Reflections on Las Vegas 2011

So after almost 2 full days of recovery from a 5 day adventure in Las Vegas, its time to go over what we saw.  Thankfully after losing my wallet at the Super 64 it was found so I didn't have to worry about the flight home.  People say its a dry heat and I'm prone to agree.  100-105 degrees didn't seem that bad and there were actually sprinkles the last morning.  Amazed that you can find a slot machine anywhere.  Walk into 7-11, play a slot.  Walk into a liquor store, play a slot.  Food critics be patient, your info is coming.

Fab 48
The Fab 48 is sort of like the old Main Event as its top teams are from the Nike circuit.  Nice thing with this tourney is that each division (5 alone for the 17s) was in its own gym.  Have to say that using the main gym as 2 courts was not the best idea.  Too crowded and the organization wasn't what you'd expect from a guy who's run a bunch of events.  Couldn't stand the crowd control guy who seemed like his only mission was to be nothing but a jerk.  Overall some great talent with #4 kid in the country Kyle Anderson (great passer) and Ish Wainwright who led the KC 76ers to titles at the Fab48 and then followed it up at the Best of Summer for their 3rd title of the summer.  The crowd for the loaded Oakland Soldiers vs Belmont Shore game was something to see.  Full house in the bleachers above the entrance along the sideline and all around the court.  Impressive performance from PNR spring champion WI Swing in making the Final 4.  Guard Zak Showalter continued to impress.  In the lower levels, the top Select 16s didn't fare well in pool but won their consolation bracket.  The top Select 17s lost in the final of the 2nd bracket and the top Comets 17s lost in the final of the 3rd bracket.  Quality July for Tyler Vaughan of the Comets. 

Adidas Super 64
What a setup at the headquarters.  Fans on 1 side, coaches and media (table included) on the other.  Full houses for all of top kid Shabazz Mohammed's games which was a nice gesture by the locals to keep him home.  The Adidas Super 64 logo at halfcourt and on the backboards of the main court.  Plus PA announcing for all those main court games.  Classy.  I could stand to turn down the PA volume and ditch the DJ in the gym but overall a really neat setup.

As to the games, how about a super pool of 4 of the best bigs in the country.  Andre Drummond outplayed Kaleb Tarczewski and Isaiah Austin in 2 games.  Cameron Ridley also in the pool but missed a game I wanted to see due to illness.  He had a big game against the top Heat team in Indy.   1st game I saw there was a major highlight with Jordan Adams of the Atlanta Celtics and Mohammed going back and forth for almost 40 points each. Mohammed's DreamVision club came back to win that entertaining game.  Texas Assault was the defending champs (16U) but didn't get put in the top 32 teams.  Didn't matter as their star Marcus Smart led them to the title with 29 and 18 in the championship game.  High level competitor though his flop for a cheap technical that knocked Utah Pump N Run star Jordan Loveridge out of their semifinal game changed that game entirely.  Loveridge was one of those who really raised his stock during the tourney.

As to the local teams, after being blown out at the Best Buy tourney last week by the Shaqless Atlanta Celtics, the Fury Blue 17s won their pool and then gave the Celtics all they wanted in their early round playoff rematch.  Shaq Goodwin too much on the glass in the 2nd half as Fury eventually fell in a close game.  PNR 16s lose a wild 6 OT game 62-60 to DoublePump to bow out early.  Southside won their pool.  PNR 17s lost in the 1st round to a KC PNR team they handled in Denver.

Best story was the PNR 15s who made a run all the way to the championship game before losing 54-51 to the Las Vegas Prospects.  PNR took out a very good Louisville Magic team (who beat an outstanding Ray Allen Select team in super pool) in the round of 16.  Reid Travis with a very good tournament for PNR.  17 of 21 against Louisville Magic in the 2nd half for the comeback win.  Nice lunch pail effort from Alex Herink as well.  Can you cheer from long distance?  Former DLS and PNR star Jonah Travis chiming in on twitter to me during the tourney when PNR was behind.  "Yell at my brother because he's probably playing soft!"  I haven't laughed so hard in a long time.  Can you say intense?

Nice to see one of our top local refs work a handful of games there including the 16U championship.  The Super 64 was part of an officials camp where NBA officials showed up to help the officials.

Didn't see any of the Bigfoot Hoops tourney but a nice run to the final 8 by EOTO there.

The Gambling
Not to used to smoking with MN and WI having laws against it so that was tough.  I'm a blackjack player and I came into the trip used to a 6 or 8 deck chute.  But at the hotel I had 4 nights of double deck blackjack.  No jumping in until a deck is done and you hold the cards.  That means an entire new set of signals.  A different but fun experience.  I won the 1st and last nights and lost the middle 2.  Overall I went even in the double deck version.  Then on the final night on the strip it was back to the usual and I got totally mugged at the 1st casino.  But I came back at The Bellagio with the best run of cards you'll ever see to get most of it back.  So overall 2-3 record on my nights with a minor pittance of The Czar's expansive wealth lost.  Very worthwhile entertainment.

The Food
You know I can't write about an adventure without talking about the food.  Thinking it would be the best meal of the trip, the opening night dinner at Tony Roma's was a let down.  Food was too blah for the expensive price.  Though originally advertised at $3, the pork sandwich at the Fab 48 was worth the $4 price even if it was prepackaged ahead of time.  Nice kick to the sauce.  Cheese pizza (no sausage, boo) at the Super 64 was blah, but at least the price was reasonable.  Besides, having pizza is never a bad thing.  But the best bargain I've seen in a long time was the $1 hot dogs at the Super 64.  Very good and cheap, can't go wrong with that.

2011 Best Buy Summer Classic Championships

The 3rd and final day of the 2011 Best Buy Summer Classic featured semifinals and championship games in all 9 brackets.  Here's a glimpse of what I saw.

