The Comets Spring Shootout kicked off this morning, with the younger divisions playing in facilities all over the St. Cloud area. Teams like the Minnesota Comets 16s, Minnesota Pump N Run 15s, TC Cyclones, Minnesota Heat, and several others won games as expected and standing out were some of the future stars in Minnesota basketball. While the upsets weren't present, the talent most definitely was.
The Minnesota Comets top 16s squad includes 6-foot-0 point guard Nathaniel Huot. At six feet tall Huot's game just screams smooth. His level of agility, his play with the ball in his hands or away from the ball, and when Huot is creating for others and taking shots, his whole game is all done with a comfort level that colleges would love.
Melrose guard Isaac Sawyer pulled double duty in the Comets win over Minnesota Premiere. Sawyer entered the ball in the offense and immediately cut off his pass putting the set into action. It was then common, after several passes in the possession, for the ball to return to Sawyer and at that point Isaac showed a three point stroke that would impress the best. He hit three treys in the second half of the game.
In a losing effort St. Clair point Michael Nett definitely impressed. At 5-foot-10 Nett hit shots from the perimeter and more importantly his vision of the floor was very solid. Nett read cutters like an experienced point and he put the ball in positions for his teammates to succeed. Those teammates didn't always finish but Nett was still an impressive point.
Minnesota Heat Elite Red was fun to watch because the entire group played so hard. Six-foot-5 forward Ben Walker was the most noteworthy and he played hard on both ends from start to finish. Walker opened the game hitting a three in the corner showcasing a college coach approved jumper. Minutes later he went for three again only attacking from the elbow and while getting fouled Walker completed the possession (and the free throw). Then on defense Walker was low in stance and actively defending ball screens on the perimeter with success. The Heat defeated Southwest Slam 48-36.
St. Cloud Cathedral sophomore post Conner Voss of St. Cloud Cathedral stands 6-foot-11 and with a father who is 6-foot-8 many feel Voss will reach over seven feet tall. Voss is a project but he's one to watch. Defensively he's a factor getting his long arms in passing lanes plus he blocked several shots in both morning contests. Offensively he has a ways to go but if Voss works hard and gets the correct year round guidance he will have a chance.
Dakota Pride 16s prospects A.J. Jacobson and Aaron Lien will both be scholarship athletes as both are good wings. Lien has a lefty stroke and he's coming off a great year at Moorhead. Jacobson is a very active, long player who is going to be a division one basketball prospect.
The 6-foot-5 Jacobson threw some beautiful passes, he was defending, rebounding, and he cuts hard to the bucket whenever he doesn't have the ball or when he isn't moving to the ball. He's always on the move and Jacobson has the type of build that looks like it could add a lot of clean weight. A.J. looks to have a great upside. Lien has a nice upside too more so because of his shooting touch. The 6-foot-4 wing can rifle treys in a heartbeat with success and Lien showed he can attack, hang, and finish over traffic.
Although he has different personal character Reid Travis definitely resembles Royce White when Royce was a freshman Islander. Reid, playing with the Minnesota Pump N Run 15s, just has a similar appearance to a young Royce although Reid is an inch or two shorter than Royce was and he's not quite the athlete the former five star standout was. But in terms of huge hands that control the ball and dominance around the basket swallowing rebounds and finishing everything in the paint Travis has some similarities. Also, Travis ran a pair of fast breaks looking very comfortable in making the right passes for teammates to succeed.
Aggressive, explosive, and slippery. These are the words that came to mind when describing Richfield freshman Louis Williams also playing with the Pump N Run. Williams was able to put the ball on the deck and get to the rim whenever he wanted in the Pumps win over the Blazers plus Louis elevated to the point that only a Blazer high school teammate could contest. Williams than shock the gym with a rim rocking one handed dunk that had everybody talking.
Delshaun Strickland of Minneapolis North knocked down five three pointers in his first game for the Minnesota Pump N Run 15s.
The Minnesota Cyclones obliterated opponents this morning and with good reason, they have 6-foot-8 Alex Illikainen of Grand Rapids and 6-foot-3 Daniel Hudrlik of Crosby-Ironton up front. I honestly believe that Illkainen blocked more field goal attempts than the Cyclone opponent made this morning. He was that dominant and his controlling of the boards goes without saying. Then on the offensive end Alex scored about a dozen points each game.
Hudrlik was both a varsity basketball and football player as an eighth grader this year. The lefty has more muscle now than most of his current opponents will ever have in their life. Hudrlik was so much stronger than everyone on the floor he literally went wherever he wanted. On offense he scored continually because he could post up at four feet, catch, and just turn and score as the littler defenders had no prayer of contesting his shot after he put a shoulder on them. Hudrlik will make statewide headlines at Crosby-Ironton in potentially multiple sports.
Jarvis Johnson of the Pump N Run 15s is going to be a star. The 5-foot-11 guard has such control of the ball you just can't believe he's a freshman. Jarvis is the type of player who would show up anywhere there is a game (Target Center or at your local club), look anybody dead in the eye, take the ball, and just run the show. He had a behind the back fake pass turned finger roll that can only be described as sick.
Future Tartan Titan Marshawn Wilson is a six foot tough guy who plays the game the right way. Wilson defends like the best Titans defenders do and he has shooting range to go with it. He started for the Tartan junior varsity this year and he's also playing for the Pump 15s.