Posted On: 04/11/18 1:18 PM
The Comets Shootout 16u tournament was won by Fury Zurn, which was no surprise. That said, the amount of talented players at the event was a pleasant surprise over the weekend. NHR shares with you a few of the 16u names.
Carter Anderson of Heat Presbi/Centennial. Anderson might just be the biggest news maker of the weekend when it comes to talent grabbing everyone’s attention. Anderson is a strong 6-foot-3 with solid athleticism and the skills to handle the ball at point guard when needed, he attacks off the wing or curls tight quickly getting feet set to make that 15 footer, and around the basket he’s stronger and has more will than most so he boards like a four man. Anderson had a big number year at Centennial and he’s putting big numbers up for Heat Presbi. When it comes to stock going up Carter is the guy riding the front of that arrow.
Kendall Blue of D1 Minnesota 15s/East Ridge. At 6-foot-3 as a grade eight player I was most impressed with how Blue handled the ball against the various defenses that were thrown at his team. Blue comfortably moved his way through the defense for results commonly putting 4-5 baskets on the board for his team. It’s early in his carer but Blue has a nice base in terms of his comfort away from the basket in a frame that sets him apart.
Jake Breitbach of Heat Presbi/Armstrong. Jake put together a really nice year for Armstrong leading the team in scoring and he made for a very nice compliment to Anderson. Breitbach did some acrobatic things with the basketball off the dribble.
Steven Crowl of WOTN Davis/Eastview. So far so good is what I would say. Many schools are interested in Crowl’s core strength and his fluidity around the basket turning over both shoulders to make moves. From last fall to this March, and from March to this past weekend, those are items Steven seems to be improving every day. His post position was excellent and defenders weren’t able to get him off balance, Crowl was able to catch and finish while going at the rim while on balance despite contact, and his effort to rebound, run the floor, and finish aggressively was constant. Add in that Steven’s steps off the ball screen with the guard looked very good and it’s all positive when talking about the 6-foot-9 frontcourt prospect.
Joich Gong of Select Cave/Mankato East. Gong handled the ball often for Select in a way that I wasn’t aware he could. When we saw him defenders couldn’t turn him over or make him uncomfortable. Joich is too quick for most point guards and has a length/size edge as well.
Luke Healy of D1 Minnesota 15s/Hudson. After scoring seven points a game for Hudson this season Luke is now playing with the D1 Minnesota 15s showing off a scoring touch that got him early varsity time. Up in St. Cloud Healy did a lot of solid things for Coach Jeremy Miller but the six footer impressed us the most with his array of jumpers.
Nathan Heise of WOTN Davis/Lake City. Heise quickly became the favorite player of many this weekend because he just did more than others. The 6-foot-3 guard took the responsibility of limiting a top scorer at the 16u level and performed his role very well which is a great way to grab the attention of those college coaches watching on the baseline. From there he played some point guard for WOTN, worked hard to board (we saw him put together a double-double), and of course skillfully put points on the board from the wing. Nathan gave his team many different things this weekend which is why WOTN was in the final four and why they will be a top 16u team this year.
Jaylen James of Fury Zurn/Eagan. It was a tough year at Eagan with injuries ravaging some key players but a positive that has come from the season is the growth of point guard Jaylen James. After facing the older and bigger South Suburban opponent James seemed to enjoy the freedom of movement with the Fury zipping up the floor and igniting the offense in the spots needed consistently. James doesn’t need to score much for his team but after scoring a dozen a game for Eagan this winter he’s proved he can.
Charlie Katona of Fury Zurn/Shakopee. After a 19 point, eight points, four assists per game average for Shakopee this year Katona looked to be on to something big. Then this weekend he earned himself a tournament MVP label by using his 6-foot-6 frame to score in just about every way. When teams didn’t get back on defense or rotate defensively Katona dunked and dunked again. Ball in the post? Katona had no problem facing to shoot, spinning, or stepping through to score. On the perimeter? You have to guard Katona with size and he has little problem going around anybody with his dribble. Katona made several acrobatic plays this weekend on the attack plus he rebounded often and put up numbers. It was a performance that reminds me of what division one players usually do.
