Memorial Day weekend travels

A pair of Minnesota's best take to the road this weekend.  Howard Pulley finishes division play at session 3 of the EYBL.  This week, the Nike teams are in Los Angeles.  A favorable draw for the Panthers but they have a tough one against 2nd place (1 game back) Louisiana Select at 7 PM Saturday night.

Pump N Run and Minnesota Heat Elite are in Chicago.  Pump N Run gets put in the 1st superpool with Terry Porter Elite and Grassroots Canada.  Expect Grassroots Canada to be here in July at the PNR tourney.  Director Ro Russell also had his high school club here at the Augsburg Tourney.  Super 8th grader Andrew Wiggins figures to move up and play with the 17s this season.  Terry Porter Elite rolled to the championship of the Heat tournament on the same weekend as the Pulley tournament.

If Pump N Run finishes 2nd in that super pool and Heat wins their pool, the teams could meet in the quarterfinals.  Pump N Run's 16s and both 15s are both in Chicago as well.  Top teams in those levels also stuck with Grassroots Canada in the 1st super pool.

Locally, MYAS is in St. Paul and at Robbinsdale Cooper.  At Cooper, a pair of Magic 19U teams are playing along with the Wisconsin Terror.  They have a couple of NW Wisconsin kids worth watching in 6'5" shooting forward Tyler Forsythe and guard Eric Effertz.  Minnesota teams will get a look at them at the Dakota Showcase in Sioux Falls at the end of June.

Finally, with this being Memorial Day weekend, remember all of the veterans out there who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we all enjoy.

Moving on from the State Qualifier

A fun weekend at the state qualifier as we have Dominos Pizza.  But best of all, its the annual appearance of the world famous "hat lady".  Longtime readers will remember this fan as the one who dress as if she's attending the Kentucky Derby.  Enormous hat included.  This weekend was all purple on Saturday and all blue on Sunday.

In the 17U bracket, here are your qualifiers.

Fury Blue and Comets-Seevers from pool A, Fury Gold takes the top spot in pool B along with the winner of Old Skool and SW MN Heat.  Wrath and Glory go from Pool C with Wrath stealing the 3 seed thanks to their 80-68 win over Glory.  WOTN Gold and Magic Elite go from pool F.  Comets-Hanson played Magic Westside for the 2nd spot in pool E.  Heat Sprang takes the other spot and moves up to the 5 seed.  Howard Pulley White takes pool D (I assume they won their Sunday game) and Heat Elite took on Comets North for the other spot in that pool.  Pulley steals the 4 seed.

In 16U, great ending as Comets Elite nails a buzzer beater against Heat Black to keep the top overall seed and win pool A.  Both teams move on.  Fury Gold and Suns move on from pool  B as the seeds hold.  Fighting Irish win pool D, no surprise there, and it looks like tNBA wins the 3 way breaker for the 2nd seed.  WOTN Gold and Magic Elite Tillman move on from pool C.  Pool E was up in the air.  In pool F, Glory knocked off Heat Elite to force a 3 way tie.  Looks like Heat Elite and Sauk Rapids will move on with Glory being knocked out based on point differential.

In 15U, Fury Blue and WOTN Gold move on as seeds hold.  Looks like Old Skool United jumped up to take the 3rd spot.  Glory wins pool B and River City jumps up to win the 2nd spot in the pool.  3rd spot unknown.  In pool C, tNBA def MN Select-Focke 61-60 as the 4th/5th teams in that pool move up (2nd team dropped out).  Heat Red also moves on.  Triple Threat , Heat Black and Comets Elite go from Pool D.

2010 State AAU Qualifier Pre-Thoughts

For the most part, seedings hold at the state qualifier but with the seeding process often being somewhat laughable, there are plenty of chances for lower seed teams to play up to their real seed.  Read the full schedule for this weekend at Champlin Park here.

Top 2 seeds in each of the 6 pools move on to the championship round.  The top seed is Fury Blue as there is no Pump N Run, 43 Hoops or Howard Pulley Black so the best of the best aren't playing but just about everybody else (sans SW MN Stars) is included.  I like Fury Blue and Comets-Seevers to hold serve in pool A.  Fury Gold should win pool B.  Triple Threat without James Fort has the element of danger vs Old Skool or SW MN Heat (not to be confused with Stars who are in KC this weekend).  Wide open race for the 2nd bid from that pool.  Pool C with Glory showing up at the seeding meeting to earn the 3 seed has one of the more interesting pool games against MN Wrath at 10:15 on Sunday morning.  The matchup of Bronson Scheff and Ben Kortuem defending Glory sharpshooter Andres Broman is one to watch there.

