Coach’s Take: Justin Nelson

Grassroots
Colorado

Posted On: 08/16/15 9:00 PM

Elijah Burkett, Lewis-Palmer, 6’1” G

“Elijah is an all-around solid player at the guard position. He has the ability to create for himself and is a streaky shooter from the three-point line. When he is on, you better watch out cause he can really light it up. His aggressive play on the defensive end is one of his biggest strengths. He was one of the players that I could really count on to do their part on defense. He understands defensive rotation and the importance of talking to his team. Elijah is also a great student in the classroom having one of the highest GPA’s on the team. I expect Elijah to continue to get stronger and work on his offensive skills. His confidence will continue to grow and he is going to be a good addition to the Lewis-Palmer squad.”

Kyle Colen, Smoky Hill, 5’10” PG

“Kyle is one of the most under-the-radar PG’s in the state. Kyle’s ability to see the floor and his ball-handling skills really helped us in the spring and summer. Ball-handling at times was a little too much but I think all point guards are guilty of that at one time or another. Kyle can create for himself as well as his teammates. His crossover one-step jump shot from 18-feet is a beauty. His ability to get past his defender leads to open shots for his teammates or an easy shot/layup for himself. He was always willing to pass up his shot for a better shot for his teammate. Defensively, Kyle is a fast pesky defender. Quick feet and fast hands often ended with him getting a steal. Kyle is going to be a great leader for Smoky this year and you can expect to see his stock rise when games begin.”

Jamison Washington, Lincoln, 6’ PG

“One of the most competitive kids I have ever coached! Coming off a recent hip injury that voided his spring ball, Jamison came out hungry and ready to play in the summer. He is a strong, skilled guard who can both shoot and has the ability to blow by his defender and attack the rim. His floor sight and passing ability really helped our team this summer. Jamison also has a great knowledge of the game of basketball. Our big men really exploded with Jamison on the floor. He always looked for the advantage and made the opposition pay. He has the ability to beat any defender on offense and then turn around and be an in-your-face full deny defender. Jamison will continue to get stronger and will be working on his skills every day. That is just the type of kid he is. He is a great leader and will get the rest of his teammates at Lincoln to go all out. Keep your eye on this kid!”

Kyler Hensel, Machebeuf, 6’2” G

“Kyler is the player that you would always see diving for the loose ball, sacrificing his body. There are not many kids who can play like this for an entire game but Kyler can. A fast and tough defender often placed on the other team’s best player. Always working and talking on defense really helped us all spring and summer. Offensively, he is always moving, setting screens and cutting. Kyler was almost always the first player down the floor after a rebound which usually ended with us getting 2 on 1 opportunities and easy layups. He has a good three-point shot as well as a solid mid-range jumper. All-around good basketball player who will play a big role at Machebeuf.”

Matteo Busnardo, Mullen, 6’ G

“Matteo is a great shooter from the three-point line. He has a quick release, can come off screens and knock down shots in a quick hurry. He has really gained confidence and has grown offensively this spring and summer. His ability to fake and go opened up a whole new game for him. He has a good mid-range jumper as well as the ability to finish at the rim. As his confidence grew his game got better. He is becoming a good all-around player and is willing to put in the work to get there. Defensively, he will continue to get faster and keep his opponent in front. Matteo is going to have a big role at Mullen this year and I am sure he is going to rise to that challenge.”

Jake Belknapp, Mountain Vista, 6’8” F

“Jake has become one of the best big men in the state in his class. He understands how to play with his back to the basket, getting position and having a fast first step to beat his defender to the rim. Jake uses his size well and has great hands. He is able to see the floor on offense, seeing teammates cut, knowing where shooters are, knowing when double teams were coming and having the ability to make the pass was huge for us. As he continues to hit the gym and get stronger you will see Jake attacking the rim and putting down some real big man dunks. Defensively he is a handful. Standing at 6’8,” he already has an advantage over most opponents but he understands how to guard bigs. Hands straight up with fast feet really puts him ahead of the competition. Smart defense really made Jake a good rebounder and again will only get better as he gets stronger. Jake is going to be huge for Mountain Vista this year. Keep an eye on this kid, as well!”

Iseri Palacio, Fort Collins, 5’10” PG

“There are not many players out there that have a true point guard mind-set like Iseri has. There is nothing flashy about his game because he knows how to play fundamental basketball. He is the most unselfish player I have ever coached as well as the most coachable. His knowledge of the game and understanding game situations really made coaching easy. He is also a great student holding the highest GPA on the team. He may not fill up the points column but it is not because he can’t. Iseri has a great shot both 3-point range and mid-range but would rather create for his teammates. Defensively, Iseri does everything you would expect from a solid point guard. Keeps his defender in front and makes them work to get up the floor, forcing them away from strong hand dribbling. Iseri is a fantastic all-around player who I would encourage to score a little more. Iseri will be a great floor leader for Fort Collins.”

Corey Seng, ThunderRidge, 6’4” G

“Corey is one of the most versatile players I have coached. His length and height is a real advantage. He has the ability to hit threes from anywhere on the floor, can blow past opponents and attack the rim. Offensively he was our top scorer. The kid can flat out score! Corey is an all-around fantastic offensive and defensive player. He uses his length so well on defense. He seems to always be in perfect position to pick the pocket of his opponent and make the easy layup. He is not afraid to take a charge and will dive for every loose ball. Corey really showed his strengths this spring and summer. He continued to get better and better each tournament. He is going to be a big part of ThunderRidge this year and I expect to see big things from Corey.”

Colin Rardin, Rock Canyon, 6’1” G

“Colin was a real handful on defense. He was the leading charge taker on our team and really took pride in defense. Understanding that good defense leads to easy offense he was always working his hardest on defense. Offensively, Colin has a nice shot and can hit shots from anywhere on the floor. He is aggressive and able to attack and finish at the rim. Colin would always cut hard to get open and not just go through the motions. This often ended with Colin taking the ball strong to the rim against the trees which most of the time landed him on the free throw line. As one of our best free throw shooters, this worked out well for us. Colin worked well with his fellow Rock Canyon teammate, JT, and I expect them to do big things this season.”

JT Bley, Rock Canyon, 6’5” F

“JT is a solid big man that is really coming into his own. He has a great mid-range shot as well as an unstoppable hook shot. He uses his body well and has a pretty quick first step. He has great counter skills in the post and also has the ability to face up his opponent and knock down contested jumpers. On defense, JT often found himself the victim of lowering his hands and picking up the foul. His positioning is good and is fast enough that defenders do not go around him. He is a good rebounder and plays very well with another big man on the floor. His big to big passing skills are great and his positioning for high-low plays are his biggest strength. JT is a great player and will continue to get stronger and put in work to push his game to the next level. Rock Canyon is lucky to have a solid big like JT.”