2012 Heat Jamboree

The Minnesota Heat held their inaugural jamboree at Fridley High School.  (Czar's Note 4/13/12, its actually the 3rd year according to Heat Director Willie Vang)  That takes us back to the days of the old Magic Jamboree where they'd get their top teams together, add a team of seniors and have the college coaches come in for the evening.  You need a bunch of teams to do it but the Heat have just that (is there any other program in the nation with that many teams?).  The difference for the Heat is that we got a start with the lower levels tonight too going all the way down the ranks.  Great experience for the kids and it gives them a chance to get in a quick run against somebody else before really ramping up their spring season.  A great concept that I'm sure the Heat will utilize in the future.

As to the teams and kids, I bounced back and forth between 3 courts to take a look at that.  Games were 20 minutes running time so get em in and get em out.  Some tidbits of what I saw.

Play of the Night: Quashingm Smith-Pugh putting a poster on somebody in the back gym.  He's a nice pick up for the Heat Reese 17s

Team that caught my eye: Heat Reese 17s.  This may be listed as the 3rd team with the Ogorek and Altena groups returning from last year.  That said its an entirely different team than those 2.  Coach Reese has athletes and the willingness to turn the game into an up and down frenzy to match that crew.  With Smith-Pugh, Deshawn Jones, lanky Christian Esko and Isaiah Hanson they have the ability to get after people.  Tommy Scarver runs the point after not seeing much time during the high school season.  Bremiah Snyder is a glue guy banger who sets mean screens.  Mike Wales provides them with some shooting.  Its a crew that has a chance to be a real pain in the neck to anybody they play.

Evening News:
I had to watch the 15s since my old team took on the Heat 14s last year . They've added some quality pieces with Edina's Ben Boone and Alec Synstelien of Minnetonka.  Kai Endahl gives toughness on the wing.

The Heat Altena squad has 5 Centennial guys and they have prom this weekend so that explains why they aren't at the Comets tourney..   That crew along with the Heat Ogorek crew will rely on their chemistry and on execution to win games.  Heat Ogorek is a bit of a cross between the Altena and Reese groups in that they try to do some of the same type trapping as the Reese squad but with personnel like the Altena squad.  At the 16s, Willie Vang's crew is missing Careino Gurley to a concussion.

Interesting to see some of the teams go with the simple 5 out look on the offensive end.  Its fine until you go 30 seconds without shooting and then one of the players feels like the world will end if they don't shoot and you get a 1 on 5 forced look.  But I loved what New Prague did with it against zone via a 4 out look, but conceptually the same.  Makes great sense for AAU with the limited practice time a team has.

Czar's Assessment:
I've made my comments on the event, now on to the teams themselves.  The 14s level is loaded and despite the usual raiding that happens you'd like to believe they can get at least 1 team out of it that brings them back into the top level 2 discussion.   As 2013 is a down year for Minnesota talent, its a down year for the Heat too at the 15-17 levels.  The teams will have chemistry and be competitive and as well run as any organization out there.  This year they just don't have the same horses that their peers have.

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