Heat Elite and Howard Pulley White head up pool D.  Bretson McNeal, Terrance Averyheart and Clarence Thomas make for a high-scoring trio in the backcourt for Howard Pulley.  Heat Elite will have their hands full to hold serve in that pool.  Magic Elite and WOTN Gold head up Pool F and they played 2 nailbiters at the Sabes Invite 2 weeks ago.  3:15 Sunday is the last pool game and expect it to determine the winner.  Finally in Pool E, we have Magic Westside showing up for the seeding meeting to earn the 5 seed.  If they don't beat WOTN Black on Friday night, they may not win all weekend.  Comets-Hanson (biggest shaft in the seeding in the 17s and Heat Sprang are my picks to move on.  Those 2 meet at 2 PM on Sunday.

Also top 2 seeds in these pools move on.  Comets Elite and Heat Black are a quality matchup in Pool A (10:15 AM Sunday).  MN Suns appear locally and have the top Fury team in their pool.  But without Marcus Tyus, that's a different Fury team.  I still see Fury out of pool B though.  Pool D has another Fighting Irish sweep on my list.  Pool E, I'll take Howard Pulley White with guys like Ben Glover and Tommy McDermott leading the way.  Heat Elite def Glory to steal the top seed in Pool F at 11:30 AM Sunday.  Pool C has quality balance with WOTN Gold, Magic Elite Gold and Comets Stock.  The St. Paul Warriors round out out the pool.  I think that's a topsy turvy pool with 3 top teams even and the Warriors despite being 0-4 last weekend did have a chance to win 3 of those games, including 1 against Comets Stock.

Top 3 seeds in the 4 pools move on in the 15s.  The biggest shaft in all the seeding goes to tNBA who somehow got stuck as the 4th team in pool C despite a 22-4 (or so) record to this point against quality competition (they played PNR Maroon to the wire in Iowa last week).  I think they win pool C but if the MN Select top 15s are there then its interesting but I don't think its them.  Heat Red will have something to say in that pool as well.  Fury Blue a big favorite in pool A.  WOTN Gold advances from there as well.  Mack Johnson can really shoot it for WOTN.  Pool B looks down so if Kayshiva Shaw is still with River City, I wonder if they make a run.  Comets Elite and Heat Black top Pool D.

Minnesota Swap in new Rivals 2011 Top 150

Rivals released their spring 2010 top 100 for the class of 2011.   A swap of Minnesota players is notable as Ross Travis drops out from #133 and Joe Coleman jumps in at #104.  That's despite missing a big chunk of time with an injured ankle/foot.

Here are others who have appeared locally.
#5 Brad Beal (up from #7, Florida)
#14 Myck Kabongo (up from #24, Texas)
#20 Quinn Cook (no change)
#30 Branden Dawson (down from #16)
 #132 Paul Jesperson (new)

Read the entire rankings here.

The Non-Qualifiers

This weekend is the AAU State Qualifying tournament.  I'll take a look at that tomorrow, but for now a look at some of the teams that won't be playing.

Howard Pulley Blue 17s won 3 games in Houston and were awarded another forfeit.  The Panthers are 8-1 in EYBL play and lead Division A.  Pulley is the only team with 1 loss with only 2 undefeated teams out of 42 in the league.  They have this week off before EYBL session 3 in Los Angeles next weekend.

Pump N Run has the week off as they'll play in Chicago next weekend and then in the MYAS state tournament in 2 weeks.

Minnesota Select has both of their 17s in Milwaukee.  Select-George has won a couple of tournaments in a row (Sioux Falls and their tourney last weekend).  They have the 2nd Wisconsin Playmakers team that played here in the PNR tourney in their pool.  The top Playmakers team with Paul Jesperson has the Iowa Barnstormers and new UNI commit Seth Tuttle in their pool.  Team GetShook is also in Milwaukee.

Finally, Minnesota Southside and the SW MN Stars make the trip to Kansas City for the KC Classic.  The Stars have both a 16U and 17U team down there.  The Stars 16s have a team called The Arachnids in their bracket.  From wikipedia, most arachnids are meat eaters.  Fear the spider!