I arrive just in time to see the last 10 seconds and overtime of Southside's 56-54 win over MN PNR in the gold (2nd level bracket) semifinals.  50 all going to overtime.  Then Joey King to Latrell Love late for the Southside lead.  PNR looks for Wally Ellenson curling to the rim for a lob but DeShun Patterson gets up and knocks it away off Ellenson and Southside hangs on.  Southside then had a rough go of it losing the gold title game big to the Atlanta Celtics.  Celtics held off Texas D1 Ambassadors yesterday and beat Fury Blue (who had beaten IA PNR I) today on the way to that title.  Southside beat Ajays Elite last night in the quarters of the Gold while PNR beat Comets Hanson.

Then its the 17 platinum (top) semifinals.  PrymeTyme up 10 at half and then took a 15 point in 2nd half on the Houston Defenders only to see it cut to 2 late.  Then the Houston coach gets tossed and free throws make the final margin PrymeTyme 72-62.  In the other semifinal, a very tight and low scoring affair between the New England Playaz and Indiana Elite.  I missed a 3 minute stall in the last 5 minutes.  Kaleb Tarczewski with 1 of 2 FTs for the only Playaz pts in OT.  They had a pair of 3s just miss in the last 15 seconds.  Indiana Elite makes the final with a 45-42 OT win.

In a 15U semifinal, Fury Black took on MN PNR.  Fury Black saw a 9 point lead cut to 5 before going on a huge run to lead by 19.  Then coach Nick Carroll gets the gate and PNR cuts the lead to 9 with about 2 minutes left.  But PNR goes cold after that and free throws push the margin to double digits with Fury Black making the championship game.  They were beaten by the top Indiana Elite team in the finals.

The 17U Silver (3rd bracket of pool winners) Bracket title game was Iowa Barnstormers Black vs M33M.  Barnstormers gave up a 6 point halftime lead.  M33M turned it over with a chance to win in regulation and the Barnstormers almost got a running 3 to win it.  M33M made a buzzer beater to force a 2nd overtime and made 2 FTs with 6.2 left in the 2nd OT to win 73-72.  Comets Stock beat Wisconsin Force by 4 to win the 17U Bronze Bracket (teams that were 2nd in their pool).  They were in the same pool as PrymeTyme.

In the 17 Platinum title game, PrymeTyme with back to back 3s late in the first half for a 27-22 halftime lead.  They then get a 7-0 foul advantage to start the 2nd half which prompts an Indiana Elite techinical.  41-31 PrymeTyme with 10:55 left.  Elite comes back to cut the lead to 50-48 inside of 5 minutes to play.  Then back to back 3s and a drive for 2 more from stud Fred Van Vleet pushes the lead to 10 with 2 minutes left.  PrymeTyme is indeed the sleeper of the tournament as they win the champion 63-52.  They were 2-0 in pool and then went through a who's who of Michigan Hurricanes, Atlanta Celtics, Illinois Warriors, Houston Defenders and Indiana Elite.  An amazing run for any team, especially one that isn't a big time shoe program.  Combine that with Southside's tournament run (beating Indiana Elite One and MN Pump N Run) and it was nice to see programs like that succeed.

Then the 16s Gold (top) title game ended the tournament on a great high note.  Grassroots Canada missed 3 late free throws that they were able to get back on offensive rebounds or off of Team Nebraska hands.  That allowed them to pull off an 85-81 win in double overtime.  A really fun game of athletes going up and down.  The last 5 minutes and overtimes (all that I saw with the 17 platinum game going on) were 2-4 points the entire way.

Fred Van Vleet hands down wins my award for 17U MVP.  He controlled the game with not just scoring but decision making with passes for easy shots or not forcing tempo with the lead.  Reminded me of Jordan Taylor once upon a time.  When BSM was ahead late, he got the ball and it was over.  Same deal here.  But the entire team outworked everybody they played.  They also did a wonderful job of slowing the game down and spreading the floor to take advantage of Van Vleet's skills when they got ahead.  Top to bottom, coaching, effort, clutch play, star play, it was all there for PrymeTyme.  They were the best team here and deserved the title with their high level of play.

2011 Best Buy Summer Classic Day 2

Random things from Day 2 at the 2011 Best Buy Summer Classic. The day included the 1st 3 bracket rounds with all semifinals and finals tomorrow (all top brackets semis at 11:15, finals at 2:45).  Nothing new in terms of food today, but 1 of the basic cinnamon rolls tomorrow morning is a tempting thought right about now.

17U Pigtails
  • PrymeTyme huge over Michigan Hurricanes.
  • Illinois Warriors over Grassroots 69-54
  • Texas D1 Ambassadors over Iowa Barnstormers Black 70-52
  • Fury Blue over Dakota Schoolers 66-64 in OT.  Fury didn't do a good job of closing it out in regulation but a pair of Tyler Moore steals and a late Marquealis Edwards bucket won it.
  • IA PNR I def EOTO Gold 59-50
  • Comets Hanson struggled but beat the SW MN Stars 62-59
  • Old Gold 46-44 over M33M on Robert Hurd buzzer beater.
  • Ajays Elite over ECI Prospects 56-42
    Southside def Indiana Elite One 72-63 with big performance from Joey King
 17U Round of 16
  • PrymeTyme 69-59 over Atlanta Celtics.  Fred Van Vleet 2nd outstanding game of the day for PrymeTyme.  He's able to create his own offense or carve up defenses with outstanding passing.
  • Illinois Warriors def Texas D1 Ambassadors.
  • Houston Defenders handled Fury Blue
  • Southern Select def IA PNR 1
  • Indiana Elite def Comets Hanson 75-63.  Comets cut lead to 3 with about 4 minutes left before 8-0 run put it away.
  • Old Gold upsets MN PNR
  • New England Playaz def Ajays Elite
  • DoublePump def Southside
17U Quarterfinals
  • PrymeTyme def Illinois Warriors
  • Houston Defenders def Southern Select 67-56. Nice game from Select's Reggie Ragland.  Andrew Harrison showed impressive game but too much yapping earned him an unnecessary technical.  He had a really impressive blow by and then wrap around pass to Shaquille Cleare for a dunk.
  • Indiana Elite def Old Gold 75-61
  • NE Playaz def DoublePump in 2OT on buzzer beater.
17U Semifinals will be PrymeTyme vs Houston Defenders and Indiana Elite vs New England Playaz.

