2011 Comets Shootout Thoughts

Its always draining for everyone involved but always a great time at the Comets Shootout.  My thoughts from the 2011 edition

15U Division
In the 15U title game, MN Heat Select had a 5 second call go against them up 1 with 20 seconds to go but made 2 free throws and got 2 stops to close it out.  45-42 was the final over MN Elite.  Heat Select went on a 14-0 run only to be outscored 19-4 to end the first half.  Heat Select then came from 10 down in the 2nd half for the win.  Having only 7 guys to work with definitely wore on MN Elite over the compressed schedule.  That Heat Select club features Jeff Jones and Quinton Garvis who lead Washburn in the Mpls City this year along with athletic guard Andre Wallace from Eden Prairie.  Coach Leon Garvis said 6'5 Isaac Matthews from Coon Rapids was a beast for him all weekend.

Net Gain 14s played up and finished 1-2 in pool play.  Sam Neumann is major name to remember in the 2015 class.  After Alex Illikainen (14U champ), he's one of the next names to come up in that class.  I also liked 6'6" lefty forward Jim Warmack from East Grand Forks and point guard Hadley Smith from Devils Lake, ND for the Dakota Pride.  MN United nice white uniforms, but the black numbers on navy blue uniforms have to go as they render the numbers unreadable.

16U Division
Amazing ending in the 16U title game with Danny Sullivan (Holy Angels) nailing a 3 for Fury Gold for a 52-51 lead on WI Playmakers.  But David Jesperson (brother of Virginia recruit and Wisconsin's top 2011 prospect Paul Jesperson) knocked down a 3 at the buzzer on the other end to win the title 54-52.  All of that without star shooting guard Matt Thomas.  6'9" Toby Hegner from Berlin was outstanding.  Jump hooks inside over the left shoulder or stepping out and knocking down 3s, love his upside.  For Fury Gold, DJ Pollard played well.  Adam Huessner with a pair of plays to bring Fury back just before the ending.  Keep an eye on cousins Tom and Joe Aase from Austin.  Tom played well in the 2nd half to keep Fury close and Joe is big but mobile and can either step out for 3 or run the floor and finish strong.  He showed that with 1 big run out dunk and was fouled to prevent another occurrence of the same thing during the tourney.

Fury Gold with a great run knocking off Schoolers Blue (semifinalist) during pool play, then they beat the MN PNR 15s, Fury Blue and Select White to make the final.  Great year for Fury at 16s as their White team with Zach Haas and Nick Goldberg of Sibley gave Select White all they wanted in the quarters.  Nate Huot from Dawson-Boyd showed well for Comets-Lewis.  Fury Black (outstanding uniforms) is Nick Carroll's 15U squad who played up in this tourney.  Only fitting that they had the 1st of many meetings with PNR's top 15s who also played up.  Have to give some props to Fury Black point guard Reggie Rabb representing the Old Kingdom (La Crosse Aqiunas).  Looks like the Blugolds have another quality guard coming through the program.  JP Macura (Lakeville North) is a guard who can fill it up in a hurry for a very balanced squad.

17U Division
Opening day at the Whitney for the 17s featured mostly blowouts.  Comets-Hanson blew through their pool to easily move on.  Southside held off Comets Stock in their 1 game at the Whitney to win their pool.  Glory held off a game Heat-Duberry squad but fell to SD Heat in overtime as both of those teams moved on to the top bracket.  Coach Duberry then made a nice run in the Silver bracket.  Net Gain struggled all day.  They beat SW Slam by 13 and then lost by 9 to WOTN (who didn't have a recognizable face on the roster) in the day's biggest upset at the Whitney.  NGS then held off ECI Prospects by 3 to just barely make the top bracket.  In other action that I didn't see, the Dakota Schoolers were impressive at Sauk Rapids to win their pool along with Matt Van Sycoc of the WI Playmakers.  Team GetShook knocked off Fury Blue.  That forced a 3 way for 1st in that pool with Select White and Fury Blue goes out on tiebreaker.  Magic's athletic squad knocked off 43 Hoops in action at Kennedy Elementary to win their pool.

Comets Elite took out Glory, Select White over Playmakers, Net Gain over Southside, Magic over Fury Gold, Comets Stock over WOTN, 43 Hoops over Heat Elite, Schoolers over GetShook and SD Heat over Triple Threat in the round of 16 games.  Comets then got a late 3 and 2 free throws from Tyler Vaughan to hold off Select White.  Net Gain vs Magic had an ugly AAU run and gun first half before Net Gain pulled away in the other quarterfinal at the Whitney.  Net Gain jumped all over the Comets 34-8 and shockingly rolled to a 70-43 win in 1 semifinal.  43 Hoops pulled way from the Schoolers late for a 66-58 win in the other semifinal.

Then Net Gain got a pair of nice drives and an assist from Tommy McDermott and it looked like they'd finish 43 Hoops off.  But Duke Anywanu with a 3 and then a steal that became a Marcus Marshall 3.  59-58 43 Hoops with 25 seconds left in a furious comeback.  NGS with the ball underneath with 5 seconds left.  Ater Mangyang misses a corner 3 but Taylor Stafford puts it back at the horn and Net Gain wins the title 60-59.  How improbable after the day 1 struggles.  2 title games decided at the horn and the other on the last possession.  Johnny Woodard played well for NGS in the last 2 games to lead the way to the title.  Ater Mangyang might be this year's Jonah Travis.  Athletic undersized 4 who can make an impact. 

43's Nate Kratch impressive defensively swatting shots all over the place, especially in the game vs Dakota Schoolers going against 6'9 Zach Kraning.  His D1 interest is heating up and rightfully so.  He has a handful of unofficial visits coming up .  I liked Glory's Chad Poppen as a big pass first point guard (and for kindly putting up with my commentary on other games earlier in the day).  Magic's schedule is crazy but they have a whole bunch of athletes and will be no cupcake on anybody's schedule.  Tyler Flack's athleticism on display for Select White with a picture perfect drop step dunk in the post against the Comets.  Skye Warwick of the Schoolers has ridiculous shooting range. 

People talk about parity at the NCAA level.  Maybe for MN spring teams it applies too.  43 Hoops goes 5-2, Net Gain goes 6-1 so we end up with no undefeated team in the 17s.  Next up, I'm with Fury this weekend as Minnesota invades Denver with Net Gain (17s), Fury (17 and 16 Blue teams) and all 3 Minnesota Pump N Run teams.

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