2010 MN Select Classic Thoughts

Here's what caught my eye at the 2010 Minnesota Select Classic

Saturday (Pool Play)
A nice start to the weekend with Triple Threat taking on Magic Westside.  No James Fort inside for Triple Threat as he tweaked a knee and may miss the rest of Triple Threat's season.  But that's more a precaution than a serious injury.  Westside was up 4 with 2:15 but couldn't hold the lead.  Mitch Wurm comes off a downscreen and nails a foul line jumper with 2.5 left to give Triple Threat a 70-68 win.  Major size advantage for Westside in that game and they didn't take advantage.

In game 2, Rosemount took on the St. Paul Warriors.  36-29 Warriors lead with 10 minutes left after an offensive rebound of a free throw for 2.  Rosemount coach not happy and he wants a timeout.  His crew responds with a 16-4 run over the next 6 minutes and the Irish win 50-44.

Westside rebounded from their loss thanks to a pair of David Anderson free throws with 11 seconds left.  That put Westside over the top 64-62 against the Select top team.

No Sanjay Lumpkin on Saturday for the Pump N Run 16s so you need a replacement.  Hmm, Reed Travis is playing with the PNR 15 Black club in the tourney and the PNR 17s have the weekend off.  And the 16s are playing the in 17U division, so that makes Jonah Travis a logical replacement.  55-30 vs Select II at the half as PNR shoots the lights out.  Nick Jorgenson with 7 for 7 3s in the game.  PNR 84-45, ouch.  Danon Briggs with a halfcourt lob to Jonah Travis for the explanation point.  But remember this one.

A ridiculous ending in Select II's next game against Old Skool United.  52-46 Select with 4:30 left after a 7-0 run.  Then RJ Dean for 3 and an assist.  55-52 Skool with 1:32 left.  Big Lake center Anthony Saavedra for 2 more on the post with 40 seconds left.  11-0 Skool run and this one should be over.  Hold my calls please.  Jake Goldberg puts back a miss and then Alex Koch with a steal for the old fashioned 3 point play with 18.1 seconds left.  Chad Howard (nice weekend for him) then takes an Old Skool turnover for 2 free throws.  The ball comes back to half court and Select decides to intentionally foul, interesting choice.  Old Skool gets it to Saavedra on the post and he scores at the regulation buzzer to send us to OT.

In the 1st overtime, Saavedra with a quick miss and then Select holds for 1:40 vs 2-3 zone but turns the ball over with 10 seconds left.  But Select survives the turnover and we'll play a 2nd OT of 1 minute.  Koch misses the front end of the bonus with 20 seconds left which is a major shock for a shooter like him.  Saavedra then is fouled inside but he misses both freebies with 5.7 left.  Select rebounds and takes timeout.  A great play call gets Levi Abercrombie on the run and he's fouled (tick tack call) at the buzzer.  He makes the 1st free throw and Select II wins a crazy one 60-59.

Pump N Run 16s defeated Old Skool 59-44 in the last game of Saturday but don't let that score fool you.  PNR was cold for most of the game and this was a 50-44 PNR lead with 2:10 left before Nick Jorgenson nailed a big 3 to ice the game away.

Bracket Play (Sunday)
Westside lost another close game as Comets Gold took them out 62-58 in the quarters.  Westside was up big in the consolation game vs Select I and held on to win a close one.  In the semis, Comets Gold stuck with PNR until halftime.  Carnell Sheppard for 3 at the halftime buzzer for a 7 point lead and PNR rolled from there 69-47.  Select II defeated Old Skool 72-61 in the other semi.

Comets Stock needed a 3 point play from Levi Johnson with 2.5 seconds left in double OT to defeat Triple Threat in the 16U semis.  Rosemount handled them in the championship game though.  6'7 Matt Nelson from Rosemount with 2 quick blocks, a behind the back dribble on a bust out and then they run a down screen for him for 3.  Very thin now, but there's most definitely an upside there with bigs hard to come by in the 2012 class.

