High school basketball in the fall consists of fall leagues, open gyms, and the recruitment of the state's top players. Sean Kruger's MBA fall league at Minnehaha Academy is now two weeks in and an early headliner has been Duluth East guard Dyami Starks. Starks put big numbers Saturday night just a few minutes removed from an official visit.
This weekend Starks visited Columbia University of the Ivy League for the second time only this visit was official. Starks has not made his college decision yet but after a couple trips to Columbia their chances of landing Dyami seem pretty fair. Starks is also looking at Howard, Lehigh and a few other schools. Bucknell and Drake both offered Dyami during AAU season but moved on after Starks didn't want to make an early decision.
EDIT: Dyami committed to Columbia on Sunday night.
Dyami was picked up from the airport by his father Will Starks Saturday night and taken right to Minnehaha Academy for fall league contests. The first was against Jonah Travis, Jalen Jaspers, and some of the other players who will make up DeLaSalle this year. East was the victor as Starks torched the Islanders down the stretch with a massive scoring spurt. Then a couple hours later Starks and East defeated Minnesota Select who was led by Alex Koch and Aaron Ziman of St. Louis Park, Sami Onsomu of Mankato East, and Dan Fleishner of Mound-Westonka amongst others.
Dyami made nine three-pointers in those two games which played a big part in his 65 points through two games.
When Starks wasn't scoring sophomore sensation Johnny Woodard was. Fresh of an incredible performance last week where Woodard torched Jordan Jackson, Mike Rostampour, and the Henry Sibley Warriors, Woodard was impressive again.
At first sight one is quick to notice that Woodard is physically more mature than most kids at his age level. He spent most of his time last night shooting from beyond the arc and in the time I saw him the highlights were his release and Woodard's hot hand.
As a sophomore Woodard seems a little streaky as a shooter but that's good news when he goes about sinking three triples in a row. Johnny's form needs a little tweaking but looks pretty good at this point and his release is soft and looks ideal. He went more to the basket in the first game as compared to the second so there wasn't to many opportunities to see the explosive finishes at the rim but Woodard did make one acrobatic lay-in in the second half of the first contest. Against Select Woodard scored 14 points looking more to pull-up and shoot then attack off the bounce. Defensively he played inspired moving his feet pretty well and sitting down in a fair stance (during the season you can bet that coach Chuck Tolo will have him even lower and more aggressive) that harassed Select players into drives away from the paint.
In defeat Alex Koch was impressive. Alex is all around a versatile talent who goes hard on both ends making him a numbers guy on both ends (boards, steals, points). Alex can finish inside with his quality length and he's a hard working player on the offensive glass. What stood out in the last game Alex's ability to step out and hit from beyond the arc.
Quite a few division two schools in Minnesota including Bemidji State, Mary, and some others are pursuing Koch. He's also looking at his division three options including taking a visit to Stout this weekend.
With DeLaSalle behind to East it was Jonah Travis who fought the hardest to keep the Islanders in the game. He scored numerous times attacking off the dribble and on the offensive glass.
Travis has recently picked up his second and third scholarship offers as Wofford and UW-Milwaukee have now offered joining Northern Illinois. Butler will be in town this week to watch Jonah work out. Wofford watched Jonah last week and then offered him. Also watching him this past week was Northern Iowa and North Dakota State.
In other recruiting notes Lakeville South's Alex Richter continues to be a hot commodity to the Dakota schools. North Dakota State, South Dakota State, and South Dakota were all at his open gyms recently. And North Dakota was there today. Not to be outdone Northern Iowa will have a coach checking on Alex this week.
A team that seems to be all over Kyle Noreen is Virginia Commonwealth. They will be in this week to see Kyle. Last week Denver traveled into the Twin Cities to see Kyle perform.
Three teams after Taylor Filipek the hardest right now are Samford, Eastern Kentucky, and Minnesota State-Mankato. All three were at his football game this past Friday night showing Taylor how far they are willing to go for him. Filipek has his visit set to Mankato and he's likely to set something for EKU soon as well.
Amongst the teams hottest after Jake Kreuser right now include Saint Louis, Oregon State, Northwestern, and Cornell. Saint Louis has had a couple coaches in recently to see Jake including Rick Majerus. Jake will officially visit the school in mid-October. Minnesota was also watching Kreuser this fall at a couple open gyms but they recently received a commit from Nebraska center Elliott Eliason. The Gophers told Jake that they would watch him over the year if he didn't make an early decision in case something unexpected happens and a scholarship opened up.
Word out of the Sibley open gyms right now is that Jake is playing the best of his career now free of the nagging knee and ankle injuries that plagued him all summer long. One of his Minnesota Pump N Run teammates came away from the Sibley open gym in shock at how different of a player Kreuser seems just a couple months removed from AAU season.