Posted On: 04/14/16 7:51 PM

This weekend, 59 16U teams from nine different states (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska and Oklahoma) will converge on the Des Moines area to take part in the second annual Midwest Live tournament. Below we preview the 16U (Class of 2018) age group.

The schedule can be found here.

Friday’s premier games
All-Iowa Attack Red vs. Wisconsin Academy Kostroski (7:05 p.m., Kingdom Courts 4)
Attack’s top 16U team is led by Iowa City West guard Jake Anderson, who is capable of scoring in bunches. Wisconsin Academy’s top team enters off a quarterfinal appearance in The ROCK Spring Classic last weekend. They’re always loaded with shooters, and this year is no exception. The guard battle between Anderson and Academy’s Drew Blair should be fun to watch.

Game Speed (MO) vs. Kansas City Pacers Blue (MO) (8:10 p.m., Valley Community Center 2)
A pair of diminutive guards lead the attack for Game Speed in 5-7 Damien Daniels (No. 40 in Prep Hoops Missouri’s 2018 rankings) and 5-8 Rashaan Collins (No. 48). Both are Hogan Prep products and will look to push the tempo against a Kansas City Pacers team that made a quarterfinal appearance in the Prep Hoops Route 66 Kickoff a few weekends ago, and won the Adidas All-American tournament last weekend.

Kingdom Hoops Elite vs. Spiece Indy Heat Red (IN) (8:10 p.m., Kingdom Courts 3)
Kingdom enters this tournament as one of the favorites in the age group, led by dynamic point guard Tyreke Locure, who is playing up a year. He pairs with Nathan Johnson to form a very good backcourt that helps pace their attack. This isn’t Spiece’s top team, but there is always a ton of talent in the Spiece program, so don’t expect them to go down without a fight.

OZ Elite (KS) vs. OKC Primetime Red (OK) (9:15 p.m., Kingdom Courts 1)
OZ Elite comes in fresh off a win at the Court Time Events Spring Nationals in Tulsa. They’re taking on a very good OKC Primetime team that is led by a pair of dynamic shooting guards in 5-11 D.J. Walter (No. 23 in Prep Hoops Oklahoma’s 2018 rankings) and 6-3 Damoriea Vick (No. 34). Primetime made the Final Four of the Prep Hoops Route 66 Kickoff a few weeks ago and should probably be considered amongst the favorites in this age group.

What to watch among Iowa teams

Kingdom Hoops Elite and All-Iowa Attack Red should be considered among the top 10-12 teams in this event. Each roster has some dynamic guards that should make each of their games an entertaining watch.

-The Iowa Mavericks Purple team and Iowa Intensity are both sitting in Pool C, and both are capable of doing some nice things there. They’re grouped with a traditionally strong Milwaukee Spartans team, but after seeing strong competition at The ROCK Spring Classic last week, they shouldn’t be too intimidated. The Mavericks have some solid guard play, led by Drew Olson, Justin Blackman and Balene Mitchell. They’ve also got some size in Cole Eischeid, Peter Timmerman and Bailey Arwine. Intensity is led by a very talented trio of guards Brevin Hansen and Garrett Sturtz and wing Zaine Leedom. Both teams have the talent to make a run in this tournament.

-One of the more intriguing programs in the state is the Iowa Wolves, who have a good amount of talent and a group that has been playing together for a long time. John Herrick and Matt Chitty are both versatile wings who can score at all three levels, Luke Appel is capable of getting hot from deep and the small, but mighty, guard tandem of Marco Balderas (5-7) and Will Turner (5-8) pace the attack. They’ve added 6-6 Caleb Lomica, a shot blocking extraordinaire to their roster, playing up a grade. They may not win the event, but this group will definitely be an intriguing team to keep an eye on.

-Another team to keep an eye on is Iowa Dynasty. A group made up primarily of MVC players, they’ve got some really good guard play in Paul McGee, Derrick Diggins, Evan Flitz and Drew Adams. They’ve also got some nice size with a pair of athletic 6-7 forwards, Seybian Sims and Max Campbell. And they might have the best player in the state that no one has heard of in Hakeem Odunsi, a 6-5 playmaking forward who is dynamic with the ball in his hands.

-The Iowa Cornsharks will be playing in their first tournament of the year and have an interesting roster headlined by Rhett Darland and Nathan Nelson. The Cornsharks have quietly put together a solid program and should be an interesting group to keep an eye on.