Sanjay Lumpkin back in time for the 17U title game against Select II (see above).  What a difference a day makes.  Again, shots not falling for PNR and they hung on to a 36-35 halftime lead.  Alex Koch with 3 from the deep beyond to keep Select close.  50-44 Select with 10:44 left as they weren't going to go away.  50 all with 7:40 left and this one was going right to the buzzer.  Abercrombie with a tough hoop in the lane and 2 free throws sandwiched around a Jack Harrison putback for PNR.  62-61 Select with 1:33 left.  Lumpkin down the lane and blocked with 1:24 left,  huge play.  Select holds before Koch drives and finds Jake Goldberg for a layup with 40 seconds left and the Select lead is 3.  Brady Wohler drives for a layup with 22 seconds and PNR forces a turnover with 16.1 left.  Danon Briggs drives for 2 with 8 seconds left.  Back we come the other way and Abercrombie gets loose for 3.  The way he played this weekend, no way that wasn't going in.  Select II wins the 17U title 67-65 while Select I was 0-4.  Irony there.  I like what Kevin Jensen did in both the semis and finals for PNR.  Jensen and Lumpkin with 14 points each to lead PNR in the loss.

MN Elite is a 14U west metro team and they took out a very good Select-Focke team in the 15U semis.  Their reward was to play Pump N Run 15U Black in the championship game.  Strike while the iron is hot and the 3 ball was there for Elite.  4 of them put Elite up 20-13 at the 6:45 mark of the 1st half.  PNR not keeping the ball in front of them either.  Dion Bradley with a pair of triples for PNR as they start to find the range.  24 all at 3:30.  28-24 Elite with about a minute left in the half when PNR goes 2-3 zone and Elite holds for 1 shot.  Elite can't take care of it against the quick PNR guards and 2 steals are easy layups to send us to halftime tied at 28.

The second half was all about home gym guy (i.e St. Louis Park frosh) Kashif Hayes.  PNR found a matchup and ran right wing pick and roll to death with him.  37-32 PNR withi 11 minutes left and it looks like they'll run away.  Not quite.  Kolby Seiffert with his 3rd triple of the day and Elite is within 47-42 with 6:15 left.  Then 52-48 PNR with 2:25 left.  Elite fans not at all happy with 2 or 3 calls that didn't go their way (and they weren't necessarily wrong).  Then a quick T on an Elite player while PNR was ready to shoot free throws.  2 of the 4 freebies are good.  Elite doesn't go away though.  Kyle Kalivoda makes 2 free throws with 1:21 left to cut the PNR lead to 56-54.  But Elite can't get over the top and PNR wins the 15U title 62-56.

Kashif Hayes topped all scorers with 19 points.  16 of those were in the 2nd half and most off the right side PNR to Hayes left hand.  Elite didn't make sufficient adjustments to address that as well as settling for 3s early in the 2nd half against the zone.  Kolby Seiffert leads Elite with 15 points.  Matt Juneau played well inside for Elite with 14 points. They play well together and shoot the ball very well.

Really disgusted to see the MN Elite fans attempt to confront the officials after the game was over.  No place for that at all.  Once the final horn blows, its over move on.  Looked like the Elite coach apologied to both Tom Krosschell and Sean Kruger afterwards.  If so, that's a class move on his part.  On a lighter note, best part of the weekend was free soda courtesy of winning a regular season bet with Sibley coach Tom Dasovich.  It's definitely true that the drinks are better when free.

2010 MN Select Classic Preview

Minnesota Select moves their tournament back 2 weeks this year and runs in to the group of teams in Iowa as I previewed yesterday.  But all in all it should still be an interesting weekend at St. Louis Park.

17U (schedule here)
Pool A is the loaded pool with the top Minnesota Select team, Triple Threat and Magic Westside.  James Fort in the middle in an interesting matchup vs David Andersen of Magic Westside.  Joey Sonnefeld and Jeremy Borg also lead Westside.  Brian Reeves and Andy Jones in this group for Select.  I'm also looking to see if seniors Tim Lubke and Joey Cuperus play before the D2 schools have to shut down recruiting for a month.

Pool B features the MN PNR 16s deciding to play and play up.  They have to be the favorite in that pool with the 2nd MN Select squad (presumably without Alex Koch who's now signed with SW MN St) and Old Skool.  Pool C is down with Prior Lake, Comets Gold and MN Premiere. Premiere does have size and I'm looking to see Luke Marks of St. Thomas Academy.

16U (schedule here)
2 pools of 4 in what is a relatively weak group.  The Fighting Irish from Rosemount have made nice showings at the Comets and Pump N Run tournaments.  Triple Threat and Old Skool in the pool.  The St. Paul Warriors make their 1st appearance of the season.  The Warriors return to play after taking last year off.  MN Select's metro squad along with Prior Lake and Sauk Rapids are in the other pool with the Comets second team. 

