Minnesota's single best day of high school basketball took place yesterday as The Breakdown Tip-Off Classic was played in front of an overflowing crowd at Minnetonka High School. The headliner was Tyus Jones whose Apple Valley Eagles defeated Tartan plus Rashad Vaughn put on a fantastic 30 performance as Cooper almost upset DeLaSalle.
Cameron Braund - Braham senior - This is the third time I've seen Braund this year and the third time I've been impressed. At 6-foot-4 he's an undersized post but position wise he's so strong that players two and three inches bigger (from St. Thomas, Hopkins, and now Orono) haven't been able to move him. He's a steady finisher who may not have ideal size but schools looking for a worker should give him a call.
Eric Brown - Robbinsdale Cooper senior - All off-season people wondered who Rashad Vaughn was going to have scoring with him. The answer to that curious question is Brown who knocked down six perimeter jumpers (including three triples) and had a ferocious dunk (he's 5-foot-11) in transition.
Jonah Eisenschenk - Rocori junior - Jonah scored 25 points and almost half (11 of 13) came from the foul line. Jonah was able to get separation with one dribble moves and he's stronger than 98 percent of kids his age so bumps don't cause issues for him. He's one of the best face-up mid-range forwards in the state.
Jack Harrison - Prior Lake senior - Harrison continued his steady play by scoring 14 points around the cup. The 6-foot-7 senior has beefed up and committed to going at the rim more often and the results have followed. Harrison is more consistent and therefore his team will be more consistent.
Darin Haugh - Eastview senior - After the game numerous college coaches swarmed to talk to Darin and with good reason. Haugh is likely pound for pound one of the toughest guards in this state. He made big shots all night, sat down on defense like an all-world defender, and down the stretch he ran out five minutes on the clock with Cousy handling and perfect ball movement.
D.J. Hebert - Osseo senior - Hebert was the game changer for Osseo. At the mid-point of the second half Osseo was down nine points but Hebert went on an 8-0 run himself to close the gap. The run included a pair of treys and two free throws. Then in overtime he pressured the ball forcing turnovers, scored on two drives, and made key free throws. Hebert finished with 22 points.
Jarvis Johnson - DeLaSalle freshman - Johnson has the type of potential that should make him a nationally rated point guard some day. Everything hasn't come together yet but he's shown glimpses that he can do just about anything a big time point guard is asked to do. Some feel he's Minnesota's top 2015 prospect and that could very well be true.
Mackenzie Johnson - Roseville junior -Johnson has been labeled as one of the better shooters in Minnesota's 2013 and he showed that Saturday. Mack scored 18 first half points and 29 total including two three-point makes. In addition to hitting from behind the arc Johnson was also rising to hit over closing guards inside the arc. At six feet he's undersized as a two but few can stay with him as a shooter.
Tyus Jones - Apple Valley sophomore - I spent the week advising everyone that wanted to watch Tyus Jones (of Apple Valley, playing Tartan) to get to the gym by about halftime of the game before or there wouldn't be a seat. Sure enough by the time warm-ups were halfway done, seats and standing room were gone. Most were there to see Tyus and the Gopher Coaching staff had Tubby Smith there as well as two assists. Despite being face-guarded by Xavier Hall (one of the state's best two on-ball defenders) Tyus still recorded 28 points on eight of 14 shooting with eight assists against three turnovers. Tartan has athletic defenders all over the floor but even they couldn't stop Jones from throwing dimes often from 60 feet.
Latrell Love - Minnetonka senior - After his Skipper team gave a bad team defensive effort in the first half (against a well coached, hard working Buffalo team so there is a little leeway) Love led his team out of the locker room and dominated the post in half number two. Love's 23 points and nine rebounds gave Tonka its fourth win of the season in four tries.
Andre McDonald - Hopkins senior - Andre is a top 250 four star football recruit but it was basketball that brought him headlines Saturday. Andre scored five first half field goals using his athletic ability to score inside three times plus he knocked down two three-pointers.
Sander Mohn - Eden Prairie senior - Mohn could be the most highly recruited MIAC kid out there and you have to wonder if D2s are going to step in with more interest soon. He had 27 against Apple Valley and then backed that up with 23 today. Mohn passes the athlete "off the bus" test as he's added a lot of muscle to his 6-foot-4 frame plus he's shown a smooth dribble attack this season.