Atlanta Celtics def Texas D1 Ambassadors 62-58 in Gold bracket quarterfinal.  They'll play Fury Blue in the semis who beat IA PNR I in another quarterfinal.

16U Pigtails
  • WI Starz def WOTN Black
  • Comets Lewis def SW MN Stars
  • Heat Ogorek upset Fury Gold
  • Fury Blue def Heat Altena
  • Heat Reese upset Dakota Pride
  • NIBA def Dakota Schoolers White
  • Schoolers Blue won their game (opponent unknown)
  • Old Gold Dream Team def PrymeTyme.
16U Round of 16
  • MN PNR def WI Starz
  • Ultimate Hoops beat Comets Lewis, result not a surprise but the big blowout was.
  • DC Assault handled Heat Ogorek
  • Fury Blue lost to Grassroots Canada 53-51.  A Fury turnover and loose ball foul with 2.8 seconds resulted in the 2 free throws that won it.
  • Houston Select def Heat Reese by about 18.  Nick Anderson with Heat Reese.
  • Team Nebraska Express def NIBA
  • Dakota Schoolers Blue def IA PNR I.  Good win for Schoolers over Spring PNR tourney champs.  6'9 center Zach Hanson is a mid to high major kid to keep an eye on for the Schoolers.
  • Arkansas Hawks def Old Gold Dream Team.
16U Quarterfinals
  • Ultimate Hoops with an impressive 60-57 win over MN PNR.  Point guard Grant Schaeffer stood out in the win.
  • Grassroots Canada def DC Assault
  • Team Nebraska upset Houston Select 64-63.  Justise Winslow with a sick dunk in the game.  Khadeem Lattin missed a dunk down 2 in the last 30 seconds that Nebraska converted that ultimately won it.
  • Arkansas Hawks def Schoolers Blue
Ultimate Hoops will play Grassroots Canada in 1 semifinal with Team Nebraska Express playing Arkansas Hawks in the other (quality athletic matchup there).

In 15U, Heat Select lost to Indiana Elite in the quarterfinals.  Fury Black def Net Gain 14s, then MN Elite to make the semifinals.  MN PNR beat TC Force and then Nebraska Bison Gold in quartes.  Fury Black vs MN PNR is an interesting semifinal game.

Now besides being swarmed by NSIC coaches during the PNR 16s loss to Ultimate Hoops and mocked for looking like a kid who went on the court to shoot, thank you coolest guy in the NSIC :) , my real highlight of the day wasn't watching games at all.  I had a chance to talk hoops and life with a couple of different players during the day.  To see kids who get it and appreciate what their coaches have done for them is a real pleasure.  Not unheard of to not fully appreciate it until long after it's over.  Always nice to hear stories of kids having a good experience not just on the court but off of it as well.

2011 Best Buy Summer Classic Pool Play

Day 1 of the 2011 Best Buy Summer Classic featured pool play for all teams.  Of course, all that really matters is that my 2 hot dogs grade out at a solid B+.  The CDH/Washburn beef hot dog is a high standard to meet.  Always fun to see the mini 12 oz bottle (not can, but still must consume mass quantities).  Note to self, I could use that as a primitive start to a diet as it would cut out 40% of my Pepsi intake   Now for my stream of unconsciousness thoughts for the day.

Good start to the day for the local teams with the Minnesota Comets coming back on Nebraska Select for a 58-54 win.  12-4 Comets run in the last 3:25 wins it.  Tyler Vaughan continuing to play well for the Comets.  Then the best game I saw all day between DoublePump Elite and Minnesota Pump N Run.  Close one all the way.  PNR down 48-44 when DoublePump misses a dunk.  Will Dunn buries a pair of 3s and its PNR with a 50-49 lead outside of 2 minutes left.  Nigel Williams Goss unstoppable off the bounce and his 3 point play puts DoublePump back up 52-50 with 1:27 left.  A Sanjay Lumpkin putback ties the game at 52 all with still more than a minute left.  What's this?.  DoublePump is going to hold for 1 shot.  Very shocking.  They take timeout with 37.1 left.and miss with 2.6 to play.  PNR goes Christian Laettner to Kevin Jensen but his shot is off the iron as regulation time expires.  Lumpkin with a tap in to start the OT scoring.  Then after a PNR stop, DoublePump has to give 3 fouls before the 1 and 1.  Lumpkin buries both with 23 seconds left.  Williams Goss to the rack with 16 seconds left and then PNR misses the front end.  Williams Goss to the rack to tie and back we come.  Its Carnell Sheppard at the horn and YES!!!  His jumper at the buzzer is good!  MN PNR wins 58-56 in an OT thriller.

Heat Elite without Dave Simmet were down 11 to Ajays Elite but went 14-0 to end the game and won on a Justin Pahl 3 at the buzzer.  Pahl has really been shooting the ball well from Iowa in mid May all the way through this July period.  Indiana Elite knocked off Southern Select 60-52 and then knocked off the Texas D1 Ambassadors.  Texas D1 played without star Alex Caruso who is injured and hopes to be back for Las Vegas.  Southern Select forward Reggie Ragland definitely looks the part of a big time linebacker (will play LB at Alabama) but he has game too.  Houston Defenders handled the Illinois Warriors in their 1st game.  Both Harrison twins playing well. 

Indiana Elite Team Indiana gets the publicity here, but Indiana Elite One with Ron Patterson will be no slouch in this tournament either.  They pounded Magic Tillman.  Heat Biwan knocked out WolfPack from Belgium by 1 thanks to a Darius Wilkerson FT with 0.2 seconds left.  Tubby Smith shows up for Atlanta Celtics and MN PNR.  Celtics open up a 32-9 lead in the first half running and gunning for easy hoops and force 3 PNR timeouts.  In the 3rd timeout, fire and brimstone.  It must have gotten their attention as Wally Ellenson started a run to cut the lead to 16 at half.  (Then I leave to see end of MN PNR 15s 78-33 win over Triple Threat, only game of day for that pool).  I return to the PNR 17s to find that PNR has clawed their way back into it.  They cut the lead all the way down to 58-56 with about 4 minutes to go but fall 76-70.

