Friday night the Pump N Run Spring Classic gets started with a game from every one of the eight different three team pools. Earlier this week Minnesota Preps laid out the contenders, underdogs, and long shots of the event and today we go into the first four pools to inform you what you may see from each squad.
Minnesota Pump N Run
Minnesota Comets North
Here is your host the Minnesota Pump N Run who is the defending champions of this event now playing in their third tournament of the month. With a dominating performance the Pumps won the Comets Invitational in St. Cloud and last weekend they placed in the semi-finals of the Double Pump Classic out in Denver. Jonah Travis (DeLaSalle), Alex Richter (Lakeville South), and Roosevelt Scott found themselves receiving national headlines from several scouting services for their performances last weekend.
Sibley senior guard Jordan Jackson (who had Northern Iowa and Chicago-Loyola in his gym last night) and Joel Lindberg from Superior, Wisconsin are manning the point for this crew giving them versatile weapons at the position. One (Jackson) is a dynamite athlete capable of scoring in bunches and the other (Lindberg) is as controlled as a guard can be with every pass and dribble. Jackson will also slide over and play some two. Eric Robertson from Wayzata and Minnesota Transitions guard Kyle Noreen join Scott and Richter giving this team sensational and deep wing play.
Up front is Shelby Moats from Waconia, Mike Yahnke from Delano, Jason Perkins of Shakopee, and of course Travis. There is more versatility here as the bigger of the foursome (Yahnke and Moats) can step out and knock down shots in addition to banging inside, and the other two (Perkins and Travis) are more forward than center but they love to get into players creating contact and then score.
Overall it's a tough and versatile bunch that has lost once in two events.
Some players who we saw at state highlight the Comets North. Grand Rapids guard Jake Sutherland and Hillcrest Lutheran Academy big Andrew Stender played on the big stage plus 6-foot-6 Pequot Lakes big Tomas Parker is also a force. And a major sleeper on the North squad is Tate Mosher who contributed a lot to Fertile-Beltrami as a sophomore.
EOTO Orange is still somewhat of a mystery but they shouldn't be after the weekend.
Team Get Shook
Minnesota Heat Black
The Heat are led by the scoring of Bryan Sprang who put up 25.5 points a game for Irondale this year putting numbers on the board in any way possible. He will be joined by Irondale teammates Vince Calistro and Danny Blumberg. Mounds View's top scorer Jordan Van Eps (13 a game) is also with the Heat Black and he will score plus play a ton of defense. Tyler Fleming of Totino-Grace is a point man that several division threes will look at and maybe division two schools as well. This winter he showed he can score double figures every night plus run the show.
The Wisconsin Blizzard is not expected to be sending their top team but one of their three other squads. Scheduled is coach LeHocky's group that is led by 6-foot-6 big Nathan Van Handel who is from Appleton North. Van Handel led his team with 11.9 points per game this season. Fond Du Lac High has their backcourt on this Blizzard team including leading scorer Tony Smit who put up 13 points a game. Flanking him with the Blizzard just like during the varsity season will be Tyler McArthur and Joe Schroeder who were also starters. Shooting guard Zach Vallafskey of Hortonville brings his 15.5 points a game to the team and guard Ehtan Berling comes from Sheboygan South where scored 11 points a contest.
Shawn Bear saw more junior varsity time as a sophomore at Richfield last year but judging by the shooting performance he put on last Friday night at the Spring Jam he may be somebody to really watch the next two seasons. He leads Team Get Shook.
Minnesota Heat Elite
Minnesota Comets Gold
Bound 4 Glory (IA)
The Heat Elite come into this weekend's event with a little bit to prove. In the Comets Invitational they showed that once again they are certainly a top four or five AAU team in their age group no questions asked. They won five games in St. Cloud beating most teams convincingly but then were hammered by the Minnesota Pump N Run in the final. This weekend they will come to Bloomington looking to show that this tournament isn't a two horse race (the Iowa Barnstormers and the Minnesota Pump N Run) and that they belong right there with the top names.
Drew Preiner of Tartan is the Heat poster boy of toughness as the young man is willing to play defense, dive for loose balls, pull up to shoot quality jumpers, and then attack the hoop to gather and finish. Drew's brother Luke Preiner, Riley West from Lakeville South, and Jon Christensen from Lakeville South also play with an unrelenting toughness.
