Gopher Team Camp Notes

High School

Posted On: 06/29/15 3:15 PM

Apple Valley

The story for the Eagles was the offer to Tre Jones and they basically had a ton of new guys playing getting them experience.  Make no mistake, the starting line-up of Jones/Bolton/Trent Jr/Kirksey/Bertram isn’t changing and will be preseason number one, but Trent was in LA at a Nike event, Bertram resting an injury, and Kirksey not there.  So it was Jones and Jordan Bolton with reserve Aaron Ertz and a lot of guys we are new too.  I good look for Coach Goring to see who he can use as a 7th and 8th man, when they need it.  They did the 3 game package and we saw just the one against Champlin Park.


Owen King is a D1 talent.  Mark it up.  His pull-up touch from behind the arc has beauty, range, and consistency.  In ten minutes of time we saw him make three of those, plus he posted up to score twice and attacked to score.  Caledonia beat Chester (?) in a low scoring game and we saw 15 points from King in ten minutes.

Champlin Park

Another team that played three games and was missing a lot of guys.  No Theo John as well as a couple other role guys.  This team is not being talked about enough as a contender next year though.  You have two guys with high major offers (Theo John has six, McKinley Wright has Illinois), 6th man Aaron Kloppner returns, and we’ve seen four guys in Grassroots action we think that will play big roles: Brian Smith, Chris Davis, Marcus Hill, and Eldridge Joyce.

A scorer and a PG, McKinley is tough with a quick first step, strong and loves to ball pressure at about 5-foot-11.Great young man with good character, Wright played with BOTH his high school team and AAU team this weekend. That’s 9-10 ten games, sometimes four in a day. Just wants to be there for his teams .Loved how he took the challenge of defending both Davison and Tre Jones and did a good job with it. His lateral steps, motor, strength, and agility make him nearly impossible to corner turn on. Most of his attempts were rim attacks and he gets into space quickly with a quality corner burst. Had a game winning half court shot yesterday too.

Chris Davis is really grabbing our focus again.  So long, quick off his feet to make explosive plays.  He’s definitely a prospect after throwing down three nasty dunk against Apple Valley and doing it on a big stage.

A frontcourt of Davis, Joyce, and John has as much talent, athletic ability, length, and strength as any three in Minnesota.  With Smith and Wright handling, Kloppner and Hill on the wing, that frontcourt combo, and 2-3 others we didn’t mention, they are a contender again.

Cretin-Derham Hall

This will be a new team but still a team loaded with talent.  Young talent but talent all over.  Let’s break this into two categories:

Returning players:  Jalan Ousely-Brown’s crazy bounce is a highlight waiting to happen.  He had some blocks yesterday that had people gasping.  Jordan Ammons wasn’t there, he’s a baseball standout, but he’s the defender that was so good a year ago.  Athletic Chris Perry is also on the team and ready for a bigger role.  Then there is Daniel Oturo, the top prospect on this team.  In fact, Oturo is about to be amongst the top prospects in this class.

Daniel’s grown three or four inches, is incredibly long, moves so well, and this is a guy we will be talking about in terms of high major. No doubt. Solid post moves and when core strength is added he wont be knocked off balance so that nice touch will result in regular scores. Defensively he’s a menace on the backside so all around, this is a future PF/C prospect that many will be on. About 6-foot-8 and growing.

Transfers:  CDH had three of them.  One is guard Goodnews Kpoegel who came from North St. Paul.  Very talented and long guard that can pester other guards with his length plus he scores big numbers in slashing ways.  There is also Griffin Gamble coming over from Stillwater and a Como Park scorer but the name escapes me.


We saw them play just one of their three games.  They played two Wisconsin teams and Rochester JM.  There were a lot of new faces on the court for the Islanders who are in their first month of breaking in basically a new era and a new team.  Goanar Mar was solid versus JM and was really good outplaying the Wisconsin teams.  Samm Jones showed us some of that first step explosion and lead guard ability while Gabe Kalscheur has the potential as an agile wing shooter to grab D1 attention from a lot of area.


Future college QB Jaxson Turner was quite impressive leading his team once again turning the ball over rarely and keeping his team’s halfcourt possessions steady, long, and consistently productive.  Controlled the game every time he stepped on the floor.

Adam Trapp. I feel like he is about 7-foot-1. Just long and huge. Scored some nice baskets yesterday morning on the block and of course nobody wants to try and finish at the rim when he’s near the hoop. At that size he is of course a D1 talent but where depends on his development of body and skill. Had a brace on his knee and at times it seemed to bother him.

Maple Grove

The Crimson were without Tywhon Pickford who is injured with his hand in a cast but added a transfer in Cooper scorer Taron Pickford who gives them a whole new element as a corner turning attack minded guard.

With Brad Davison handling and scoring, Taron can do some of both, Tywhon is a slashing scorer who gets numbers without or without the ball, Jack Hutchison is the high IQ player with a three-point touch that can change games.  That is four quality guard/wing options for this team. Pickford is just breaking into things with this squad while Hutchison is the reliable shooter and that was most evident when he lit up Minnehaha in a blowout win.

Brad Davison. Ultra competitive, likely had 20 points and 5-6 assists every game. Also doing a lot of QB stuff too so I’m curious to see what kind of prospect he becomes there on the gridiron. He’s been the MG QB starting for at least a year already. Back to hoops, Brad has been a PG for so long but he was a SG with Pulley. He’s finding ways regularly to get into space to pull-up.

