MN shutout in final Rivals 2010 Top 150

Rivals released their final 2010 rankings today.  Kevin Noreen and Jacob Thomas both miss out on that final ranking.  

Here are the players from the list who made a local appearance.

#1 Josh Selby
#2 Harrison Barnes
#18 Joe Jackson
#24 Vander Blue
#25 Dwight Powell
#84 Crandall Head
#85 Tobi Oyedeji
#90 Trevor Releford
#101 Anthony Johnson
#116 Alex Kirk
#129 Brandon Peters
#139 Brandon Spearman
#143 Ahmad Starks

Dorothy, we are in Kansas

Its the beginning of May and that means the annual Jayhawk, or should I say Traveling Minnesota Road Show, Invitational.  13 teams from 17U (25% of the field), 12 from 16U (25%) and 8 15U teams from Minnesota all make the 8 hour trip south.  Or should I just mention who isn't there.  Pump N Run, Glory and Select all have the week off.

But just because it seems like a Minnesota tournament, don't be fooled by the quality.  Its a loaded national field too at the 17U level with Doublepump Spring Classic champ KC Pump N Run (Christian Kirk), St. Louis Eagles (#7 ranked Brad Beal and Ben McLemore), SYF Players (#16 ranked Branden Dawson), Dallas Mustangs (#5 ranked LeBryan Nash), Compton Magic (#99 Jahii Carson and #2 2012 Isaiah Austin from Texas joins them for this weekend), Dream Vision (#19 Angelo Chol and #8 2012 player Shabazz Muhammed), NE Players, D1E (AKA Derrick Rose All-Stars), Pray and Play Players (Perry Ellis, ESPN's sophomore of the year).  Note that all rankings are from

In 17U (schedule here), the SW MN Stars have Zach Huisken from the Dakota Schoolers for the weekend to replace one of the Holt twins (Lee).   Welcome to Kansas guys as Pump N Run Elite and SYF Players reside in this pool.  Both of those games are Saturday.  Fury Blue gets the absolute most criminal draw possible as they get Pray and Play Players and Dream Vision in their pool.  YIKES!  It doesn't get much tougher than that.  Fury gets both on Saturday.

WOTN Black and Howard Pulley Black join Dallas Mustangs in their pool.  HP Black vs the Mustangs 9:10 Saturday morning.   Mustangs won the tough Real Deal In The Rock title 2 weeks ago.  Comets Hanson is in with KC Truth who qualified for the 16U title game at the Sabes Invite last year.  They play at 6:10 Friday night.   Pool K has a very interest battle of the MN Wrath and the MN Heat Elite at 8 AM Saturday morning.  Also at 8 AM is Team GetShook vs WOTN Gold in Pool H.

In 16U (schedule here), tough draws across the board for MN teams.  MN Suns get KC Pump N Run in their pool.  KC PNR was the 16s division runner up in Denver (Czar's Note 4/28/10 corrected result).  Howard Pulley White gets the stacked and huge Indiana Elite One squad that won the title in Denver 2 weeks ago.  Who was one of the other semifinalist?  Net Gain and they're in pool E.  Howard Pulley Black gets the SYF Players in their pool.  43 Hoops coming off their PNR tourney win last weekend sees the 2nd Comets team in their pool.  Southside and Comets Elite head up 2 more pools.  Magic somehow has a team here (own tourney this week) and has tNBA in their pool.  Fury and WOTN Gold round out the final pool.

In 15U (schedule here), a tough draw for Minnesota Fury Blue.  They're off to a great start but Kansas City Pump N Run resides in their pool.  SYF Players and Dallas Mustangs are with WOTN Gold in their pool.

2010 Pump N Run Spring Classic Weekend

To the weekend at the 2010 Pump N Run Spring Classic. Pool play and bracket play were 2 totally different items.

Saturday Pool Play
The end of pool play Saturday morning and early afternoon was nothing but blowouts.  Pump N Run big in their 2 games in pool A.  Heat Black rolled to the pool B title.  Heat Elite no problems in pool C.  WOTN Gold won pool D.  MN Wrath with an easy Saturday win to take pool E.   Iowa Barnstormers routed pool F.  Fury Blue took pool G.  The only interesting pool was pool H.  Southside had a 1 point win under their belt but fell by 1 to RK Elite in morning play.  RK Elite played Mpls GATOR for the pool title to end 17U pool play.  RK Elite would win the pool outright with a win.  A Mpls GATOR win by 2 would give them the 3 way tiebreaker.  47 all with 5 seconds left.  GATOR ball, they push to halfcourt and get pushed out with 2 seconds left for free throws.  The 1st is good and the 2nd is off.  GATOR rebounds but holds and wins 48-47.  Now we have a complete mess.  All 3 teams are tied.  We go to the 1 published tiebreaker, point differential.  But all 3 teams have a point differential of 0.  Now what.  Tournament director decision (and you know this will be published next year) takes us to points allowed to determine head-head breakers.  RK Elite wins the points allowed and has head-head on Southside to win the pool.  Southside takes 2nd via their head-head win over GATOR.  1 free throws takes GATOR from 1st to the Silver bracket.

Round of 16
In the round of 16, Pump N Run took out the WI Blizzard.  WI Starz won a Wisconsin battle with RK Elite.  WOTN Gold took out Bound 4 Glory.  Nimrod Hilliard (who actually was there with his high school club since Playground Elite had the week off) nails a buzzer beater for NESYB to beat MN Wrath.  In the bottom half, Heat Sprang took out EOTO.  Then the end of the night was wild.  Iowa Barnstormers got up 20 on WI Swing but had to hold on for 75-73 win.  Fury Gold controlled their game with Heat Elite for a 56-51 win that's hard to call an upset the way Nick Carroll's team has played.  Finally MN Southside took out Fury Blue in an ugly 46-45 game.  Neither team able to generate offense in that one.

