2013 Jayhawk thoughts

I was fortunate enough to take the weekend trip to Kansas City for the Jayhawk Invitational.  My thanks to Al Harris, Grant Fossum and the folks at Net Gain Sports for helping make the weekend possible.  Great facilities as the New Century Fieldhouse is a bigger version of Joy of the Game facility in Chicago.  Outstanding setup for the showcase games and the 3 Olathe, KS high schools were nice venues for outer sites.  I could do without the officials camp which makes for lots more ticky tack calls than you'll see during the average AAU tournament.  Thankfully it wasn't the disaster of a camp that was the main gym at Super 64 in Las Vegas last year.

The concept of multiple 16 team brackets is fairly straight forward.  But the Jayhawk decided to use a Rube Goldberg machine to explain the brackets..  For many trying to figure out what was what was an exercise in rocket science.  Don't even ask about the names of the brackets, I have no idea.

As to food, Oklahoma Joe's was the selection for some BBQ.  After last year's trip to Houston, a high standard was set.  That standard was not met.  Good food, but can't beat the entire package from last year's trip.  I ended the trip by snagging a glazed donut (think Krispy Kreme) from the concession on the way out of town.  Any concession stand with donuts can't be bad so mad props for having those.

In the 17s, Net Gain played in the I Will bracket.  NGS lost their showcase game 64-59 to Texas Select James.  NGS would trail most of the way but thanks to Andre Wallace would tie the game at 53.  Wallace finished with 15 points.  After losing their bracket opener 52-49 to a very talented Dallas Mustangs program, NGS dropped into the consolation side of the bracket.  A tough Utah Prospects crew was the opponent and too much.  Center Brekkott Chapman is #87 in the nation overall according to Rivals and NGS had no good answer for him down low in the 1st half.  BYU commit Dalton Nixon and guard Jared Stutzman also effective for the Utah Prospects in their 71-61 win.  Andre Wallace again leading the way with 17 for NGS. Big sequence in that game just before half.  NGS ball down 7, score and you're down 5 and feeling good.  They turn it over and the Prospects pull up in the open court for a dagger 3 at the halftime buzzer to push the lead to 10.  Significant game changer there.

After a tough 0-3 start, NGS rebounded with a 50-47 win over I Can All-Stars.  Andre Wallace 16 points to lead the way.  Scoring at a premium for both sides.  3 missed front ends late gave I Can a chance late but NGS would hold on to get their 1st win of the tourney.  They then bounced SYF Players 60-46 in their final game to finish the weekend at 2-3.  Andre Wallace proving to be the top scoring punch.  David Jesperson very active all weekend on the glass.

Other notes in the 17s.  Howard Pulley 2nd 17s barely survived their 1st round Protect This House bracket game.  Down 2 late, Pulley missed a pair of long shots and got the ball back.  A late pass to Bjorn Broman and a desperation 3 with 1 second left is no good but the officials clinic gives us the tick tack call.  Broman drained all 3 free throws for a 59-58 win over Gamepoint.  They would survive against Gateway basketball club as well before falling to the Iowa Barnstormers in the semis.  The Las Vegas Prospects took it to the youngsters in the showcase game on Friday night 66-35.  Pulley finishes 2-2 with a pair of 1 point wins.   Also in that bracket, Comets Lewis knocked off Team Superstar from the I Will bracket.  Brian Goodwin 4-4 clutch free throws in the last minute of the 56-52 win.  Comets without Andy Foley and Christian Pekarek not to mention the injured Ryan Bruggeman.  They would lose 69-62 to All Iowa Attack in the 1st bracket game. That AIA crew featured Darrion Strong and Cullen Russo, a couple of local names from years past.    Comets then lost to KC Keys and Dallas Mustangs Blue in a pair of tight games. 

Fury Anderson finished 3-1 in the Spine bracket with a loss in the quarterfinals.  Fury Zurn lost the title game of the Armour 39 bracket after knocking off Comets Schmidt 58-48 in the semis. 3 wins to get there from the Fury crew.  WOTN lost in the quarters of that same bracket but then knocked off Comets Schmidt.  

