Proving Grounds: Standout Guards

Grassroots
Minnesota

Posted On: 04/30/18 11:57 AM

The Prep Hoops Proving Grounds took place over the weekend in Bloomington, MN, bringing in some of the finest talent in the Midwest as well as a bevy of college coaches looking for future additions to their rosters.

In this article we’ll take a look at some of the standout guards from the weekend in the 17u action. The players below are a combination of point guards, off-guards, and combo guards, some being capable of playing both spots.

Stay tuned for a couple of other articles highlighting wings and interior players from the action over the weekend.

 

Jacob Beeninga – 5’10” PG, Wayzata/Fury Wilde (2019)

Nothing about Beeninga’s game is flashy, but he is the picture of consistency and exactly the steady hand that you’d want at the helm. His ball handling is not flashing, he is very efficient with the ball in his hands, using angles and change of pace to shake defenders, a very crafty and smart player. He has the reputation for hitting shots for a reason, if left open, his compact and efficient release is nearly automatic. He had 8 points (two threes) in their 59-25 victory over WI Academy on Saturday afternoon.

 

Mason Hedberg – 6’2” SG, Bishop Ryan (ND)/ND Phenom (2019)

Hedberg is a very athletic combo guard out of Minot that showed the ability to play both guard spots over the weekend. On the defensive end, he displayed very quick feet, making ball handlers work to get free. In addition, he used his quick feet and IQ to take a charge along the baseline. He knocked down a pair of threes in a win over Crossfire Bellefeuille and punished defenders on sloppy closeouts by using an explosive first step to blow by and get to the rim. He scored 14 against Crossfire Bellefeuille on Saturday.

 

Jared Kallenbach – 6’0” PG, Jamestown/ND Phenom (2019)

A teammate of Hedberg’s on ND Phenom, Kallenbach was 1/3 of their guard trio that I was very impressed with on Saturday. Kallenbach was the true point guard on this squad and excelled at finding teammates in good spots to score the basketball. His vision is outstanding and he seems to really think the game well and anticipate the next play. The majority of his penetration found good looks for his teammates but he also got his own in a variety of ways. He knocked down one three, finished a pair of times in the lane, and took on contact to get to the stripe. He finished with 9 points against Crossfire Bellefeuille.

 

Luke Paulson – 6’0” PG, Wayzata/Fury Kaupa (2019)

The second Wayzata guard on this list, the Trojans have an embarrassment of riches in the backcourt heading into next season. Paulson only had 4 points in the game that I watched on Saturday but he impacted the game in a number of other ways. The thing that impressed me the most about Paulson was his vision, especially in transition. This squad had a number of athletic guards and wings and Paulson found them filling the lanes time and again on Saturday. Miles Mendes, Zach Kloosand others benefitted from the tremendous lead passes and nifty bounce passes on the break to set them up for easy buckets.

 

Jared Rainey – 6’1” PG, Maple Grove/Heat Nelson (2019)

I continue to be very impressed with Rainey and I believe that he is going to be one of the breakout players this summer and into next season. He had 25 points against Team 1848 on Saturday, scoring in a variety of ways. He’s always been very capable of getting into the lane and finishing with a soft touch in the face of contact, however, his consistency from deep is taking his game to another level. Defenders can’t sit back and prepare for a drive against him, his range has to be respected. Perhaps one of the most impressive things with his game that doesn’t get talked about is his demeanor. Defenders try to get physical with him, really physical, but Rainey does not let it rattle him. He has a very even-keeled approach and maintains his composure.

 

Benjamin Schmidt – 6’0” SG, St. Mary’s Central (ND)/ND Phenom (2019)

The third player in the solid trio of guards for ND Phenom, Schmidt was one of the best pure shooters that I watched over the weekend. He was the beneficiary of several good finds from Hedberg and Kallenbach, knocking down four triples against Crossfire Bellefeuille. Schmidt did a great job of anticipating where he would receive the pass, getting into a position that allowed him to set his feet and square his shoulders, solid fundamentals from Schmidt. He had 14 against Crossfire Bellefeuille.

 

Samuel Schwartz – 6’3” PG, White Bear Lake/Heat MacDonald (2019)

An athletic 6’3” guard, Schwartz showed the ability on Saturday to play both guard spots and play them well. He has a solid handle that allows him to break pressure, penetrate the defense, and run the offense. His vision on penetrating drives allowed him to find open teammates for kick-out threes, as well as get to the rim and finish. Schwartz moved well without the ball and showed off range of his own, knocking down a pair of threes against SSA Elite, finishing with 12 points.

 

Nate Shikenjanski – 6’1” PG, Stillwater/Fury Kaupa (2019)

This Fury squad deployed a line-change style subbing pattern on Saturday, so when Paulson wasn’t running the show it was Shikenjanski. Much like Paulson, Shikenjanski was adept at moving the ball up the court quickly with the pass. In addition, he finished on his own at the rim a handful of times against Rip City, finishing with 6 points. He has a high motor and uses his athleticism and quickness to stymie opponents on the defensive end and get push the tempo on offense.

 

Adam Williams – 6’1” SG, Princeton/Heat MacDonald (2019)

Williams primarily played off the ball and was able to display a number of good traits on both ends of the floor. On the defensive end, Williams showed off his athleticism by moving his feet well to defend ball handlers and showed a willingness and ability to attack the glass from the guard position. On offense, he got into the lane to finish on a couple of occasions and also found his way to the free throw line drawing contact. Williams knocked down a triple as well to finish with 9 points against SSA Elite.

 

Tyrinn Zubulake – 6’1” PG, Henry Sibley/Heat Henderson (2019)

The crafty left-handed lead guard for Heat Henderson really impressed me with his ability to get into the lane and take on contact, as well as finish in traffic despite the contact. His ability to break down his defender in isolation is impressive and his instincts in the pick and roll game are sound. On defense, he was able to move his feet and anticipate the next move of the ball handler, getting into good position to stop dribble drives and produce a handful of turnovers.