In 16U round of 16 play, 43 Hoops came from 5 down at the half against Heat Elite to win easily.  Dave Simmet effective inside for the Heat in the 1st half, but the Heat got locked down on D only scoring 10 points in the 1st 15 minutes of the half.  Josh Turnquist hit 3s picking and popping against Simmet and there wasn't an answer for that.

To the 16U quarters where 43 Hoops took on 1 of the tourney favorites, WI Swing-Litscher.  43 Hoops dominates the 1st half for a 39-24 lead but gives up a 21-2 run to start the 2nd half.  Coach Harris' club locks down again as they don't allow a point in the last 4 minutes of a tie game and win 59-50.  Barnstormers won their game in that half.  Bound 4 Glory came from 7 down at half vs a game Rosemount squad to advance 57-46.  Pump N Run held off Fury 60-52 to complete the bottom half. 

In the 17U quarters. Pump N Run rolled over WI Starz.  Lucas Brown with a layup with 5 seconds left to beat NESYB and complete the 1st semifinal.  Heat Sprang had no problems with Southside.  Barnstormers got up big on Fury Gold before Fury cut it to 3 late.  Barnstormers win by 7 to setup the other semi.

In the 16U semis, PNR defeats Bound 4 Glory 59-45.  43 Hoops vs Barnstormers was another case of 43 Hoops giving up a big run.  This time it was 13-2 early to fall behind by double digits.  No panic from coach Harris as once again he chooses to let his kids play through it with no time out.  They claw back to within 7 at the half and take a 4 point lead with 4:45 left.  56 all and 43 Hoops has the ball.  Its all Marcus Marshall as he goes step back with 6 seconds left for the 3.  59-56 43 Hoops wins.

In the 17U semis, no problems again for the Barnstormers as they steamroll Heat Sprang 80-49.  Wear Out the Net Gold gave Pump N Run all they wanted.  A 10-0 run ends the 1st half and gives WOTN a 34-28 halftime lead.  Then Marcus Alipate with a second 3 in a big stretch and WOTN leads 51-38 with 10:45 left.  Kyle Noreen draws 2 quick fouls on Alipate posting him on the left block and to me that turned the tide and set the physical tone for the rest of the game.  Roosevelt Scott with a steal and fouled on a dunk.  He grabs the miss of the 2nd FT and puts it back.  Then he nails a 3 with 7:40 left and PNR is back on top 55-54.  That's a 17-3 run.  59 all with 4 minutes left.  Marcus Alipate with 2 freebies at 1:27 for a 1 point WOTN lead and then Alex Richter spins into a turnover.  Kyle Bauman with 1 of 2 FTs with 54.2 left.  To Richter at the high post and he kicks it right out to Joel Lindberg for a right wing 3.  Bauman with his own redemption as he scores on the post with 18 seconds left.  66-65 WOTN leads.  Timeout PNR as they bring it to the halfcourt line with 11 seconds left.  The call is a high pick and roll with Roosevelt Scott and Jonah Travis.  Travis catches at the right block and scores the tough finish with 5 seconds left for a 67-66 win.

16U Championship
This was going on at the same time as the 17U final and actually started and finished afterwards.  Close game the entire way.  Carnell Sheppard with a 3 with 2 minutes left and PNR leads 59-56.  But Duke Anywanu (Blaine) puts back a miss with 5 seconds left to give 43 Hoops the title 62-61.  Sanjay Lumpkin is really blowing up right now for the PNR 16s.  But the story of this tournament, maybe at any level, was Marcus Marshall of 43 Hoops.  His offense and ability to cross you over and step back for 3s is flat out dominating.  Between him and Isaiah Gray, most of their offense is high screen and roll and for very good reason.  Josh Turnquist made a living off of that as both guys are quick enough to get in the lane and cause trouble.  Turnquist hit a bunch of 3s this weekend popping off of that high screen and it wasn't a fluke.  Interesting chess match with that vs Heat Elite with big Dave Simmet who couldn't get out to Turnquist.  Same problem for Pump N Run as they'd start Sanjay Lumpkin on Marshall, but on the high screen/roll they'd switch which would negate that intended matchup.

17U Championship
We get the expected matchup here and Seth Tuttle is back from prom for the Barnstormers after missing time on Saturday.  But the big 3 (Josh Oglesby, Seth Tuttle and Jarrod Uthoff) do nothing in the 1st half and PNR controls the half for a 35-23 lead.  Barnstormers are too good to get beat by double-digits in this one and we're tied at 40 with 8:35 left.  Oglesby for 3 at 5:54 to tie the game at 45 and then 2 technical free throws for the lead.  Tuttle then with a kickout from the post and that's a 3 to tie the game at 50 with 2:05 left.  Uthoff on the post, 52 all at 1:30.  Teams trade misses and Shelby Moats has a 25 footer at the horn that's no good.

In the overtime, Moats around Uthoff for 2 and the foul with 40.4 left for a 3 point PNR lead.  The Barnstormers nail a pair of 3s, including 1 with 5.2 left.  57 all.  PNR timeout and they turn it over on the inbounds.  Barnstormers don't get a good look and we'll play double overtime.  WOW.  Tuttle with an easy weakside putback with 56 seconds left in the 2nd OT after Uthoff misses on the post.  Jonah Travis makes 1 of 2 FTs with 31.2 left.  Oglesby has to be fouled and his 2 freebies are all net with 27.4 remaining.  Kyle Noreen misses a 3 and a runout dunk finishes it.  65-60 Barnstormers win the title in double overtime.  Jonah Travis 24 points in the loss.  100% all the time and relentless inside.

