It's weekend three of AAU tournaments in Minnesota and this weekend's big event is the Pump N Run Spring Classic in Bloomington. Yesterday we looked at pools A through D and on the morning before tonight's event the preview takes us to pools E through H where we find the Iowa Barnstormers as the assumed top squad.
Last year the Wisconsin Swing took second in this event but it will be tough to follow up that performance this season. The Swing has some talent but they are minus big names like they had last year (Josh Gasser, Chip Rank, etc). However, guys like Tal Diekvoss out of Beaver Dam (16 a game as a junior), Eric Gerber out of Stoughton (11.4 a game), Max King of Rosholt (14.9 points, 4.4 assists, and 4.3 rebounds a game), and Bobby Steinhoff from Platteville (13.6 points and 4.7 rebounds a game) are no pushovers. They will come to Bloomington, be a factor, and be the strong favorite in this pool.
The Wrath is full of Eden Prairie and Waconia kids and if you were to start an AAU team that's not a bad high school pair to go to for talent. These programs lost a combined nine games this year and they provided the Wrath with a combined seven players. Waconia talent includes Ben Kortuem who was a double figure scorer and will be one of the top three point shooters in state next year.
Eden Prairie talent includes Jack Klukas, Conner Nord, and Dylan Stewart. Klukas is heady guard who you can trust with the basketball plus he was the third leading EP scorer this season. Nord came on big towards the end of the season playing actively around the cup to fight for putbacks. And Stewart was one of those EP kids off the bench who didn't offer a let down but did work hard through all his minutes. These are well-coached unselfish players who will be a factor in Pool E.
The Minnesota Premiere has a standout from St. Clair named Michael Drager who has some strong ability. He joins regulars from the line-ups of Mankato East, St. Clair, NRHEG, and some other schools south of the Twin Cities to form this squad.
Wear Out the Net II
The Barnstormers are tournament favorite two along with the Minnesota Pump N Run. They have three players that are amongst the most hotly recruited in Iowa's 2011 class and that is Josh Oglesby (a 6-foot-5 shooting guard whose top offer is from Arizona State), Jarrod Uthoff (a 6-foot-8 forward also with an ASU offer plus Indiana and Iowa State), and Seth Tuttle (another 6-foot-8 forward with a top offer from Colorado State). These three make this team ultra dangerous as they will destroy pool play with that frontline.
Tuttle and Uthoff aren't the only studs the Barnstormers have up front though as Kyle Nikkel (6-foot-7 four man from Pella Christian who averaged 13.9 points and 9.4 rebounds as a junior) and Patrick Burmester (6-foot-9 center who averaged 12.4 points and 10.3 rebounds at DeWitt Central) can bang to. Both Nikkel and Burmester were regular double-double guys this winter and they will more than just spell Uthoff and Tuttle up front.
So the Barnstormers are big up front, we get that. But who runs the show and who scores from the outside? Oglesby is the obvious answer but not the only answer. Five-foot-9 point guard Brandon Voss out of North Scott hit threes at a 44 percent rate this year on his way to averaging 19.5 a game. Six foot Wes Washpun from Cedar Rapids Washington is solid as well. Six-foot-2 Luke Norville out of Lewis Central put up nearly 20 a game, Kasey Semler out of Marion scored 16 a contest, and Kyle Lamaak from Cedar Rapids Kennedy will work for points on the wing. In all the Barnstormers have a load of options to stop.
NESYB (North/EastSide Youth Basketball) is a team from Madison that was previously named Badger Sporting Goods.
Wear Out the Net II is a scrappy bunch led by some scrappy players from a couple of scrappy schools. Up front WOTN II has Tartan players Ryan Burns and Joel Awich and in the backcourt that utilize Oshari Arnett and Shane McSparron from Eastview. Burns is a smart undersized four man who uses his body well while Awich is a raw prospect who has size, length, and agility. McSparron and Arnett are standout defenders who are also learning to score some. Nick Bobb from Lake City and Sam Peterson from Roseville are players to watch here as well.
Minnesota Fury Blue
Triple Threat is back again this time led by versatile Maple Lake scorer Mitch Wurm and Annandale big man James Fort. Wurm is the type of guy who can knock down four or five shots straight on the same number of possessions while Fort gives Triple Threat an inside presence.
In one word the Fury Blue team is athletic. In two words they are athletically pesky. With Terez Van Pelt of Park Center (14.2 ppg), top notch defender Anthony Lee of St. Paul Johnson, K.J. Bluford of Armstrong (10.7 ppg), and 6-foot-6 T.J. Okafor of Champlin Park they will get up and down. Van Pelt has some eye-opening handles plus explosion that will make defenders sick and he's a kid who should make a big name for himself this spring. Bluford and Owens are talented slashers while Lee and Okafor will rack up the steals and deflections.
The Fury has more than just the athletic ability as Michael Emge of Faribault, Cale Girten of New Prague, and Matt Hovila of Bloomington Jefferson give the team sound skill. Emge is an all-Big Nine player who really emerged this year while Girten was the second leading scorer for a good Trojans team at a dozen points a contest. Hovila is a kid that some may not know yet because the top Jaguar scorers in front of him overshadowed Matt some plus Jefferson didn't have a good year but Hovila can play. Finally, Martin Smith will provide inside girth just like he gave St. Paul Central this season as their starting five. The Fury gave the Minnesota Pump N Run their greatest local scare so far this season up in St. Cloud.
A couple weekends back the Wisconsin Starz surprised many by defeating the top Wisconsin Playmakers squad and placing in second in the Badger City Classic. Making a name for himself was Madison Memorial junior Miles Chamberlain. The 6-foot-4 wing has a versatile game that allows him to play inside and out plus his combo of strength and skill made it impossible for opponents to keep him out of the lane. Chamberlin scored himself plus opened the court for others.
Those others included 6-foot-6 Fennimore forward Alex Evans and 6-foot-4 Madison Memorial guard Brian Nkemnji. Evans is a strong kid who muscles up shots around the basket plus he can hit from the wing. Nkemnji is an agile playmaker off the bounce that is a threat to create for others or finish himself at the rim. Five-foot-10 combo guard Jake Jarnigo from Lakeside Lutheran is another capable scorer and Tre Burnette from Madison Memorial is a top 20 2011 prospect in Wisconsin because he has excellent size at 6-foot-3, length, and athleticism for a two.
RK Elite (WI)
RK Elite comes to the Twin Cities with solid beef up front. Brian Quinn and younger brother Isaac Quinn stand 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-6 respectively out of Kenosha Tremper. Racine St. Catherine's scorer Chris Souter will look to make things happen with his ability off the bounce.
The Southside must be their 16 and under bunch but they could have some 17 and Under additions this week. What they will have will be known for sure in 24 hours but what is known now is that 2012 standout Joey King will be their scoring force. The 6-foot-7 King out of Eastview is capable scoring facing up and attacking or shooting or he can bang in the post and make things happen with his crafty interior game. King is also a beast on the glass and he will fight for loose balls.
Sam Burt of DeLaSalle will join King as a worker around the basket as may Sander Mohn who saw some varsity minutes for a deep Eden Prairie team this year. Another sophomore who saw action in the Lake Conference this year is Darin Haugh from Eastview and he will be a factor for the Southside as well.