The Minnesota Heat's Tournament at Bethel was a fantastic weekend for the program as 207 teams took part in the event highlighted by a 17 and Under bracket including teams from 43 Hoops, Pump N Run, Comets, Southside, Magic, WOTN, and of course the Minnesota Heat. Marcus Tyus and 43 Hoops defeated WOTN 53-31 to win the 17s championship.
43 Hoops Brings Home the Gold
It was a dominating weekend for 43 Hoops (playing without [/db]Marcus Marshall[/db]) as they defeated Minnesota Heat Hooper 77-38 and Minnesota Comets Seevers 70-29 in pool play.
Then in bracket play 43 Hoops took out Minnesota Heat Biwan 59-28 in the quarters, controlled Minnesota Southside 69-46 in the semi-final, and then hit seven first half three-pointers to jump on Wear Out the Net and ultimately win 53-31.
"Things went really well this weekend," said 43 Hoops Coach Al Harris. "As you know we went unbeaten and the margin of victory was 20 plus points in every game. Nate Kratch, Marcus Tyus, and Duke Anyanwu were awesome. I thought Ben Glover has really played well starting back in Kansas at the Jayhawk Invitational. Cutler Finneman is having a great spring."
The Spring Surprise
Easily the most over achieving team in Minnesota through the first month and a half has been Wear Out the Net. At the Comets Invitational the group defeated Net Gain Sports and competed upper bracket play. At the Pump N Run Spring Classic the Nets fought their way all the way to the tournament semi-finals before falling to host Minnesota Pump N Run. And this past weekend WOTN placed second at the Heat Tournament.
The reason for their success is a combination of a hard working team game on both ends of the floor as well as some surprising talent showcasing to Minnesota that they future college basketball players. They don't have a bunch of known names coming together expected to produced greatness, this is a team that has had to work hard to earn victories and they have done exactly that. Coaching the team is former Minnesota Gopher and Sioux Falls All-American Steve Esselink.
"Jake Hodge (of Kasson-Mantorville) is a player that has really made college coaches take notice," said Esselink. "Most of the teams that we play have a coach after the game ask me about Jake and I really think he has a chance at getting serious college looks. He led us all weekend.
"Nick Sanborn of Lakeville South and Trey Heid of Lakeville North also played very well this weekend. Both players have been consistent performers through our first three tournaments. Brett Rasmussen played with us and he had a good tournament."
Travis vs. King
In the quarterfinals the Minnesota Pump N Run 15s faced off against the Minnesota Southside highlighted by a big man match-up of 2014 standout Reid Travis going up against 2012 standout Joey King.
The young Pump N Run squad came into the match-up with wins over Minnesota Heat Duberry and Minnesota Heat McDonald but a loss to Legacy Basketball Academy. The Southside won their pool gaining wins over Southwest Slam and Fury Gold. This set the stage for a close encounter between the young Pump N Run and the defensive minded Southside.
Who won? The veterans, but it was close.
"Reid scored 21 points against Minnesota Southside which led all scorers that game," said Pump N Run Coach Jeremy Miller. "He hit two three-pointers and was getting to the rim to finish over the Southside bigs. We lost to the Southside by three points but I feel we should have won. Reid competed well although Joey was getting his."
A Happy Director
When it comes to "AAU Guys" in Minnesota Willie Vang is highly respected because of his work ethic, his integrity, and the success he's already had even though he's been a full load University of Minnesota student all this time. During the event Vang spoke with Michael J. Much for an interview that will be released at a later date but here is a quick statement he gave this afternoon.
"Overall I though the tournament went real well," said Heat Tournament director Willie Vang. "Whenever you have as many teams and teams as we had there will always be some issues but in the big picture it went real smooth. We had live scoring on our website, all results posited within 30 minutes of game competition, and that was a big hit."