Thoughts on Mr Basketball

Congrats to Jordan Taylor on winning Mr. Basketball. No surprise to me as he was my choice after seeing him and Anthony Tucker play numerous times during the season. I just thought Taylor did more with less to work with against a superior schedule. That said, I would have had no problem with either Tucker or Cody Schilling winning it. Both had terrific seasons and terrific careers and were well deserving. What I really found strange was the media coverage. Here's what the Star Trib and Pioneer Press had.

Star Tribune Headline "Surprises as top honors awarded"

Pioneer Press: (Jordan Taylor) "was declared the winner during an awards banquet at the Minneapolis Marriott West. Taylor's selection came as a slight surprise considering the marquee field of finalists."

I would have understood that reaction if Michael Floyd or Jared Berggren would have won it. But general consensus was that these were the 3 guys in the running with anyone of them a legit contender to win it. But it was treated like Jethro Tull beat Metallica for heavy metal album of the year (especially the StarTrib). From the Pioneer Press I'm not surprised (see their being in the tank for Willie Taylor's complaint about being the #3 seed in the girls tourney when that's exactly what they deserved), but the Star Trib usually doesn't make such a bad mistake. Just my humble opinion that basketball people didn't find this surprising.

Some thoughts on how I'd improve the award.

1) Make the basic criteria clearer. One of the huge complaints is that no one knows what determines Mr. Basketball. The committee does a great job and I don't think they need to go into all the nitty gritty details. But the high-level stuff would be beneficial. Ex: Is it a career award or just for senior year, is it most valuable to team or best player etc etc.

2) The HS season has been over for a month so this announcement comes way way way too late. Wisconsin gets this absolutely right by announcing it at the state tournament. 29 or 30 games thru sectionals should be plenty to figure it out. Just because a kid has a big state tourney doesn't mean that should override the body of work during the season. And if you wanted, you could have the banquet Sunday night after the state tournament so that the tourney is included. You'd get much more interest in the award this way

3) Start with a narrowed down list. I don't agree at all with 20 finalists. How many of those kids actually had a shot to win the award. Let's get down to the real contenders immediately. Some people say its an honor to be mentioned. But is it really an honor to be mentioned for something you have no chance at winning? It just causes the list to lose credibility. Look at the 3 kids from Bloomington Kennedy as 1 example of this. Good players, they had a great season. But none of them had any chance at all of winning the award so why are we watering down the list. Better yet, what if I got nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize with 19 other people. Would you take the award seriously? I wouldn't.

4) No 2 kids from the same team except in very very unique circumstances. If you're not the best player on your team, then there's no way you can win the award, so why waste the time mentioning the name. If the committee can't use the regular season (or a major portion of it) to determine the best player on a team (even one like next year's Hopkins' team), then they won't get it right anyway. This award is about the #1 player, period. There's no place for top 5, 10 etc here. There are all-conference, all-metro, all-region, all-state etc teams for that recognition.

Minnesota Teams at the Jayhawk invite this weekend

Lots of Minnesota talent on hand this weekend at the Jayhawk invite which has a very nice field of teams.

  • Top 2 Howard Pulley Teams
  • Top 3 MN Magic Teams (Culp, Robertson, Brown)
  • 94 Ft of Game (I love that name since a high school court is only 84 feet long)
  • Net Gain Sports
  • Top 2 MN Select Teams
  • MN Fury
  • MSB Roadrunners
  • SW MN Stars
Howard Pulley Black + MSB are together in a pool
Net Gain and MN Fury are together in a pool
MN Select-DeKok is in with either Magic Culp or Magic-Brown in a pool

The event also features 2 of the top 3 Iowa teams including the Iowa Barnstormers and Iowa signee Brennan Cougill. They play with Howard Pulley White in pool play. The Atlanta Celtics with 2009 superstars Derrick Favors and Lance Stephenson (2009 #1 and #3 overall by are also attending. No Minnesota teams are in the same pool as them.

  • Magic Elite and 94 Ft of Game
  • Howard Pulley Blue
  • Howard Pulley White and MN Fury 2
  • All Iowa Attack (terrific team) and MN Fury 1
  • MN Xplosion and MN Comets Elite
  • MN Select

  • MN Suns
  • Howard Pulley Blue
  • 43 Hoops and MN Fury
  • Team Minnesota and MN Magic
  • Howard Pulley White and 94 Ft of Game

Patrick Reusse's perspective on Royce White signing

In what may be the harshest official public comments on the Royce White signing, Patrick Reusse of the StarTrib wrote his thoughts today on Royce White's transfer to Hopkins and signing with the U of M. You can imagine where the article is going when it's titled "Recruiting outweights academics again"

I think Reusse is completely wrong for saying White committed too soon. Big stars commit during the summer to avoid the circus of coaches hounding them all summer and all fall before the November signing period. White was no different. Did Reusse criticize Jordan Taylor when he verbally committed to Wisconsin last spring before Tubby was hired? Or Mike Bruesewitz who has already committed to Wisconsin? Does he really believe that Tubby didn't do his homework on Royce by talking to folks like Rene Pulley, Dave Thorsen et al? Does he really expect the U to wait and see what happens even after talking to all these people, all while he'd be signed and gone somewhere else long before that. It's not a secret that Reusse calls Hopkins the "West Metro All-Stars" and continually accuses them of recruiting (as he does here), but where's the evidence? I don't know 1 way or the other, but where's innocent until proven guilty? When you build a program to that level and look at the Hopkins roster for next year, do you really believe that coach Novak needed to say 1 single word to Royce or anyone else to get him to come there? Kids play with each other and they talk. Royce plays with Marcus Williams and Mike Broghammer on the Howard Pulley squad and did last year too.

