2013 Comets Shootout Thoughts

Some random thoughts from the 2013 Comets Shootout

15u
With the 15s not playing at the Whitney until the championship game thoughts here will be minimal.   Fury Altenhofen took home the title with a 50-37 win over Fury Wilde.  Both have talented squads.  Fury Wilde took out a very good NGS squad during bracket play. Fury's Steffon Mitchell (Shakopee) showing some lefty versatility playing the point forward spot.  Very rare to see that on the circuit.  That game was one of the many AAU cases I run into during the year where there was no available information on either teams roster, so that made it difficult to watch.

16u
Comets Stanfield and D1 Minnesota (formerly Pump N Run) each went 3-0 to win their super pools.  The other pool winners in no particular order were MN BB Academy (Chaska guys?), MN Magic Blue (not last year's Magic Blue, they're now Magic Red), Get Shook, Grassroots, Southern MN Elite, ECI Prospects, MN Fury Ramey and Heat Calistro.

Championship Bracket Results

Round of 16
Fury Ramey def Heat Reese
Fury Anderson def Get Shook
Select def S MN Elite
Comets Stanfield def ECI Prospects 58-44
Phenom West def MN BB Academy 62-48
WI Playmakers I def Heat Calistro 55-32
Magic Blue def TC Runnin Rebels 62-50
D1 MN 15s def Grassroots 57-51

Quarterfinals
Fury Anderson def Fury Ramey 66-43
Comets Stanfield def Select 72-58
Phenom West def Playmakers I
D1 MN 15s def Magic Blue 83-64

Semis
Fury Johnson def Comets Stanfield 62-47
D1 MN 15s def Phenom West 78-72

Final
D1 MN 15s def Fury Johnson 84-81

Quality performances from Southern MN Elite (Blooming Prairie star John Rumpza on that roster), Phenom West (with 3 Net Gain guys from last year, Sean Burns, Marty Hill and Jerome Dixon) and Magic Blue.  Magic Blue with a couple of guards who played on a team I helped coach a couple of years ago.  They added Clay Sieffert a quality perimeter player from Prescott, WI and 6'9" center Kyle McKinley from the Stillwater JV squad.  McKinley with a break out weekend swatting shots and some strong dunks finishing plays inside.   Patrick Dembley with clutch play for the D1 MN 15s and Amir Coffey went off for 38 in the championship game.

Minnesota Heat Reese arguably the biggest disappointment in the 16U bracket as they didn't look good in their 2-1 super pool record.  They lost by 15 to Comets Stanfield and needed a late rally to survive 59-55 against the WI Playmakers.  They knocked off the TC Runnin Rebels 83-75 with the Rebels not having their center Sean Hjelle.  Then the Heat went out in the 1st round in an ugly loss to Fury Ramey.  New pieces were added this season and the chemistry on the opening weekend was definitely missing.

17u
Championship Bracket results

Round of 32
Comets Lewis def WC Wildcats 74-26
Glory def WI Playmakers II with a 3 with 4.1 left 49-48
WOTN def EOTO Red
Select Ohnstad def Heat Hopkins
D1 MN 16s def Comets Regional 69-44
ECI Prospects def MN Phenom (think Heat Garvis) 54-50
Fury Zurn def Comets Servaty 51-45
WI Playmakers I def MN Suns 61-37
Net Gain def Tropics 72-5
Heat Frasier def Comets Schmidt 64-60
Fury Anderson def Magic Elite
Heat Vang def Select Ellis 82-56
MN Warriors def ECI Select
MN BB Academy 16s def EOTO Black
TVA def Heat Wiley
Fury Davis def Comets Blue

Round of 16
Comets Lewis def Glory 88-63
Select Ohnstad def WOTN 66-54
ECI Prospects def D1 MN 16s 67-65
Playmakers I def Fury Zurn
Net Gain def Heat Frasier 81-36
Heat Vang def Fury Anderson 68-62 (great 2-2-1 call by Willie Vang to bring Heat back)
MN Warriors def MN BB Academy 16s 63-50
TVA def Fury Davis 71-65

Quarterfinals
Comets Lewis def Select Ohnstad 63-57
ECI Prospects def WI Playmakers I 78-45
NGS def Heat Vang 85-57
MN Warriors def TVA 69-59

Semis
Comets Lewis def ECI Prospects 78-72
NGS def MN Warriors 80-66

Final
Comets Lewis def NGS 69-67

The Net Gain ringer was David Jesperson from Merrill, WI.  He's the younger brother of Paul Jesperson who played some events here with the WI Playmakers and is currently at Virginia.  Since NGS has set the ringer bar very high (see UConn recruit Phil Nolan last year), this disappointed some folks. His play wasn't needed in the 1st round as NGS opened up a 54-0 lead vs Tropics and only allowed 2 FGs in a 72-5 win.  I thought Dejon Davis flew under the radar with all of the other Pump N Run kids last year.  He was great this weekend for NGS knocking down corner 3s against everybody.  Add that to his standout defense that he's known for and expect his name to get some interest this spring and summer.

The biggest shockwave came in round 2 when ECI Prospects had Tanner Kretchman bury a 3 at the buzzer to knock off the D1 MN 16s 67-65.  ECI had problems with their 4 man bench, but their top 4 guards shot the lights out all weekend.  They jumped on teams right out of the gate with scorching shooting (18-4 vs Phenom, 18-11 vs Comets, 21-9 vs D1 MN).  They knocked down 10 threes in the 1st half against the Comets and ended with 15 and still lost.  They were the team that surprised me the most.  A 78-45 quarterfinal victory over a talented but listless WI Playmakers top squad was particularly impressive.

Outside of possibly Tyus Jones, is there a player who has more control of his team and the ball than Garrett Goetz of the MN Warriors.  The Warriors run more sets and more sets well than maybe any AAU team I've ever seen.  Goetz is the guy who makes that go from the point guard spot.

The 32 team bracket I felt lent itself to tons of blowouts.  Only 1 competitive game in the 7 quarters that saw between 16s and 17s.  As long as the day is and as painful as it is for the players, I would prefer a smaller super pool format and then bracket rather than the 1st round games.  Even many of the 2nd round games weren't that interesting.   But that would eliminate that surprise team like Heat Reese last year and TVA this year.

Biggest disappointment in the 17U division may be a trend.  Fury Davis was upset here last year (see Heat Reese from last year) and this year they went out to TVA (another athletic group) in the 2nd round.  Fury Davis then lost to Fury Anderson in a consolation game.  Now adding new pieces is always difficult and last year Ben Davis led his squad to a sweet 16 run in the Adidas Super 64 and upset of the Dallas Mustangs.  So I expect that group to fine but once again opening weekend wasn't up to the usual high standards.  Most surprising was a late technical in the loss to TVA that put the Fury down 6 and they never recovered.

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