2018 Comets Shootout Preview

Its the annual kickoff to the AAU season with the 2018 Comets Shootout in St. Cloud.  While its not on ACT weekend, the concepts and scheduling remain the same.  Here's what to look for.

In 17U, there are 40 teams.  That means 16 of them kickoff at 3:00 or 4:10 with pigtail games into the 32 team championship bracket.  The regular bracket games start at 4:10 and end with Round of 16 games at 10:00 Saturday night.  That leads into the quarterfinals starting later Sunday morning.  We'll break this down into the 4 bracket sections of 10 teams that provide 2 teams each to the quarterfinals. 

Section 1:
This section holds the top seeded Comets.  Other teams of note are Crossfire's top team (very underestimated, had a great year last year), Heat Henderson and the top Select squad.  The hosts have to be the favorite to make the semis from this bracket.  I'll take the Comets over Select Leafblad in the quarters.

Players to Watch:
Jack Thompson, Issac Fink, Noah Christensen (NDSU commit) - Comets Lewis 
Jason Kaul - Crossfire Bellefeuille
Jeremy Beckler - Heat Henderson
Malik Willingham - Select Leafblad

Section 2:
In this section you have Fury's 2nd team, the NY2LA team from the WI Playmakers, Heat Nelson and another Select squad.  But the big elephant in the room is D1 Minnesota.  Their loaded 17s are scheduled to attend.  If their 16s show up to play up instead there will be a riot.  That includes Tyrell Terry, Tyler Wahl, Zeke Nnaji, Matt Hurt and big addition Patrick McCaffrey from Iowa who's a top 30 kid nationally.  D1 MN a heavy favorite to advance to play the Comets in the semis.  I'll take them over Fury Kaupa in the quarters.

Players to Watch:
Matt Hurt, Patrick McCaffrey, Tyrell Terry, Zeke Nnaji, Tyler Wahl, Robert Jones - D1 MN
Luke Paulson, Carson Schoeller - Fury Kaupa
Jared Rainey - Heat Nelson

Section 3:
Here you have a solid group of teams as well.  Fury Wilde headlines this quarter.  D1 MN Prospects, Comets DLR and the top ECI crew also lurk here.    Fury is the pick to take out Comets DLR to advance to the semis.

Players to Watch:
Matt Schlottman - D1 MN Prospects
Jacob Beeninga, Cole Nicholson, Dane Zimmer - Fury Wilde
Jenson Beachy, Josh Jeziorski - Comets  DLR
Joe Jahner, Isaac Undlin - ECI Prospects

Section 4:
This is the quarter of death.  There's always 1 round of 16 game that jumps out and its here.  44 Elite, Heat and WOTN top teams and the sleeper Comets 3rd team are here.  44 Elite is the reformation of last year's Net Gain crew with modfications.  They are dangerous and like they've done in past years I'd expect a ringer or 2.  But they have the toughest road as they'll have to take out Heat MacDonald in the round of 16 before a quarterfinal matchup likely with the top WOTN squad.  I'll take them to pull it off.

Players to Watch:
Jalen Dearring - 44 Elite
Cade Goggleye - Comets Kirchner
Sam Schwartz, Malik Spearman - Heat MacDonald
Tyler Robarge - WI City Select
Tyler Kemp - WOTN

As is usual the 16U kids take the stage for the morning and early afternoon sessions.  Always a great opportunity to see some young kids.  There's always somebody who jumps onto the scene.  These games are 2 pool games on Saturday into a 16 team 4 game bracket on Sunday.  D1 MN 15s are playing up.  Team GetShook made a run here in 15U last year and they're back so don't be shocked to see them do that again.  Expect a wide open bracket here with depth being valuable for the championship game (4th game in 9 hours)

Players to Watch:
Jacob Hutson - Fury Kline
Charlie Katona, Cameron Steele - Fury Zurn
Tait Nelson, Cole Chapman, Daydor Phillips - Heat Moberg
Nick Hendler, Walker Johnson - Select Cave
Nate Heise, Tate Machacek, Steven Crowl, Ryan Samuelson - WOTN Davis

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