Sibley vs Madison Memorial scheduled for the TWolves shootout

Wishoops has a few interesting items of note in this article. 1st being Madison Memorial with stars Jeronne Maymon (#2 Jr in WI) and Vander Blue (#3 Soph in WI) going up against Henry Sibley in a big time matchup in next year's Timberwolves Shootout on Jan 3rd, 2009. Sibley will also be in the Border Battle next year vs Kaukauna in Owatonna. Which leads me to another player in the article who will be in the Border Battle next year and at the Sabes Invitational in 2 weeks, Kameron Cerroni. Great matchup with his offense vs DLS in the Border Battle. He's a scoring machine with great footwork (3rd in WI with 26.5 PPG this year and a WBY tourney record 36 in the 2nd game of that event). He also led them to a 16U title in Louisville earlier this spring. A preview of his AAU team is here.

Pool Play at the MN Magic Invite

Pool Play has completed at the MN Magic Invite with Sunday providing a full morning and afternoon of tourney games leading up to the Mr. Basketball banquet. I had planned on covering Friday's action, but the Emperor and her majesty made a cameo appearance in the kingdom last night. I love basketball, but I love free food even more as the Czar requires HUGE amounts of calories to maintain his waistline. You'd be surprised how many hot dogs you can survive on.

9 games today that I covered. In retrospect I probably would have gone thru the player list and done it that way, but I was looking for the best games of each session. We'll see if I can pull that off in 2 weeks for the Sabes Invitational. Note that all the stats are from my stat sheet and with the exception of points (which is easy to double check), could be way off. I do my best with all the notes I'm taking, but if I'm off its on the low side.

15U action
My 1st 2 games of the day were 15U games. Game 1 saw the MN Suns comeback from 9 down in the 2nd half to beat the Madison Spartans 51-50 in my 2nd best game of the day. Very interesting officiating late as the Spartans had a couple of calls go against them in the final seconds. Darian Pittman (MCA) had 10 points and 6+ rebounds. and Siyani Chambers (Hopkins) had 3 points. Chad Potas (Wayzata) had 10 points and 12 boards. Tre Burnett and Miles Chamberlain didn't disappoint and they should be the next in a long line of star guards for Steve Collins at Madison Memorial. Burnett with 9 and 7. Chamberlain with only 1 FT but 6 rebounds, 3 ast, 3 stl and 2 blks stuffing the stat sheet. Unselfish with good vision. These 2 as the wings in the 1-2-2 defense were really disruptive getting deflections.

Game 2 kept the Southern Wisconsin (Swish that is) theme vs the metro (Magic Elite) . The Magic led early but 1-8 FT shooting in the 1st half for them vs 10-11 with a buzzer beating 3 gave the Swish a 33-28 halftime lead. Jonah Travis (Magic) and #19 WI Frosh Jordan Noskowiak lead their teams in the 2nd half and Alex Richard has a big game for the Swish for a 63-57 Swish win. #9 WI Frosh Bryan Tordoff with 10, Noskowiak with 13 in the 2nd half to finish with 18. Richard with 16. Jonah Travis (DLS) with 9 and Daron Garvis (Richfield) with 13 for the Magic.

Pool Results:
1st Place: WI Southern Swish, MN Heat, MN Comets, WI Swing.
2nd Place: Magic Elite, MN Suns, MN Wrath, Magic-Wolfe
3rd Place: MN Bulldogs, Madison Spartans, WI Playmakers, MN Fury
4th Place: 43 Hoops, Old Skool, Magic-Crawford, Central MN Flyers

Sunday Preview:

Suns vs WI Southern Swish could be an interesting semi but I wouldn't be surprised to see a Magic Elite pool rematch for the title here either.

16U action
Game 3 of my day was the MN Fury North vs the TNL Express. Back and forth 1st half, with the Fury raining down 3s. Michael Lindberg (West Lutheran) with all 17 of his points (5 3s) in the 1st 10 minutes and Ian Berg with a couple of triples in the 1st half but its 33-32 TNL at the break. In the 2nd half, Jayson Sewer (Richfield) goes wild. After 3 1st half points, he has 20 in the 2nd half and dominates the game. TNL rolls to a 70-56 win. Sewer with the best individual performance I saw all day with 23 pts, 5 rbs, 4 ast, 4 stls. Jasper Duberry (Champlin Park) with 14 pts and Kyle Zimmerman (also CP) with 14 pts and 9 rbs. For the Fury, besides the 17 from Lindberg, Ian Berg (Sibley East) with 14 pts. Austin Rink (PACT) 4 pts and 7 rbs. Josh Hanson (MCA) with 5 pts and 11 rbs.

