The Comets Shootout is the hot ticket in Minnesota this weekend but with the 17s not starting until three o'clock what are people to do all day? There is an easy answer and that's look up some younger stars and get to a court to see them play. Several notables will be making the trip to Granite City and here's a random sampling of who to check out.
Looking to try and repeat at the Comets Shootout is the host team, the Minnesota Comets 16s. Nate Hout from Dawson-Boyd is a guard that everybody in AAU wanted this off-season and he'll be leading the Comets. Scottie Stone is a lengthy skill player from Melrose who will stick his nose into anything as he's a fearless producer. Six-foot-3 Pat Fischer from Sartell can definitely fill it up and the inside guy from Zimmerman who put up numbers is Jake Wilson and he's in Comets blue. A name to watch is huge Conner Voss of St. Cloud Cathedral. At 6-foot-11 Voss is a project but if there is growth in his game it will make him beyond dangerous.
Fast becoming a 16s favorite is the Minnesota Select 16s group and with good reason. First off they are huge with seven footer Carson Shanks and his teammate at Prior Lake Jeff Probert (6-foot-10) both playing in the middle. Shanks is one of the top couple prospects in Minnesota's 2013 class and he has a Northern Iowa offer.
On the wing Shawn Fitzgibbons of DeLaSalle is one of the better scorers that few know about as is Logan Brown of Roseville, the brother of Wofford bound Lucas Brown. At the four spot Kebu Johnson is a D-1 caliber player who scored 20 plus a game at Blake and also playing the four is athletic jumping jack Mike Fernando of Minnetonka. Select has shooters to in the form of Mack Johnson of Roseville in addition to Fitzgibbons plus Prior Lake point guard Jon Sobaski, a 2014 product, is one of the more productive players in his class.
The Fury Minnesota 16U Blue is the top Fury team that won four events last year as 15s. Six-foot-8 Ben Oberfeld from Eastview is a skilled four man people shoulder start to learn more about as he will be a scholarship prospect. Bridge Tusler, the 5-foot-11 guard from Osseo, will be around to show off both his intense ball pressure as well as his developing offensive game. Others on the squad include Zach Lindquist a 6-foot-3 forward from Mahtomedi, Jake Wieneke and Brycen Wojta (led his team in scoring and assists as a sophomore) from Maple Grove, 6-foot-7 Peter Kruize of St. Peter (there are St. Peter kids in every other program right now it seems), Luke Hamel of Cretin-Derham Hall, shooter Dustin Fronk from Apple Valley, Andrew Duxbury of Stillwater, and Leroy Taylor of Robbinsdale Cooper.
On the Fury 16U Gold is athletic Danny Sullivan from Holy Angels, D.J. Pollard of St. Louis Park, Luke Scott of DeLaSalle (brother of Joe Scott) and the Aase cousins (Joe and Tom) from good ole Austin, Minnesota. Joe and Tom are both versatile forwards capable of double-doubles.
The Fury 16U White includes developing Nick Johnson from Hopkins, Kyrell Newell of Lakeville North (Dajon Newell's little brother), Michael White of Cretin Derham-Hall, and the Henry Sibley duo of Zach Haas and Nick Golberg.
The Minnesota Heat has three 16s teams all of which have capable talent. On the Ogorek squad is Jack Martinek of Irondale and Erik Olson of Maple Grove, the Altena squad will be led by Josh Dewitt, Ben Walker, and Quin Peterson who are all of Centennial, and the Reese Heat team includes Kharie Kirkland, Mike Huspeth, and Mike Wales of Tartan as well as shooter Bea Smit.
Playing up this weekend is the Minnesota Pump N Run 15s squad as they are going to test their abilities in the 16 and Under division. The feature player is Reed Travis from DeLaSalle who Minnesota Preps believes will have a big spring/summer and put his name with the best of the best in the Midwest. Travis has a very nice shooting stroke plus he plays with similar energy as his older brother Jonah Travis who will attend Harvard next year.
Also, DeJohn Davis of St. Louis Park, point guard Jordan Dembley of Holy Angels, Alex Herick of Hudson, Wisconsin, Luis Williams of Richfield, Jarvis Johnson an 8th grader, and Delshan Strikeland of Minneapolis North all received varsity time this year and will play with the Pump N Run 15s. The 8th graders on this squad are very solid especially Johnson who is being raved about by so many people. Marshawn Wilson of Tartan and Henry Ellingson of Rice Lake are also 8th graders on the team.
The Wisconsin Playmakers are bringing a lot of young talent starting with 6-foot-3 combo guard Matt Thomas from Onalaska who I've heard referred to as the best shooter in the state of Wisconsin. Thomas already has offers from Creighton and Northern Iowa while Minnesota and Wisconsin have both been to watch him play. The problem with Thomas is that he's recently had a concussion and the odds don't seem good that he will play this weekend.
Be that as it may the Playmakers will still compete late into Sunday. Six-foot-9 Toby Hegner is a 6-foot-9 forward from Berlin, Wisconsin who is constantly getting better. He has range as well as a high percentage touch in the paint. Turner Botz, 6-foot-5 from Little Chute, Wisconsin, will be one of the best competitors in St. Cloud as he can defend anywhere on the floor. M.J. Delmore of the Wisconsin Dells is a quick point guard, David Jesperson from Merrill, Wisconsin is a 6-foot-8 face up four man who also has three point range (and brother of Virginia signed Paul Jesperson), and 6-foot-4 Cody Zimmerman is an undersized frontcourt player who has some shooting range.
Other names to note include Moorhead's standout forward Aaron Lien playing with Dakota Pride 16s, point guard Trevor Jacobsen of the Dakota Schoolers 16s, and the Minnesota Elite 15s squad includes Andrew Grosz, who played some varsity for Minnetonka this year, as well as Josh Goldschmidt from Maranatha Christian Academy.
Then you have Grand Rapids standout Alex Illikainen who averaged a double-double as an 8th grader this winter. The last we saw the big man he matched double-double stats with Vanderbilt signed senior Shelby Moats at Williams Arena in the state tournament. This weekend Alex will be playing against 8th graders in the 14 and Under division with the Cyclones. Going from Moats to 8th graders, that's quite a difference and it will be interesting to see how he performs.