2011 Sabes Invitational Preview

Its the 11th annual Howard Pulley Sabes Invitational.  This year the event moves to the new High Performance Academy in Eagan.  Here's what I'll be watching.

The top Howard Pulley squad tops pool A with the guard trio of Tyus Jones, Siyani Chambers and Isaiah Zierden leading the way.  CJ Neumann and Kyle Washington man the middle.  The infamous TBD, Nebraska Express and a Magic team (Tillman?) fill out the pool.

Pool B is the pool of death with the top Comets squad, St. Louis Eagles and top Playground Elite team in the pool with the Chicago Demons.  Tyler Vaughan and Joe Burt lead the Comets backcourt and keep an eye on forward Jal Rial.  Playground Elite looks to have a very deep roster with guard Duane Wilson, forwards Arroyo Edwards and Kevin Mays with Cinmeon Bowers and Philip Nolan inside.  The Eagles feature Notre Dame commit Cameron Biedscheid on the wing.  He put on a show here last year.  Willie Wiley mans the inside as one to watch.  Eagles vs Playground Elite at 3:30 on Saturday.

The Dakota Schoolers are in pool C.  They usually have a player or 2 from SW MN to watch and this year is no exception.  Ellsworth's Casey Schilling and Redwood Valley's Michael Busack are 2 of the top players on the squad.  Big Zach Kraning mans the middle (played well in TWolves shootout vs Roseville) and guard Skye Warwick showed unlimited range in St. Cloud.  The 2nd All Iowa Attack squad is in the pool (top team is in Indiana so no Marcus Paige et al).  KC PNR 17s are in the pool with 6'7 F Gavin Thurman but this is one of the worst KC PNR 17s teams in a while.  MN PNR blew them out then gave up a big lead late when they played in Denver but they were better last weekend in their home tourney.  Texas Pro is also in the pool.

Pool D features the top Kingdom Hoops squad with Wesley Staten and Casey Kasperbauer.  The KC Keys and Illinois Warriors are also in this pool.  Warriors were a powerhouse Nike program until recently.  Wisconsin Playmakers with Matt Van Sycoc fill out the pool. 

Pool E is the pool that has to play all the pigtail games just to make the final 16.  The 2nd Howard Pulley team with Jake Wright is here.  Will Dallas transfer Gregory Wesley be with them this weekend is a storyline to watch.  The 2nd teams from Kingdom Hoops and Playground Elite are here.  The KC PNR 16s are playing up and justly so.  They get great guard play from Travis Jorgenson and Connor Frankamp.  Frankamp will play on the U16 USA team with Tyus Jones.  This squad was final 4 in Denver after knocking out Fury Blue.  Would not be shocked to see them win the pool.

Howard Pulley's top 16s feature Harry Sonie, Renard Suggs, Robert Ben and Grant Kellogg.  Their pool has the 2nd Schoolers team, 2nd Kingdom Hoops team and the Chicago Demons.  St. Louis Eagles and the top Comets team highlight the 2nd pool with the 2nd Howard Pulley squad.  Keep an eye on Nate Huot from the Comets.  Comets vs Eagles 9:45 Friday night.  Pool C has the top Kingdom Hoops team.  Also in the pool is the top Schoolers team with Trevor Jacobsen who was final 4 in St. Cloud.  Playground Elite and KC Keys round out that pool of death.  Pool D has the top All Iowa Attack team who its said will have stud Peter Jok with them this weekend. Also the top WI Playmakers team who lost to HP Black in Kansas last week but won St. Cloud is in this pool.  Star shooting guard Matt Thomas is back for the Playmakers.  6'9 Toby Hegner and 6'8 David Jesperson (tourney champ buzzer beater in St. Cloud) are 2 more to watch.  Playmakers vs AIA 11:10 Saturday morning is worth watching.

Teams I would watch are the Howard Pulley Black 15s (Stephon Sharp and Kamali Chambers are 2 notables) , MN Elite with 8th grader Andrew Grosz (6:30 Fri night they play HP Black for state bragging rights).  KC PNR 15s won the Jayhawk last week in 3 OT after playing an OT in the semis.  They also blew out MN PNR in the 15U title game in Denver.  Ray Allen Select was the runner up at the NY2LA event in early April.  Keep an eye on 6'4 F Jonathan Carson and 6'7 center Ricky Landers for them.


  1. Magic Tillman and Superfriends (17U) are both playing in the MN Heat tourney this weekend so who knows which Magic team is playing at Pulley. That Ray Allen team at 15U is full of shooters. Landers is a three year work in progress who usually lurks around the high post on O but alters game plans on D.

    The Heat tourney has a few other notables in the 17s including Southside and Pump n Run but there probably won't be any classic matchups until bracket play. That applies to the 16s and 15s too.

  2. Marty, should be a fun Heat tourney. Wish you guys would have stayed down in the 14s

  3. Now seeing the fields, it would have been fun to stay in 14U with you, Mpls Select, Cyclones, Wisconsin Playmakers, Fox Valley Swing, etc. Team Nebraska could be good too if they have the big 6'7" 270 lb kid playing with them again this year.

    We got a tough one to start with the Heat's other top team at 15s. Oh well- it's all about learning and getting better. If we lose, we'll have to see if we can work our way through that 3rd place bracket.


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