Oh yeah, Reed Nikko.  This is called saving the best of the weekend for last. Best I’ve ever seen him play. The Gopher staff watched him every game and will continue to watch him through July. He was hitting 15 foot jumpers regularly, his post moves were much improved, must have had 20 dunks in the halfcourt set in six games half of which were lobs from Brad Davison. Defensively he muscled other posts away from the paint pushing them off balance resulting in low field goal percentage numbers for his opponents, erased so many shot attempts helping over at the rim it became comical. Best offense he’s ever played. I was very excited for Reed as he was outstanding.

Minneapolis North

They had Jamil Jackson for part of the time, no Tyler Johnson, no Phillip Scott, no Pat Dembley, no Ahzerick Rodgers, no Larry McKenzie.  Missing a lot of guys.  That said, walked away impressed with Isaac Johnson, Odell Wilson IV, and JaQuan Sanders.

Isaac has the gifted frame and athletic ability that I believe someday could lead him to mid major basketball or better.  He moves that well, his skills are developing, defensively he can be one of the best there is, and all around he is an impressive prospect.

Odell is so good in positioning on the block and has a great touch.  Between his muscle and post moves, this is a guy who will soon be touching the ball every possession deep and putting up big numbers.

Sanders was outstanding in attack.  Best I’ve seen him play in consecutive games.  There are name players in Minnesota who JaQuan went around to get rim and produce.  Good push in transition as well.

Minnehaha Academy

Jalen Suggs. He blows me away how composed and skilled he is for such a young player. Loves the challenge of guarding the best, scores over some of the best defenders four years his elder. His attack is smooth and cold at the same time with great results, his jumper has range and is made with quick separation and a quick lifting release. Doesn’t change his expression, just looks like a guy who wants to put 30 on you. Another big time talent for the future. About a 6-foot-1 guard right now.

Net Gain

Finally a chance to see Net Gain Sports.  Very excited to watch them play.  They were without Reed Nikko (with Maple Grove and we talked about him earlier), Johnny Beeninga (with Wayzata), and Jerry Myles (likely at home in Iowa), but had six of there regulars plus a couple names to watch in the future (2019 Jalen Dearring and 2018 Beijon Newbern). We went into great detail on McKinley Wright earlier (played with both NGS and Champlin Park) so here is what we saw on the others.  Keep in mind, this team defends with so much activity, you can simply add that to the list of what they pretty much all do.  Spearheaded by McKinley.

Jericho Sims is raw at about 6-foot-8, very long, and made some athletic plays. He’s still young and learning the game but he had some plays (the dunks quickly bouncing off the ground, the erasing closeout swats, quick off the floor rebounds) that really make you wonder what he can be in about three years.  Getting good coach from Al Harris and will continue to need coaching to absorb though the winter.  There is a lot of raw talent there in an agile frame that college coaches want.

I hadn’t seen Patrick Dembley play in about 12-14 months and what I saw was very encouraging.  The stroke from deep looks much improved as he had several multiple three-point hit games and Dembley still has that aggressive, attacking play-making ability going at the rim.  The talent is still there as Patrick looked really good this weekend.

Landon Kirkwood has the potential that someday will get a scholarship.  Watching him in the open floor excites spectators and we watched him hit a couple at the arc as well.  Looks stronger in build, more fluid on both ends, and of course there is the explosive finishing ability when he gets to space.

Ishmael El-Amin had his father Khalid El-Amin there watching. In the face, total resemblance.Body wise Ish is about 4-5 inches taller, way longer, and a different type of guy agility wise. Ish is a combo guard who can play both roles. At times you would say more a slasher/transition guy than a shooter but he really can score in all ways and that includes a lot of treys in good percentage numbers. Has the two offers from DePaul and Texas Tech, high major teams.

Melvin Newbern Jr.  Melvin is the type of defender and wing rebounder that I continue to believe would make a great role player at the scholarship level.  He is just long, active, laterally explosive, and consistent in the defensive way and to me if you put him next to your top shooter/scorer on the wing in college, he can be a major asset.

Rochester JM

The questions for this team are not Michael Hurt and Matthew Hurt.  They will be there.  It’s the role guys and this weekend they were very good, especially Isaiah Walden.  If the role guys can play like this the Rockets can get over that section championship game hurdle.

Mike looked very solid this weekend in just about every way. Same as what I always say about Michael. He hit shots at the arc contested or open, attacked the rim with some success against the top high school teams that were there, rebounded, led the break, moved very well off the ball to catch on the move and score, defended, verbally led, etc etc. Michael is good for a team all around in so many ways. The young man gets how to play team basketball plus he’s consistently productive at 6-foot-6 with a good touch.

Matthew Hurt was likely the best in show this weekend. He is so talented it’s crazy. Incredible range on his touch, doesn’t matter if a player is contesting his shot or not. Finishes so well on the move, is able to dribble separate against guys much shorter and then finishes, scores in just about every way you can think of.  Both Minnesota and Wisconsin coaches talked to his father and told him that they want him, and the offer will come. Talent wise, you will likely be throwing his name in there with the best of the last 20 years when it’s all done, I have no doubt. Matthew is about 6-foot-8 and growing.