Sam Neumann - Cretin-Derham Hall freshman - Starting as a frosh at Cretin-Derham Hall is an extremely rare thing. But when size is needed and freshman can fill gaps up front the Raiders will go to the young guys. Seantrell Henderson was that frosh in 2006 and Sam Neumann is that frosh in 2011. He kicked off his young career with two treys and eight points against Hopkins showing ideal length and skill for a 14 year old.
Ben Oberfeld - Eastview junior - If I'm going to pick a guy in this event to get a rebound against anybody else I'm going with Ben. This 6-foot-9 rough and rugged space-eater goes up to the ball with two strong hands and then comes down with the same wide base. Nobody wants to get in his way because they are scared of getting smacked in the mouth. After this event he is definitely moving up in the 2013 prospect rankings. His 11 points was just a bonus to his rebounding and defense.
Sean Scott - Spring Lake Park senior - Sean is scoring like a machine so far this year. He had 28 against a Box and One on Tuesday and then put up 33 points against Montevideo yesterday. Sean is going to average in the high 20s this year and what's even more amazing is that when Minnesota Preps asked him who was recruiting him he said, "nobody besides Waldorf".
Jon Sobaski - Prior Lake sophomore - Sobaski scored 19 but saved his biggest moments for late in the game. With just seconds remaining Jon attacked the defense with a court freezing ball fake complete with finish to send the game into overtime. Back the other way he forced his Osseo opponent into a tough shot just before the buzzer playing eight seconds of hassling defense.
Taylor Stafford - Duluth East senior - Stafford is very slippery and with Johnny Woodard out with shoulder issues he has to carry the offensive load. There were times where the shot selection was wild but East needs him to take a lot of shots. He scored 30 as East gave EP a strong run.
Ian Theisen - Osseo sophomore - Theisen scored a timely seven points that included a transition dunk that started with him jumping a passing lane. On the glass he was solid and inside he made all Prior Lake penetration stop and go in the other direction.
Reid Travis - DeLaSalle sophomore - The first observation you make on Reid is usually "he looks more physically advanced than everyone on the floor". Then you watch him play and you think "he's also working harder than everybody on the floor". Reid scored a dozen for the Islanders yesterday and Northwestern offered him a scholarship.
Bridge Tusler - Osseo junior - Tusler opened the game thinking perimeter which netted him a couple scores. But late in the contest it was his dribble penetration complete with muscling off defenders and angling scores off the glass for production. Bridge totaled 21 for the game.
Tyler Vaughan - Braham senior - Vaughan started slow missing his first three treys but opened up the game for a win over Orono in the second half scoring 22 points. He nailed four three-pointers and is now just two away from tying Jordan Smith's all-time record for treys made.
Rashad Vaughn - Robbinsdale Cooper sophomore - With Tubby Smith and a pair of his assistant coaches in the stands watching, Vaughn took to the arc for his scoring output. Rashad rose up over heavily contesting defenders to hit four three-pointers plus he jumped over the top of a handful of entry passes to Reid Travis for steals. Late in the game he jumped a passing lane for an open floor dunk and then went back the other way to take a charge. Vaughn is known for his immense skill and agility off the bounce but today he impressed behind the arc and defending. Rashad hit four treys and scored 30 points.
Marshawn Wilson - Tartan freshman - Colleges coaches and basketball fans need to get to know Wilson right now, this kid is a do it all super tough kid willing to do what it takes. He defends, rebounds (a team high eight), scores some (11 points), and does whatever his coaches ask. He's the next great Tartan Titan.
Brady Wohler - Orono senior - Brady and Anthonie Tholey (who scored 17 points) are the only players returning from last year's state championship rotation so there are some inexperienced guys just getting their feet wet. Because of that Wohler has to shoulder the scoring load more than he usually would and his buckets included a pair of transition slams and mid-range jumpers. I would be very surprised if there aren't division one lows and mids watching him closely this winter because Brady's length, agility, and natural stride and lift going to the rim are worthy.
Isaiah Zierden - Benilde-St. Margaret's senior - Isaiah scored a hard earned 20. He's always going to hit from the perimeter but today he scored transition buckets while getting knocked to the floor three times.