Chambers drops in new Rivals 150

Rivals just released their post summer 2010 top 100 for the class of 2012.   Hopkins point guard Siyani Chambers drops to #96 from #81.

Here are others who have appeared locally.
#17 Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell 
#20 William "Shaq" Goodwin (up from #60)
#21 Rasheed Sulaimon
#26 Torian Graham (up from #83)
#28 L.J. Rose (down from #23)
#37 Marcus Paige (down from #29)
#42 J-Mychal Reese (up from #43)
#49 Damien Wilson (up from #68)
#55 Jordan Adams
#73 Cameron Biedscheid (down from #59)
#89 Phillip Nolan (up from #92)
#108 Wesley Staten (down from #90)
#109 Cinmeon Bowers (down from #91)
#112 Arroyo Edwards (down from #97)
#145 Demarquise Johnson

Read the entire rankings here.

More money coming to the summer scene

A couple of good reads from writer Gary Parrish on the return of Sonny Vaccaro to summer basketball.  Vaccaro used to be a bigtime player on the summer scene as part of his work for Nike.  One of his latest adventures was advising high school star Jeremy Tyler to leave high school and play overseas.  That concept worked for Milwaukee Bucks star Brandon Jennings (who skipped a year at Arizona) but has turned into disaster for Tyler.

The articles below talk about what shoe company might entice Vaccaro to come back to the summer scene and his potential influence.

End of summer rankings out for class of 2011 and released their end of summer rankings for the class of 2011 today.  Joe Coleman once again left out of the Scout rankings with Paul Jesperson in.   How Jesperson can be ranked far higher when Coleman consistently dominates far better competition in the summer and winter is totally beyond me.

In the Rivals rankings, Joe Coleman drops from #111 to #116 in this round of the rankings.  Here are others who have appeared locally.

#7 Brad Beal - Florida (down from #6)
#13 Branden Dawson - Michigan State (up from #25)
#15 Adonis Thomas
#18 BJ Young
#20 Cody Zeller
#24 Myck Kabongo - Texas (down from #11)
#27 Ky Madden
#28 Quinn Cook (down from #23)
#74 Cedric McAfee
#82 Marshall Plumlee - Duke
#96 Julien Lewis - Texas
#98 Hunter Mickelson - Arkansas
#99 Jerome Seagears
#118 Josh Oglesby
#123 Jeremiah Davis
#126 Andre Hollins
#129 Paul Jesperson (up from #140)
#147 Aaron Ross - Arkansas
#150 Jarrod Uthoff - Wisconsin

Read the entire rankings here.

Read the entire rankings here.

Open Gyms and random news

I was out at Minnetonka open gym last week.  Unfortunately it was a night too late as Joe Coleman was destroying people and Mike Bruesewitz was in attendance.  Did get to see Mike Rostampour and Tor Anderson show up though.  Anderson is a good get for Montana St if he likes it there.  Like what Nick Latzke did on the night.  Showing he's more than a shooter.  He has an offer from Air Force on the table.  And who can forget the 2 point, 8 rebound and 1 steal from Pump N Run 16s coach Clarence Bethea.

A couple of nice concepts from the night.  No 3 point line.  Amen to that.  I said all summer I would abolish the 3 point in AAU ball because every non-shooter on the floor thinks they can make that and when they get lucky and make one, that's license to shoot 10 more.  Really hard to watch that.  Winner's and loser's courts with the loser's courts playing to 9 and winner's court play to 11 to keep things moving along.  Nice to have an extra competitive element to it.

Speaking of open gym, how about the run of both Noreen brothers, Rodney Williams, Jacob Thomas, Kevin Thompson et al at MN Transitions.  They go early but clearly some game there.  Kevin Noreen has put on 15 pounds of muscle already at West Virginia and they look to double that before the season.

News from the Osseo Basketball twitter site that Terez Van Pelt is transferring there from Park Center.  Memories of Zach Peterson doing the same thing a few years back dance in my head.  Sophomore Mike Fernando is now at Minnetonka after spending last year at Eden Prairie.  He spent time with the Pump N Run 15s this summer.

Shelby Moats comes in at #100 and the top ranked Minnesota player in the MaxPreps 2011 top 100.  Shelby comes in at #3 on my Minnesota list as he's in the top tier of guys with Joe Coleman and Ross Travis.  Jonah Travis is the best of the rest coming in at #4

Getting all the charters back together

Now that conference realignment is done, there isn't much in the way of conference proposals.  But the charter schools (i.e the old Metro Lakes) needs to be fixed.  I know there's the Eastern Minnesota Conference but that's not quite the match.  Here's my proposal.