EOTO Gold behind the quality interior play of Tim Gill and a much improved Joe Gill took a 17 point lead on the WI Force in the 2nd half, only to see the Force go to a scrambing trapping defense and cut the lead to 1.  The Force also got a pair of big 3s from Brendan Ortiz in the run.  EOTO Gold hangs on to win 69-66.  1st game in a long time where I didn't see Tim Gill float on the perimeter which is a very good sign with his big body.  But much of that is the sign of the thoroughly dysfunctional Henry team.  Dakota Schoolers pounded the Belgium Wolfpack squad.  Michael Busack was sitting out in the 2nd half that I watched icing an ankle. 

The big matchup of NE Playaz vs Houston Defenders was marred by a late right shoulder injury to star Aaron Harrison.  Fairly ugly game anyway.  Shaq Cleare really outplayed Kaleb Tarczewski (who I wasn't as big a fan of tonight as other writers) especially in the 1st half.  I liked his sound technique when defending ball screens.  Nice to see a kid who's not just running aroundBut the Playaz have a ton of shooters around him and play good ball.  No fluke in the 47-41 Playaz win. 

Ian Theisen of the PNR 16s looks to be slimmer and more mobile. PNR 16s win both their games with no trouble. Houston Select 16s are for real.  Khadeem Lattin seems to have length that goes on forever.  Justise Winslow is really smooth and has all the athletic tools to boot.  DC Assault 16s handled the Hammond Hurricanes in a game that was hard to watch with major jersey confusion.  Navy Blue, green, white.  No idea what was going on there. 

The Strange
  • PNR going back to the bright yellow shoes that have been hated so much previously.
  • Kid with the Nike Swoosh cut in the back of his head.
  • Czar almost taking a header on my 1st trip down the bleachers and jakking up my left foot in the process.  No fear folks, the Czar does play hurt.
  • The highlight games switched from court 1 to the main gym during the 2nd game on court.  No surprise that the games were moved, but thought this would have been done before play began.
  • Actually knowing a kid on a Canadian roster.  Abu Conteh (formerly of Stillwater and St. Paul Como Park) playing for Academy CT out of Manitoba.
  • Team NIBA (Aurora, IL) brought their 16 team, but somehow their 15s backed out at the last minute

2011 Best Buy Summer Classic 17U Preview

My previews of the 2011 Best Buy Summer Classic continue with a look at the 17U division.  (Read the 15U/16U Divisions preview here).  Now pay close attention because there are 57 teams that could end up in any of 5, yes 5 brackets.  There are 19 pools of 3 teams.  9 of those teams are in the 1st 3 pools and are super pools.  All 9 of those teams plus the 16 regular pool winners will advance to the Platinum Bracket.  That's 25 teams which means 9 pigtail games.  The losers of those 9 pigtail games will then form the Silver Bracket.  The 9 winners will move on to the round of 16 in the Platinum Bracket.  The 8 losers from those round of 16 games will form the Gold Bracket.  The 8 winners continue play in the Platinum Bracket.  The 16 2nd place finishers from the non super pools will play the Bronze Bracket.  The 16 3rd place finishers will play the Classic Bracket.  Whew!  Got all that?  If you have wall space to donate to post all of the brackets, tournament director Tom Krosschell would greatly appreciate it.

Here's my schedule of prospects to watch during the Wednesday games at Jefferson.

Here's a link to the entire 17U schedule

Super Pools A-C
In Pool A, you have the hosts Minnesota Pump N Run.  Wally Ellenson starting to hear from high majors now.  Sanjay Lumpkin just picked up offers from American and Richmond (Spider on their court is way cool!).  Denver semifinalist Double Pump Elite makes the trip with 4 ranked players.  2013 PG Nigel Williams Goss was outstanding here last year and he returns as the 26th ranked player in the class (all rankings here are Rivals unless otherwise noted).  He had previously committed to UNLV before pulling back after Lon Kruger left.  Now hearing from many high majors.  6'4 G Tyrone Wallace is ranked #95 and has a pair of Pac 12 offers.  6'8 F Zena Edosomwan is #114 and 6'5 F Jordan Tebbutt is 116 and both have multiple Pac 12 offers as well.  When I was in Denver, Double Pump had a 7'6 behemoth who was his own sideshow but he will not be attending.  The final team in pool A is the Atlanta Celtics with 6'5 forwards Damien Wilson (Memphis commit) ranked #83 and Jordan Adams (UCLA commit) ranked #85.  #21 ranked 6'8 F Shaq Goodwin played here with the Celtics last year but is expected to attend the Peach Jam instead.  Double Pump plays the Celtics at 9:30 PM on Wednesday Night in a showcase game.  I'll take Double Pump to win the pool

In Super Pool B, you have Indiana Elite, Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston and the Illinois Warriors.  Expect to see lots of Tom Crean as Indiana Elite has 3 Indiana commits on the roster.  It starts with 6'8 F Hanner Parea (#15 ranked), 5'11 PG Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell (#23 ranked) and 6'7 wing Jeremy Hollowell who's ranked #52.  Xavier commit 6'8 F James Farr also joins them for July.  The team will be missing 7 footer Peter Jurkin who is also committed to Indiana due to a shin injury.  6'3 Guard Eron Harris is starting to see his interest expand as well.  The Texas D1 Ambassadors bring their Houston squad.  They feature 6'4 SG Alex Caruso who's ranked #63.  6'4 SG Jalen Washington, 6'3 shooter Devon Turk and 6'0 G Chase Brogna also ones to watch.  A couple of wildcards for this roster.  6'9 Aly Mohamed may be with them or Houston Defenders Select.  He may attend Rice.  6'8 C Kendrick Morris is a developing 2014 player.  Southern Select from Georgia rounds out the pool.  6'5 SG Charles Mann is ranked #140.  6'7 F Damien Goodwin is also seeing some D1 interest.  They also feature Alabama football commit 6'4 245 lbs Reggie Ragland.  I'll take Indiana Elite to win the pool

