2011 Tuneup Weekend Preview

Its the end of June and that means it time to tuneup for the big July recruiting period that is just around the corner.  For Minnesota teams that usually means a trip to the Dakota Showcase in Sioux Falls.  But this year teams and D2 coaches will also be flocking to St. Cloud for the 2011 Great Plains Alliance Tournament.  12 teams each in the Platinum and Gold Divisions.  If it wasn't for the Crown Prince being in town all weekend for the Brewers/Twins series, that's where I'd be.  But here's what I would watch there and some comments on the Dakota Showcase.

In St. Cloud at the Whitney, Pool A should be dominated by the top Comets squad with Joe Burt and Tyler Vaughan.  WI Force, 2nd ECI team and Heat Lesewski round out the pool.  Heat Elite (possibly with Eric Robertson which would add much need athleticism) plays the top Select crew with Brady Wohler et al at 11:30 Friday morning for the top spot in pool B.  Comets Seevers and EOTO Black (2nd team) round out that pool.  Fury Blue, the top ECI team, and a pair of Comets teams round out the pool.  Keep an eye on Daniel Yale from ECI and who knows if AJ Jacobsen will appear.  Center Mike Schreiber has played well inside for Fury Blue recently and Marquealis Edwards and Tony Kuplic are 2 who can go off at anytime.  I like Fury here but no walkovers vs Comets Stock or ECI in the pool

Quarterfinals are Friday night with the semifinals and championship early Saturday (10:20 and 12:40).  I like the Pool B/Pool C 2nd place matchup in the quarters.  Wouldn't surprise me to see Comets Hanson win it by taking out both of the top teams from Pool B (Heat, Select) on Saturday.

The Gold Bracket is a combination of 15s and 16s.  The top Comets 16s and Nate Huot should handle Triple Threat, WOTN and ECI's 15s in pool A.  7:20 on Thursday features Carson Shanks and the top Select 16s taking on Nick Carroll's Fury Black 15s.  Expect that to decide pool B.  Last pool is wide open with ECI 16s, Fury White (3rd team), Team Flight (who?) and the top Comets 15s.  Bracket play should turn out similar as I see Select's top team taking on the Comets top team with the home squad hanging on to win.

In Sioux Falls, 9 of the 24 teams are from Minnesota and the noteworthy ones are mostly 16U teams playing up.  Fury Blue 16s play Ultimate Hoops 16s at 9 AM Friday in a very good pool matchup between 2 of the better 16U teams MN.  Those teams have the Iowa Barnstormers team with James Harrington in their pool.  MN Cagers and WOTN 17s are a pair of feisty squads in pool B.  EOTO Gold (top team) has the Glory 16s in Pool C.  Glory Elite highlights pool D.  Anders Broman and Carey Woods coming off very good showings in Mankato last weekend.  SW MN Stars with Cody Schilling and Zach Huisken are in pool E.  WOTN 16s are in the final pool.

2011 MYAS State Tourney Results

Due to my coaching & scorekeeping obligations with the Magic Black 14s (and the fact that the 14U and 15U brackets were at the South Pole, thank you MYAS), I only saw a little bit of the 15U bracket.  Everything else was 14U ball.  Without being too biased, the Magic Black buzzer beater win in OT over GetShook Black to win a pool in 14U was one of the better games of the weekend.

Have to start with Johnson blowing out the Heat Biwan (high seed in the pool) in the opener and then winning the pool and stealing the 6 seed with a thrilling 64-63 win over WOTN.  Heat Biwan 79-58 over WOTN and WOTN surprisingly didn't come out of the pool.  The other big pool story was EOTO Gold taking out Comets Hanson 62-60 to win their pool and steal the 2nd seed.  Great run on the weekend for EOTO Gold as they finish 4th.  They lost 69-68 to Glory in the 3rd place game.  Comets Hanson had a 60-58 win over Johnson in a bracket pigtail and had to come right back against a rested Southside squad.  Southside 66-55 won that one.  Glory in a bit of a shocker blows out Heat Elite 70-44 after Heat Elite had a bye.  Fury Blue took out Glory by 21 in the semis and Southside by 19 to win the title.

Fury Gold, Fury Blue, Ultimate Hoops, Heat Altena, and Dakota Pride all handled their pools.  The 2nd Comets club was seeded 19th but upset Heat Ogorek 41-40 to win the pool and steal the 3rd seed.  The MN Cagers once again battled a top team right to the end as they lost 65-64 to the top Comets team.  Maybe that was an omen as 11th seeded Heat Reese upset the Comets 70-59 to steal the 6 seed.  9th seeded MN Raptors beat 8th seeded MN PNR 15s 47-46 to win the final pool.  Ultimate Hoops knocked off the top 2 Heat teams before falling to Fury Gold in the semis.  Heat Altena took out Comets Lewis before falling to Ultimate Hoops in the quarters.  MN PNR 15s took out Dakota Pride 69-52 in the round of 16 which is a nice win for the PNR 15s.  Fury Blue 66-52 over PNR in the quarters and then they overcome the Fury Gold curse with a 60-56 win in the title game.  Ultimate Hoops def WOTN 47-44 to take 3rd place.