Pump N Run Spring Classic 17U All Tournament Team (as selected by the media members in attendance)
Jarrod Uthoff- Iowa Barnstormers (MVP)
Josh Oglesby - Iowa Barnstormers
Jonah Travis - MN Pump N Run
Roosevelt Scott - MN Pump N Run
Bryan Sprang - MN Heat Black
Marcus Alipate - Wear Out the Net Gold
Nimrod Hilliard - NESYB
Marquealis Edwards - MN Fury Gold

Honorable mentions.  I liked what Kyle Bauman did for WOTN Gold this weekend.  Eric Robertson of Pump N Run making shots.  Congrats to the WI Blizzard 14s who took out and the Iowa Barnstormers 15s for winning titles.  Finally, how about some love for Apple Valley assistant Duez Henderson and his Bound 4 Glory program.  Great weekend across the board for them after getting some bulletin board material from my preview (i.e lack of any mention).  Their 15s took out the top PNR Maroon 15s in the quarters before losing to the Barnstormers and their 16 Black squad made the 16U semis.

Day 1 of 2010 Pump N Run Spring Classic

Friday night at the Pump N Run Spring Classic at Jefferson.  Once again $2 for the 12 oz Pepsi.  Note to self, I'm bringing as many 24 packs as I can carry and I'm selling them outside the activity center for a buck between 7:30 and 7:45 AM.  (That's a joke, don't expect me to be there at that hideous hour of the day, support the cause and buy the concessions)

Very early 5:30 PM opener this year.  Mostly 15U games between metro teams.  Fury Blue 15U coming off their championship at the Comets Tourney took out the Midtown Kings in a big way 62-42. 

6:40 gets it started for the 17U games.  Call the Gold Guys has its WOTN Gold vs Fury Gold.  WOTN without David Stanley or Lucas Brown from Roseville.  College coaches all over the place for this one.  U of Mary and SW MN State, Augustana, St. Cloud State, St. Olaf just some of the schools looking on.  Tight game throughout the first half with the teams actually playing defense, a rarity in summer ball.  34-32 WOTN at the break.  Then a 7-0 WOTN run to start the half as Fury goes cold.  They do cut the lead to 54-52 on a Justin Casey putback.  But Marcus Alipate gets an assist and then scores on Aaron Ziman in the post to push the lead to 7.  WOTN wins 64-59.

Court 7 for my next game was held up due to a faulty clock so we get bonus hoops over on court 1.  MN Southside taking on Minneapolis GATOR (who?).  56 all with 1:45 to go and Southside turns it over.  Gator turns it over on their end for 1 of 2 free throws from Jalen Albritton.  Gator turns it over again and Joey King converts a layup and then blocks a shot coming back.  Albritton makes 2 freebies and this should be over.  Not quite.  Southside gives up a 2 and then turns it over.  10.9 to go, Gator ball down 3.  They put back a miss for 2 with 2 seconds left and time runs out.  Southside hangs on 61-60 and plays at 10:20 vs RK Elite for the pool crown.  Joey King 25 points in the win.

Back to the main gym for Wrath vs Wisconsin Swing.  Monroe's Brian Tordoff with a respectable game but this one took forever for Wrath to win 69-59.  Wrath up 10 in the first half before Swing cut it to 4 at the 5 minute mark.  12-4 Wrath run to end the half pushes the lead back to double-digits and they weren't threatened.  Heat Elite pull away from Comets Gold 61-41

In the night cap, Fury Blue vs Wisconsin Starz.  We miss Nimrod Hilliard (tiny goggled guard from last year).  After all, without sports who would root for the Nimrods.  Josh Pella, off a visit to Minnesota-Moorhead, joins the shorthanded Fury for this one.  Big city kid but he did enjoy the visit.  Interesting situation there with no coach in place yet after they fired Stu Engen.  Fury start the game on an 11-0 run and it looks like a blowout but the Starz pull to 26-18 at the half.  The second half is a total disaster for the Starz as Fury builds the lead all the way to 53-28 with 6+ left on their way to a blowout win.  Liked a spurt from Starz big Joe Sokovich in the second half.  Starz tried their 1-2-2 trapping zone and just had no success with much of anything they tried in the second half.

2010 Pump N Run Spring Tournament Preview

Its time once again for the Pump N Run Spring Classic.  Here's my look at the 2010 edition.  I'll have live results on my Twitter page throughout the tournament.  If you weren't following along last weekend, you missed game updates and plenty of feedback from the recruiting analysts in attendance.

17U (Schedule Here)
In Pool A, expect Pump N Run to roll.  Comets North is the Comets squad in the pool.  Top 2 Comets teams have the weekend off as last year prom decimated those squads.  Jonah Travis got rave reviews from all the recruiting folks watching in Denver last week.  Joel Lindberg just picked up a Toledo offer from former UWGB coach Tod Kowalczyk.  Roosevelt Scott also jumping on the scene for PNR.

In Pool B, yuck.  Team GetShook and the 3rd teams from the MN Heat and Wisconsin Blizzard.  Richfield's lefty point guard Shawn Bear has been lighting it up for GetShook.  Anoka's Eli Guptil on the wing is the other primary scorer.  I'll take them by default to win the pool.  (Czar's Note 4/22/10: Its actually Heat Sprang in the pool, not Heat Red.  With Sprang and Jordan Van Eps, I'll take them to win the pool)

In Pool C, Bound 4 Glory makes the trip from Iowa but Heat Elite is the easy pick in this pool.  Comets Gold is another secondary Comets squad in the bracket.

Pool D has very nice balance.  This is the 2nd WI Playmakers squad so no Paul Jesperson or Phil Romback (politics potentially there as they will be at the Pulley Invite in 2 weeks).  But 6'8 Kyle Stankowski was impressive a couple of weeks ago.  Mahtomedi's Dane Schmid of Fury Gold is a good matchup for him.  And we haven't mentioned the top Wear Out The Net squad yet with Lucas Brown, David Stanley, Vaughn Thada, Ben Sicoli and Matt Hentges.  Fury vs WOTN at 6:40 Friday night likely decides the pool.

Pool E, not a fan.  MN Wrath are here with MN Premiere.  WI Swing is an unknown item.  Good program, but 16s weren't special last year (unlike the 15s and 17s).