Metro Lakes Conference (western group)
International School
MN Internship Center
Four Directions
Prairie Seeds
FAIR Downtown
Dunwoody Academy
Calvin Christian

Eastern Minnesota Athletic Conference (eastern group)
Great River
Community of Peace
Hmong Academy
Math and Science
MN North Star Academy
St. Paul Prep
North Lakes
Liberty Classical Academy
St. Croix Prep
Vessey Leadership Academy

These groupings would save travel which is huge these days.  Not to mention, it would build rivalries and give these schools something to play for besides who pounds them in the 1st round of section play.  I would joke that all the EMAC games could be played at St. Bernard's to put that gym to good use (similar to using Arlington for St. Paul City games, St. Paul coaches, make that happen!).  You could even build some rivalries like St. Croix Prep vs Math and Science.  MN North Star and Hmong Academy are right next to each other.  Community of Peace and Great River are close in St. Paul and St. Paul Prep is right between them in the heart of downtown.  Ascension and Four Directions are right next door in the west half.  Depending on who fields teams in a given year due to the small size of these schools, there are still enough schools to rearrange a league schedule.

Note I didn't include MN Transitions as they've earned their way out of these leagues.  CHOF and probably PACT I could let play independent schedules due to past performance.  Or better yet, put CHOF in the MCAA and split that league into 2 divisions.

Minnesota Players in new Hardwood Elite rankings

Hardwood Elite just released their post-July 2010 rankings for the 2011-2013 classes.  Here's how the Minnesota kids came out and then my commentary.  The full rankings can be found here.

Joe Coleman #76
Ross Travis #87

Others that have appeared locally include
Brad Beal #3
Adonis Thomas #10
Myck Kabongo #14
Cody Zeller #17
Branden Dawson #19
Ky Madden #23
Quinn Cook #24
BJ Young #51
Todd Mayo #56
Paul Jesperson #66
Jarrod Uthoff #79
Cedric McAfee #80
Hunter Mickelson #81
Josh Oglesby #91

Isaiah Zierden #94

Others that have appeared locally.
Marcus Paige #22
Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell #25
Rasheed Sulaimon #27
Jordan Adams #28
J-Mychal Reese #29
LJ Rose #30
Cameron Biedscheid #33
DeMarquise Johnson #35
Jordan Price #37
Shaquille Goodwin #38
Torian Graham #49
Junior Lomomba #73
Cinmeon Bowers #74
Philip Nolan #80

No Minnesota Players.  #7 Peter Jok and #9 Deonte Burton have both appeared locally.

The Czar's Commentary
Another analyst picks Paul Jesperson above Joe Coleman.  I think Coleman has consistently done more and been flat out dominant against better competition both in the summer and during the high school season.  Its a fun problem of rankings.  You have Coleman (the athlete), Jesperson (the shooter) and Josh Oglesby (the most well-rounded of the 3).  Oglesby is the most ready of the group and he finishes lowest in the rankings out of the 3.

Very interesting to see Zierden coming in before Howard Pulley teammate Siyani Chambers (Chambers is #81 in the Rivals 2012 rankings as I write this).  I think Chambers performance at the Pacesetter Sweet 16 definitely elevated him.

As to Deonte Burton, I saw him twice at the East Metro Showcase in January.  Didn't average double figures against the top 2 St. Paul teams (and Central may have been the most overrated team in the state last year).  Nice player with some upside, but I saw Peter Jok in 2 events this summer and Jok was a man amongst small children.  Definitely didn't see that from Burton.

Let's give Hardwood Elite credit for showing up for the Best Buy Summer Classic unlike the rest of the national media.  Shame on the national services for sending your entire staffs (basically) to the Peach Jam when they already attended Nike event after Nike event after Nike event after Nike Event after Nike Event.  Its a flat out crime that the Best Buy Summer Classic had 25 top national players and couldn't get any kind of real national publicity.  Yet, the same folks could attend all 4 of the Nike EYBL events.

Pacesetter Sweet 16 Thoughts

Here are my observations from the 2010 Pacesetter Sweet 16

Love the setup at St Ben's.  The 4 court activity center gives plenty of room to move around and watch games.  Not the cramped atmosphere we see on the AAU circuit.  Have to like the pizza too.  Lots of players coming down with ankle injuries this weekend though.  Not good.  Its hard to beat a quality look and one of the players from Waterville-Elysian-Morristown was sporting the blonde hair and a yellow headband.  Hard not to mistake him for evil Johnny from The Karate Kid.  With the black uniforms, WEM = Cobra Kai? 

As to my predictions.  6-2 in the openers.  2-2 for winner's semis and I get the 1st and 3rd place finishers right.  10-4.  1-7 in the consolation bracket puts me at 11-11 for the weekend.