15U (schedule here)
The biggest group is 4 3-team pools in 15U.  Comets Elite and the 3rd MN Select team in the 1st pool.  The top Select team with Kebu Johnson and a pair of Sibley freshmen, shooter Adam Huessner and Nick Goldberg highlight pool B.  Rosemount also places a 15U team in pool C with the 2nd Select team.  Pump N Run's 2nd 15s with Kashif Hayes playing on home turf and Reggie Lynch looks to win that pool.

2010 Kings of the Court preview

Its another Minnesota roadshow this week as 37 teams trek south for the Kings of the Court classic in metro Des Moines, IA.  This is the former Midwest Festival of Teams (though that event still goes on and Southside and the PNR 15s both attended it on Comets weekend).

In the 17U division, 11 of the 35 teams come from Minnesota.  Howard Pulley's 2nd team is here (top team is at session 2 of the EYBL in Houston).  Both Fury teams, Magic Elite, Heat Sprang, WOTN Black and Wrath are all in the pools just to name a few.  Heat Elite were planning on attending but most of their roster has prom this weekend so they'll take the weekend off.  Magic Elite also lose out to prom as their point guard Daron Garvis won't be playing this weekend.  But they hope to have Joe Carpenter back from injury.  TNL Express/MN Xplosion is also attending with a group of Champlin Park seniors.  That will include Josh Pella who comes over from Fury Blue for the weekend.  I look for Wrath, TNL, Pulley White and Fury Blue to all win their pools.  Magic Elite vs ECI Prospects and Joe Hanstad at 12:40 PM on Saturday is a highlight game.  Heat Sprang has the 8:50 PM opener against Kingdom Hoops for the pool title on Friday night.  Nick Carroll's Fury Gold squad has a tough draw with defending champs Spiece MOKAN Elite.  They play at 1:50 on Saturday.  Heat Sprang could see Magic Elite in the 1st round of bracket play.

In 16U, 13 of the 42 teams are from north of the border, Iowa/Minnesota border that is.  Both Howard Pulley teams are here and with pool wins could meet in the quarters.  But Howard Pulley Blue could meet Wes Staten and the Kingdom Hoops 16 Red club in the round of 16.  No cakewalk there.  Minnesota Suns get a tough draw against Bound 4 Glory's top 16s in pool H.  Minnesota Southside also in attendance.  Not out of the question for them to get a semifinal rematch with the loaded Martin Brothers 16s.  Martin Brothers has a good chance to play the Heat Elite before that game.  Winner would get a bye to the semis.  A Howard Pulley Blue vs Martin Brothers title game would be dynamite.  But defending champ Spiece MOKAN is in the Martin Brothers half of the bracket too.  Very interesting matchup possibly in the 1st round with Southside vs Heat Black who's currently on a roll.

13 15U teams make the trip.  The top MN Pump N Run team is at the top of the pools.  An interesting matchup with tNBA could await in the quarters.  The next section of the bracket could see Fury Blue make it all the way to the semis to play the winner of that tNBA/PNR game.  Bottom section of the draw has both Howard Pulley teams.  I think super frosh Peter Jok is with Kingdom Hoops Red and that would put him in Pulley Black's pool