The MN Xplosion gave TNL all they wanted in the next pool game before losing 72-62 in a game that I caught bits and pieces of.

I caught the last 3/4 of the MN Comets Elite vs MN Magic elite game. After arriving with 8 minutes left in the 1st half and a 12-8 Comets lead, I saw the game go back and forth the entire way. 21 all at halftime, 41 all with 4 minutes left and 45-43 Comets with 2 minutes left. Alex Hanks (St. Cloud Tech) with a bucket with 1:20 left makes it 47-43 Comets. Taylor Filipek misses and Erik Tengwall (New London-Spicer) knocks down 2 clutch FTs with 1:02 left to push it to 49-43. Jon Crockett counters with a triple with 36.3 to play. Hanks misses the front end but the Magic can't convert and the Comets get a nice win 52-46 over the Magic.

Which led me to my final game of the night, MN Glory vs Magic-Phillips. The Glory get down 15-0 after about 4 minutes, 41-19 at half and its 67-47 Phillips winning. Deron Murphy (Kennedy) with 25, Walter Franklin (DLS) with 14 for the winners. Nolan Toft (Nevis) with 7 to lead the Glory.

Pool Results:
1st Place: MN Comets Elite, MN Fury South, TNL Express, Magic-Phillips
2nd Place: Magic Elite, WI Pirates, MN Xplosion, Big Game Sports
3rd Place: MN Panthers, MN Select, MN Fury North, MN Comets Stars
4th Place: 94 Ft of Game, MN Magic #4, Magic-Blake, MN Glory

Sunday Preview:

Comets Elite vs MN Xplosion is an interesting quarterfinal. Big semifinal with TNL vs Magic Elite in a speed vs size matchup. Winner will probably get Comets Elite and if its the Magic Elite, that should be a dynamite rematch of pool play.

17U action
The middle of my day has 4 games of 17U action. MN Glory vs MN Comets Stars was my 1st game. Glory roll here 85-57. Matt Zager (Shakopee) impressive with 19 pts and very aggressive. Josh Figini (Chisago Lakes) with 19 and 9. Zak Smith (Rochester JM) with 12 and 9. Grant Spark (Spectrum) with 15 for the Comets Stars.

Magic-Brown vs MN Fury. The Fury lead 29-15 right before halftime but give up 5 in a row to start a 14-2 Magic run across halftime. The Fury still lead 50-48 with 6:42 to go before 5 in a row from the Magic in the next minute give them a 53-50 lead and they don't look back as they win 71-66. Mitch Bires (Apple Valley) with 17 and 6. Noah Shephard (Washburn) big for the Fury with 7 3s and a total of 26 points.

I'll skip a game to also mention that I saw the Brown squad vs MN Comets Metro. 36-26 at the break before a little run and then a 5 minute Metro drought allow the Magic to blow it open for a 69-39 win. The 2 headed center monster of Chris Orgas/Bronson Byrne (Lakeville N/Chaska) combined for 14 pts and 16 rebounds with Josh Pedretti (Maple Grove) getting 8 and 7. Will Deberg (Edina) with a big game of 19 pts, 4 rbs, 3 ast and 3 stls. Matt Skorheim (Sauk Centre) leads the Comets Metro with 9. Worth noting in these 2 Magic-Brown games that Ethan Wragge (Eden Prairie) DNP in 3 of the 4 halves. He played the 2nd half of the Fury game and had 9 pts, 5 rbs.

And the other 17U game Magic-Robertson vs MN Comets North. Run and gun and fun for the Robertson squad as after a 14-13 lead early, they go on a 20-2 run to blow the game open and then blow the doors off in the 2nd half to win 80-42. 3 players with 8 points to lead the Comets North squad. Balance throughout the Magic squad. Shaun Jensen (Spring Lake Park) with a very productive day of 10 pts, 7 rbs and4 ast. Caleb Palkert on the receiving end of good passes to finish with 11 and 5.

I also saw 8 minutes of the Tosa Bandits blowing out MN Select 25-8 which was enough for me. #36 WI Jr Javar Lawson was a man amongst boys with 7 and 5 in that short time. Justin Segal (BSM) was the highlight for the MN Select squad.

Pool Results:
1st Place: MN Glory, Magic-Brown, MN Comets Elite, Magic-Robertson, Tosa Bandits
2nd Place: 94 Ft of Game, MN Fury, Team Racine, MN Comets North, Old Skool
3rd Place: Magic-Christenson, Big Game Sports, Magic Westside, WI Gym Rats, MN Select
4th Place: MN Comets Stars, MN Comets Metro, WI Force, MN Redhawks, MN Comets High Pressure

Sunday Preview:

Tosa Bandits vs Magic-Robertson in a monster quarterfinal with the winner probably getting MN Glory in the semis. I look for Magic-Brown to comfortably move thru the bottom half of the draw despite some struggles today.

