2013 Comets Shootout Predictions

Its time once again for the Comets Shootout.  As always its the big kickoff to the spring/summer grassroots season.   All of the NSIC and tons of D3/NAIA types can be expected to be watching throughout the weekend.  A major format change in both 17U and 16U this season.  17U will not have pool play this season and will instead play a 32 team straight bracket format.  That means only 2 games on Saturday night and no more than 3 (rather than 4) on Sunday.  That beats the 7 in 26 hours that has been the norm over the years for the teams that make the championship game.  All 17U games in the championship side starting in the round of 16 will be at the Whitney Rec Center.  Round of 32 games and consolation side of the bracket will also be held at Sauk Rapids High School.  That allows the 17U games to be pushed back until 4:10 PM with a trio of 2nd round games being held at 10 PM at the Whitney.

In 16U, its a 40 team group with 10 pools of 4.  The top 2 pools are super pools with all teams making the championship bracket to go along with the other pool winners.  Those 2 super pools fill out the early sessions at the Whitney.  15s and 16s fill out the 3 main courts and the auxillary gym at Sauk Rapids HS during the early sessions.  Pool play as always is Saturday and bracket play on Sunday in all divisions.

What The Czar Is Watching
I'm planning on taking a look at the 16U super pools early Saturday.  Heat Reese (last year's Heat Bui/Lesewski crew) has added some nice guard pieces with Jalen Mobley and Andrew Grosz.  How they improved inside will be a big key.  They have the top Comets crew and a sleeper team in the TC Runnin Rebels in their pool.  That's a NE metro crew.  Hoping to get a look at center Sean Hjelle.  The other super pool has Nick Carroll's MN D1 (formerly MN Pump N Run) 15U crew along with the top Fury group.  That Fury group has added some nice pieces in guard Grantham Gillard, wing Brenon Larson-Gulsvig who came on for Lakeville South and Lakeville North's Connor Flack.  Looking forward to seeing Trevor Rothstein from STMA with this crew as well.

Then in 17s, not much compelling in the round of 32 as the tourney has been seeded.  Main thing to see there is who Net Gain pulls out of the hat in their 4:10 PM opener.  Every year somebody seems to magically appear for them.  Will Rashad Vaughn be there, with NGS, with somebody else?

In the round of 16s, some interesting matchups late Saturday night.  Select I and WOTN have ties via coach Mitch Ohnstad.  Select with guards who can score and a solid group of bigs.  ECI Prospects has a solid group to battle the MN D1 16s.  MN Warriors vs MN BB Academy 16s (last year's tNBA guys) is a pair of groups that are may not be the most athletic but they are very well coached, unselfish and run great stuff.  They've also played together for years which is a big advantage in this tournament as nobody has had much practice time.

The rest is just straight talent and that means another NGS vs MN D1 matchup.  NGS kids with the year age advantage so I'll give them the nod.

17U Players to Watch
  • Ryan Bruggeman, Clay Elrod, Austin Poe - MN Comets Lewis
  • Adam Laine - MN Glory
  • Tyler Weiss - WOTN
  • Mo Lawal, Ian Smith - MN Select Ohnstad
  • Henry Ellenson, Marshawn Wilson - MN D1 16s
  • Patrick Strom, Taylor Schafer, Jim Warmack - ECI Prospects
  • Luke Zuiker, Dakota Oskey, Gaelin Elmore - WI Playmakers Mallett
  • Jon Sobaski, Andre Wallace - Net Gain Sports
  • Nick Machemehl, D'Angelo Burns - MN Comets Schmidt
  • Geno Crandall - MN Heat Vang
  • Kory Deadrick, Charlie Koontz - MN Fury Anderson
  • Jacob Schaefer, Garrett Goetz - MN Warriors
  • Joey Witthus, Jacob Hansen, GT Johnson, Tommy Gathje - MN BB Academy 16s
  • John Veil, Ngor Barnaba, Wheeler Baker, Michael Gorder - MN Fury Davis

16U Players to Watch
  • Andrew Grosz, Jalen Mobley, Ben Boone - Heat Reese
  • Sean Hjelle - TC Runnin Rebels
  • Amir Coffey, Brock Bertram, Jake Dale, Rece Dietrich - MN D1 15s
  • Ben Ellefson - MN Comets Stanfield
  • Justin Dahl - Hoopmasters
  • Logan Halvorsen, Connor Flack, Brenon Larson-Gulsvig - MN Fury Johnson

17U PREDICTIONS
ROUND OF 32
Comets Lewis over WC Wildcats
Glory over Playmakers II
WOTN over E1T1 Red
Select I over Heat Hopkins

MN D1 16s over Comets Regional
ECI Prospects over Phenom
Comets III over Fury III
Playmakers I over Suns

Net Gain Sports over Tropics
Comets II over Heat Frasier
Fury II over Magic
Heat Vang over Select II

MN Warriors over ECI II
MN BB Academy 16s vs E1T1 Black
TVA over Heat Wiley
Fury Davis over Comets Blue

ROUND OF 16
Comets over Glory
Select I over WOTN
D1 16s over ECI Prospects
Playmakers I over Comets III

NGS over Comets II
Fury II over Heat Vang
MN Warriors over MN BB Academy 16s
Fury Davis over TVA

QUARTERFINALS
Comets over Select I
D1 16s over Playmakers
NGS over Fury II
MN Warriors over Fury Davis (Hanel vs old team)

SEMIFINALS
D1 16s over Comets
NGS over MN Warriors

CHAMPIONSHIP
NGS over D1 16s

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