The Heat has shooters too. Rob Daul of Hill-Murray has hit many of memorable triples for coach ,Willie Vang, Max Watts from Chaska is known for the bunches of jumpers he can sink in a short span, and Alex Kreuser can fill it up himself. That's three three-point weapons in addition to the shooting the Preiners provide. Big man Spencer Pankonin has range himself and he's 6-foot-8. Spencer can knock some down and when he pulls defenses away from the bucket the rest of the crew will pick teams apart with execution.
The Comets Gold will be good up front once again. Six-foot-7 Dylan Moorlag from Milaca and 6-foot-5 Isaac Winters from Sauk Rapids will make this team competitive. At the guard position Comets Gold has two point guards from strong teams in Brady Johnsrud from Minnewaska Area and Dylan Reese from Hancock.
Bound 4 Glory is the basketball training and consulting company as well as AAU program based out of Iowa owned by former Iowa Hawkeye Duez Henderson. Henderson actually was the sophomore coach and varsity assistant at Apple Valley this year and was seen at a few Gopher games with Apple Valley guard Tyus Jones. Assisting Henderson is another former Hawkeye in Jason Price.
Leading Bound 4 Glory on the floor will be 6-foot-5 forward Ricky Torres and point guard Michael Thul. Torres was named second team all state in Iowa's class 3-A division after a strong season with Denison-Schleswig. Torres averaged a team-high 18.6 points per game while pulling down 10.2 boards per contest. Thul, of Linn-Mar High, was the guy who filled in admirably for Marcus Paige this season when Paige was stricken with mononucleosis.
Wisconsin Playmakers II
Wear Out the Net I
Minnesota Fury Gold
This could be the spot for the most exciting pool play games.
The Wisconsin Playmakers-Matsick come to Minnesota off a nice performance in the Badger City Classic where they made the quarterfinal round. Six-foot-8 post player Kyle Stankowski opened a lot of eyes at that event with his physical play and Minnesota competitors should expect that to continue. Six-foot-2 Colfax wing Lewis Mau showed off a hot hand at that same event so he is somebody to watch for the Playmakers on the outside.
Wear Out the Net has Marcus Alipate running the point with Eagan's Ben Sicoli, Roseville's speedy David Stanley, and Owatonna's Vaughan Thada. That group of four will provide a quality backcourt rotation or give WOTN the opportunity to play "small" as Sicoli and Thada are both 6-foot-3. Also on the wing is Roseville's Lucas Brown who already has D2 offers plus interest from several D1s. With the frame, athletic ability, and skill to get a good look at the hoop whenever Brown is intriguing. So are is his 17.2 points a game this season. He should get the bulk of the minutes at the three although if they go small Brown is strong enough to get some run as the four in a small line-up.
Up front WOTN isn't too bad either with Eagan's Matt Hentges, USC's Kyle Bauman, and Northfield's Otto Pfefferle. Hentges is an extremely active four man with bounce and toughness, Pfefferle is a big with good skill at 6-foot-7, and Bauman has the WOTN guys excited about his skill package.
Aaron Ziman of St. Louis Park leads the Fury Gold and he's off to a great start with his new AAU squad being named to the all-tournament team in St. Cloud. Ziman's high school teammates Joe Zangel (who will defend hard and take big charges) and Marquealis Edwards join him on the Fury Gold. Edwards is an athletic wing that gives maximum effort all over the floor and does it with good athleticism.
The Fury Gold will d-up no question. Edwards is a defender, Zangel is a defender, and you know that Lamonte Hall from DeLaSalle knows how to get after it on D. Hall is athletic and hard working just like Edwards so they will be pesky. Toriano Tatum of Rosemount will be tough to stop from scoring and the same can be said for SaVaughn Jordan who led Maranatha Christian Academy with 16 a game this season.
Inside the Fury Gold has Justin Casey from Park Center who is always a force to deal with and he's a kid who could someday potentially get a D2 scholarship if his skill comes together right. Also, 6-foot-9 Dane Schmid from Mahtomedi will have to be dealt with plus the Fury has 6-foot-6 Jordan Reed from Wadena-Deer Creek and Marcus Dorsey from DeLaSalle.