Royce White commits to the Gophers

Congrats to Royce White on his verbal commitment to Minnesota. While there were schools making a late run at him (UCLA for 1) with his big performance at the Kingwood tournament last weekend, Tubby gets it done by getting the top prospect in the 09 class. Rodney Williams Jr is the next target. Even if Tubby doesn't get Rodney, the recruiting class will still be largely viewed as a success. The general consensus was that the Gophers had to get at least one of those 2. With Trent Lockett and Mike Bruesewitz already off the table, it limited the options. Though Bruesewitz may be better in Wisconsin's system than the up-tempo style Tubby has played over the years.

Magic Invite 17U Preview

This is the 3rd in a 3 part series on this weekend's 3rd Annual MN Magic Invitational at Bloomington Jefferson. Here I take a look at the 17U part of the event.

Read about the 16U part of the event here.
Read about the 15U part of the event here.

Pool A: MN Glory, MN Comets Stars, 94 Ft of Game, Magic-Christenson
Pool B: Magic-Brown, MN Fury, MN Comets Metro, Big Game Sports
Pool C: MN Comets Elite, Team Racine, Magic Westside, WI Force
Pool D: WI Gym Rats, Magic-Robertson, MN Redhawks, MN Comets North
Pool E: Tosa Bandits, MN Select, Old Skool, MN Comets High Pressure

Noticeably absent is the Magic-Culp squad which is playing in the King James event this weekend.

Pool Schedule: 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3 in 1st game, 2 vs 4 and 1 vs 3 in 2nd game, 1 vs 2 and 3 vs 4 in 3rd game.

  • Pool A: 7:30 and 8:45 PM Friday, 12:30, 4:15 Saturday
  • Pool B: 7:30 and 8:45 PM Friday, 12:30, 4:15 Saturday
  • Pool C: 10 AM, 1:45, 5:30 Saturday
  • Pool D: 8:45 AM, 12:30 PM, 4:15 PM Saturday
  • Pool E: 11:15 AM, 3:00 PM, 6:45 PM Saturday
Most of these games are on Courts 1 and 2 with some on courts 3 and 4.

Playoffs (Sunday unless noted):

  • Play-In games 8 PM Saturday (Courts 1-2)
  • Quarterfinals 10 AM (Courts 1-4)
  • Consolation games: 1:45 (Courts 1,2,5), 3:00 (Courts 4-5)
  • Semifinals: 12:30 PM (Courts 1 and 2)
  • Championship 3:00 PM (Court 1)
Teams I'd Watch:
  • MN Glory, Pool A
  • Magic-Brown, Pool B
  • MN Comets Elite, Pool C
  • Magic-Robertson, Pool D
  • Tosa Bandits (read preview here), Pool E
Players I'd Watch:
  • Charlie Baker, Joe Conway, Josh Figini, Matt Zager, Zak Mathison - MN Glory
  • Braden Johnson, Grant Spark - MN Comets Stars
  • Alex Wheeler - Magic Christenson
  • Will DeBerg, Billy Giddings, Jack Gavin, Ethan Wragge - Magic Brown
  • Tom Anderson, Ellis Libby - MN Fury
  • Nick Erdich - MN Comets Metro
  • Nate Wolters - MN Comets Elite
  • Trent Davis, Avery Duncan, Shaun Jensen, Carlos Emory, Caleb Palkert - Magic Robertson
  • Antonio Wigfall, David Weber - Magic Westside
  • Keondre Gholston, Eric Neal, Isaiah Ward, Javar Lawson and Jarvis Lawson- Tosa Bandits
Pool Games I'd Watch:
  • 7:30 PM Friday Court 1 has MN Glory vs Magic-Christenson, Court 2 has Magic-Brown vs Big Game Sports. Nothing else going on so a good chance to see a top 17U team.
  • MN Glory vs MN Comets Starts 12:30 Sat Court 4
  • Magic-Brown vs MN Fury, 1:45 Sat Court 2
  • Tosa Bandits vs MN Select 6:45 Sat Court 1
  • Projected 10 AM Sunday quarterfinal with Magic-Robertson vs Tosa Bandits
  • Projected 12:30 Sunday semifinal with Tosa Bandits vs MN Glory
Championship prediction: Magic-Brown vs Tosa Bandits

Magic Invite 16U Preview

This is the 2nd in a 3 part series on this weekend's 3rd Annual MN Magic Invitational at Bloomington Jefferson. Here I take a look at the 16U part of the event. Read about the 15U part of the event here.

Pool G: Magic Elite, Comets Elite, 94 Ft of Game, MN Panthers
Pool H: WI Pirates, MN Select, MN Fury South, MN Magic #4 (not to be confused with Mambo #5)
Pool I: MN Xplosion, MN Fury North, TNL Express, Magic-Blake
Pool J: MN Glory, Magic-Phillips (no Wilson Phillips jokes allowed), Big Game Sports, MN Comets Elite

TNL Express beat MN Fury South to win the MN Comets classic 2 weeks ago. As previously mentioned here, the Magic Elites won the DoublePump tourney in Denver this past weekend.

