Today is part two of our Minnesota Comets Shootout preview, as we look at the teams that are making up pools E through H this weekend. Remember, younger player games begin Saturday morning with 17 and under play starting later in order to accommodate the several seniors-to-be who are taking early morning ACT tests.
South Dakota Heat
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Minnesota Heat - Duberry
Minnesota Select White
The SD Heat have a dangerous name on their roster: Wyatt Krogman (White River High in SD). Based on last name alone, opponents are going to try and find Wyatt the second he steps in the gym. Krogman, a sophomore, was the only non-senior named to the five-man South Dakota all state team (Class B). Up front, the Heat have three 6-foot-5 players in Alex Irvine (Tea Area), Spencer Stahly (Huron), and Logan Tucker (White River).
The biggest names on the Glory are two of the better scorers in northern Minnesota. First off is Bemidji guard Carey Woods who we like to refer to as "the northern version of Paul Pierce." Woods is crafty, can score in many ways and is tough. Sophomore Anders Broman, who is on pace to break Kevin Noreen's statewide all-time scoring record, is also back for the Glory as is his 38 points per game this season.
Those are the big names, but the Glory is more than that. St. Peter point guard Chad Poppen scored 12.4 points per game with 5.8 assists a night this winter, and he'll handle the ball some for the squad. Hutchinson's Zach Miner was a junior starter averaging 7.8 points a game, Mahtomedi's leading scorer Andrew Lindquist will be around to fill up the scorecard and Anders' brother Bjorn Broman is on the Glory 17s as well.
Minnesota Select's second squad resides in this pool and they include a couple Baldwin-Woodville (Wisc.) players who are pretty good. Six-foot guard Tyler Heitman averaged 10.5 points per game on the other side of the border, while Zach Addyman was a solid role guy. Also on the team is Holy Angels guard Parker Bredow, Prior Lake 5-foot-9 guard Matt Dysthe who was their fourth leading scorer and Sam Jensen from Bethlehem Academy.
Minnesota Comets Blue
The Schoolers feature two scholarship-level Minnesota kids as well as several Dakota kids that will give opponents major issues. First of is Casey Schilling who averaged 23.7 points, 12.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.5 steals, and 2.7 blocks per game. Just like his older brothers, Casey does a lot on the floor; what makes him different is the feistiness he plays with.
Also with the Schoolers is Michael Busack from Redwood Valley. Busack is a 6-foot-5 forward with skill, size, and agility. He put up 21 points, eight rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 2.6 steals a game. Skye Warwick of St. Moore is a very skilled 6-foot-1 off guard, while high school teammate Eric Hensch, also 6-foot-1, is a solid point. Darin Peterka of Miller High is a crafty guard at 6-foot-2, 6-foot-9 center Zach Kraning has potential and 6-foot-8 Scott Mulder of Sioux Falls O'Gorman will bang in the paint along with Kraning.
The Playmakers are led by Matt Van Scyoc of Green Lake who put up 22.4 points and 9.1 rebounds a contest this year as a 6-foot-6 three man. He has good athletic ability, can finish at the rim and has shooting range. Riley Bambenek of G-E-T is a power point guard that plays with a high motor (averaged 16.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists as a junior) on both ends and is a tremendous leader.
Also on the Playmakers is 6-foot-6 wing Luke Heller who is coming off a 19.5 points per game season. Luke is an inside-out four man that can shoot out to the arc, and he rebounds well. Chase Luebker, a 5-foot-11 point guard from Plum City, averaged 16.2 points, 5.8 boards, 2.4 assists and 2.5 steals this year. Chase plays with high intensity on both ends, as he's a great defensive player who can also score in bunches.
Minnesota United (used to be Old Skool) will be led by 6-foot-5 John Jedneak and Joss Jondahl from Princeton. Jondahl led Princeton with 15.1 points per game this winter, while Jedneak had 11.6 a contest. Also, 6-foot-3 Trevor Weinmann was a good role player for Watertown-Mayer this year scoring eight a game, 6-foot-1 Alex Heiser led New Life Academy in scoring this year at over 13 points a game, and Chase Cleveland played a role off the Rogers bench.
