Posted On: 04/29/17 10:39 PM
Chaska played host to the premier 10U-14U tournament in the Midwest this weekend so I jogged down Highway 212 to take a peek at the next batch of prospects waiting in the wings. The Saturday session of the Future Stars Classic at the high school was full of 13U and 14U pool games and many talented squads. The notable teams and performers from the top level are listed here!
Take One: D1 Minnesota 14U’s west metro talent. First one to catch my eye was Eddie Beeninga. You recognize that name? You should. The Wayzata eighth grader is yet another Beeninga ready to take the reins of the Trojans offense. He has a perfect combo skillset of older brothers Johnny and Jacob, with athleticism to rise over defenders and automatic drainage of open treys. Scary good. Add in a couple more frontcourt guys from Hopkins, Chaska’s Alex Strazzanti’s little bro, 6-4 Drew Adams from East Ridge… if this core stays together, they’ll be real good for a long time.
Take Two: Team 1 Tyus sent their 13U squad into the 14U bracket and more than held their own. The guy that was standing out physically and talentwise was Jackson Loge. The Morris Area 7th grader is the son of former seven-foot Gopher Kevin Loge back in the mid ’90s (thanks RJ!). 6-5 thirteen-year-olds are hard to come by, let alone ones that can already play the perimeter soundly. He’s a special athlete with good balance and coordination, plus a solid handle. Will be a very good player down the road and he’ll probably still grow.
Take Three: Net Gain 14U’s slough of athletic shooters made life difficult for both pool opponents today. Based on the middle schools these 2021s went to, they’ll likely become Pirates of Park Center or Rebels of Champlin Park. PC head man James Ware roamed the bench for this NGS squad too. Names to know are lead guard Kai Fro and lengthy deep threats Jimmy Ware and Jalen Cook (Jarius Cook’s bro). They are disciplined against pressure and open-shot makers.
Take Four: The Heat Weierke/MN Select game wasn’t very close, but it showed a lot of new guys that will be on radars as they get older, already with great frames at fourteen years old. Weierke’s trio of Zach Thomas (East Ridge), Will Tschetter (Stewartville) and Reid Patterson (Lakeville South) was aggressive, active and able to score in bunches. If they stay together, that team probably becomes the most competitive Heat group at 17U. Be ready for them in the next couple years, maybe in an NY2LA or Sanford league. For Select, Waseca big man Andrew Morgan stands a healthy 6-7 with a 6-9 wingspan. He always found himself at the rim to block shots or alter them; I counted six in the 13 total minutes I watched him. Has nice potential and will round out his offensive game. The leader of Select was lead guard Ryan Dufault. That’s another name you should recall, as his older brother Nick graduated in 2016 and is down at SMSU balling in Marshall. Ryan has ability to take any defender to the rack either by brute strength or his quick first step, simply beating his man. The lefty will lead Waseca to another nice season next year.
Take Five: The day was much quieter than I’m used to in terms of fan input. A refreshing scene of zero extreme yells and shouts regarding officiating was exactly what I needed to decompress this weekend. Then I stumbled upon a tight 10U contest between Real Athletics and Team GetShook, and all of that went out the window. It got LOUD, and not even because of referees. The parents were trying to coach from the sidelines and paid no attention to the officials! I hadn’t seen an intense young game like that in a long, long time; I learned later that more than half the kids who closed out the game were only nine-year-olds! You never know what you’ll run into at a tournament. Hence #AAUBingo…
Stay tuned for Day 2 of the Future Stars Classic and the following All-Tournament Teams!