Pool Schedule: 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3 in 1st game, 2 vs 4 and 1 vs 3 in 2nd game, 1 vs 2 and 3 vs 4 in 3rd game. All of these games are Saturday

  • Pool G: 10 AM, 12:30 and 1:45, 6:45
  • Pool H: 10 AM, 1:45 and 3:00, 6:45 and 8:00
  • Pool I: 11:15 AM, 3:00, 8:00
  • Pool J: 11:15 AM, 4:15 and 5:30, 8:00
Most of these games are on Court 5, with many on courts 3,4 and 6

Sunday Playoffs:

  • Quarterfinals 8:45 AM (Courts 1-4)
  • Consolation games: 12:30 (Courts 5-6), 1:45 (Courts 3-4)
  • Semifinals: 11:15 AM (Courts 1 and 2)
  • Championship 3:00 PM (Court 2)
Teams I'd Watch:
  • Magic Elite, Pool G
  • MN Select and MN Fury South, Pool H
  • TNL Express and MN Fury North, Pool I
  • MN Glory and Magic-Phillips, Pool J
Players I'd Watch:
  • All of the Magic Elite (bias disclosure). See their roster here
  • Aaron Ziman, Keegan Rolenc and John Hertle, MN Select
  • Santano Rosario and Darry Jones, MN Fury South
  • Jay Higgins, Michael Lindberg, Josh Hanson and Austin Rink, MN Fury North
  • Jasper Duberry, Jayson Sewer and Elijah Sabah, TNL Express
  • Peter Sorensen, Magic-Blake
  • Nolan Toft, MN Glory
  • Walter Franklin, Marcus Shaw, Dan Carney and Eric Schmechel, Magic-Phillips
Pool Games I'd Watch:
  • MN Select vs MN Fury South 10 AM Sat Court 5
  • TNL Express vs MN Fury North 11:15 AM Sat Court 3
  • MN Glory vs Magic-Phillips 8 PM Sat Court 7
Championship prediction: Magic Elite vs TNL Express

Magic Invite 15U Preview

This is the 1st in a 3 part series on this weekend's 3rd Annual MN Magic Invitational at Bloomington Jefferson and Olson Middle School. We start with a look at the 15U part of the event.

Pool L: Magic Elite, 43 Hoops, WI Southern Swish, MN Bulldogs
Pool M: MN Heat, Madison Spartans, MN Suns, Old Skool
Pool N: WI Playmakers, MN Wrath, MN Comets, Magic-Crawford
Pool O: WI Swing, MN Fury, Central MN Flyers, Magic-Wolfe

Schedule: 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3 in 1st game, 2 vs 4 and 1 vs 3 in 2nd game, 1 vs 2 and 3 vs 4 in 3rd game.
  • Pool L: 6:15 PM Friday, 8:45 and 10 AM, 4:15 Sat
  • Pool M: 8:45, 12:30+1:45, 5:30 Saturday
  • Pool N: 8:45 PM Friday, 11:15 and 12:30, 4:15 Saturday
  • Pool O: 8:45, 3:00, 6:45 Saturday
Most of these games are on Courts 6 and 7

Sunday Playoffs:

  • Quarterfinals 8:45 and 10 AM (Courts 5 and 6)
  • Consolation games: 11:15 (Courts 3-6)
  • Semifinals: 12:30 PM (Courts 3 and 4)
  • Championship 3:00 PM (Court 3)
Teams I'd Watch:
  • Magic Elite and 43 Hoops, Pool L
  • Madison Spartans (preview here) and MN Heat, Pool M
  • MN Comets, Pool N
  • MN Fury, Pool O
Players I'd Watch:
  • Jonah Travis, Ethan Petrill, Eric Robertson, Kyle Noreen: Magic Elite
  • TBD, 43 Hoops. I know there are good players worth watching here but I can't find their roster.
  • Drew and Luke Preiner, MN Heat
  • Alex Cole, Magic-Crawford
  • Miles Chamberlain and Tre Burnett, Madison Spartans
Pool Games I'd Watch:
  • 43 Hoops vs WI Southern Swish OR Magic Elite vs MN Bulldogs, 6:15 PM Friday Courts 1 and 2 (no other games going on at that time)
  • Magic Elite vs 43 Hoops, 4:15 Saturday at Olson Middle School Court 9
  • MN Heat vs Madison Spartans, 5:30 Saturday Court 7
Championship prediction: Madison Spartans vs Magic Elite

Howard Pulley wins Kingwood Classic

Royce White with a big weekend in Houston leading Howard Pulley to a win in what might be the premier event in the April recruiting season. recaps it all here.

The Howard Pulley site always has updates on their games and all of the games are detailed there.