In Pool C, you have the New England Playaz who bring the top ranked player in the event.  He's 12th ranked 7'0 C Kaleb Tarczewski.  They also have a 6'8 2014 forward Jarred Reuter.  Jon Papale is one of a quality group of shooters on the roster.  The 3rd semifinalist from Denver (Indiana Elite was the 2nd) making the trip is the loaded Houston Defenders Select squad.  They won Denver and are considered one of the top teams in the nation (they beat Indiana Elite in Denver, though IE got them in the quarters last week)  They have 6'5 2013 twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison.  Andrew is a PG and ranked the top 2013 player in the nation.  Aaron is a shooting guard and ho hum he's ranked #9 in the country.  6'7 F Derrick Griffin is ranked #30 in the 2013 class.  And there's 6'9 F Shaquille Cleare who's ranked #29 in the 2012 class.  They also have guard Christian Sanders who's receiving high major interest.  The Illinois Warriors return to the metro after playing at the Sabes Invite.  6'8 F Brad Foster and 6'1 PG Luke Norman are a pair of players to keep an eye on for the Warriors. Houston Defenders play New England Playaz at 8:15 PM on Wednesday in the best pool game of the tournament with me picking Houston Defenders to win the pool.

Regular Pools D-S
Pool D is the 1st regular pool.  Fury Gold and WI Hoops Select join the Michigan Hurricanes.  The Hurricanes bring the #60 player in the 2013 class, Byron "Bo" Zeigler.  He's a 6'6 wing.  In Pool E, Old Gold from Chicago, MN Heat Duberry and M33M (SD). Expect Old Gold to be athletic.  M33M is Mike Miller's program and his relative Jade Miller from hometown Mitchell plays for the program.  Pool F has Academy CT from Manitoba and a pesky Comets Stock crew.  The last team is my sleeper of the entire tournament and that's Pryme Tyme from Rockford, IL.  They feature a very good backcourt 5'11 PG Fred Van Vleet who will attend Wichita St and Marcus Posley who has a UW-Green Bay offer.  Pool G has the 2nd Iowa Pump N Run team and the WI Wizards.  The SW MN Stars head the pool but will be without 6'9" Zach Huisken (and Casey Schilling will be with Dakota Schoolers).  Look for 6'7 F Kyle Kilgore to have a much bigger role for them this week.

The ECI Prospects headline Pool H with versatile forwards Daniel Yale and AJ Jacobsen.  Banger Dexter Werner takes up space in the middle and is productive.  The KC Outlaws and Comets Seevers round out the pool.  ECI Select and WI Starz compete with pool favorite Fury Blue in pool I.  Scrappy WOTN and Basketball Saskatchewan fall in behind M33M Memphis in Pool J.  Keep an eye on 2013 F Robert Hubbs who has 4 high major offers right now.  Heat Elite should take out Ajays Elite (offshoot of Pryme Tyme) and Colorado Titans in pool K.  Justin Pahl playing well for Heat now..  Maybe they can run into the Atlanta Celtics again this year.  They gave the Celtics their best game of the tournament last year in this event.  Dakota Schoolers are my favorite over Wolf Pack (Belgium) and Heat Biwan in Pool L.  Casey Schilling and Mike Busack representing Minnesota in that one.  Bigs Zach Kraning and Scott Mulder (missed St. Cloud due to injury so I think he'll be back) are quality interior players worth watching.

Team GetShook has Shawn Bear but struggled at the Hoosier Shootout.  Team Missouri was also there an 0-3 in a tough pool but won the Copper Bracket..  6'4 SG James Williams has D1 interest and high school teammate (but no relation) 6'7 Kelleon Williams is an interesting 2014 prospect.  6'5 SG Jake Schannuth is another to watch.  IA PNR I rounds out the pool.  MN Southside and Joey King headline Pool N.  Bear Claw Club from Colorado and a pesky Basketball Manitoba squad round out the pool.  Magic Tillman and Arizona Red Shirts are in Pool O with Indiana Elite One.  6'3 G Ron Patterson is ranked #127 and now plays for Indiana Elite One after playing for the top squad in Denver.

Comets Hanson with Joe Burt and Tyler Vaughan highlights Pool P.  QC Elite and Nebraska Select are the rest of the pool.  Arkansas Hawks NW are in Pool Q with Grassroots and Magic Superfriends.  They play each other at 4:55 Wed afternoon.  Grassroots with Freddie Young, Darrion Strong and Zach Lofton (just got Duquesne offer).  Magic Superfriends with Darian Pittman, Rodney Owens, Demetrius Martin and shooter Tyson Kalien is very dangerous.  They've beat 43 Hoops and Howard Pulley Black this year.  In Pool R, G James Harrington should lead IA Barnstormers Black to the pool title over MN Heat McDonald and EOTO Black.  Last but not least Mpls Gator and EOTO Gold are in pool S.  They join guard Brandon Ortiz and F Jamal "Popcorn" Morris from the Wisconsin Force.  Ortiz played well in St. Cloud and was amazing in the 3 OT state championship game for Madison Memorial in March.

Too many teams and games to predict brackets.  But Houston Defenders, New England Playaz, Indiana Elite have to be the 1st group of favorites.  I put DoublePump and the Atlanta Celtics right behind them  Plenty of possible games that would be interesting to watch even at the pigtail level.

Best Buy Summer Classic 15s and 16s Preview

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  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.

2011 Day 3 July Results

Here's how MN teams fared on Day 3 on the July recruiting period.

Adidas Invitational
43 Hoops 17s finish 5-1. They beat KC PNR 55-51 before losing Pray and Play Players and star Perry Ellis 69-64. Marcus Marshall, Marcus Tyus, Nate Kratch and Cullen Russo were the standouts for 43.

Heat Elite 17s finish 4-1. They lost to Houston Hoopstars and top 15 player Cameron Ridley (34 points) 76-55

Heat Duberry 17s lost to ACAD Elite 79-57 in their 1st Bronze bracket game.

MN PNR 16s lost to Spiece Indy Heat 68-67 in 1st round bracket play.

Heat Altena lost to Spiece Gym Rats Daniel 65-53 in 1st round silver bracket to finish 1-3 overall.