2010 Sabes Invitational Wrap

46 teams are done and 21 sessions of basketball are in the books after the 2010 Sabes Invitational.  Here's what caught my eye in stream of unconsciousness fashion
  • Bill Self going with the professor look and came away from the tournament very unnoticed.  He was watching his son play for the KC Pump N Run 16s who were eliminated Saturday night.  We hope GopherHole's GopherLady gets over not seeing him soon.  (For the record, GopherLady did manage to get away and make a cameo appearance to get a couple of interviews but that was while 17s were playing)
  • Danny Manning's son also played with the KC PNR 17s.
  • Nice to see Quincy Lewis and Trevor Mbakwe in the building.
  • Solid hot dog but $3?  Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler just said "Really?!".  At least the 12 oz can was only $1.  Get the $3 hot dog and $2 can of soda and you've got a meal deal.  $250-$300 college coaches packet not included.  Remember folks no smuggling food and you have to pay the entry fee, but you don't have to buy the concessions.  
  • Disappointing that LJ Rose (broken foot/ankle) and Casey Kasperbauer (Shoulder) didn't play as those were 2 of the names to watch. 
  • Grassroots slept walked through to the quarterfinals and I don't mean easy wins.  Rarely do you see a team with that much of a "we'll turn it on when we need to" mentality.  Calvin Godfrey put up some big numbers (like 25, 9 and 4 blks vs Comets Elite in pigtail game) but he also was the most guilty.
  • Get well Jordan Reibling of Grassroots.  He took an elbow to the nose on Saturday and ended up in the emergency room.
  • 2 of the best true centers in the Minnesota 2012 class were on display.  I'm a big fan of what Kyle Bauman is doing for WOTN Gold.  He played well again this weekend.  Zach Huisken played up for the Dakota Schoolers 17s this weekend as well.
  • Also liked what the Schoolers starting center Cedric Lang did.
  • Paul Jesperson beats up on lesser teams here, but our top teams continue to hold him down with physical play.  But he can flat out shoot it.  He had a stretch of 3 3s in a row vs Bound 4 Glory and then he topped off by pulling up from 25-30 feet for more nylon.
  • Tyler Kalonoski of KC Pump N Run with one of the other shooting gallery performances with a big run of 3s against Houston Hoops in a pool play blowout.  Houston Hoops came back and to my surprise totally controlled the rematch in the semifinals.
  • Speaking of flammable, how about Zach Lofton scoring 18 of 21 points for Howard Pulley Blue including all 6 Pulley field goals in a 10 minute span of the championship game.  
  • Who would have thunk that Joe Coleman would play minimal 2nd half minutes and only finish with 3 points and Pulley would win easily 61-53 over Houston Hoops in that title game?
  • Former Iowa State commit Wesley Staten with a clutch 27 point performance for Kingdom Hoops Red vs the St. Louis Eagles in the 16U quarters.  The Eagles were up 15 inside of 10 minutes left before Kingdom Hoops entered the shooting gallery.  Eagles hung on 87-85 in OT.  Rare to see a quarterfinal game played that well.  Couldn't help but have a quick thought of Wesley Person when I saw 1st saw Staten.
  • Wing Cameron Biedschied for the St. Louis Eagles 16s is the real deal.  They really took it to the Comets Elite 16s on Friday night.
  • Tyus Jones outstanding but length and athletes can bother him.  In the 16U championship game, the usual long outlets and great looks on the break weren't there so that kept his assist total down.  But he made the crazy good clutch play at the end.  Up 1, he makes 2 free throws and then Houston is rolling the ball in.  He times a dive perfectly to get the steal to seal the championship win 78-73 in double OT.
  • Zach Stahl came up huge for Pulley in that game too.
  • Love the DLS secondary break that Pulley runs for Jones to get him a pick and roll.
  • Best finish was the 16U semi where Houston Hoops stole an inbounds pass with 5.6 seconds left and went the distance for the layup at the buzzer.  That knocked out the St. Louis Eagles 72-70.
  • Despite having no Joe Carpenter (ankle injury), Magic Elite were very competitive.  Yes they were only 2-3 but those losses were by 7 points.  That included 2 heartbreakers to WOTN Gold.  Disturbing trend though as they have to find a player and a way to close out games.
  • Cinmeon Bowers was what we expected.  I'm still a huge fan of Iman Johnson though.
For more thoughts from the weekend, here are articles from NY2LA Sports and ESPN.

ESPN Article on 2010 Sabes Invitational
NY2LASports Article on 2010 Sabes Invitational

2010 Sabes Invitational 17U Preview

After a complete overhaul of the teams and schedule, let's rearrange and revise and take another look at the 17U division.  I'll have live results on my twitter page throughout the weekend..  Read the schedule here.

Pool A (Howard Pulley Blue, KC Truth, Bound 4 Glory, Kingdom Hoops Black)
1st pool means we start with the home team Howard Pulley Blue.  The top Pulley squad features Joe Coleman, if healthy.  He sat out this past weekend in Kansas with a bad wheel (foot or ankle).  Marvin Singleton, Nick Latzke and a trio of sophs, Johnny Woodard, Isaiah Zierden and Siyani Chambers pick up the slack.  KC Truth is in the pool.  They lost to MN Comets Elite last week.  Bound 4 Glory returns to the metro from Iowa.  They lost to WOTN Gold in the round of 16 at the PNR tournament.  Kingdom Hoops Black rounds out the pool after going 0-3 in pool play at the Jayhawk including losses to WOTN Gold and Team GetShook.  High scoring guard Tim Olejniczak played here with the Iowa Mavs last year.

