Five Takeaways from Route 66 Kickoff: Kansas Edition

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Posted On: 04/10/18 11:07 PM

Presence of Dalen Ridgnal (2019) KC Spurs Black 17U- Rockhurst High School

Dalen is somebody who I was able to see a couple of times throughout the weekend and he certainly made an impression. He was very active in the paint when I was able to observe him and against Team Harden he was a terror against a team that scored 100+ points in their previous game (Team Harden ended in the 60’s).

At 6’4’’ Dalen would be considered an undersized big man at this point, being very efficient in the paint on both sides of the ball. He showed ability to defend an opposing player who probably outweighed him by 30-40 pounds and was a few inches taller, he did a nice job of neutralizing that threat.

Upside of Keyon Thomas (2019) KC Spurs Black 17U- Bonner Springs High School

Grassroots basketball can be a very interesting landscape for evaluating talent. Sometimes players disappear on the summer circuits when they’re phenomenal in-season and sometimes guys rise to the occasion.

Keyon Thomas is rising to the occasion, playing at a very high level to start the grassroots season.

Keyon has a great feel for the game and demonstrated solid decision-making with the ball in his hands. Although you can tell the length and athleticism of Team Harden Houston 17U bothered him a bit early, he settled in and was able to find a groove in what was my favorite game of the weekend.

Keyon also has no problem in hitting shots from deep, showing that his three-point shooting is solid.

My favorite part about this young man is his floor leadership as you constantly hear and see him directing traffic with or without the ball. Something that is seen less in AAU due to kids being uncomfortable with their teammates or afraid to overstep their boundaries.

The KC Pacers are a Players Program

The KC Pacers are building a program that is player first thinking. On paper, one might wonder why there are so many variations of the Pacers, but they keep their roster sizes small for good reason.

The smaller the roster, the more minutes there are for everyone, thus, giving kids maximum exposure time on the court.

Their coaching staff and personnel associated with the organization are great people and I would anticipate they become a highly sought-after program for kids to join in the years to come.

Success of Kansas Pray and Play

Kansas Pray and Play aka the Kansas Players, are proving to have a really strong program top to bottom.

Kansas Pray and Play 16U has a lot of firepower on their roster with Wichita Southeast standouts Micah Jacques and Shawn Warrior to pair with state champ Tanner Mans and other run and gun standout guards.

If they can play their style of basketball, they have the talent to have a very successful summer together.

Had it not been for a strange situation and disqualification of the Pray and Play 15U team, they could have very well taken home the championships for 14U and 15U showing a lot of promise and talent at the younger levels of their program.

Pray and Play are in a great position for successful years to come with lots of great, young talent involved in their organization.

What’s the Next thing to watch in Kansas Grassroot Basketball?

This upcoming weekend will be featuring a loaded SSA Hoops 17U Black team playing in the Prep Hoops Spring Kickoff Event in Denver.

The 17U team has a lot of Kansas talent but will be headlined by a dynamic 2019 trio of Dyelan Reed (Concordia High School), Levi Braun (Hayden High School), and Trey Duffey (Topeka Seaman) who have all been standouts in recent practices.

SSA is also expecting big things from their 15U Black team with a very athletic and defensive minded group.

Kristopher Daniels and Corey Powell Jr have been having solid practices along with Charles Synder and Jack Hutchinson as standouts as well.