Pool F, WOTN 2nd team is here.  Shane McSparron played well for them last weekend but this pool is all about the 3 headed monster of the Iowa Barnstormers.  They rolled through the Badger City Classic 2 weeks ago and won their own tourney defeating the Milwaukee Spartans last weekend.  Josh Oglesby is a 6'5" sharpshooting guard.  He has offers from Creighton and Arizona State just to name 2.  His Cedar Rapids rival 6'8" Jarrod Uthoff has been blowing up with offers from Indiana, Arizona State and Iowa State at the big level.  Northern Colorado (coach now at Colorado), Northern Iowa, Indiana State and Creighton all on board as well.  Wishoops named him the Badger City Classic MVP.  Finally 6'8" Seth Tuttle who just got an offer from Colorado State.  They have to be the major contender to the throne in the tournament.  PNR knocked off the Barnstormers for the 16U title last year 62-54.

Pool G, this is the other very balanced pool.  Triple Threat and James Fort are in.  Fury Blue and Wisconsin Starz (former Madison Spartans group) round out the pool.  Starz lost the title game at the Badger City Classic to the Barnstormers.  A pair of Madison Memorial wings, Tre Burnette and Miles Chamberlain lead that squad.  Starz vs Fury at 9 PM Friday night may decide the pool.

Finally in Pool H, this is MN Southside's pool to win as they play up a level.  Joey King leads the way.  De La Salle's Sam Burt is a good fit with him up front to hammer the glass.  Eden Prairie's Sander Mohn is a shooter and Matt Larson is a bruising 6'1 forward.  RK Elite comes up from southeast Wisconsin with Chris Souter at a guard and 6'7 big body Brian Quinn inside.

Bracket Prediction
Pump N Run over Southside (tough round of 16 game for Southside)
Wear Out The Net Gold over MN Wrath
Wisconsin Starz over Heat Sprang (Czar's Note 4/22/10: updated to reflect change to pool B)
Barnstormers over Heat Elite (rough draw)

PNR over WOTN Gold
Barnstormers over Starz (again)

PNR over Barnstormers in a very good game like PNR vs Swing last year.

16U (Schedule Here)
WI Swing Litscher returns to defend their 15U title from last year.  Assuming they kept Zak Showalter and David Neis, that's a quality guard duo to win pool A.  I'll take the Wisconsin Playmakers in pool B.  A retooled Pump N Run squad coming off a final 4 finish in Denver to roll in pool C.  Sanjay Lumpkin impressed some of the onlookers there.  Barnstormers 16s have been rolling too, they should win pool D.  If the Wisconsin Starz roster that shows freshman stars Ian Taylor and Cody Riseeuw is correct I think they win pool E.  But Heat Black may give them a run after their title at the Mpls Spring Jam last week.  Totino-Grace's Sam Meyer playing well for that crew.  Pool F has the Fury 16s in it against a 2nd or 3rd Swing team and Bound 4 Glory.  Give me Fury.  I'll take Heat Elite in pool G and 43 Hoops in Pool H.  43 Hoops with a rough championship loss last week in Menomonie.  Expect coach Al Harris to have his guys ready for this week.

Bracket Prediction
Swing-Litscher over 43 Hoops
Barnstormers over Starz
Heat Elite over WI Playmakers
PNR over Fury

Barnstormers over Swing (both tough wins to get here)
PNR over Heat Elite

PNR over Barnstormers (I can see any of Swing Litscher, Barnstormers or PNR winning it)

15U (Schedule Here)
The story here has to be the 2 Pump N Run teams.  Especially the loaded Maroon team with Darrion Strong and Carson Shanks who both drew attention in Denver.  Maroon wins pool A, Black wins Pool C but watchout for the Wisconsin Playmakers.  The Onalaska duo of Clint Rihn and Matt Thomas are both players of note.  Those teams play at 11:30 Saturday morning in one of the top 15U pool games.  Barnstormers win pool E.  Can't ignore Fury Blue in Pool F after they won the Comets tourney.  Midtown Kings athletes in that pool can be disruptive.  In Pool G, don't be surprised in the #4 Frosh in WI, Nick Fuller shows up with the WI Swing team.  I'll take Swing in that pool.  Comets Elite wins pool H.

Pump N Run Maroon stays undefeated and wins the tourney

2010 Howard Pulley Jamboree Schedule

In addition to the Pump N Run Spring Classic this weekend, Howard Pulley has their Jamboree this Saturday at Columbia Heights.  Here's the schedule.

9 AM - 15 White vs Mpls Polars
10 AM - 16 White vs Gators/Juice Stars
11 AM - 15 Blue vs Mpls Polars
Noon - 16 Blue vs Gators/Juice Stars
1 PM - 15 White vs Valley City, ND
2 PM - 16 White vs EOTO
3 PM - 17 White vs 2009 Pulley Alumni
4 PM - 15 Blue vs Valley City, ND
5 PM - 17 Blue vs MN Magic
6 PM - 16 Blue vs EOTO
7 PM - 17 White vs MN Magic
8 PM - 17 Blue vs 2009 Pulley Alumni

Highland Park selects a new coach

Central lead assistant Jon DePerry takes over at Highland Park for longtime coach Charles Portis.  Portis won a state title in 1999 and pulled a major home upset over #1 Tartan back in January 2004 if I remember correctly.  More on the coaching change from the Pioneer Press (read it here)

2010 Mpls Spring Jam Championships

Sunday was Championship Day at the Colin Powell Center but plenty to be decided before that in the end of pool play.

Triple Threat vs Magic Elite.  Zach Lofton joined Magic who was without Joe Carpenter all weekend.  21-19 Triple Threat at the half and then they open it up to 31-23 on a circus finish by Dan Krutzig with 9:18 left.  It looks like they'll coast to a win but Magic applies pressure to go on an 11-2 run as Lofton tries to take over.  42-41 Triple Threat when they get a shot blocked but get the possession arrow with 1:19 left.  Daron Garvis misses a 3 with 45 seconds left that was for the lead.  James Fort gets a dunk against the pressure and Lofton has a 3 go in and out and Triple Threat wins 49-46.