Pool B (WI Playmakers, SD Heat Black, WOTN Gold, Magic Elite)
The top Wisconsin Playmakers squad is here with sharpshooter Paul Jesperson.  He's ranked the #2 player in Wisconsin.  But also keep an eye on Wisconsin's #9 ranked player Phil Romback.  Shane Taylor from St. Bernard's also on this squad. South Dakota Heat's East squad is in this pool with Worthington's 6'7 center Jalen Voss and 6'5 forward Casey Schilling from Ellsworth.  WOTN Gold is in this pool.  Lucas Brown and Marcus Alipate lead the way for WOTN.  The drama in this pool is Magic Elite.  It could be Bruce Weston's Maroon squad with Marcus Nolen or Leon Garvis and his Elite squad with the much improved Robert Ndondo-Lay.  TBD as that's a mess right now.

The most balanced of the 4 pools, don't be surprised to see this come right down to the final pool game.

Pool C (Playground Elite, KC Keys, Dakota Schoolers, Kingdom Hoops Red)
WI Playground Elite bring Nimrod Hilliard back after his all tournament performance for NESYB 2 weeks ago.  #23 WI Wing Kevin Mays leads the way along with center Cinmeon Bowers.  Both played really well last weekend in Indiana.  Mays was also impressive at the East Metro Showcase in January.  #20 WI Tre Burnette who played with his old club the WI Starz 2 weeks ago is on this roster too.  Keep an eye on a couple of dirty work wings #25 WI lefty Iman Johnson and #21 WI Chris Hawkins.  Dakota Schoolers bring a big lineup of 5 kids 6'5 or taller.  Kingdom Hoops Red was 2-1 at the Jayhawk in pool play but lost to HP White by 20 in pool play. 

Pool D (Houston Hoops, KC Pump N Run, Kingdom Hoops 17s, Comets Elite-Hanson)
This pool features last year's runner up Houston Hoops.  Off to a rough start in EYBL play at 1-4.  Their dynamic guard duo is back and still only sophomores, frightening.  That's J-Mychal Reese and #6 nationally ranked by, LJ Rose.  KC Pump N Run makes their annual trip.  Big forward Christian Kirk can play in or out.  The tradition of point guard from Releford and Releford and Mike Dixon continues this year with Corey Hilliard.  Kingdom Hoops 17s feature soph Wesley Staten, a former Iowa State verbal.  Another star soph Peter Jok will play 16s.  Rounding out the pool are the Comets Elite with Jayme Moten (hopefully his hair has grown back) at the point and the 4/5 duo of Blake Maslonkowski and Simon Krych.

Best game of all the pool play is Houston Hoops vs KC PNR at 2:50 PM Saturday.  A shame these teams are in the same pool as arguably they are the best 2 teams besides Howard Pulley Blue.

Pool E
Finally in pool E we have Howard Pulley White.  Clarence Thomas and Terrance Averyheart give this group guard firepower.  Grassroots is in the pool likely with Calvin Godfrey and who knows what else.  Rumor has it that they were limited to a small number of seniors.  RBS is a Chicago based squad.  WOTN Black is their 2nd team.  Shane McSparron leads that group but also keep an eye on Lake City forward Nick Bobb.

Pool Predictions: 
Pool A: HP Blue, Bound 4 Glory, KC Truth, Kingdom Hoops Black
Pool B: WOTN Gold, WI Playmakers, Magic Elite, SD Heat Black
Pool C: WI Playground Elite, KC Keys, Kingdom Hoops Red, Dakota Schoolers
Pool D:  KC PNR, Houston Hoops, Comets Elite Hanson, Kingdom Hoops 17s
Pool E: Grassroots, HP White, WOTN Black, RBS All-Stars

The 4 teams from Pool E will play the last play finishers from the other 4 pools in pigtail games at 6:40 on Saturday.  Those 4 winners then get the 4 pool winners in round of 16 games at 9 PM Saturday night.

Sunday features the quarterfinals at 9:20, semifinals at noon and then to the main gym for the championship at 2:40.

