Let's start with some of the funny. Grassroots director and coach Brian Sandifer in camouflage shorts and tank top for the Thursday games. Thankfully he had the huge white beach towel around his neck so we could see him (credit to Alex Focke for that line). See also the Nations Elite pink uniforms with baby blue lettering. Great for awareness. Now I'm aware they should never be worn again. Hoopmasters coach Greg Marshall gets a mention here for getting tossed from his game on court 1 and then leaving to go ref the next game on court 4.
Now I would have more comments about food here but both times I went for hot dogs there weren't any ready. Boo Hoo! Props to Tom Krosschell for keeping me healthy. But there was a better menu at the pay window. Tom's mom made some outstanding chocolate chip cookies (I tweeted a picture of them during the event if you want to see them). Add in the always outstanding 24 oz Pepsi for a very reasonable $2 and there's no better way to wash it down. So that means our song for the tournament is an obvious one.
Suzanne Vega - Tom's Diner (DNA remix)
An oversized number of blowouts punctuated by a 113-33 D1 MN blowout of WOTN in the 15U semifinals. Amir Coffey injured with 3:19 left in that game (70 point lead at the time). Thankfully the broken leg isn't more serious (6-8 weeks which means he'll be fine for the regular HS season). But that's a serious loss for D1 MN in Vegas.
But don't talk about blowouts with the Minnesota Warriors. They beat Fury Zurn on a 3 with 0.6 left. Then vs M33M Red, they get fouled on a putback with no time remaining in a time game. Nick Varner steps up and knocks down the 1st of 2 for a 66-65 win to win the pool. The Warriors use up their luck before Vegas though. Against the SW MN Stars in the 17U quarterfinals, they don't get a shot off in the final 30 seconds of regulation in a tie game. The Stars end up winning in overtime before falling to Fury Anderson in the semis. The Warriors struggled early in most of these games too.
Shake N Bake vs PrymeTyme in the 15U quarters with a very strange ending. PrymeTyme up 1 with the ball and 20 seconds left. They jack up a bad 3 and it goes in for a 4 point lead and that looks to be a dagger. Shake N Bake to the line with 6 seconds left shooting 2. After making the 1st, they take a timeout. They intentionally miss the second. They get the rebound and kick it out for a 3. The shooter gets whacked with 3 seconds left and makes all 3 FTs to force OT. PrymeTyme would hang on to win by 5 in the OT.
Players that left an impression in my mind (in no particular order)
- Cordell Pemsl - Shake N Bake 15s (had Purdue watching him, Iowa has watched him during the HS season). Skilled lefty big who showed off nice mobility, good passing skills, power in the post etc etc.
- John Hatch - WI Starz Black 17s. Not a name that I mentioned in my preview but liked his length and was very productive inside.
- Cameron Kirksey - D1 MN 15s. Very disruptive on the defensive end with his length.
- Will Moreton - MN Fury Peterson 15s. The Edina lefty was in the packet so he was a classic tournament mystery man. He was knocking down 3s from all over the place in the 15U quarterfinals vs D1. They kept Fury close and they ended losing but only 66-58 thanks to that shooting.
- Ian Theisen - D1 MN 17s. Very productive inside and was snatching rebounds. He was a major factor in D1s title run and produced when need. Showed his outside range as well.
- Marshawn Wilson - D1 MN 16s. First step is absolutely explosive. MN Basketball Academy had no answer for him off the bounce in the 16U title game.
- Brock Bertram - D1 MN 15s. Finished everything inside when he got his hands on it. Showed a couple of flashes of running the floor and finishing in transition too. His size is very difficult to deal with at that age level
- Jack Roou - WI Playmakers 15s. I knew about his sharpshooting teammate Logan Rohrscheib coming in but Roou showed he can fill it up too. That will be a fun backcourt to keep tabs on for the Playmakers.
Full Disclosure, the next 2 players mentioned here are kids I coached 2 years ago.
- Ben Khwice - MN Basketball Academy Witthus. A classic defend and pass first point guard who took care of the ball and with a couple of big 3s in the 1st half kept tMBA close against the powerhouse D1 16s. Much to D1's frustration I might add as their 3/4 1-2-2 trap produced nothing. Plenty of others on the Chan roster (e.g Witthus) get the attention, but for that age group he's been the engine making it go.
- Ryan Jacobsen - Heat Bui. Had a great sequence of a couple of assists driving to the bucket, a blocked shot and then a run out for a layup. Has been very productive all spring and showed it again this weekend. As a transfer, he had to sit out at St. Thomas Academy last year. Could have a breakout season for the Cadets.
Notable Head Coaches Attending
Bruce Weber - Kansas State
Fred Hoiberg - Iowa State
Buzz Williams - Marquette
Tom Crean - Indiana
Greg McDermott - Creighton
Richard Pitino - Minnesota
(Note: No AAU Bingo square for Tubby Smith, only his assistant Joe Esposito made an appearance)
Xavier, Denver, Ohio, Western Carolina, Bucknell, NDSU, North Dakota, South Dakota State, much of the NSIC just a few of the other schools in attendance. You can mark your AAU Bingo cards for The Coolest Guy in the UMAC making an appearance as well.
17U bracket results
M33M def Nebraska Select
IA PNR Black def WI Playmakers Schieve
WI Starz Black def Fury Zurn
SW MN Stars def John Baylor Test Prep
Fury Anderson def WOTN 69-40 in a game I thought would be much closer
Nations Elite def WI Playmakers LAX
D1 MN def M33M Elite
WI Starz Black def IA PNR Black
SW MN Stars def MN Warriors
Fury Anderson def Nations Elite
D1 MN def WI Starz Black
Fury Anderson def SW MN Stars
D1 MN def Fury Anderson
16U bracket results
Southern MN Elite def Illinois Icemen
Nebraska Select def WI Starz Black
Round of 16
D1 MN def Southern MN Elite
Phenom West def Heat Bui
Heat Calistro def Comets Phillips
SW MN Stars def GetShook
MN BB Academy Brown def Nebraska Select
Grassroots def MN BB Academy Tlougan
Fury Ramey def MN BB Academy Witthus
WOTN def Old Gold
D1 MN def Phenom West
Heat Calistro def SW MN Stars
MN BB Academy Brown def Grassroots
Fury Ramey def WOTN
D1 MN def Heat Calistro
MN BB Academy Brown def Fury Ramey
D1 MN def MN BB Academy Brown
15U bracket results
Fury Peterson def WI Playmakers
WOTN def Heat Duberry
SW MN Stars def Heat Schwartz
Fury Altenhofen def Nebraska Select Huskers
Shake N Bake def MN Swish (came from 15 down in 2nd half)
Pryme Tyme def Nebraska Select
D1 MN def Fury Peterson
WOTN def SW MN Stars
Fury Altenhofen def The Academy (Can)
PrymeTyme def Shake N Bake
D1 MN def WOTN
Fury Altenhofen def PrymeTyme
D1 MN def Fury Altenhofen