That loss being close means Magic can still win the pool.  Triple Threat was playing their final pool game at same times.  Wins by both would force a 3 way pool tie and we'd go to points.  Magic would win that with a 7 point win over Wear Out The Net.  Initially it looked like nobody would score 7 points in the entire game.  WOTN only scores 1 field goal in the 1st 12 minutes but Magic can't take advantage.  17-11 Magic at half.  Lofton with 9 points early in the 2nd half and Garvis buries a pair of 3s.  35-18 with 8:38 left and Magic coasts to a surprisingly easy 46-29 win.  That gives Magic Elite the 3 way tie breaker to play in the title game.

Magic Purple took on Fury Blue 2 in a pool A game late in the afternoon.  Elijah Sabah of Spring Lake Park on the Purple squad.  Interesting to see Hamline and St. Olaf looking on (St. Mary's was here the last 2 days).  27-23 Fury at half.  Sabah with a sick move from the left wing.  He goes left to right behind the back and then goes back to the left hand for the finish through contact and 1.  44-41 Purple with 6 minutes left.  Then this game became a clinic in how not to close a game out.  Fury with the late lead but bad shot after bad shot in the last 2 minutes result in 3 threes finished off by a 25 foot bomb from Washburn's Jamaal Rolenc with 10 seconds left sends us to OT tied at 60.  Columbia Heights Emrah Kadric goes Ali Farokmanesh to put Purple up 67-63 with 45 seconds left in OT.  Purple gets a T for 6 guys on the court with 16.5 left in a 3 point game. Fury makes both and gets the ball back but they can't convert 4 chances and Purple hangs on 69-68.  Rolenc finishes with 28 points.

In the 15U Title game, SW Slam Green almost gave up a late 8 point lead.  Up 1 with 20 seconds, they miss 2 free throws but a horrendous charging call on the other end with 9.8 left bails them out.  47-44 SW Slam Green wins.  In the 16U Title game, Urban Stars shot about 2 for 50 from behind the arc.  They missed 4 chances from 3 on 1 possession with 2:30 left when they were down 5.  Heat Black wins the 16U title 57-49.

To the 17U title game between Magic Maroon and Magic Elite.  Elite finishes the 1st half on an 8-0 run to take a 28-24 lead to the break.  They take on another start of the second half run of 9-2.  37-26 Elite with 12:06 left.  But Maroon was all over the offensive glass and they get a 3 point play off a miss to regain the lead 40-39 with 7:32 left.  44 all before Magic Elite puts this one out of reach with a 10-0 run.  Lofton with the 2nd of back to back 3s in the run and Garvis with a dagger from deep as well.  67-57 Magic Elite wins the 17U title.

Players that caught my eye.  Shane McSparron with a nice couple of days for WOTN 2.  Nick Bobb from Lake City for WOTN 2 is a nice pickup for them too.  I like what Trevor Berkley brings to Fury Blue 2.  Zach Lofton brings playmaking but he also needs the ball in his hands for Magic Elite.  The guy of note was Robert Ndondo-Lay.  Impressive weekend.  Was sore today from the nasty fall yesterday, but he had another quality day inside.  Sam Meyer for the Heat Black 16s.  Solid defense and he'll knock down open shots.  Guards for Triple Threat.  Mitch Wurm wasn't available all weekend and the names don't wow you but the Buffalo and STMA kids are hard-nosed defenders and they knock down open shots.  Add in James Fort inside and that squad is a headache to play.

2010 Mpls Spring Jam Days 1 and 2

Some thoughts from the 1st 2 days of action at the 2010 Minneapolis Spring Jam

Wear Out The Net's 2nd team won both of their games that I saw.  They put away Team GetShook 55-44 Friday night.  After a quick 14-4 start vs Triple Threat on Saturday morning, WOTN couldn't put that game away until very late.  Timely 3 point shooting kept Triple Threat in the game.  34 all with 4 minutes left before a crazy 2 and a Triple Threat turnover leads to 2 FT for WOTN to put the Nets on top for good.  But Ryan Burns needed a late layup and Annandale star James Fort missed a short jumper with 25 seconds left.  49-44 WOTN wins.  No Mitch Wurm for Triple Threat in that one.  Joel Awich of Tartan showing explosion around the basket that I didn't remember.  Maybe a sleeper contributor in the middle for Tartan next year after a summer of tutoring from Mitch Ohnstad.

Magic Maroon playing with Johnny Jackson of Cooper.  They jumped all over Fury Blue 2 13-1 thanks to 7 quick points from Marcus Nolen and rolled to a 60-36 win. 

Magic Elite with only 5 kids took on Team GetShook.  Ethan Petrill with his 4th and 5th triples of the game in an 8-0 run to start the 2nd half.  35-21 Magic with 12 minutes left.  But with only 5 guys the Magic were out of gas the last quarter of the game.  4 triples including 2 from Shawn Bear bring GetShook all the way back to a 42 all tie with 5 minutes left.  Petrill with an assist, then a steal.  He pulls it back and a cold-hearted dagger of a contested 3 to push the lead to 5.  Robert Ndondo-Lay takes over late inside to finish it off.  He got fouled on a dunk late and came down really hard but he finished the game and should be OK.  With Mound-Westonka's Dan Flesher inside, Lay plays a ton away from the basket and showed he could handle a bit.  Petrill finishes with 6 triples and 27 points.  Lefty point guard Shawn Bear with 7 3s and 27 points to lead Team GetShook. 

And for you helpful parents out there, be careful.  Ethan Petrill's dad jumped in to help this week and ended up blowing out an achilles tendon.  Yikes.  Net Gain director Marquis Watts at the start of last season blows an achilles, now this.  What's the deal?

Magic Elite should have a bigger roster tomorrow (and maybe Zach Lofton too) not including the injured Chris Smith-Bond.  They'll need all those bodies for a possible 3 games in 6 hours against WOTN, Triple Threat and the championship game if they win those 2.