Saturday didn't feature much in the way of competitive games.  However, it did have the story of the weekend, huge individual performances.  I took in all of Ellsworth vs Orono.  Jordan Smith goes off for 8 triples and 32 points in Orono's easy win.  Casey Schilling with 31 points doing what he wanted for Ellsworth.  Best game of Saturday that I saw was Lakeville South vs St. Cloud Apollo.  Apollo comes from 10 down in the 4th quarter to take a 51-49 lead but Lakeville South moves on with a 62-54 win.  Best story of the weekend is Alex Richter returning from Pump N Run's tournament in Los Angeles at 1:30 Saturday morning and thinking he wasn't going to play.  But then he read my preview where I picked Apollo and decided to play.  Coaches, if you need bulletin board material, please contact me.  Braham took on Ellsworth in the opening round of the consolation bracket and what a shootout.  Tyler Vaughan with 48 for Braham.  Casey Schilling ices the game late at the foul line and finishes with 46.  When talking about the state's top shooters, Vaughan needs to be in that discussion.

To Sunday and what a way to start my day with Hopkins vs Apple Valley.  No Marvin Singleton as he suffered a high ankle sprain yesterday and may be down for 2 months.  Apple Valley with 3 quick 3s thanks to a pair of Tyus assists and they lead 11-6 at 6:15 of the first quarter.  Hopkins dominates the rest of the quarter for a 28-17 at the end of the first quarter.  Jones with a pullup at the 4 minute mark that cuts the Hopkins lead to 36-33.  46-42 Hopkins as we go to the break.  Apple Valley already down 1 big guy and Dustin Fronk's 14 points (4 3s) won't play the rest of the way as he came down really hard on his back just before halftime.

Joe Coleman goes for 14 points in the 3rd quarter.  Jones struggles with a handful of forced shots in the quarter thanks to Thomas Schalk being in foul trouble all game.  Hopkins goes to the 4th with a 70-54 lead.  Then the Tyus Jones show starts.  He scores 19 of the 1st 21 Apple Valley points in the quarter.  That cuts the Hopkins lead to 81-75 with 4 minutes left.  Jones with another 3 with 45 seconds left to cut the lead to 2 but Apple Valley gets no closer.  Hopkins moves on to the title game with a 96-89 win.  Jones goes for 24 of his 40 points in the 4th quarter.  12-29 from the floor, 14-16 from the line with a pair of 3s.  6 of his 7 turnovers were in the 1st half.  Coleman finishes with 32 points but very little from outside.  He had 1 triple and maybe 1 other jumper.  Everything else at the rim.  Siyani Chambers with 27 points and 5 assists.

MTS took on Ellsworth in the consolation bracket final.  MTS gets off to a quick start to lead 20-9 after quarter 1 as Ellsworth can't buy a bucket.  But they comeback to close the margin to 40-38 at halftime.  56-50 MTS after the 3rd quarter and they pull away in the 4th for a 82-63 win.  Casey Schilling with 17 points in the 1st half but a very quiet 2nd half with only a pair of triples.  Rodney Owens 20 points and Kyle Noreen with 23 points.  Noreen a glue guy for this MTS roster with Owens creating the offense off the bounce.

Hopkins took on Eastview in the championship bracket final.  This one all Hopkins and once again Joe Coleman getting to the rim at will.  He finishes with 28 points and 8 rebounds.  Siyani Chambers only 10 points, but he was outstanding distributing the ball for 7 assists.  Joey King with a double double of 12 points and 12 boards.  His shooting was off this weekend but he was wearing different contacts due to an eye infection.  Shane McSparron is your classic slasher and he topped Eastview with 15 points.  Nice work by a couple of unheralded bigs inside in Jacob Peterson of Hopkins and soph Ben Oberfeld of Eastview. 

Other finishes in the championship bracket.  Apple Valley def Lakeville South 84-77 for 3rd.  Benilde-St. Margaret's 84-77 over Orono for 5th.  Windom 64-53 over Plainview-Elgin-Millville for 7th.

Consolation bracket finishes include St. Cloud Apollo def Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa for 3rd.  Waterville-Elysian-Morristown over Braham 74-56 for 5th, Waconia 91-83 over Sebeka for 7th in the consolation bracket.

My All-Tournament Team
  • Joe Coleman - Hopkins (MVP).  Most dominant player of the weekend
  • Siyani Chambers - Hopkins.  Coached his group along with leading the way from the point and adding scoring from his point guard spot.
  • Tyus Jones - Apple Valley.  He may have pressed when Schalk was out of the game but 24 points vs Chambers with Schalk in the game and almost single handedly bringing his team back by scoring instead of passing is a huge step for him.
  • Rodney Owens - MTS.  Only loss was to runner-up Eastview.  His play was the major reason MTS won the consolation championship
  • Casey Schilling - Ellsworth.  Had very little help all weekend but was a huge force in at least 3 of their 4 games.  Great work at the end of the Braham game making sure he had the ball in his hands to make 9-10 FTs late to seal that victory.
Also have to mention the Eastview defense as they allowed only 44, 44 and 53 points in their 3 wins.