Magic 16 Elites win Denver DoublePump Tourney

The MN Magic 16U Elites won the DoublePump tourney in Denver this weekend. 40 college coaches in attendance at the title game from all over the west coast (UCLA, Arizona, Washington St, Oregon, Gonzaga, Colorado, Colorado St, Nevada just to name a few of the teams looking on). Some notes from their games today.

vs Colorado Hawks, Kevin Noreen with a buzzer beater to win that game.

vs Martin Brothers Select, a top team from Iowa with 6-9 PF Jordan Dykstra, an Iowa State recruit who may be the best player in Iowa (see also Brennan Cougill). Marshall Bjorklund with 20 points in the game, Dykstra held to 6 in a 10 pt win. Very impressive. Lets hope Bjorklund gets a game here in the metro next year cause he's worth the price of admission.

vs Bay City All-Stars (San Francisco). Chad Calcaterra and Bjorklund with double-doubles in a 12 pt win.

In the championship game, Noreen 13 pts, Bjorklund 10, Jack Ghizoni 8, Calcaterra and Taylor Filipek each with 6 in the 54-52 win. Congrats to the Magic on a great weekend. They play in the Magic Invite at Jefferson next weekend.

Cody Schilling picks Augustana

John Millea reporting on the Star Trib preps blog that Cody Schilling will sign with D2 Augustana of Sioux Falls, SD today. I totally botched that in a previous post. Along with Ethan Thomforde of Eastview and Leif Nomeland of Osakis, that's a very nice recruiting class for that program.

Como Park coach retires

Charley Walters column today reports that Como Park coach Dan Brink has retired after 28 years and 426 wins. This makes him the all-time winningest coach in St. Paul City Conference history. He was a real pleasure to watch coach and had great success. Congrats to him on a great career.

Thoughts from MN Magic College Night

Tonight takes the Czar to the MN Magic College Exposure Night at the Eden Prairie HS Activities Center. Plenty of local college coaches on hand and a truckload of teams.

15U thoughts
Magic 15U elite starters

Daron Garvis 5'9 (Richfield) PG
Brandon Siefert 6'2 (Holy Family) Wing
Kyle Noreen 6'2 (MTS) Wing
Jonah Travis 6'5 (DLS) PF
Mike Yahnke 6'6 (Delano) C

Others of note in the game, Ethan Petrill 6'2 Wing from Shakopee, Vaughn Thada from Owatonna, Shaylynn Owens of CDH and Eric Robertson of Wayzata. Of no surprise in this game, the MTS 1-2-2 zone employed by coach Miller (the MTS JV coach) left the FT line wide open.

Alex Cole from Eau Claire and Will Iverson from Elk River caught my eye for the Magic 15U Crawford squad. Jonah Travis was impressive tonight after his big JV year for DLS. He reminds me a lot of teammate Jalen Jaspers. Eric Robertson was quiet tonight, but I still think next year might be a year where he jumps up and surprises people and becomes a very comparable replacement to Nick Rocca. Kyle Noreen displayed a little of a drive and kick game, but its definitely something he'll need to add to his game going forward as teams will make him beat them off the bounce.

16U Thoughts
I covered the 16U Elites last weekend (read that here) so I won't cover them again except to say that it was nice to see them finally go man. Chad Calcaterra looked better tonight than over the weekend and Marshall Bjorklund is still a beast with Jon Crockett being a real disruptive force on defense. The other 16U squad looks like this.

Walter Franklin 5'9 PG from DLS, 1 of the 2 sophomore reserves for DLS last year in their final rotation (Bryce Hawkins was the other with Jalen Jaspers in the starting lineup)

Andrew Krupke 6'2 Sartell, Jeff Fallat 6'2 Burnsville, Deron Murphy 5'10 Kennedy, Marcus Shaw 6'0 Columbia Heights, Omot Ajack 6'0 Stillwater, Dan Carney 6'2 Tonka, Jeff Burns 6'3 Centennial, Jalen Williams 6'2 Jefferson, Eric Schmechel 6'6 Hudson, WI, David Michaelson 5'11 Roseville

Shaw, Carney and Schmechel caught my eye in addition to Franklin. Tough spot for Shaw as he has Jacob Thomas and Harold Rainey in front of him at CH (they're both playing for Howard Pulley this summer). I didn't see the Magic 16U Blake squad play but it has Peter Sorensen on it who got major minutes for SW Christian this year.

17U thoughts
There are 3 teams that stuck out to me. 2 of which are familiar to some. The Elite/Culp squad (Chris Williams, Greg Meyer, Taylor Sparkman, David Burnham, Zach Matos, Chris Breuer, Isaiah Thomas, Renard Robinson) and the Robertson squad (Trent Davis, Lamar Anderson, Shaun Jensen, Avery Duncan, Carlos Emory and Caleb Palkert), but their best squad might be their Brown squad (Will DeBerg, Mitch Bires, Tyler Swanson, Billy Giddings, Jack Gavin, Tyler Goetz, Ethan Wragge, Josh Pedretti, Chris Orgas, Bronson Byrne). Wragge was flammable tonight vs the 16 Elites. Giddings is long and athletic and a pleasure to watch. DeBerg was solid at the point with great vision and poise. Pedretti may look about 40 years old, but he's tough inside. I think its worth noting (despite the wacky timing and scoring at this event) that the 16U Elites beat the Culp squad but lost to the Brown squad. Brown team isn't as deep, but still very talented. 17U Elites started Chris Williams at PG, Meyer and Thomas on the wings, Sparkman at the 4 and Eric Gilbertson (River Falls, WI averaged 10.1 PPG this season) in the middle. A fun 2nd unit of Renard Robinson, Sean Gilbert, Zach Matos and Chris Breuer (David Burnham not in attendance tonight).