Heat Ogorek beat Colorado Mustangs in silver bracket 58-51. They then lost in the quarters to Illinois Old School 59-56

MN PNR 15s def KYA Basketball in 1st round of bracket play 77-49.  They then beat KC Pump N Run (who beat MN PNR for title in Denver) 47-42.  Reid Travis 10 points.  They then lost in quarterfinals 58-53 to Eric Gordon All-Stars.  Worth noting that the 2 teams in front of MN PNR's in pool, 1 made the semis and other was playing to make semifinals.

43 Hoops Carr 15s lost to CIA Bounce 71-37 in 1st round bracket play.  They finish 2-2.

Hoosier Shootout
MN Cyclones win the 14U Division with  69-52 win over BA Celitics.  Kobe Critchley 27 pts and 10 ast.  Alex Illikainen 12 points and 14 boards.  U of M asst Ron Jirsa looking on.

MN Glory 17s beat Toronto Elite 100-75 and Indiana Select 88-87 in 2 OT.  Anders Broman 45 points in that game.  They then lost to Illinois Crush in the semifinals of the silver bracket to finish the tourney at 4-2.

MN Select Blue 17s lost to Team Atlanta in 1st round Silver bracket.  They finish 1-3.

Team GetShook beat Indy Home School Wildcats in 1st round Copper bracket before losing to MD Hoopmasters in quarterfinals.  They finish 1-4.

NY2LA Next Level Invitational
Heat Phillips 14s lost 63-31 to WI Hoyas to finish 1-2 in pool.  They then lost to WI Academy 46-45 in 1st round of Platinum Bracket to finish tournament 1-3.

Howard Pulley Black 15s lost 58-46 to Iowa Barnstormers (0-3 in pool).  They lost 65-42 to Playground Elite in 1st round Platinum Bracket

Grassroots 15s (2-1 in pool) beat Kingdom Hoops II 54-37.  They then lost to Racine Warriors 49-25 in 1st round Platinum Bracket.

Comets Elite 15s beat IA PNR I 54-32 to finish pool play 2-1.  They lost to WI Scholars 74-61 in 1st round Platinum Bracket.

Howard Pulley White 15s 0-3 in pool but beat IA PNR I 56-51 in 1st round Gold Bracket.  Will play Randolph Boys Club White in quarterfinals.

Heat Frank 15s lost to Ray Allen Select 66-39 in 1st round Platinum Bracket to finish 2-2.

Comets Stock 15s lost 1st round Gold Bracket to Dakota Schoolers Blue 64-39

Howard Pulley Black 16s finish 1-3 as they lost 60-50 to IBA Select in 1st round Platinum Bracket

Comets Elite 16s beat WI Swing Gard 63-43 in 1st round Platinum Bracket.  They play WI Playmakers White (Comets Shootout champs) in the quarterfinals.

Magic Black 16s 1-2 in pool.  Lost 59-34 to SYF Players in 1st round Platinum Bracket.

Howard Pulley White 16s finish 0-4 with 68-65 loss to WI Swing Bench in 1st round of Gold Bracket.

MN Southside beat Team NLP-LJ 61-48 in Platinum Bracket playin game.  They then lost 72-69 to Milwaukee Running Rebels.  2-3 overall record.

SW MN Stars finish 0-4.  They lost 66-58 to Iowa Barnstormers Black in quarterfinals of Gold Bracket.

Net Gain beat Colorado Titans 61-38 in Platinum Bracket playin game.  They then lost 76-75 in round of 16 to PNR Spring Tourney champ WI Swing Litscher.  Rashad Vaughn continues to impress for Net Gain.

Heat Biwan finishes 0-4 with 60-47 loss to ECI Prospects in Gold Bracket playin game.

MN Magic beat ECI 59-54 in Gold Bracket quarterfinal (1-3 overall).  They'll play IA PNR I in semifinal.

Grassroots finishes 1-3 with 84-82 loss to SW IL Jets in Platinum Bracket playin game.

Howard Pulley White finishes 2-2.  They lost 51-48 to Iowa Barnstormers Gold in Platinum Bracket playin game.

Comets Elite def East Troy 56-54 in Platinum Bracket playin game.  They then lost to Team NLP-DF 55-39.  They finish 3-2.

Heat McDonald didn't play.  They play WI Blizzard Trautman in quarters of Silver Bracket. 0-3 currently.

2011 Day 2 July Results

Here's how MN teams fared on day 2 on the July recruiting period.

Adidas Invitational
MN Pump N Run 17s beat Franchize All Stars 68-60 to finish pool play 2-1 (2nd).  Lost 46-41 to Full Package Walker in 1st round bracket play.

43 Hoops 17s now 4-0 as they beat NW Ohio 68-64 to win their pool.  Marcus Marshall 22 pts.  Then beat Florida Rams Blue 69-62 in 1st round bracket play.  Marcus Tyus 28 pts.  Sean Scott 17 and 6.  They'll play KC PNR in the round of 32.

Heat Elite 17s now 4-0 as they beat Indiana Crusaders 84-56. Josh Tismer 15 pts.  Then beat Nashville Celtics 59-57.  Mitchell Kuck 20 pts 5 rebs.  U of M asst Vince Taylor took in the 2nd half of the game.

Heat Duberry 17s lost 66-45 to Franklin All-Stars to finish pool play 0-3.  They play ACAD Elite in round of 16 of Bronze bracket.

Magic Superfriends 17s lost 68-55 to Texas Select.  They finish 1-2 but 2nd in pool thanks to tiebreaker.  Lost 79-66 to Southern Select in 1st round of Gold bracket.

MN PNR 16s lost 79-70 to Devin Harris Super Stars to finish 1-2 in pool.  They'll play Spiece Indy Heat in 1st round bracket play.

Heat Altena lost to Spiece Central Mahurin 59-48 to finish 1-2 in pool.  They'll take on Spiece Gym Rats - Daniel in bronze bracket.

Heat Ogorek lost to BA Hoyas 80-60 to finish 1-2 in pool.  They'll take on Colorado Mustangs in bronze bracket.  Both Heat teams could play each other with 2 wins.