Comets Blue includes St. Cloud Tech guard Trey Barber, Cole Nelson from Foley, Riley Schulte from Dassel-Cokato, Hussein Abdul-Kadir from St. Cloud Apollo, and Zach Jiskra from Sartell.
Net Gain Sports
Net Gain Sports is the only Minnesota team that has played an event yet, as they went to Milwaukee last week and lost three of four. They were defeated by Terry Porter Elite, Chicago Ferrari and Mac Irvin Fire, but they did beat DC Elite.
NGS has a ton of playmakers starting with Duluth East's Taylor Stafford and Johnny Woodard. The pair combined to score almost 45 points per game this winter leading the Greyhounds to state. Also on the team is DeLaSalle sophomore Riley Dearring who can play just about any role for a squad. He handles, he can fill it up on the wing, he can go inside and be a weapon, and his length makes him a problem for opponents on defense.
Also, Ater Manyang of Rochester Century is with the club and at the very least he gives Dennis Rodman like contributions rebounding on both ends and defending hard. Ater also looked like Kwadzo Ahelegbe in the Tonka Fall League the two weekends he played, pulling up time after time to score off the pull-up jumper. Half of a year later, we are all curious to see if that is consistent or is something that's in the growing process. Another athlete who is on the Net Gain roster this weekend is Cooper standout freshman Rashad Vaughn who scored almost 13 per game this year.
Minnetonka's top two scorers Nick Latzke and Tommy McDermott are also in NGS blue and white. McDermott's game has grown to the point that D2s just hope he stays at that level. Tommy showed this winter that he can get to the elbow on anybody to attempt his pull-up. Andrew Turnblad and Brendan Taylor from Tonka are also with Net Gain Sports.
ECI Select is a squad with Minnesota players including Stephen-Argyle 6-foot-5 Luke Yutrzenka as well as a couple players from Norman County West.
The Southwest Slam includes 6-foot-4 Brady Boike from MACCRAY (13 points and seven rebounds a game this season), 6-foot-5 Kyle Verdoes from Marshall, 6-foot-3 Logan Ahlers from Ellsworth (4.3 points and 3.5 rebounds) and seven others from the southwest corner of the state.
Minnesota Comets - Stock
Minnesota Heat - MacDonald
The Southside usually has an Eastview flavor, but this year's dosage is extra strong. Six-foot-8 four man Joey King is probably the biggest name at the event, and this skilled four man is coming off an 18 point per game season. Also, 6-foot-5 Sam Burt is likely ready to roll after missing this season due to a transfer/injury. Everyone saw what he is capable of last summer with the Southside. Add in Darin Haugh, and you have three solid players from the Lightning wearing Southside black.
They will be joined by talented players in Dante Grant from Henry Sibley, Latrell Love from Minneapolis Patrick Henry and Deshawn Patterson from Kennedy, amongst others. Grant is a physical, mature guard who led Sibley in scoring at 10.5 a game, the 6-foot-5 Love is a long armed, active competitor who accumulated double-doubles on a nightly basis (18.5 points and 11.3 rebounds a game), and Patterson is an extremely physical player (he's built like a college running back) who can score in bunches.
Minnesota Comet Stock is big on active length with players like 6-foot-8 Mike Spoden of Grand Rapids, 6-foot-7 Luke Halbakken of Pelican Rapids, 6-foot-8 Dan Janu of Frazee, and 6-foot-5 Scottie Rucks of St. Cloud Cathedral.
Comet Stock also has talented teammates grouping together, like MACCRAY's Corey Abbas (9.9 points and 4.2 assists a game) and Riley Aeikens (11.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per contest) and Pelican Rapids pair Casey Bruggeman and Halbakken.
ECI Select has some talent that could definitely pull out multiple victories in this pool. Six-foot-6 Dexter Warner is a wide bodied bruiser from Bismarck who will give posts in St. Cloud a lot of trouble. Also, 6-foot-4 stud 2012 A.J. Jacobson from Shanley is a legitimate prospect to watch, as he's on several college radars. Jacobson will make a good combo with 6-foot-4 Berthold wing Daniel Yale who has a superb shooting stroke.
****Note: Added a paragraph to the A-D preview on the Minnesota Magic roster that includes some talented guards and wings.