Update on Trevor Mbakwe transfer situation

Charley Walters wrote in his column today that Trevor Mbakwe will be staying at Marquette. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had reported a couple of weeks ago that he might be leaving (see what I wrote about it then) Unlike his teammate Scott Christopherson (2007 Wisconsin Co-Mr. Basketball) who asked for and received his release. Christopherson played here twice in the 06-07 season for La Crosse Aquinas in wins over Rockford (Border Battle) and a loaded Woodbury team with Max Hintz (East Metro Showcase)

Some of Charley's text is below

"Former St. Bernard's and Henry Sibley basketball star Trevor Mbakwe, who considered transferring from Marquette after his freshman season this year, has decided to remain with the team. The Gophers were expected to pursue the 6-foot-8 forward if he had made himself available.

Former St. Thomas Academy and Gophers basketball center Bryce Webster, headed to Utah State, might have another Minnesotan, guard Stavon Williams of Minneapolis Roosevelt, as a teammate. "

Williams would also be a nice pickup for Utah State as he was a dominant wing scorer in his Roosevelt days leading the Mpls City in scoring his senior year if I remember correctly.

Thoughts on the MN Magic 16U Elites

The defacto start of the MN AAU season takes the Czar to the Colin Powell Center in South Minneapolis for a MYAS invitational. The MN Magic Elite 16U squad was playing up a level in the 17U division for Coach Jerry Noreen. A very nice facility with 4 courts in a 2x2 configuration with the local colleges represented on each baseline.

The quarterfinals had the Magic taking on Shakopee. After an early 9-9 tie, an 11-0 Magic run officially put the game out of reach as Shakopee never got closer than 20-14. 29-18 Magic at the break, 50-28 final. Shakopee kept it close early with hot shooting vs the MTS 2-2-1 and 2-3 zones. The Magic then switched to a 1-2-2 for the rest of the way. Here's what my unofficial stat sheet had for the 1st game.

Chad Calcaterra: 4 pts and 4 rbs
Marshall Bjorkland: 13 pts and 9 rbs
Kevin Noreen: 7 pts, 6 rbs, 4 blks
Taylor Filipek: 6 pts, 2 rbs
Jordan Reetz: 0 pts, 2 rbs
Darius Clare: 4 pts, 3 rbs
Jack Ghizoni: 2 pts
Jon Crockett: 5 pts
Galen Holzheuter: 7 pts, 3 stls
Michael Johnson: 2 pts, 2 stls

The semifinals game was vs a very determined Apple Valley team. 15 all in the 1st half before the Magic got the last 12 to end the half to lead 27-15. AV didn't go away as it was 41-35 with 5:25 to go before a 10-0 Magic run put the game away. Final score 54-38.

Here's what my unofficial stat sheet had for the 2nd game.

Chad Calcaterra: 3 pts and 4 rbs
Marshall Bjorkland: 9 pts and 4 rbs
Kevin Noreen: 2 pts, 6 rbs
Taylor Filipek: 13 pts, 6 rbs
Jordan Reetz: 2 pts
Darius Clare: 4 pts, 2 rbs
Jack Ghizoni: 13 pts, 3 rbs
Jon Crockett: 1 rb
Galen Holzheuter: 6 pts, 2 rbs
Michael Johnson: 2 pts

Magic starters were Calcaterra and Bjorklund inside with Noreen, Filipek and Johnson outside. Off the bench, Crockett for Johnson at the point, Ghizoni for Filipek at the 2. Clare for Noreen at the 3, Holzheuter for Calcaterra at the 4 with Bjorklund moving to the 5. In the 1st game, the Magic didn't make shots. And while they did make shots in the 2nd game (8 pts in game 1 from Ghizoni and Filipek vs 26 from them in game 2), they didn't have energy. In both games, they consistently left the high post unattended in their zone defenses which won't be a good thing when they play better competition.

Holzheuter was impressive with his strength allowing him to play an interior role while leaving Noreen outside at the 3 to take advantage of his shooting. Crockett was impressive defensively, especially in the 1-2-2 as he was very disruptive at the top of it. Best example of this was coming into the 2nd game with about 9 minutes to go in the 1st half and immediately getting a couple of deflections. Clare also came into the 2nd game and was active. Necessary too as Apple Valley generally outworked and had more energy than a lethargic Magic team in that 2nd game. Bjorklund is an animal inside and can pass. While he is very useful in that high post role, I'd be tempted to flip-flop him and Calcaterra in the high-low set as Bjorklund's wider frame currently allows him to do a better job of holding post position and taking bumps and scoring. Not to mention it keeps him closer to the glass for offensive rebounding. The main thing with this team is being able to consistently make outside shots as today vs zone defense they were suspect in that area. Not much movement on offense either.

