17U Run Through: 44 Elite

Grassroots
Minnesota

Posted On: 04/5/18 12:14 PM

The name is new but the coach and players on the team are not as 44 Elite takes the court this weekend with several guys that have been on their team plus some new names as well.

The Roster.  This is a 13 man roster with mostly seniors-to-be, two 2018 prep school players, and a pair of 2020s listed.  There are a pair of Milwaukee players listed, a few from the inner city leagues, and the rest is from the northwest and southwest metro areas.

The Guards.  Why do I think this team has a great chance at playing in the final four of this weekend’s Comets Shootout at the least?  The guards.  You have 5-foot-11 Emmanuel Tamba from Park Center, 6-foot-1 Jalen Dearring of Minnetonka, 6-foot-1 Deszi Sims of Minneapolis Roosevelt, and 6-foot-1 Zach Zebrowski from East Ridge.  All are 2019s.

Tamba is a player that I felt was greatly improved for the Pirates often handling the basketball for Park Center and drawing a top defensive assignment for his team.  He scored seven points a game and was handling the ball for PC when we saw them in the playoffs.  Zebrowski was the fourth scoring option for the Raptors (after Brown, Brown, and Carlson) putting up 8-9 a night.

Dearring and Sims were the playmakers for their teams all year long.  Jalen not only handled for the Skippers but was their leading scorer at 17 a night and his smooth approach to the game has really made him into a point guard prospect that schools need to get out and see soon.  Then you have who scored 20+ against Orono in the opener and never stopped scoring for Roosevelt.  Deszi put up 26.4 points a game with 9.3 rebounds a night and seems destined for a 30 plus per game season as a senior.

The Wings.  The Brooklyn Center pair of 2019s Adreone Sprinkles and Qentrell Douglas, the St. Paul Center 6-foot-4 scorer Dion Ford, 6-foot-3 shooter JD Cowan, and 6-foot-4 Wisconsin product Deshon Hunter make up the wings.

Sprinkles (6-foot-4) and Douglas (6-foot-2) helped get the Brooklyn Center Centaurs to the state tournament this year with 16.6 points and 9 points per game respectively.  Sprinkles also gave his team 5.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists a night while shooting 46 percent from the floor.  Douglas was the third leading scorer who shot 58 percent from the floor with five boards and 2.3 assists a game for BC.

Ford can play but forward spots for this team because he is a strong rebounder who grabbed over seven a game this year plus scored 19.4 points per contest for Central.  44 Elite can get points from Dion several different places on the floor and as we have seen in several Prep Hoops events over the years JD Cowan can knock down jumpers.  Hunter is a senior at Wauwatosa East this year scoring nine points a game on 48 percent shooting with three boards a contest.  With him listed as a 2019 for Milwaukee Prep it looks like he will head to prep school next year.

The Bigs. You could likely count Ford and Sprinkles in the group as power forwards the way both rebounds and play actively.  Play 44 Elite has Champlin Park strong wing Kato Seley who stands 6-foot-4 and can guard wings with good lateral movement, or bang in the post with his muscle.  Kato averaged 5.3 points and 5.6 rebounds a game for the Rebels. Another player that fits the strong and active wing is Trokon Massey of Cooper.  Massey scored nine a contest for Cooper his senior season.

The Centers who were both sophomores this year and are both highly ranked prospects. First you have 6-foot-9 James Flippin, a 2020 who is listed as being from Milwaukee Carmen but he transferred to Golda Meir at some point and had to sit out the season.  Flippin scored 11 a game as freshmen and is one of the top ranking underclassmen in the state. Then the team has Dain Dainja on the roster as well and Dain of course has a Park Center teammate on this team plus there will be several weekends where Grassroots Minnesota isn’t playing so Dainja is available to play with another team (44 Elite!).   Dain is of course a top 100, top 150 player nationally in the 2020 class and one of Minnesota’s best sophomores.