The Minnesota Pump N Run traveled to the Atlanta Celtics Invitational this past weekend, knocked off the host team in the semi-finals, and took second place in a talented event. The Pumps went 6-1 for the weekend bringing their program and basketball in the state of Minnesota some more national respect.
Coaching the Pump N Run 17 and Under team is Jeremy Miller who helped recap the weekend and the event Tuesday night just before news broke about an addition to his team. The Pump N Run will add Estan Tyler who will replace senior Jordan Jackson who is now focusing on signing with a school. But with the nine guys on their roster the Minnesota Pump N Run traveled to Georgia and fared well in a talent national event.
"The tournament was crazy, it was stacked with talent," said coach Miller. "The first team we played down there was called the Birmingham Ice Express. The game set the tone for how the weekend was going to be because that team had some crazy athletes that were so long, so fast, who could jump out of the gym. Even the teams in Georgia who are not as well known are so strong and athletic plus the event gets all the teams from Georgia plus reaches out to Florida, to Memphis, to Birmingham, and the Atlanta Celtics brought together teams for a crazy talented tournament.
"When we played the Ice Shelby Moats set the tone in the paint for us. He was playing extremely physical and that's a big part of what he wants to improve at, he wants to be a player that is more physical around the basket using his body, power, and strength. Shelby scored 15 points.
"Kyle Noreen was steady as always with ten points, Alex Richter, who leads our team in scoring for the season, had 12 points. It's a theme for Richter as he always produces no matter the competition."
The Ice Express were tough for the Pump N Run as they crawled out to a slow start barely hanging on 62-58. Frustrated with their performance in that initial contest Miller got after his club in preparation for the second contest that was against the Georgia Jaguars. The Pumps bounced back against the Jags pounding them 85-33. Eric Robertson dropped in five three-pointers for 23 points, Richter scored 20, Mike Yahnke put up 14, and Joel Lindberg made the most of his three field goal attempts scoring 11.
"After our second game I believe Joel Lindberg missed two or three sheets the rest of the tournament," said Miller. "He was that dead-on this past weekend."
The third opponent was the Southern Kings who is the talented group that won the Super 64 out in Las Vegas last year at the 16s level. The Georgia Southern Kings talent includes five star Ohio State commit Shannon Scott, four star forward Julian Royal, three star forward Henry Brooks, and five star shooting guard Dai-Jon Parker. All have accumulated numerous national offers and all of them are members of the Rivals 150 with Scott and Parker ranking amongst the top 20 prospects in the nation. It's unclear how many of these guys were actually playing in their pool contest against the Pumps but whatever the case the Southern Kings were spanked.
"My guys went nuts," Jeremy said. "We won 70-34. Roosevelt Scott had 18, Jonah Travis had 15, Richter had ten, and everybody got in the book. Roosevelt had some very athletic finishes in this game. He had about three dunks and four three-pointers so his shot was on. That game was on IHigh.com, it was one of the games they taped because the Southern Kings have fared so well."
After winning their first three games the Pump N Run was then faced up with the Franchize All-Stars whose talent includes Rivals 150 guard D'Angelo Harrison, Michael Carey, and 2012 superstar prospect to watch Wanna Bail.
"I've never seen a team like this ever, that I've played against," said Miller referring to the Franchize All-Stars. "They had four kids that they flew in from the Bahamas. One of their players (Wanna Bail) is all over the websites because he's playing so well he's likely to be five starred. He was about 6-foot-5 playing guard but I bet his wingspan was more like 6-foot-8. The kid was so long. He would attack the lane and drop the softest tear drops.
"The kid was big news in the tournament and he put 47 points on us. We couldn't stop him. Bradley Beal put 27 on us and Joel Lindberg scored 26 on us in the past but I've never had a guy go over 30 on us and this kid went for 47. He scored 23 free throws. It was crazy to watch and we won 92-91. The kid fouled Kyle out and Kyle is one of the best defenders in the state of Minnesota and Roosevelt had five fouls in this six foul tournament. They had about five guys who were 6-foot-7 or bigger on this team and they were either long kids from the Bahamas or players from the Houston area."
Travis led the Pumps in scoring versus the Franchize All Stars with 23, Richter had 21, Shelby Moats scored 14, Roosevelt Scott had 15, and Joel Lindberg scored nine on perfect shooting.
Moving on to the quarterfinals the opponent was the Georgia Blazers led by four star players Kentavious Caldwell, Tim Dixon, and Nick Marshall plus superstar freshman Chris Walker. Caldwell is nearing five star status as he's ranked at the 27th best prospect in the nation. In the round of 16 on Saturday night the Blazers had knocked 43 Hoops out of the tournament with a 12 point win.
"Caldwell can shoot the lights out, he can get to the rack, and he had 24 on us," said Miller. "Caldwell was so silky smooth. We did a good job of slowing him down some as he had been killing people all tournament but he got a few points late when the game was out of hand. We beat them 75-47.
"Kyle Noreen led in scoring with 20 points hitting four threes and he really set the tone for us that game," Miller explained. "Richter had 14, Shelby scored 13 and Jonah 12. Four guys in double figures.
"The next game we played the hometown favorites the Atlanta Celtics and it was funny as people were just coming up to us saying you have to be 15 points better than them to beat them at their own event."
This is the point that Roosevelt Scott made a bigger name for himself. Roosevelt had a stretch where he went on an 11-0 run by himself and at the start of the run the Pumps were down six points.
"Roosevelt had a three, a steal for a dunk over a couple players, Roosevelt then hit a pull-up three-pointer, and after the Celtics came down and missed we had a five dribble no pass sequence that ended up being rotated to him in the corner where Roosevelt hit another three. We were then up five and we were just down six and this was coming out of halftime. Roosevelt was unbelievable."
Mike Yahnke also had a big stretch where he stepped up and hit two three-pointers at a clutch time late in the game. Mike finished with ten points all in the second half and the team mobbed Yahnke as he put the game away 56-52 moving the Pumps to the finals against the Georgia Stars.
"The Georgia Stars were definitely the top team we played down there although I don't know that they were the most talented team but when you have that combination of athleticism, skill, the team can shot the basketball, they are all long at about 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-7 on the wing, and they just ran their stuff," Miller said. "It was beautiful and they ran it to perfection as we ended up losing 79-71. Richter had 16, Shelby had 25 scoring on his first eight of nine shots plus he had 11 rebounds."
Alex Richter led the Pump N Run in scoring for the weekend putting up double figures in six of the seven games played.