This weekend marks the 12th annual Sabes Invitational put on by Howard Pulley. As expected the games are at High Performance Academy in Eagan Friday through Sunday. With this being an non-open week for the D1 coaches after 2 straight weeks of play, there are many teams that would like to have the week off. That means this year's field isn't what we've seen in the past but still plenty to see.
In Pool A, you have Tyus Jones and the top Howard Pulley team. Anders Broman, Quinton Hooker and Akolda Manyang on display as well. Though Manyang was injured last week, we'll see how healthy he is this week. The rest of the pool consists of 2nd teams from the Dakota Schoolers and Kingdom Hoops along with tNBA. tNBA with former Pulley player Harrison Patt of St. Thomas Academy on their roster. I'll predict the pool in order listed (Pulley, Schoolers II, Kingdom Hoops Red and tNBA).
In Pool B, the Chicago Demons make another appearance. Iowa Flight, SW MN Stars and All Iowa Attack make up the rest of the pool. If this is All Iowa Attack's EYBL roster, then its possible they have star wing Peter Jok and high major prospect Akoy Agau in the middle. But Agau has played with Team Nebraska and Jok wasn't at the EYBL here 2 weeks ago as far as I know. I'll take the Attack by default, but this is easily the weakest pool. Don't sleep on Iowa Flight. They were the runner up at the Jayhawk Invitational last week. Though the Jayhawk wasn't certified so it was a very down event from years past.
As opposed to Pool C which is the toughest top to bottom. KC Run GMC (former KC Pump N Run now moved from Adidas to Under Armour) makes their annual trip. The guards for KC are outstanding with high major prospect guard Dominique Collier (Denver, CO) playing up a year, Missouri commit Travis Jorgenson and the star of the group Kansas commit Connor Frankamp. Frankamp is a lights out shooter who teams up with Tyus Jones on Team USA. The Dakota Schoolers top team is also here with star center Zach Hanson who could be a high major kid as well. Looking forward to seeing him play again. The Comets top team joins this pool with their backcourt of Nate Huot and Scottie Stone. No Connor Voss to go against Hanson though as Voss is still out with injury. MN Lockdown has athletes but expect them to be overmatched in this pool. Again I'll take the teams in order listed. Comets might be deeper 1-10 but Hanson is a star and not having Voss to contest him is a big loss so I'll take Schoolers to win that pool game.
Rounding out the field in pool D is the pool favorite Kingdom Hoops (their elite squad). When I saw them play the WI Playmakers at NY2LA 2 weeks ago they got taken behind the woodshed and then came back to win the whole thing by beating a loaded WI Swing squad in the final. KC Run GMC was also in that tourney. Keep an eye on bigs Ted Friedman and Nate Gehring for Kingdom Hoops. Star soph Jay Knuth also moves up a level to the 17s this season. An athletic Illinois Warriors squad that just played in the Best Buy Spring Classic returns to the metro. They took out a solid Team Breakdown squad in showcase play there. Howard Pulley's 2nd team with Hopkins point guard Kamali Chambers and frosh Sam Neumann playing up is also in the pool. KC GameSpeed rounds out the pool.
Pool Games to watch:
Fri 8:30 PM Ct 3 Schoolers I vs Comets
Sat 11:30 AM Ct 5 Kingdom Hoops vs Illinois Warriors
Sat 4:30 PM Ct 1 Schoolers I vs KC Run GMC
17U Picks: Pools A and B are on 1 side of the bracket while pools C and D are stacked on the other side. Pulley makes an easy run to the final before falling to KC Run GMC. KC has a rough road to the final with HP White in the round of 16 Saturday night. Then a rematch with the Schoolers before Kingdom Hoops in the semis. Hoping for a Pulley Blue vs KC Run GMC final.
Pool A features the top Pulley team with Bjorn Broman. The Playmakers, Schoolers 2nd team and Village Athletics (who gave PNR fits in St. Cloud) also in that pool. Comets, Lockdown, KC Keys and MN Warriors in pool B. Warriors are my sleeper in the 16U division. Looking forward to their game with the Comets. Illinois Warriors, a quality SW MN Stars team, EOTO and the 2nd HP team make up another deep pool C. KC Run GMC's squad heads up pool D. Chicago Demons, All Iowa Attack and the top Schoolers team round out that pool.
Pool Games to watch:
Fri 6:00 PM Ct 3 Comets vs Warriors
Fri 7:15 PM Ct 2 EOTO vs SW MN Stars
16U Picks: HP Blue, Comets, EOTO and KC Run GMC to win their pools. Comets take out Warriors for a 2nd time to make the semis vs HP Blue and I'll take Comets to win that game. Whoever takes 3rd in pool C (EOTO, Ill Warriors or SW MN Stars) take out the 2nd place team from pool D. Ultimately I'll take KC Run GMC to win it.
Only 13 teams in this division so you have 2 pools of 4 and the last pool with 5. Most of these games are banished to the back Pool A has HP Blue and Matt Anderson from Stillwater and Joe Rosga from CDH on the roster. Desert Reign making the trip in from Las Vegas if I'm reading right. Again making the assumption, but they may have had star Rosco Allen on their roster as a 15U kid.
Pool B has KC Run GMC who's always good. A Magic team that might be my old kids or the Blue team that made the semis at the Comets tourney. tNBA in this pool after winning the Jayhawk Invitational 15U division last week which included 2 impressive wins over the very good WI Blizzard team (team that beat them at Best Buy Spring Classic before bowing out in the final to the PNR 15s). 5 teams make up the final pool with the top Kingdom Hoops team, Schoolers I, All Iowa Attack, HP White and SW MN Stars in that pool. Very balanced pool there. I'll take the KC Run GMC squad to win here too. They won the Jayhawk Invitational 16U division last week.
Pool Game to watch: Sat 10:15 AM Ct 6 tNBA vs KC Run GMC