Ray Allen Select the only team on the circuit that I would accept running The Flex (I like it in this case so I won't call it by the usual name here).  A pleasure to watch the 2 way options, curling screens and not being robots in it.  A novel concept on the AAU circuit, a team that actually knows how to play and reads defenses rather than just running plays.  RAS down 18 to the Houston Defenders in the quarters at half, went up 5 or 7 very late with ridiculous shooting and then lost on a layup at the buzzer that may have been late. 

MN Cyclones and MN BB Academy-Brown on separate sides of the I Will bracket.  Both would hold on in the 1st round.  MNBBA coming back in regulation before winning by 3 in OT, Cyclones by 4 after a double digit lead.  Both would fall in the quarterfinals.  After wins they would meet each other Sunday afternoon.  MN BB Academy would control that action in a 64-50 win for local bragging rights.  Alex Illikainen getting plenty of coaches to watch but he just didn't look right.  The rest of the roster didn't hit shots.  The lack of athletes showed in their loss against a smaller but athletic Illinois Wolves roster. 

Howard Pulley Black (Jabbar Washington) 1-3 coming out of the Protect This House bracket.  Howard Pulley Black (Thurston) won 2 before being knocked out in the semis of the Spine bracket.  They knocked out GetShook in the 1st round 52-32.  Fury Ramey won that bracket.  Comets Stanfield knocked out 1st round there, lost their 2nd game and beat a Mid-Kansas squad.  2nd MN BB Academy team was knocked out in the quarters of that bracket.  GetShook won 2 consolation games and lost the consolation Spine title by 1.

In the Armour bracket, Magic Elite lost opening round as did the 3rd MN BB Academy group.  Magic lost their 2nd before bouncing back with 2 wins.  Fury Johnson made a run to the title game before losing.

Gamepoint won the I Will title in thrilling fashion.  After the St Louis Eagles White crew made a clutch 3 to tie inside of 10 seconds left in OT, Gamepoint rushed the ball back and was fouled with no time left.  2 free throws, 1st no good, 2nd up and in for a 60-59 win.  Small gym, an extra gamepoint team cheering like the old 43 Hoops teams used to.  They even pulled out an I Believe chant at the start of OT.  That's a first for that chant in AAU ball. 

Gamepoint knocked off NGS 62-49 in the 1st round.  NGS knocked off the Utah Prospects 51-44 after almost giving away a double digit 2nd half lead.  Then a win over TS Superstars before falling 61-40 to KC Run GMC in the consolation championship.  NGS with a big lineup of guys including Reed Nikko, Sam Sustachek, Luke Harris and Austin Slater.  Johnny Beeninga with 18 in the loss to KC Run GMC to lead from the guard spot.  They'll need to take better care of the ball and find more consistent outside shooting.  Have to love the spirit shown on their bench and they will get after you on the defensive end.


  1. About the bracket names- when the Jayhawk brackets originally came out, they were called Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, but within minutes of them coming out, they got so many complaints about bracket placement and the format change, they changed the names to try and hide the fact they were featuring mostly their top Under Armour teams (along with a few other high profile teams) in the Platinum bracket.

    Platinum became "I Will", Gold became "Protect This House" (both Under Armour slogans) Silver became "Spine" (their new shoe technology), and Bronze became "Armour 39" (their new body monitoring system.)

    In the 16s, the defending Jayhawk champion MN Basketball Academy-Brown (formerly TNBA MN) and Gateway Basketball Club were originally in the Gold brackets, but the brackets were shuffled slightly when it was discovered that Howard Pulley only had one 16s team coming to Kansas (two were scheduled) and another team must have dropped out (they were nowhere to be found after changes were made.) Pulley's top 15s (listed as 16U "Jab') got moved to the Gold bracket (Protect This House), their actual 16s team got moved to the Silver (Spine).

    MNBBA and Gateway both got moved to the Platinum bracket and fared just fine, MNBBA going 4-1 for the weekend and Gateway going 2-2.

  2. Russo was a junior at Kennedy in 2011 so he is playing AAU at age 19?

    1. Yes it would seem so. Same with Strong. Both attend Quakerdale Prep down in Iowa and have reclassified to be 2013 grads. Still don't quite understand why both aren't playing Juco somewhere rather than 17U.


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