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Posted On: 04/30/18 1:21 PM
The marquee Prep Hoops event of the weekend was the Proving Grounds tournament in Bloomington. Tons of local and regional teams made their way to the event with high hopes for contributing and coming away with victories and many heads turned. Here are some more of the best that Sunday had to offer at Kennedy High School:
Mikel Henderson (2019, PG, 6-0, KC Spurs) – His control of a possession is bar none. You can tell he’s one of the most competitive guys on the floor but he does it so well with pace changes. Loved how Henderson attacked the break after an outlet pass and rode the wave of the transition defense to get his team’s best looks. A fantastic cutter in the halfcourt too, not necessarily for scoring purposes but in terms of spacing and squaring the floor for his teammates.
Dalen Ridgnal (2019, F, 6-6, KC Spurs) – His activity on both ends is outrageously ahead of everybody else. Dalen’s ability to come over from the weak side for swats and use his lateral motion to stay in front of his man makes him a versatile defender, and his athleticism gives him advantages on the glass too. Led his team in scoring in the quarterfinals. Big fan of his frame and work ethic for the next level.
Malcolm Bell (2018, F, 6-4, RAW Athletics) – Big broad shoulders, high release point, footwork and craftiness in the post, a capable three-pointer; all these attributes are evident in Bell. He carried RAW to a big quarterfinal win in overtime against Heat Nelson, scoring the game-winning layup to go with his double digit effort. Just a tough matchup whichever way you throw defense at him.
Luke Paulson (2019, SG, 6-0, Fury Kaupa) – Been a fan of Luke since started torching the Lake two years ago as a small unassuming sophomore. A Curry-like release that gets going in a hurry. What he’s become much better at even since the start of the grassroots season is being a primary ballhandler for Fury. That’ll be a huge boost for Wayzata next season to take pressure off of Jacob Beeninga. Luke Paulson, no longer just a spot-up guy! Enjoyed watching him and Beeninga compete against each other in the quarterfinals, Fury v Fury.
Miles Mendes (2019, F, 6-4, Fury Kaupa) – The Farmington forward is getting better every time I see him. One of the better highflyers in the area (which we already were aware of) is now becoming a multi-faceted offensive weapon. He finished dropoffs at high rate and knocked out shots from distance at a good clip too, something that will be very tough to guard if he can continue to keep that consistency. Excited to see where his stock goes over the summer.
Josh Albers (2019, SG, 6-3, Heat Nelson) – Lanky and crafty, Albers is known for his genetic shooting prowess and really let that come to the forefront on Sunday. He ran off of several top flare screens and was free for deep looks that he cashed in just about every time, to the extreme dismay of the opposing coach. Josh is one of the tougher guys I saw this weekend and didn’t back down from a pretty chippy game against RAW.
Jacob Johnson (2019, SF, 6-4, Heat Nelson) – Great measurables on Jacob. Super long and has nice anticipation defending the perimeter to make ballhandlers feel the pressure. His shooting has to come into itself a little from what I saw but he’s controlled and within himself mentally for sure, and that’s what kept my attention on him. Played well in crunch time.
Dane Zimmer (2019, PF, 6-7, Fury Wilde) – C’mon, NSICs! Dane is probably a top 5 interior defensive presence in his class and moves so well for how big he is. I’m really loving how much effort he puts into seeing everything happen on all parts of the court and that gives him super juicy chances to get pin blocks on driving guards. Dane’s hands are top-shelf and his finishes are so fluid and easy. Has the midrange game in his arsenal too.
Sam Nissen (2019, PG, 6-1, Fury Wilde) – Gotta be one of the best “do not leave me wide open or you will pay” shooters in the state. You can tell Sam’s put in the time to make his skills produce the same way every time he lets them loose, and though that may sound like he’s playing very mechanically, his feel for finding gaps in defense past the arc is very very good. Knocked down several treys and facilitated the break excellently for Fury up through their championship game loss.
Ethan Matzke (2019, SF, 6-4, SE MN Lightning) – Always like watching Ethan compete because he does so without complaining no matter what the stats say. He’s a matchup nightmare in the post with his huge upper body frame and can step out to hit the three as well. I like him stepping into a role as a physical two-way guy for a MIAC or UMAC.