2011 Comets Shootout 17U Preview

Its part 2 of my preview of the 2011 Comets Shootout.  My thoughts on the 17U bracket are here (read about 14-16U here).  Games start at 3 PM thanks to ACT testing with 1 stray game to finish up at 10 PM (Will there be more fans awake or sleeping in the gym by the time that one ends?).  Top 2 from each pool advance to the championship bracket on Sunday.

Pool A (Whitney Rec Center at 3:00, 5:20, 7:40 PM)
Comets Hanson is the favorite here and they've upgraded this year with talented wing Jal Rial from Alaska, shooting guard Tyler Vaughan from Braham and center Connor Goodwin from class A runner-up BBE.  Vaughan and Joe Burt will be a fun backcourt to watch.  Expect a long run from this squad in bracket play.  Suns and Triple Threat should battle for the 2nd spot.   Jared Kadrie from LP/HT and Jett Leaf from HLWW are a pair of guards to keep an eye on for Triple Threat.

Pool B (Kennedy Elementary at 3:00, 5:20, 7:40 PM)
Heat Elite team is favored here with sharpshooters Justin Pahl, Mitchell Kuck and Kyle Von Schmidt Pauli.  Emeche Wells is their top athlete.  Zach Meyer and Dave Simmet return to anchor the interior.  Fury Gold (2nd team) won't wow you but they're solid with Anthonie Tholey from state AAA champ Orono and Michael Brush from state qualifier Osseo amongst those on the roster.  They'll battle Comets-Seevers for the 2nd spot in the pool.  The 5:20 game between Comets-Seevers and Heat Elite features Dave Simmet vs Riley Mickelson in a battle of a pair of immovable objects.

Pool C (Kennedy Elementary at 4:10, 6:30, 8:50 PM)
43 Hoops leads this pool as one of the tourney favorites.  Sean Scott and Marcus Marshall return.  They've also added forward Nate Kratch from Watertown-Mayer and will use seniors Adam Hjelter and Roosevelt Scott.  They're athletic with plenty of firepower and with coach Al Harris and his intensity, you know they'll get after it on defense too.  The Heat's 2nd team and Magic Superfriends should battle it out for the 2nd spot when they open at 4:10.  Heat Biwan won't wow you but they have plenty of varsity experience.  Magic Superfriends has a ton of firepower at the guard slots with Darian Pittman, Demetrius Martin, Rodney Owens and Tyson Kalien.

Pool D (Sauk Rapids HS at 3:00, 5:20, 7:40 PM)
Fury Blue and Select White (top teams from both organizations) lead this pool.  Select has quality inside play with Kyle Bauman, Brett Rasmussen and Trevor O'Brien.  Jack Harrison, Matt Nelson and Tyler Flack are big versatile forwards.  WEM's Grant Pope runs the show along with Brady Wohler.  Xavier Hall is a defensive stopper.  Fury has a closer in Marquealis Edwards, Michael Schreiber to matchup with the size, Sander Mohn to shoot it and Tyler Moore to run the show.  Those teams play at 5:20.  Team GetShook will look to jump into the mix with a win in 1 of their last 2 games over those teams.  Alex Stafford, Shelby Ashford and 2011 Kevin Handy will man the interior with Jalen Albritton and Shawn Bear on the wings.  Bear will have a heavy load scoring and handling for that club. 

Pool E (Whitney Rec Center and Sauk Rapids HS at 3:00, 5:20, 7:40 and 10 PM)
The most wide open pool that I see.  Wyatt Krogman leads the SD Heat.  Glory can match that guard firepower with Anders Broman, Carey Woods, Andrew Lindquist and Chad Poppen.  MN Heat Duberry is a sleeper with St. Anthony star Anthony Brama, Chanhassen's Cole Otto and Minnetonka's James Zilverberg.  Select Blue rounds out a very balanced pool

Pool F (Sauk Rapids HS at 4:10, 6:30, 8:50 PM)
The Dakota Schoolers lead this pool with Casey Schilling and Michael Busack on the wings and impressive big Zach Kraning inside.  He impressed at the Timberwolves Shootout against Roseville.  I also liked their waterbug point guard Tanner Odegaard at the Comets camp last fall.  WI Playmakers will be a very good 2nd team in the pool with 6'6" wing Matt Van Sycoc who's received Divison I interest and guard Riley Bambenek from Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau (outside of The Czar's old stomping grounds) who recently picked up a pair of NSIC offers.  Van Sycoc was impressive with 25 and 10 when I saw him in my 2010-11 season opener.  Those teams open against each other at 4:10.

Pool G (Whitney Rec Center at 4:10, 6:30, 8:50 PM)
Net Gain and ECI Prospects are the top 2 teams here.  Net Gain looks like they've added Duluth East stars Taylor Stafford and Johnny Woodard while keeping Ater Mangyang and Riley Dearring.  Nick Latzke looks like he'll join them too.  Daniel Yale (ND and NDSU offers) and AJ Jacobsen lead the 2012 ECI group.  2011 PG Josh Rodenbiker is sticking around with this group as well and should get some coaches attention this weekend.  He was a top player last year for them.  SW Slam features Brady Boike from MACCRAY and Ryan Fransen of Renville County West on the front line.  ECI vs NGS at 8:50 for the featured pool game.

Pool H (Whitney Rec Center and Sauk Rapids HS at 4:10, 6:30, and 8:50 PM)
Minnesota Southside with Joey King leads this pool.  They've also added firepower with Deonte Blakemore and Latrell Love.  Comets-Stock has the size to deal with that lineup though with Luke Halbakken of Pelican Rapids and Mike Spoden of Grand Rapids.  Bjorn Bjorklund can shoot it and Scottie Rucks is an athletic forward who would be a reasonable matchup with King.  Southside's 1 game at the Whitney vs Comets Stock at 6:30 should decide the pool.

The Brackets (Sunday 9:10 AM, 12:40, 3:00 and 5:20 PM)
As to bracket play, here's what I see possibly happening.  Fury or Select top teams vs Playmakers in the round of 16 with the winner facing the Comets is interesting.  Southside vs ECI in the round of 16 with the winner to play 43 Hoops.  Winner of that would likely see the Comets top team in the semis.  The top 2 Heat teams could meet in the round of 16 or the Heat top team would see a tough matchup with the Magic there.  Winner of that to play Net Gain who I think makes the semis.  Dakota Schoolers control the bottom quarter of the bracket to play Net Gain in the semis.  43 takes out the Comets and then the Schoolers to win the title.  Nothing like 7-0 in 26 hours, the winner is always well deserving.


  1. Which gyms will you be at?

  2. I might sneak to Sauk Rapids for a pair of 17 games, but most likely I'll be at the Whitney for all my games both days.


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