Finish of the day goes to the 16U game between Magic Elite-Tillman and Urban Stars.  The Stars beat the buzzer with a jumper for a 60-58 win in a game that was close the entire way.  Urban Stars feature St. Croix Lutheran guard Wesley Tucker. 

The other Magic Elite 16U team coached by Jeff Maxon is 3-0 going into Sunday.  They defeated EOTO Black 51-40 on Friday.  Then a pair of wins on Saturday defeating Fury Gold 43-29 and Magic Blue 72-62.  Heat Black stands between them and an undefeated pool at 10:10 Sunday.  Darius Wilkerson and Sam Meyer featured for the Heat.  Quick turnaround for the 16U Title game at 1:25 PM preceded by the 15U title game.

2010 Grassroots Hoops Week 2 Preview

A look at week 2 of the 2010 MN Grassroots hoops season.  A quiet week as teams gear up for the PNR Tourney and Jayhawk Invites coming up the next 2 weeks.  We'll start with this week's road warriors.

Old Skool is in Iowa for the Barnstormers Spring Fling.  The Barnstormers are here next week in the PNR tourney and should be a major factor.  More on that in next week's preview.

MN Comets Gold 17s and 43 Hoops 16s are in Menomonie, WI for the Great Lakes Shootout.  Those teams are in the top Platinum bracket.  Have to think 43 Hoops rolls in that.

Finally the Net Gain 16s and all 4 Pump N Run teams are in Denver (sans me, boo hoo).  Tough draw for the PNR 17s with an extra game and 2 tough pool games.  Could be another 4 game Sunday and hustling for a late night flight.  Competition is stiff with Indiana Elite, KC Pump N Run etc showing.  Tourney is 1 of 3 premier events of the weekend.  Net Gain 16s and PNR could meet as early as the quarterfinals Sunday morning.  Net Gain gets Friday night off with both of their pool games early Saturday.  Both PNR 15s are out there and could in theory meet in the 1st round of playoffs, but somehow I don't see Jerry Robertson top 15s finishing 3rd in their pool.

Now to the Minneapolis Spring Jam at the Colin Powell Center.

17U (schedule here)
Magic Gold and Magic Maroon are here and could be 19U teams as its a combined bracket.  Taking that out of consideration, you have arguably the 3 best 17U teams all in Pool B with Magic Elite, Wear Out The Net and Triple Threat.  I like WOTN in the pool since they have the deepest roster and by far the most firepower (assuming its 1 top team).  But the group of games with those 3 teams are all worth watching.   Magic Elite with a tough draw getting Triple Threat (12:20 PM) and WOTN (2:30 PM) on Sunday before the 5:45 title game.   Saturday at 11:15 AM is WOTN vs Triple Threat.

Heat Red and Fury Blue 2 are in pool A and play Sunday at 3:35 PM.  These are the 3rd teams for each organization.  William McDonough and Chris Jones on the wings for the Fury.  Heat Red with Bryan Blackhawk and Jeff Weber on the wings. 

16U  (Schedule here)
For the 16s, a Magic Elite team graces both pools.  Wear Out The Net and Triple Threat join them again in Pool A.  Each One Teach One has both of their 16s split between the pools as well.  Heat Black with Darius Wilkerson of Hastings is in pool B.

15U (Schedule here)
Pool A-Team Get Shook, MN Triple Threat, Mpls Jaguars
Pool B-WOTN, Central Lakers,Heat East
Pool C-Comets II, Urban Stars, EOTO
Pool D-Magic Gold, SW Slam Green, Midtown Kings

For Magic Gold, they don't have size, but keep an eye on Sibley point guard Julius Johnson.  In that same pool, SW Slam Green has 6'4 Henry Rogotzke and 6'5 Austin Dierks.  Heat East is the 3rd Heat squad.  Comets II is their 2nd elite team.

Another school closes but you can travel

Some interesting tidbits this week.  First is that the MSHSL has lifted the 600 mile out of state travel ban.  The decision is now left to the school boards, amen to that.  There was also some talk to create 4 16 team sections with 2 teams from each advancing.  2 teams advancing, yuck.  But I like going to 4 sections rather than 8, especially for the small schools.  (Warning, Wisconsin bias there).

Another St. Paul school bites the dust.  This time its St. Paul Arlington.  With no enrollment area and only 90 freshmen signed up for next year, bye bye.  A shame since its the newest high school with the best gym in Minneapolis or St. Paul.  Hopefully they'll go back to the Twin Cities game there.  I'd also propose Tuesday night/Friday night doubleheaders and Saturday tripleheaders for league games at the gym.

Read more about the St. Paul school closing plan here.

ESPN thoughts on the EYBL

ESPN's Christopher Lawlor took a look at Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League that opens this weekend at the Boo Williams Invite (Howard Pulley included in case you weren't aware).  A very interesting article that I think you'll enjoy (read it here).  It also includes comments from Nike's director of grassroots basketball who happens to be the commissioner of the league.  Here's what stuck out to me.

  • Only 24 of the 42 teams make the Peach Jam and could be eliminated from the league next year.  Finish in the top half of your division to move on.
  • College rules including 3 man officiating crews (hopefully good ones unlike what is often seen in summer ball) and bigger yet, a 35 second shot clock.
  • Players must have a year of high school remaining.  Biggie to level the playing field.
  • There is a roster lockdown starting with the 1st game of league play.  Limited flexibility there.  If this encourages loyalty from players and teams, I'm all for it.
  • Coaches must wear provided game gear so no shorts and t-shirts.  That's somewhat amusing.

2010 Comets Shootout 17U Preview

This is part 2 in my preview of the 1st week of the 2010 Grassroots season (part 1 can be found here).  In this edition, a look at the 17U bracket in the Comets Shootout.