Noreen makes Scout's final top 100

Kevin Noreen made the final top 100 for 2010.  He came in at #91 after not making the last list (somewhere between 101 and 107).  Here are the other players who have appeared locally and a comparison of where they were in the September 2009 rankings.

Harrison Barnes #1 (no change) - North Carolina
Josh Selby #5 (up from #10) - Kansas
Joe Jackson #23 (down from #17) - Memphis
Vander Blue #34 (down from #27) - Marquette
Dwight Powell #42 (up from #45) - Stanford
Trevor Releford #50 (no change) - Alabama
Alex Kirk #76 (up from #80) - New Mexico
Tobi Oyedeji #93 (down from #68) - Texas A&M
Evan Anderson drops out after being #90. - Wisconsin

MN Results at the 2010 Jayhawk Invite

Here's how the slew of Minnesota teams did on their trip to Kansas (assuming the online results are correct)

  • Howard Pulley Black, 2-1 Pool, def MN Heat Sprang in round of 16, lost in quarterfinals to eventual champion St. Louis Eagles
  • SW MN Stars, 0-3 pool, includes 73-54 loss to Howard Pulley Black.  Lost consolation game.
  • MN Fury Blue, 3-0 pool including major upsets of Dream Vision and Pray and Play Players.  Def MN Heat Elite in bracket opener.  Lost to Compton Magic in semifinals.
  • WOTN Black 1-2 in pool, includes 67-39 loss to MN Heat Sprang
  • MN Heat Sprang, 3-0 in pool, with win over WOTN Black, lost to Howard Pulley Black in round of 16.
  • HP White, went 3-0 in pool, lost bracket playin to Dream Vision
  • Team GetShook, 1-2 in pool, including 80-47 loss to WOTN Gold.  Lost consolation game.
  • WOTN Gold, 3-0 in pool includes win over Team GetShook, lost bracket playin game.
  • Comets-Seevers, 0-3 in pool
  • Comets-Hanson, 2-1 in pool
  • MN Wrath, 1-2 in pool with 52-41 loss to Heat Elite, won consolation game over a MN Fury team 52-48
  • MN Heat Elite, 3-0 in pool with win over Wrath, won bracket play-in game before loss to MN Fury Blue
  • Fury Blue 2, 0-3 in pool
  • Fury Gold, 1-2 in pool
  • MN Suns, 0-3 in pool, includes 49-36 loss to WOTN Gold.  Lost consolation game.
  • WOTN Gold, 3-0 in pool, won 1st bracket game, lost in quarterfinals to eventual runner up Kingdom Hoops.
  • Howard Pulley White, 1-2 in pool.  Won consolation game.
  • Net Gain, 2-1 in pool, beat MN Magic in bracket playin game before losing in quarterfinals.
  • Howard Pulley Black, 3-0 in pool, lost to in semifinals to eventual runner up Kingdom Hoops.
  • Comets Stack, 0-3 in pool, includes 55-27 loss to 43 Hoops
  • 43 Hoops, 2-1 in pool, won bracket playin game before losing to Indiana Elite One in round of 16.
  • MN Southside, 2-1 in pool, lost to MN Comets Elite in bracket playin game.
  • Comets Elite, 3-0 in pool def MN Southside in bracket playin game before losing to eventual runner up Kingdom Hoops in round of 16.
  • MN Magic, 2-1 in pool, lost to Net Gain in bracket playin game.
  • tNBA, 2-1 in pool, lost 64-56 to MN Magic.
  • MN Fury, 0-3 in pool, won consolation game.
  • MN Fury Blue, 2-1 in pool, includes win over Howard Pulley White.  Won 1st bracket game.  Lost in quarters to eventual champion KC 76ers.
  • Howard Pulley White, 1-2 in pool, lost 65-30 to MN Fury Blue.  Lost consolation game.
  • tNBA, 2-1 in pool, won 2 bracket games before losing in semis to runner up KC Pump & Run
  • Howard Pulley Black, 1-2 in pool.  Def Team GetShook 56-21 in consolation game.
  • Team GetShook, 0-2 in pool.  Lost to Howard Pulley Black in consolation game.
  • WOTN Gold, 1-2 in pool.  Def MN Comets Elite 74-67 in consolation game.
  • MN Fury Gold, 1-2 in pool, includes win over Comets Elite.  Won consolation game.
  • Comets Elite, 0-3 in pool, including 70-54 loss to MN Fury Gold.  Lost consolation to WOTN Gold.