Its time for the 2011 Best Buy Summer Classic. I'll begin with the 1st of 2 previews of the event, starting with the 15s and 16s. Tournament format for these divisions is 3 team pools. 1st and 2nd place teams in each pool will play the Gold Bracket. 3rd place will play the Silver Bracket. 36 teams in 16U and 30 in 15U.
16U Division (Click here for Schedule)
MN PNR 16s get home court with their 2 pool games on the show court. With NIBA (Aurora, IL) and IA PNR II in the pool, except them to roll. In pool B, Arkansas Hawks I'm told have a nice team so the game with Fury Blue at 8:15 Wed Night should be a fun game to determine that pool. Hawks are athletic and that's something that's not a Fury Blue strength. But Fury Blue is very balanced with Brycen Wojta, Zach Lindquist, Dustin Fronk, Ben Oberfeld and Bridge Tusler. Nebraska Bison White is the other team in the pool. Pool C has the sick good Houston Select 2014 squad. They've won 2 straight national titles and played up in Denver and won the 16s. Wouldn't be shocked if they did that again here. Khadeem Lattin is a shot blocking force. Justise Winslow is a major player for them as well. Grassroots Canada's top team is their 16s and I expect them to handle Heat Reese and Colorado Titans in Pool D.
Illinois Warriors with 5'8 point guard Marvie Keith and 6'9 post Marquis Todd will have to contend with MN Heat Ogorek to win Pool E. Team Nebraska Express is no slouch there either. Comets Stanfield and Hammond Hurricanes in Pool F but I'll take DC Assault here. 5'10 G Will Ferguson is ranked #73 nationally by Scout.com. Duez Henderson's Iowa Pump N Run I with the Soukop twins won the 16s at the PNR Spring Tourney and I expect them to have no problems with SW MN Stars and Team Lockdown in Pool G. Ultimate Hoops and Grant Schaeffer I'm thinking will take out WOTN Gold and Pryme Tyme in Pool H.
One of the best pool games comes out of Pool I where Comets Elite will take on Dakota Schoolers White (St. Cloud Semis). That game is 2:40 on Wed on the middle court at Kennedy's Activity Center. Old Gold Hit Squad (2nd team) is also in the pool. The top team Old Gold Dream Team leads Pool J over ECI Prospects and WI Starz. I love the balance of Pool K with the MN Jaguars (listing Darius Hill, Gerald McCarver and Renard Suggs), WOTN Black (top team that has been respectable) and the very good Dakota Pride and Moorhead's Aaron Lien. Assuming AJ Jacobsen will play up in the 17s with ECI Prospects rather than playing with this group. I like the Pride to come out after being tested. Finally, Pool L is topped by Fury Gold who's been outstanding this year. DJ Pollard, Danny Sullivan and the Aase cousins (Joe and Tom) plus shooters Adam Huessner and Luke Scott make up a loaded roster. Expect some D1s to start looking at Tom Aase at this tournament.
Now for the infamous bracket predictions. Old Gold fun win over MN Jaguars before losing to MN PNR. Schoolers White over SW MN Stars before tough loss to Ultimate Hoops. Heat Ogorek over Schoolers Blue then lose to DC Assault. Fury Blue over Heat Altena then beat Grassroots Canada.. Dakota Pride over Heat Reese then lose to Houston Select. Comets Elite over IA PNR II and Illinois Warriors. Fury Gold over Comets Stanfield and IA PNR I (outstanding Fury Gold vs IA PNR I quarterfinal). WI Starz over Pryme Tyme before losing to Arkansas Hawks.
Then starting with the final 8. MN PNR over Ultimate Hoops, DC Assault over Fury Blue, Houston Select over Comets Elite, IA PNR I over Arkansas Hawks. In the semis and final DC Assault over MN PNR, Houston Select over Fury Gold. Houston Select over DC Assault to win the 16U title.
15U Division (Click here for Schedule)
Pool A dominated by Reid Travis, Henry Ellenson et al for MN Pump N Run. Triple Threat and NIBA in the pool. In Pool B, WOTN and WI Wizards in the pool but another major tournament contender is in this pool and that's Indiana Elite One. Keep an eye on Justin Brent, Collin Barthel and Jeff Harris for them. In Pool C, the Net Gain 14s with one of the state better 2015 prospects Sam Neumann are playing up with Dakota Schoolers White and IA PNR I who I pick to win the pool. Minnesota Elite with another 2015 star Andrew Grosz headline Pool D with Team Saskatchewan and Dakota Schoolers Blue. Fury Black is my pick in Pool E over Pryme Tyme and Basketball Manitoba.
Indiana Elite Kendrick is their 3rd team but don't be fooled. This team can play with Jeremy Tyler and Mike Jones. Its the toughest 15U pool with Dakota Pride (6'6 Jim Warmack of E Grand Forks on that squad) and MN Heat Vang. MN Heat Select with Jeff Jones (football stud), Quinton Garvis and Andre Wallace headline pool E over SW MN Stars and IA PNR II. Pool H is pretty quiet with Nebraska Bison Gold, Ultimate Hoops and my pick MN Heat Frank. Pool I not much better with Team Lockdown, WI Starz and Basketball Manitoba 14s. Pool J has a solid TC force team with Elk River's Clay Elrod who I think outlast EOTO and All Iowa Attack to win the final pool.
MN PNR already avenged a loss in the PNR Spring Tourney to MN Elite but I think they'll do it at home again in 1 semifinal. Similar feel too as MN Elite will likely have to take out MN Fury Black in the quarters. A dynamite quarterfinal looms with Heat Select and Indiana Elite 1 with Ind Elite moving on. I think whoever comes out of pool F moves on to the semifinal and that's the other Indiana Elite team. I'll take MN PNR to win it at home over the top Indiana Elite team.