MN PNR 15s def Gateway Basketball Club 56-34.  Lost to Meanstreets 68-59 to finish 1-2 in super pool.  They'll take on KYA Basketball in 1st round of bracket play.

43 Hoops Carr 15s beat Grand Rapids Storm Blue 63-47.  Lost to Triple Threat AKA Threat220 70-63 for 2-1 pool finish but won the 3 way tiebreaker for top seed in pool.  They'll play super pool winner CIA Bounce in 1st round bracket play.

Hoosier Shootout
MN Select White17s 3-0 in pool, lost to IWC Lone Peak in pigtail game in bracket play.
MN Select Blue 17s 1-2 (Blake Williams 8 3s and 33 points in their pool win).  They play Team Atlanta in 1st round Silver Bracket.
Team GetShook 17s 0-3.  They play Indy Home School Wildcats in 1st round Copper bracket.
MN Glory 17s 2-1 (lost today's pool game to finish 2nd in pool).  They'll play Toronto Elite in 1st round Silver Bracket.

MN Glory 16s 1-2 in pool as they won today.  Beat Select Blue in Bronze bracket opener before losing to Hidden Gems in quarters.
MN Select Blue 16s 1-2 in pool.  Won 71-64 today thanks to 7 3s and 27 points from Yasin Omar.
MN Select White 16s 3-0 to win pool.  Lost to Crons Hester in bracket opener.

MN Glory 15s 0-3 in pool.  Beat Chattanooga Titans in 1st round Silver bracket and then lost in quarters to Missouri Impact White.
MN Select Warriors 15s 1-2 winning last pool game today.  Lost to Crons-Shover in 1st round Silver Bracket.

MN Cyclones 14s 5-0.  They beat ACB (MI) 47-46 to win quarterfinal after easily sweeping their pool.  Alex Illikainen 2 FTs with 7 seconds left to win it.  They they pounded Michigan Madness 101-56 in 14U semifinal.  Jeremiah Hanson (yes another Hanson) 24 points.  Illikainen 16 pts, 17 boards.  Daniel Hudrlik 12 and 14.  They'll play BA Celtics for 14U title.

TVA 14s 2-1 but due to points tiebreaker only finished 3rd in pool.  They advance in bracket by forfeit before losing to Team Hustle in Silver Bracket semifinals.

NY2LA Next Level Invitational
Heat Phillips 14s lost 55-22 to Kingdom Hoops I (1-1 in pool). Play WI Hoyas for chance to win pool

Howard Pulley Black 15s lost 55-51 to Peoria Irish (0-2 in pool)
Grassroots 15s (1-1) beat Randolph Boys Club Blue 37-13. 
Comets Elite 15s lost 57-52 to Playground Elite.  (1-1)
Howard Pulley White 15s lost 68-17 to WI Blizzard Reader, lost 34-27 to IBA Select (0-3 pool)
Heat Frank 15s 2-0 on the day (2-1 pool).  They beat WI Shooters 71-64 and won 59-40 over IA PNR II to finish 2nd in their pool
Comets Stock 15s split their 2 games to finish 1-2 in pool.  They lost 57-33 to Racine Warriors and beat WI Blizzard Lehocky 52-38.

Howard Pulley Black 16s lost both of their games today to finish 1-2 in pool.  Top WI Playmakers team beat them 60-50.  Kingdom Hoops I beat them 57-51.
Comets Elite 16s also lost both games today to finish 1-2 in pool.  65-33 loss to Rising Stars Gold and lost 64-43 to SYF Players.
Magic Black 16s stuff is totally convoluted on NY2LA site.  Either split with a big win or lost 2 very close ones.
Howard Pulley White 16s lost both games for 0-3 pool finish.  WI Blizzard Hawley 51-44 and 59-36 to WI Shooters

MN Southside lost 70-64 to Team NLP-DF to finish 1-2 in pool but will advance to Platinum Bracket.
SW MN Stars lost to SYF Players 63-55 (not a win as previously written) and lost 51-23 to BTI PNR.  0-3 in pool.
Net Gain beat WI Playmakers 72-62 to finish 1-2 in pool. 
MN Magic lost to WI Shooters 72-60 (0-3)
Heat Biwan lost to SW IL Jets 76-38 (0-3)
Grassroots beat Playground Elite II 68-65 to finish 1-2 in pool.
Howard Pulley White beat Kingdom Hoops II 68-59.  They finish 2nd at 2-1 in pool.
Comets Elite def WI Blizzard Trautman 83-66 to finish 2-1 in pool
Heat McDonald lost 60-26 to Friends of Hoops to finish 0-3 in pool.

2011 Day 1 July Results

Here's how MN teams fared on day 1 on the July recruiting period.

Adidas Invitational
MN Pump N Run 17s lost 55-51 to NW Panthers, def MARCROWE MSM4L 86-81.

43 Hoops 17s def Hoosier Hoops 78-40 and Louisiana Dynasty 78-65.  Marcus Tyus 30 pts, Marcus Marshall 20 pts.  Nate Kratch 15 pts and 8 boards.  All of those stats from the 2nd game.

Heat Elite 17s def Orlando Wildcats 65-58 and Spiece Hoosier Hoops 70-61.
Heat Duberry 17s lost their 2 games 70-46 and 68-52
Magic Superfriends 17s split their 2 games.
MN PNR 16s beat Gateway Basketball Club 66-63, lost to Colorado Hawks 51-49
Heat Altena beat Triple Balance 44-40, lost to NW Ohio 63-59
Heat Ogorek def Indy Racers 68-53, lost to Illinois Attack 77-59
MN PNR 15s lost to Louisville Magic 59-49
43 Hoops Carr 15s beat Club Champions 69-34

Hoosier Shootout
MN Select White17s 2-0
MN Select Blue 17s 1-1
MN Glory 17s 2-0
Team GetShook 17s 0-2
MN Glory 16s 0-2
MN Select Blue 16s 0-2
MN Select White 16s 2-0
MN Glory 15s 0-2
MN Select Warriors 15s 0-2
MN Cyclones 14s 2-0.  Alex Illikanien 18 pts, 21 rbs in game 1, 16 pts, 18 boards in game 2.  In game 2, Kobe Critchley 9 pts, 10 boards and 9 ast.
TVA 14s 1-1

