Minnesota Select has some new additions, and they are likely to help rank their teams among the upper level of the Minnesota spring/summer scene. Today, we look at their 17-and-under program that includes the best returning players from last year's Wear Out the Net program. Also, the Select 16s talent will rank amongst the best in the state.
The face of the team is 6-foot-8, rock-solid post Kyle Bauman from United South Central High School in Wells, Minnesota. Despite dealing with a mono illness that caused him to miss seven games and bothered him for several others, Bauman still averaged 18.1 points and 12.3 rebounds per game as a junior. Bauman played for current Select 16s coach, and 17s assistant and skill developer Mitch Ohnstad last year, and came over to Select with the 1996 "Mr. Basketball" winner this year. Bauman has a defined low post game that has already brought him an offer from South Dakota State. He scored a season-high 32 points versus Minnesota Valley Lutheran this winter.
Lakeville North's Tyler Flack and Brett Rasmussen were also teammates last season for Ohnstad's 16 and under WOTN squad. The 6-foot-6 Flack is an explosive athlete who routinely started games with alley-oops dunks as a sophomore in AAU last year. His bounce, physical play and skill made him an all-conference performer as a Lakeville North junior, scoring 11.2 points per game. The 6-foot-4 Rasmussen is a perimeter force who was the Panthers' third-leading scorer with nine points per contest.
Six-foot-3 wing Brady Wohler is a name that needs no introduction. Why? Because if you have a pulse as a local high school sports fan, you saw Wohler shine on the big stage just a week ago. Wohler found a rhythm in Orono's up-and-down title game pace in the win over Columbia Heights, as he led the team with 24 points in the final. It finished off a junior year that saw Brady average 13.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and a pair of steals per contest.
One of the most intriguing Select prospects is Rosemount 6-foot-7 combo forward Matt Nelson. Matt scored a team-high 11.7 points per game as a junior, scoring from both inside and out. His shooting range as well as his agility definitely make him a scholarship basketball player, but at what level and at what scholarship rate? His intensity and consistency on the summer circuit will be watched closely the next few months.
When Select needed a point, they went looking south and found the top ball handler for Minnesota's third place class AA finisher, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown. Six-foot point guard Grant Pope led WEM to a 29-3 record, averaging 11.3 points, 7.9 assists, 4.1 steals, and 3.3 rebounds per contest plus he was the motor that made them run. This offseason, he will run the show for Select.
New Prague forward Trevor O'Brien is following in the footsteps of recent Trojan senior Cale Girten (who is on his way to Northern State next year) as an all-around worker on the wing. O'Brien can defend, plus he scored 8.1 points per game shooting 49.7 percent from the floor for a Trojan team that finished 4th at state after their first round upset of St. Paul Johnson. O'Brien also grabbed 4.9 boards a contest.
Six-foot-7 power forward Jack Harrison adds frontcourt depth to a team that already has a D-1 post in Bauman, an explosive four in Flack and a very skilled combo forward in Nelson. Harrison faced up and posted up to score his 7.5 points a game for Prior Lake this winter.
Select will have a 2013 guard on their squad that is one of the state's elite ball pressure defenders - Xavier Hall. The 5-foot-11 guard not only defends, but he improved offensively at Tartan (he averaged six points per game as a sophomore). Hall will bring Select a load of intensity game by game, and this is an important piece that the program wanted to bring in.
While we are talking Select, we need to bring up their 16s. The team includes one of the top two prospects in Minnesota's sophomore class (seven footer Carson Shanks of Prior Lake), other size (6-foot-10 Jeff Probert of Prior Lake), strong/athletic power forwards who have double-double potential (Mike Fernando of Minnetonka and Kebu Johnson of Blake), a big time shooter (Mack Johnson of Roseville), heady and tough point guards (Grant Erickson of Lakeville North and one of the state's best freshman in Jon Sobaski from Prior Lake), and athletes on the wing who can score (Shawn Fitzgibbons of DeLaSalle and Logan Brown of Roseville who is the brother of Lucas Brown).