In the 15s, the top 4 seeds all easily rolled through their pools.  In the 5/8 battle in pool E, Chris Carr's 43 Hoops 15s got a free throw with 2.7 seconds left to beat Heat Frank 49-48 to win that pool.  MN Warriors upset TC Force 58-51 to swap the 6 and 7 seeds.  But the big story was 9th seeded Heat Weimar making a huge run in bracket play.  Heat director Willie Vang taking the reins for bracket play and getting it done.  They blew out 5th seed Heat Frank 53-35 in the pigtail game.  Then upset top seeded MN Elite 45-42 and 8 seed 43 Hoops Carr 38-36 to advance to the final.  43 Hoops Carr beat Comets Stumpf 73-63 in the quarters.  Heat Weimar lost the final 50-41 to Heat Select.  Heat Select's road to the final included a 62-61 quarterfinal win over a Jon Sobaski led MN Bandits squad.  The Bandits got a late layup from Sobaski to beat TC Force in their pigtail game.  Then Heat Select had a semifinal rematch win 73-71 over Fury Black (I think that went 2 OT).

2011 MYAS State Tourney Preview

This weekend is the last big event of the spring portion of the AAU season as MYAS holds their state championships.  With AAU crumbling away this year, MYAS has the weekend all alone.  The tournament format is seeded but teams will play pool play before moving into the bracket. 

The schedule for the weekend can be found here.  16U and 17U games are at Hopkins.  14U and 15U games are at Lakeville South.

The best news is that MYAS decieded to combine 11th/12th grade this year after 2 years of forfeits in the championship game due to using seniors.  The field doesn't have the cream of the crop (HP, 43, PNR or Net Gain) but still has 4 noteworthy teams competing and they received the top 4 seeds.  That's Fury Blue, Comets Elite, Southside and Heat Elite in seed order.  Watch out for the 7th and 8th seeds WOTN and Comets Stock.  Heat Duberry comes in with the dangerous 12th seed.  But the most dangerous low seed I'm watching is #19 seed Johnson who should have Marcus Marshall with them.

Fury Blue has Heat Duberry in pool A.  EOTO Gold is the 14 seed and they're in with Comets Elite in Pool B.  Southside should have no problems in pool C.  Heat Elite has 16 seed Comets Seevers in their pool in a rematch from earlier in the season.  Riley Mickleson vs Dave Simmet inside gives me another chance to use the irresistible force vs immovable object cliche.  Pool F is winnable for WOTN but I'll take Johnson to win it.  Pool E is the most wide open with Comets Stock and 5th seeded Glory in the pool.  Triple Threat is down this year but they can still be dangerous in this pool.

The top 4 seeds will receive 1st round byes if they win their pools.  All 2nd place teams and the winners of pools E and F will play in the 4 pigtail games.  Southside ends up with the toughest bracket draw in my opinion.  I see them having to go through Johnson (or WOTN), Comets Elite and either top Fury or top Heat to win the entire thing.  My pick: Comets Elite

Now the fun begins as this bracket is absolutely loaded (and not just with 6 of 24 teams being from the Heat).  Fury Gold and Fury Blue received the top 2 seeds.  Ultimate Hoops got the 4, Comets Elite the 6, PNR tourney runner up Dakota Pride only got a 7 (will AJ Jacobsen appear?) and lurking as a very very dangerous 8 seed are the MN PNR 15s.  If the 15 seeded 43 Hoops group is the Nick Anderson team then that's a very dangerous team as well.  They draw Fury Blue in pool play.  John Sherman's Magic Black crew is the 13th seed and they should have a good one with Ultimate Hoops in pool play.  Does Greg Wesley go back to them for the weekend?  If not, Nick O'Hara, Konner Goettsche and Collin Host still give the Magic plenty to work with.  But I think the top 8 seeds all win their pools.  That means a quarterfinal bracket that is outstanding.  Fury Gold vs MN PNR (wow), Ultimate Hoops vs Heat Altena, Fury Blue vs Dakota Pride (wow) and Heat Ogorek vs Comets Elite.  The winners of the WOW games move to the final with tough wins and any combination would be outstanding.  Though I'm sure Fury Blue would love another shot at Fury Gold (0-2 this season vs them, Fury Gold is 30-3 and no losses in state this season).  I won't bet against Fury Gold.

This bracket misses out with the MN PNR 15s playing up, but it still is outstanding with 5 top teams in the bracket.  MN Elite earned the 1 seed.  Heat Select, Fury Black and Comets Elite are 2-4.   Some real sleepers right behind them though with Heat Frank, TC Force and 43 Hoops Carr at 5,6 and 8.  No problems for the top 4 seeds getting through.  Heat Frank vs 43 Hoops Carr will decide pool E in an entertaining game.  43 Hoops was runner up to the loaded Ray Allen Select squad at the NY2LA event 2 weeks ago.  TC Force is my pick in pool F (largely East Ridge kids who played well at Sabes).

Comets Elite vs 43 Hoops Carr sticks out in the quarterfinals with the winner likely playing MN Elite in 1 very good semifinal.  That sets up Heat Select vs Fury Black on the other side of the bracket.  These teams went to a buzzer beating thrilling finish in their last meeting in the semifinals of the Fury tournament 2 weeks ago.  Andre Wallace bank fade 3 from 25 feet after 3/4 court pass at the buzzer to win it in OT for the Heat.  That was after the Heat gave up an 18 point lead.  Such a tough bracket to pick as I think you could throw the top 4 seeds and 43 Hoops in a hat and come out with a quality pick.  Since the teams have met up so often this season, I'll take MN Elite over Heat Select in a close final.