NY2LA Next Level Invitational
14U and 15U
Heat Phillips 14s def Dakota Schoolers Blue 51-43
Howard Pulley Black 15s lost to Ray Allen Select 74-39
Grassroots 15s lost to WI Scholars 69-47
Comets Elite 15s def Dakota Schoolers White 49-24
Howard Pulley White 15s lost to Terry Porter Elite 57-56
Heat Frank 15s lost to WI Playmakers 59-54
Comets Stock 15s beat WI RAP-White 55-49

Howard Pulley Black 16s def Dakota Schoolers Blue 71-63
Comets Elite 16s def KC Spurs 65-53
Magic Black 16s lost to Peoria Irish 53-30
Howard Pulley White 16s lost to Dakota Schoolers White 66-55

MN Southside lost to Terry Porter Elite 78-61, def Inland Empire 51-48
SW MN Stars lost to WI Swing Litscher 58-38 , beat SYF Players 63-55
Net Gain lost 53-27 to Kingdom Hoops I and lost to Peoria Irish 59-57
MN Magic lost to Playground Elite I 79-49 and lost to Dakota Schoolers 68-66
Heat Biwan lost 63-40 to Milwaukee Running Rebels and lost to IA Barnstormers Gold 64-37.
Grassroots beat ECI Prospects 80-72, lost to IL Rising Stars Gold 77-62
Howard Pulley White lost 62-61 to Colorado Titans, def IL Rising Stars Blue 73-41
Comets Elite def IA PNR I 63-57, lost 57-53 to Team NLP-LJ.
Heat McDonald lost 80-30 to IA Barnstormers Black, lost 63-43 to Fox Valley Fire

5 to watch in the 2011 recruiting period

Here are 5 names that have a chance to be noteworthy stockraisers this July.

Joey King - MN Southside
Maybe the player with the most pressure this July. He played well against SW MN Stars at the spring PNR Tourney and was up and down in Iowa. He gets a great opportunity in Milwaukee at the 1st NY2LA event. A win in pool play is a must and will propel them into the platinum bracket. This is the 1 month where his interest level will be crystalized.

Johnny Woodard - Net Gain Sports
Woodard starts his summer where it "ended" as Net Gain returns to Milwaukee to open July. When he last played before Memorial Day it was in Milwaukee where he injured a shoulder and was thought to be done. He's since been cleared and after the outstanding spring he had, it would have been a shame to see him sit out. He has the most college ready body in the class. Using that body, he's also demonstrated that he's as good a finisher as anyone in the class as he can take contact and still score. Continued quality play should have high majors after him.

Nate Kratch - 43 Hoops
Has been outstanding all spring for coach Al Harris and the D1 offers have started to come as Jacksonville and Nebraska-Omaha are on board (how cool would a front line of Krych and Kratch sound?). More athletic than he looks and has shown the ability to swat shots. Expect his stock to rise during this period during a tough schedule in Indianapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Louis.

Siyani Chambers - Howard Pulley Black
He's rebounded nicely after a tough start to the spring. He's a quality leader and has good basketball IQ. Will his size be an issue for high D1 schools? He has the ultimate platforms to show as he'll be at the Lebron James Skills Academy and the Peach Jam during the opening period.

Carson Shanks - MN Select White 16U
Ignoring the fact that its totally ridiculous that I at a hulking 5'3" am projecting results for a 7 footer, let's get a 2013 kid in here. The size and the potential have shown and he's played well recently, specifically at the Gopher Team Camp. Will get plenty of looks because you can't teach size. With a quality July, interest would skyrocket.

10 more to watch
Tyler Flack - MN Select White
Kyle Bauman - MN Select White
Isaiah Zierden - Howard Pulley Black
Zach Stahl - Howard Pulley Black
Wally Ellenson - MN Pump N Run
Sanjay Lumpkin - MN Pump N Run
Zach Huisken - SW MN Stars
Casey Schilling - Dakota Schoolers
Ater Mangyang - Net Gain Sports
Tyler Vaughan - MN Comets

2011 July Period Opens

Its the 2011 July recruiting period.  Teams off to the 4 winds, here's where you can find them in the 1st round of tournaments.

In Indianapolis, there are 2 events.

Hoosier Shootout (all of these teams except GetShook will then head to Kentucky)
MN Select (1 15u, both 16u, both 17u)
MN Glory (15U, 16U, 17U)
Team GetShook (17U)
MN Cyclones (14U)

Adidas Invitational
MN PNR all 3 teams superpooled (they'll then head home to play in their own tourney at the end of the 1st period)
43 Hoops 15s and 17s (then head to Chicago and Milwaukee)
MN Heat has teams Altena and Ogorek in the 16s
Duberry and Bui teams from the Heat are in the 17s
Magic Superfriends 17s

Many of our teams flock to Milwaukee for the Next Level Invitational (NY2LA).
Howard Pulley's top 15s in pooled with the loaded Ray Allen Select and IA Barnstormers teams
Grassroots, Comets Elite, Howard Pulley White, Heat Gardner and a 2nd Comets team also in the 15s.

Howard Pulley's top 16s also in a loaded pool.  Top WI Playmakers team (won Comets tourney), top Kingdom Hoops and top Dakota Schoolers teams in the pool.  Can we just move this pool to Minneapolis to be centrally located for everybody?

Top Comets 16s in a tough pool with SYF.  Magic (assuming Black with Konner Goettsche et al) and Pulley White also in the 16s.

In the 17s, Southside in a loaded pool with Terry Porter Elite.  SW MN Stars with the top WI Swing team that won the spring PNR tourney.  Net Gain has the WI Playmakers and top Kingdom Hoops team in their pool. 

A different Magic team, Heat Biwan, Grassroots, Comets Elite and Heat McDonald all are in the bracket as well.

Siyani Chambers and Tyus Jones will head to Akron for the prestigiousLebron James Skills Academy before heading off to the Peach Jam with the top Howard Pulley squad.

Coming tomorrow, MN players to watch in July