Minnesota's Toughest Basketball (Schedule here)
Like the US Open (The world's toughest tennis), I'm calling this Minnesota's Toughest Basketball.  7 games in just over 24 hours to win the title, all after many of the kids take the 4 hour ACT test in the morning and then travel to play the night games.  3 games in 5 sessions, probably travel home and come back for the 9:10 AM round of 16 games.  That's really brutal if you have the Friday 10 PM game.  Then you have to play 4 games Sunday.  And very little practice time to boot, though this year we get the extra week.  Even tough on fans like me who watch all of it, very difficult last year.  While I'm happy to be back in The Old Kingdom (5th Annual Crown Prince Cancer Benefit Baseball Trip), I'm not at all happy to miss this.

Pool A
2 of the 8 pools have only 3 teams which saves the wear and tear of that extra Saturday night game.  Comets Elite-Hanson gets that benefit in pool A.  This Comets club is huge with the Apollo front line of Simon Krych and Blake Maslonkowski and Mayer Lutheran's Travis Rollo.  Add in Seth Hinrichs who's a 2 that plays center for MACCRAY.  Then the leadership of Jayme Moten (please grow the hair back) at the point and rebounding guard Trevor Morlock on a wing.  They win the pool easily.  For Triple Threat, last year Michael Lindsey and Phil Nowak broke out.  This year Annandale has another big that will bust on to the scene for TT.  6'6 James Fort mans the middle.  Also keep an eye on Maple Lake's Mitch Wurm who will be their other scoring threat.  Comets Elite Hanson vs Triple Threat to open pool play at 4:10 Saturday.  Comets are done with the 6:30 game which could be a big advantage for Sunday.

Pool B
Magic Elite features athletic Joe Carpenter from St. Michael-Albertville.  6'9 Dan Flesher gives them size inside and Ethan Petrill comes over from Pump N Run.  Minnesota Select's top team is here with Brian Reeves and Joey Cuperus up front.  Brendan Canova and Tim Lubke man the backcourt with Andy Jones at a wing.  MN Heat Red is the 3rd Heat team (of 4 in the tourney).  Bryan Blackhawk is a scorer for that group.  Magic vs Select I to decide the pool at 6:30 Saturday night at Sauk Rapids HS.

Pool C
Minnesota Glory and MN Heat Sprang (Black but hereby called Heat Sprang) should duke it out to win this pool.  Glory with Winona's Mark Blacklock and Chicago Lakes Benj Figini up front.  Frosh Anders Broman from Lakeview Christian (Duluth area) plays up for backcourt punch.  He's already scored over 1000 points in his high school career.  Soph Carey Woods from Bemidji also listed for Glory.  Brian Sprang is all everything for Heat Sprang.  Expect him to have big games in this pool as a tough wing matchup for most.  Jordan Van Eps and Derek Dahl come over from 43 Hoops.  Spencer Grow is a nice wing from Anoka.  Depth could be an issue with only 7 guys listed for Heat Sprang.  Heat Sprang vs Glory at 7:40 Whitney Court 1.

Pool D
Minnesota Pump N Run leads this pool.  Jonah Travis, Shelby Moats and Alex Richter all return for this club.  Rumor mill also has Sibley seniors Mike Rostampour and Jordan Jackson joining this club.  Superior point guard Joel Lindberg joins the team.  He replaces Aaron Ziman who is now with Fury Gold and in this pool.  6'9 Dane Schmid mans the middle for that group.  Joe Zangel provides wing scoring along with guard Toriano Tatum.  Those teams play at 7:40 on the other end of the Whitney.

Pool E
This is the other 3 team pool.  Heat Elite with the Preiner twins and Rob Daul lead the pool.  Alex Kreuser comes over from Pump N Run.  Spencer Pankonin comes over from WOTN for size.  And go figure, WOTN is the competition in this pool.  Lucas Brown and Matt Hentges are wing scorers.  David Stanley, Ben Sicoli and Vaughan Thada are solid guards.  Otto Pfefferle is a 6'8 string bean who can step out and shoot it along with big 6'8 soph Kyle Bauman down low.  Those teams play to decide the pool at 8:50 Sat night at Sauk Rapids HS.

Pool F
Its the top teams from ECI and Fury leading this pool.  ECI with 2 of North Dakota's best in guards Joe Hanstad and Josh Rodenbiker.  Jesse Crosby and Stephen-Argyle's monster big Matt Borowicz will be the inside play.  Fury's gets wing scoring from Mike Emge and Rodney Owens.  Terez Van Pelt and Anthony Lee are solid at the point.  TJ Okafor and Martin Smith will have their hands full inside.  They meet at 8:50 on court 3 at the Whitney.  John Clark and Alex Koch lead the MN Select 2nd team in this pool.  Koch has the ability to put the team on his back and steal a game.

Pool G
The tournament favorite 43 Hoops is here.  So much firepower with Estan Tyler, Jordan Smith, Jake White, Marquel Curtis and Thomas Schalk.  And then you add in the state's 2011 prospect Ross Travis (#133 nationally).  MN Wrath looks to be the 2nd team here.  Waconia's guard tandem of Bronson Scheff and Ben Kortuem is solid.  Conner Nord mans the front line and Jack Klukas is a wing scorer.  Not flashy but very sound and tough defensively.

Pool H
The 2nd Comets Elite squad is here.  Caleb Johnson is solid at the point.  Cody Milbrath was very productive at the state tournament for Springfield.  Jordan Gieske and Ian Nelson give them bangers inside.  Also keep an eye on Nate Golden.  Much to my dismay the South Dakota Heat White squad appears instead of the black squad with MN kids Casey Schilling and Jalen Voss.  We get 5'8 soph Wyatt Krogman (little brother of South Dakota's all-time leading scorer Louie Krogram who's now at South Dakota) and 6'8 Chris Zylstra from Iowa.  Those teams meet at 10 PM Saturday at the Whitney.

