gets tough as I could pick any of 4 teams here and be happy with it. 43 Hoops II is my vote here. Big with Travis Rollo and TJ Okafor up front, athletic with Jared Bervin and Marcus Dorsey on the wings and Derek Dahl and Raijon Kelly at the point. Add in Jeremy Borg who fills a nice role for them. They blew through the MN Select tourney at the beginning of the month and if it weren't for giving up a 19 point lead to Glory, they'd be playing for the big prize this weekend.
  7. Wear Out The Net. They have nice size with Spencer Pankonin and Otto Pfefferle inside but Max Watts is the guy who gets it done for them.
  8. MN Wrath gets this spot. They had a nice run in Iowa after their MYAS schedule. Jack Klukas, Ben Kortum and Bronson Scheff give them players with varsity experience. I also like what Connor Nord did for them inside last weekend.
  9. Minnesota Magic Elite for their body of work despite a close loss to the MN Wrath this weekend. They're athletic with guys like Joe Carpenter and Rodney Pierce-Tyler. Daron Garvis and Vaughn Thada give them perimeter quickness and they have size with Connor Quicksell and Robert Ndondo-Lay.
  10. Minnesota Glory. Ben Figini has been clutch for them all season and Joe Zangel is a developing name. Credit has to be given for winning 3 close games this weekend to keep the #1 seed.
Honorable Mention: Team Minnesota Elite who knocked off 43 Hoops last weekend but lost to MN Magic and blew out by MN Wrath in Iowa. Minnesota Fury Gold who won their pool in Iowa and took Wear Out The Net to the wire last weekend in a game they probably should have won.

Let's root for 43 Hoops Carr to meet Pump N Run in Chicago in July to settle all the debate since they won't get a chance to revisit last year's district championship game.

Mid-Summer 17U Top 10

Now that we're basically at the halfway point of the summer season and I've had a chance to take a look at all of the teams, here's how I'd rank them.
  1. Howard Pulley Black. With superstar Harrison Barnes and a big summer from Jacob Thomas, the Panthers have to be on top of the list. Chad Calcaterra has demonstrated consistent improvement over the course of the summer.
  2. Minnesota Pump N Run. Carlos Emory has been huge and the record of good tourney wins in St. Cloud, Denver and their own quality tournament speaks for itself despite bumps in the road in Kansas and Iowa.
  3. 43 Hoops Harris. Gave Pump N Run a game at the Comets tourney and had All Ohio Red down 20 in Akron at the end of April. Could get another shot at PNR in Chicago in early July. Defensively as tough as anybody in the state.
  4. Comets Elite-Hanson has to get strong consideration to be in that top tier as they're clearly the best of the rest as shown by a final 4 finish at the Jayhawk Invite. Nobody else from here down can go 10 deep like this group can.
  5. Net Gain Sports. The MASH unit of the summer with all of their injuries but a sweet 16 finish in Denver (which should have been final 8) is a nice accomplishment. Will be interesting to see what they do with Joe Hanstad back in July. What kind of depth will this squad have?
  6. Fury Elite. A surprisingly deep roster with Dajon Newell, Yuriy Maleshenko, Danny Geiger and LeDarian Horton to name a few notables. Not spectacular but rock solid.
  7. Minneapolis Redhawks. Parker Hines and Taylor Hanson lead the way. John Rowland and Cory Booker have made major contributions as role players. Final 4 at the Pump N Run tourney plus making the title game at the Super Regional give them the nod over ...
  8. TNL Express. 3-0 at the Comets tourney in pool play and had Pump N Run on the ropes before falling apart in the last 9 minutes of that quarterfinal. Since then, their most notable game was a loss to upstart Team Cannon in the quarters of the their Super Regional. Demonstrates why they are the Jekyll and Hyde team of this top 10 as they have the biggest variance in how they play from game to game. Will not playing in the PNR, Jayhawk, or Festival of Teams hurt them this weekend?
  9. Comets-Seevers. Had a rough start to the season but this team is starting to put it together. Scott Nystrom has been outstanding for them all spring. They knocked off Comets Hanson to win the Comets Clash 2 weeks ago and could get them again in the quarters this weekend at the District AAU Championships.
  10. Tie: Magic Black and Heat Elite. The Heat have a versatile squad and the trio of Walter Franklin, Deron Murphy and Jeff Fallat is a nice combination for Magic Black.
Honorable Mention: Triple Threat for the #2 seed in their pool from this weekend and their win over the Redhawks for the TNL Super Regional title.