Royce White falls out of rankings came out with their updated top 100 for 2009. Some notables from outstate kids I saw this year. Jeronne Maymon of Madison Memorial (had a big game vs DLS in January before a monster rebounding performance in the TWolves shootout) is #72, Naji Hibbert of DeMatha (played vs Hopkins in the TWolves shootout) is #100. Wisconsin's top prospect Jamil Wilson is #9. DeMarcus Cousins of Mobile Le Flore committed to UAB on 2/29/08 and is #5. He played vs Princeton in the TWolves shootout.

Rodney Williams is #87 and Royce White falls out of the list. hasn't updated their list since November, but for comparison sake here's what they have.

Cousins #5
Wilson #32
White #33
Williams #43
Hibbert #54
Trent Lockett #97
Maymon unranked (but don't be surprised if moves into the next round of rankings since he was huge in the Wisconsin state tournament)

NW Metro TV all area team (with 1 amazing mistake)

NW Metro TV came out with their all NW Metro team this week. We've got the entire Hopkins starting 5 either 1st team or honorable mention. Armond Battle makes 1st team and Matt Thomas is honorable mention from BSM. Jordan Taylor is not mentioned anywhere in a major oversight. That's not a joke, they actually left him totally out. BSM is 1 of the schools Channel 12 covers. That list includes Maple Grove, Osseo, Park Center, Champlin Park from the NW Suburban. Cooper, Totino-Grace and BSM from the N Suburban. Armstrong, Wayzata and Hopkins from the Classic Lake, Brooklyn Center and Breck from the Tri-Metro. Maranatha, Providence and Heritage from the MCAA.

You can read the entire list here.

MN Glory 17U Squad

The more I see the MN Glory 17U roster, the more I like it. Figini and Mathson are 2 way players as they have size but can step out and handle and shoot, Conway and Baker are real nice guards and Zager is a great compliment as a wing player. Definitely a squad I'll want to see this summer.

1. Charlie Baker - Eagan - 5'11 - PG
2. Justin Behnke - Rochester J.M. - 6'0 - G
3. Joe Conway - Winona Cotter - 6'1 - G
4. Josh Figini - Chisago Lakes - 6'9 - SG
5. Patrick Franko - Rochester Century - 6'9 - F
6. Tom Gisler - Stwartville - 6'4 - G/F
7. Zak Mathson - Cambridge-Isanti - 6'5 - G/F
8. Zach Smith - Rochester J.M. - 6'5 - SF
9. Taylor Steinbauer - Owatonna - 6'9 - PF
10. Matt Zager - Shakopee - 6'2 - SG

MN Magic 16U Squad

I saw the roster for the MN Magic 16U team today. This is a really nice squad of players that will be really fun to watch over the next couple of years. Johnson, Ghizoni and Crockett make up a nice backcourt. Filipek is a real versatile player who should break out next year. Clare I've heard is a real high-flyer. Not to mention the big names Calcaterra and Noreen. Bjorkland had a real nice year for Sibley East.

6-10 Chad Calcaterra of Cloquet
6-8 Marshall Bjorklund of Sibley East
6-8 Kevin Noreen of Transitions
6-6 Taylor Filipek of Willmar
6-3 Darius Clare of Delano
6-2 Jack Ghizoni of Burnsville
6-2 Johnathon Crockett of Totino-Grace
6-1 Galen Holzheuter of Minn. Valley Lutheran
6-0 Derek Brown from South Dakota
5-7 Michael Johnson of Grand Rapids

Trevor Mbakwe possibly leaving Marquette?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that Trevor Mbakwe (St. Bernard's and Sibley) may be leaving Marquette due to family issues. That makes 3 out of 5 with this, last week's announcement of Cory Johnson leaving Iowa State and Bryce Webster. Not to mention there have been rumors over time about Isiah Dahlman's time at Michigan State.

Mike Max High School notes

Mike Max of WCCO is reporting a couple of interesting high school items tonight, you can read his entire news and notes here. He says the MSHSL is leaning toward a shot clock in the future (yuck!) and that Cody Schilling is leaning toward Augustana in Sioux Falls. Augustana finished 5th in the final D3 poll of the year. He also reports that Tarell Clark of Burnsville will likely end up at a D1 JUCO.

MSHSL Approves Mercy Rule

The MSHSL has approved a mercy rule for football and basketball next year. If you're up 35 or more in the last 9 minutes we go to running time. If you get it under 30, then we're back to regular time. I'm not a fan of this at all. This punishes the end of bench kids (like I was once upon a time) by cutting their playing time in some of the few instances where they get it. Some of the best moments in games are with those kids. If one of the purposes of high school athletics is to teach the kids character, then blowouts are a lesson in character from all team members. The real world isn't always fair or pleasant. And as a purist, I don't think its in the spirit of the game. There's an old saying that you can't legislate morality and I think this a case where the MSHSL did just that. I think this cries out for the coaches to take it upon themselves to schedule better opponents and to do a better job getting their bench players into the games.