Noah King of Comets Stumpf/Caledonia. King is as strong as he is skilled. I’m convinced that guys will not be able to knock this player off balance and the best evidence of that was when Noah attacked the basket for the game winner in the semi-finals. Between the state tournament and this weekend I feel like King was in the paint whenever he wanted to be and the results of playmaking seem to be 80 percent successful.
Brody Kriesel of Select Cave/East Ridge. There are a lot of guys over at East Ridge that have size and versatile talents and Brody seems to be on that list. He’s 6-foot-5 and made plays around the arc – including a clutch three on Saturday – but also battled for double-figure rebounding numbers.
Tristan Lee of D1 Minnesota 15s/CDH. Tristan is already stronger than most high school point guards that he will face but what made life harder on the guards in St. Cloud is that Lee was also quicker than each of them as well. When you ball of muscle is physically coming at defenders with a dribble it’s either get run over or pretty much get stuck on Lee’s backside while he continues on his path.
Riley Mahlman of D1 MN 15s/Lakeville South. Riley doesn’t just post you up, he holds that position and punishes you in several ways. After the catch the first move is physical and the results are usually favorable for his team. At his size of 6-foot-8 and 230 pounds as a freshman in high school he’s already advantage but the physical screens and the aggressive post position and contact hits make him a guy other teams just stay away from. Great feet and hands.
Daniel McCarrell of Heat Presbi/St. Croix Prep. Who is one of the best shooters that mainstream Minnesota basketball doesn’t know about? This guy. A six foot guard that showed St. Cloud why he was able to score 19 points a game as a sophomore this winter, his jumpshot.
Spencer Nath of Heat Presbi/Roseville. Nath is a Ram-Man like competitor who always seemed to be in the right position for Heat Presbi. Had a double-double in our viewing of 17 and 10 and did it because he worked to space when the defenders weren’t attentive and once they were they couldn’t move him. Smart player.
Tait Nelson of Heat Moberg/St. Anthony. Here is a guard that pesters people all over the court and drives the opposition – especially the fans – mad. Why? Nelson will fight to keep a guy in front of him at all times even if that means a grab here, a physical nudge there, etc. Offensively he’s tough to keep in front and once he gets you on his hip Nelson is very good and getting whistles.
Ethan Prodzinksi Heat Moberg/Winona. At 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds was a player that could not be moved. He’s a top football prospect in the 2020 class so I would expect his eventual future to be there but his footwork and hands on the basketball court made Heat Moberg a tough out this weekend as they played to the elite eight.
Josh Schloe of Comets Liljequist/Sauk Rapids-Rice. Josh’s near double-double game against a quality WOTN team opened some eyes. It was a one time viewing but a very good one time viewing because Schloe’s ability to shed bodies to collect and turn and outlet, or collect and quickly put the ball on the rim was something that had me thinking “the Storm is going to be all right”.
Matt Sieben of Comets Liljequist/Sartell. Wow does this guy have some range? When we saw him guys were guarding him above the arc and he still made five treys that were closer to the NBA arc than the high school arc.
Cameron Steele of Fury Zurn/Minnetonka. I really enjoy watching Steele play for three reasons: 1) At 6-foot-7 he has a confident shooting stroke with range and he also uses that touch to score around the basket, 2) defensively he understands why defenses need to communicate and have good footwork and he does this commonly, and 3), he’s mean! Cameron will battle anybody for a loose ball, or position, or whatever it takes to help his team.
Matt Willert of Comets Stumpf/Buffalo. This 6-foot-3 smooth shooter with deadly basketball instincts continues to look like he will rise up and be one of the better scorers in the class. Such a tough player to defend because of that quick release and needing such little space to finish.
Brady Williams of Fury Zurn/Dover-Eyota. The skill level of Brady Williams has taken a massive turn for the better. His comfort with the ball and effortless stroke have come a long way. Brady is still the agile forward we have talked about but he’s become a lot more small forward than he was at this time a year ago. The 2.5 games I watched Brady play he didn’t miss a jumper.