This weekend's Spring Showcase came and went as expected with a quality Minnesota Pump N Run final against the Wisconsin Swing. In overtime Pump-N-Run was victorious led by the 21 points of forward Kevin Noreen and their seven wins over the weekend improved their record to 25-0.
MINNESOTA PUMP-N-RUN SPRING SHOWCASE NOTES
-The championship game was decided in overtime with the Minnesota Pump-N-Run outlasting the Swing. After missing out on the Friday night and Saturday action because of prom festivities Swing forward Kyle Kelm showed up Sunday and hit a big three-pointer to send the action into an extra session. In the overtime the Pump N Run grouping of guards and wings finished off the tournament with another win and another trophy.
-Leading the Pumps in the championship victory was Noreen with 21 points but he wasn't on the floor at the end of the game. He, like teammate Mike Rostampour, fouled out of game action largely because of the ability of newly committed Wisconsin Badger football player Marquis Mason. Mason's bounce, agility, body control, and strength at the rim put four fouls on Rostampour in the first half and ultimately fouled Mike and Kevin out of the game. Mason is a very explosive athlete and at times he looked like a smaller Trevor Mbakwe on the floor exploding to finish at the cup. It was very easy to see his potential as a wideout in the Big Ten especially on fast break run outs where he caught high and finished in style.
-Two things were talked about after this tournament victory for the Pumps. The first was their continuing undefeated record with tournament championships in St. Cloud, Bloomington, Menomonee, and Denver. This weekend the Pumps were without Winona big Alec Brown and Delano defender Darius Clare but they were still more talented winning out. In tournament games this weekend they beat Minnesota Comets II, Big Game Sports, the Iowa Barnstormers, and the team considered by some to be the best from Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Swing. Next weekend Pump-N-Run heads to Lawrence, Kansas for the Jayhawk Invitational that should thank their stars that Minnesota spring/summer basketball has 643 teams now.
-No team received more compliments then the Swing group coached by Tyler Selk. You will not find a more structured and unselfish AAU team than the Swing as their ball movement and ability to make the extra pass would have every basketball purist smiling. A big reason for that was point guard Josh Gasser.
-In terms of fundamental basketball plays Josh Gasser has few equals. Every pass he made this weekend was precise and calculated as he doesn't waste a second of time on the floor. Josh's ball movement around the perimeter keeps the defense constantly shifting and always gives his teammates extra time to make a play. There wasn't a player in the event that could keep Gasser from using his skilled attack and size to get to the lane consistently.
-Chip Rank is an incredible worker. What I was expecting to see was a 6-foot-6 bruiser around the basket who gobbled up rebounds and had a defined low post game. That was definitely true but Rank's ball skills on the perimeter and his shooting stroke were much better then I expected. If he goes mid-major it will be a huge get for that level of a team.
-Dyami Starks continues to exceed expectations as a leader with the basketball. He has been quite steady for the Pump N Run.
-Opposing coaches could not figure out what to do with the combination of abilities that several Pump players have. Noreen's size and stroke, Carlos Emmory's bulk and explosion, Steve Tecker's physique plus skill, and Rostampour's motor and size had coaches shaking their head.
-Michael Lindsay from Becker continues to impress. At 6-foot-4 and versatile he's handling the basketball for Triple Threat on a regular basis plus being a playmaker. Looking up his numbers from this past year I was surprised to see him only at nine points a game. He should at least double that next year plus create for others. When Triple Threat played TNL Express two weekends ago I thought he was the most productive player on the floor in that game.
-The Minnesota Comets have grown from a mom and pop style business to a franchise with several parts. But even they couldn't avoid prom, baseball, and injury this weekend. Despite having four or five 17 and under teams they had to scramble to get depth to fill two teams this weekend. The Thursday night injuries to Nolan Toft and Martin Wind really left the second Comets team with very little depth. Good to hear those kids are okay though after a bad car accident.
Willmar's Brian Reeves was a more than adequate fill in and his scoring kept the Comets in a couple games late. At 6-foot-6 Reeves has a lot of raw potential and his game has some unorthodox to it. But he is very productive and agile for a kid of his age and size and Brian will be a top prospect in the 2011 class. Reeves is already a top ten or twelve looking prospect in that class as it is and his ceiling is very high.
-Lucas Brown of Roseville is in a much similar boat as Reeves although not quite to that level of production yet. Brown has a great frame and good athletic ability. When his understanding of the game catches up to his ability playing for Mitch Ohnstad and MSB colleges better start looking in on this 2011 kid.
-Zach Vraa is also a MSB Roadrunner standout. I promise you that if I walked into a Rosemount classroom without knowing who he is I would never be able to pick Zach out to be the athlete he is. Looking at him you just don't expect Zach to burst quickly to the rim in a 6-foot-2 frame like he does. You can tell by watching him on the basketball floor that Vraa is an outstanding football talent as well.
-Brett Meinecke of the Swing may not be the most athletic player on the circuit but he ranks up on the list of best players in terms of skill. Because of his size and skill Brett was able to play three positions for the Swing this weekend including point guard. Watching him handle as well as stroke on Saturday I felt like division twos should be all over him and I'm not surprised that he's had a few division one calls.
-Six-foot-2, 180 pound point guard Rasham Suarez was pretty much outstanding. I expected to see a lot of ability out of the only underclassmen playing for the national champion Findlay Prep but his ability with the basketball on Saturday was eye-popping. Suarez weaved through the defense with the ball like he was Koren Robinson flying through St. Peter but unlike the former Viking all-pro misfit nobody was stopping Suarez. His creation was constant for the Iowa Barnstormers and he's one to watch for in the future.
-Parker Hines of Minnehaha Academy and the Minneapolis Redhawks is looking more and more like a point guard to be reckon with head time he steps on the floor. After a junior year that saw Hines distribute to several future MIAC standouts next year Hines will have more of a scoring role and this weekend he showed that he's capable.