I predict the championship bracket to look like this.
MN Select vs Triple Threat
MN Heat Elite vs SD Heat
Fury Gold vs MN Glory
43 Hoops vs Fury Blue
Comets Elite-Hanson vs Magic Elite
Comets Elite-Seevers vs WOTN
Pump N Run vs Heat Sprang
ECI Prospects vs MN Wrath

In the round of 16 I'll take MN Select I, MN Heat Elite, Fury Gold, 43 Hoops in the top half.  In the bottom half I'll take Comets-Hanson, WOTN, Pump N Run and ECI.

Heat Elite over MN Select I, 43 Hoops over Fury Gold, Comets Hanson over WOTN, Pump N Run over ECI (best quarterfinal)

That gives us 4 of the top 5 teams in the state in the quarters.  43 Hoops over Heat Elite, Pump N Run over Comets Hanson in the semifinals.  Interesting matchup in that PNR/Comets game as the Comets have the size to matchup well with PNR.  Once again I'll predict as Comets/PNR classic in the semis.  The Heat will be amped up as they didn't get a shot at 43 or PNR last year.  This may be their chance.

Then the matchup of the year that we've all wanted to see since they played for the 15U state AAU title in June of 2008, 43 Hoops vs Pump N Run.  Size vs Speed.  I take 43 Hoops to win in a matchup that will be as intense as you'll see all summer.

2010 Week 1 Grassroots Preview (Part 1)

In part 2, I'll take a look at and make my predictions for the Comets 17U tourney, but here's a look at everything else this weekend.

Probably the biggest event in the nation this weekend is the Boo Williams invite out in Virginia.  Howard Pulley opens play there in Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League with 5 non-division games.  That includes a brutal opener against Seattle Rotary on Friday night.  They feature a pair of nationally ranked guards in Tony Wroten (#9 rivals) and Gary Bell (#74).  Wroten missed the entire season with a torn ACL so who knows if he'll play.

While its no surprise that Howard Pulley isn't playing up in St. Cloud, its a bit surprising that Minnesota Southside and their 16U squad led by Joey King isn't playing there.  They're down in Iowa playing the Festival of Teams.  They open their season on Saturday against Martin Brothers.  That squad features super soph point guard Marcus Paige (put on a show in the TWolves shootout this year), shooter Mike Gesell and 7 footer Adam Woodbury who have all received at least mid-major D1 interest already.  Pump N Run also has a squad in the 15U bracket.

Speaking of St. Cloud, let's not overlook the all-star series there on Friday night.  Its the last look at most of the state's top seniors.  While they play in the cities on Saturday afternoon, minimal attention to that as everybody else is in St. Cloud for the Comets Shootout.

15U Division (schedule here)
Almost all of the pool games are Saturday morning and afternoon at Sauk Rapids Middle School.   The other Pump N Run 15U squad is here, guess its the top team but who knows.  Either way I expect them to contend.  The Dakota Schoolers are very dangerous here with 3 6'7 kids.  They took it to some teams last year at the Select tournament so I expect them to contend.  Also keep an eye on the MN Select squad led by Blake's Kebu Johnson along with Sibley's Adam Huessner (shooter) and Nick Goldberg.

16U Division (schedule here)
In the 16U division, they get the morning and day duty at the Whitney Rec Center except for the last pool.  In Pool A, look for the hosts Comets Elite to roll through.  Kevin Heysse (Tech) and Austin Pohlen (Grand Rapids) saw big minutes for state qualifiers this year.  Jimmy Unger (Willmar) was a leader for them last year.  Damien Reineke (Becker) comes over from Howard Pulley as another big.

6'10 Riley Mickelson of Ashby represents ECI Select in pool B.  He was an Little 8 all-conference selection.  Pool Pick: ECI.  Would love to see him play against Heat Elite (keep reading) but I don't think they'll cross paths.

In Pool C, we have the Minnesota Suns with Maranatha frosh Isaiah Hanson playing up along with 6'8 Michael Schreiber of Rogers.  2 of HLWW's top players also play for the Suns.  That's Jett Leaf and frosh Cody Painschab.  I like them to come out against Comets Blue and the ECI top 16s.

In Pool D, 43 Hoops and MN Fury should battle it out.  Fury with quality size in Will Johnson, Cedric Dicke and Breion Creer.  Up and comer Marcus Tyus and Tony Kuplic are the guards of note for the Fury.  For 43 Hoops, there's size too with Josh Turnquist, Tim Gill and Cutler Finneman.  Sean Scott is a freak athlete on the wing which will fit coach Al Harris well.  Marcus Marshall scores from the point guard slot.  Those teams play at 12:40 Saturday afternoon to decide the pool.

In Pool E, Andrew Lindquist of Mahtomedi and Carey Woods of Bemidji (if he doesn't play up) represent MN Glory.  They'll have to battle Net Gain to get out of the pool.  That game is at 10:20 Saturday morning.  Not 100% sure but I think that Net Gain squad features Riley Dearring playing up.  I like Net Gain to win the pool with too much athleticism for Glory.

Pool F has the monster known as Dave Simmet for Heat Elite.  6'9 350 out of Hill-Murray.  Josh Tismer runs the show and his White Bear Lake teammate Eric Gebeke is on 1 wing.  Expect Mahtomedi wing Justin Pahl to man the other wing after averaging 11.7 PPG for the Zephyrs this season.  Wear Out The Net is the challenge game also at 12:40.

Finally to St Benedict's for Pool G.  Heat Black and SW Slam are here but I'll take the South Dakota Heat. Ellsworth's Dalton Huisman is part of that squad.

So my championship bracket prediction looks like this.
Comets Elite vs Heat Red
MN Glory v Comets-Stock
Heat Elite vs ECI Prospects
Heat Black vs 43 Hoops
SD Heat vs MN Fury
MN Suns vs Old Skool
Net Gain vs WOTN
ECI Select vs Triple Threat

Comets Elite, Glory, Heat Elite, 43 Hoops, Fury, Suns, Net Gain, ECI Select to win round of 16 games.
Comets Elite, 43 Hoops, Fury, Net Gain to win quarterfinals
43 Hoops over Comets Elite, Net Gain over Fury
43 Hoops over Net Gain to win the 16U Title.