The Big Weekend Preview

The biggest weekend in Minnesota basketball history comes to town this weekend.  Nike brings their EYBL to town at High Performance Academy in Eagan.  It'll be very interesting to see how the setup there works with all of the fans, coaches and media.  IM BBall has the lesser 17s and the 15s/16s from that division.  That's at Bursnville and Eastview.  NY2LA looks to cash in as they add to their list of tournaments by adding an event here this weekend.  They'll take over Hopkins and Minnetonka.  Then there's the annual Best Buy Spring Classic in Bloomington.  Here's what catches my eye.

Best Buy Spring Classic
Most Interesting Pool Matchup: SW MN Stars 16s vs MN Pump N Run 16s- 1:10 PM Saturday Court 5 Jefferson.

I'm hoping Ishmael Wainright rejoins the 76ers for the tournament.  He was the leader for a club that swept the late period last July by winning the Fab 48 in Las Vegas and The Best of Summer in Los Angeles.  The Michigan Hurricanes return to the cities with star forward Byron Ziegler.  Team Nebraska Express also returns after losing last year's Best Buy Summer Classic title game in double overtime.  Traditionally strong Team Breakdown from Florida makes the trip in.  The Wisconsin Jets make the trip in as a next kid on the block but they've picked up some nice talent in kids like Tim Wagner who played here with Gale-Ettrick-Trempeleau last fall and winter.

I'm hoping for a tNBA vs Pump N Run final in the 15U bracket on Sunday at 1:40.  tNBA might have to go through the top Fury team in the quarters though to do it.    In the 16s could get a Fury Grosz vs PNR semifinal.  EOTO with a tough pool on the other side of the bracket.  In the 17s I absolutely love the bracket format with the big games on Friday night.  Pump N Run vs KC 76ers (Travis vs Wainright?, that would be cool), Fury Davis vs Team Nebraska Express, Omaha Crusaders vs Iowa PNR-Henderson, Illinois Warriors vs Team Breakdown highlight that schedule.

No less than 30 of the top players in 2013 are expected at the 1st session of the EYBL.   No surprise then that it also means you have some of the most talented teams in the country.  That list begins with the Oakland Soldiers and star Aaron Gordon.  The 2014 talent is loaded with Andrew Wiggins, Jahil Okafor, Trey Lyles and D'Angelo Russell.  Oh yeah and some kid named Tyus Jones too.

Howard Pulley has 4 games all outside their pool, highest profile should be vs Jackson Tigers on Saturday night at 6:30 on court 2.  Kyle Washington not eligible for the EYBL but he will play in the 17U division of the IM BBall event with the 2nd team.  Might be the only chance to see him with Pulley in true AAU ball.  This group is loaded at 15s/16s with the Nike teams.  Minnesota Cyclones, Mokan Elite, Playground Elite, CIA Bounce and top Pulley team (along with the remains of my old 14U team) all in the top 15U division.  Similar criminal level of talent in the 16U field.

NY2LA Spring Extravaganza
Best Pool Matchup: KC Run GMC vs Wisconsin Swing - 1:50 PM Saturday Court 3 Hopkins.
Must See Game: Wisconsin Playmakers White vs Net Gain  - Friday 7:10 Hopkins Court 4
Crazy Schedule Game: ECI vs 43 Hoops in a pool rematch of last week's quarterfinal in St. Cloud

Top Minnesota Players: 
Riley Dearring and Rashad Vaughn - Net Gain
Carson Shanks and Jon Sobaski - Minnesota Select White

2013 Top Players: 
Connor Frankamp - KC Run GMC
Luke Fischer, Nick Fuller and Bronson Koenig - Wisconsin Swing
Turner Botz, Toby Hegner and Matt Thomas - Wisconsin Playmakers White
Deonte Burton - TP Elite

2014 Top Players: 
Emanuel Mudiay - Texas Select
Kevon Looney - Milwaukee Rebels
Dominique Collier - KC Run GMC

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