Posted On: 04/24/18 5:36 PM

The Prep Hoops Proving Grounds are in Minnesota, this weekend. Some of the better teams in the Midwest will compete in an open period event right here in the Twin Cities.

The Field.  This weekend the Proving Grounds field is 42 teams deep at the 17u level.  Here is the state breakdown: 3 from Nebraska, 19 from Minnesota, 3 from Iowa, 1 from Missouri, 2 from North Dakota, 3 from Illinois, 9 from Wisconsin, 1 from Florida, and 1 from Canada.

Half of the Minnesota top 25 will be in this event including the 4th ranked Fury Wilde crew that finished in the Pitt Jam Fest Elite Eight, 6th ranked Crossfire Belle who just won the Spring Jam in Sioux Falls, 10th ranked Heat MacDonald who was the Midwest Live runner-up in Omaha last week, and 12th ranked Fury Kaupa, 13th ranked Heat Nelson, and 15th ranked Heat Henderson.  In addition to the other ranked top 25 teams there is also the Minnesota Bulldogs who had a nice run last weekend in Sioux Falls and could be a team we need to look at as a top 25 squad.

The rest of the field has several names that people are familiar with in Grassroots basketball.  Wisconsin Academy, Wisconsin Blizzard, Wisconsin Swing, and Wisconsin Playmakers are traveling east, Iowa Pump N Run and Iowa Prep are traveling north as is the KC Spurs who won the Midwest Live event in Omaha last weekend.  From Nebraska one of the Omaha Crusaders teams will be in the Twin Cities at the Proving Grounds, and a pair of North Dakota teams will be in the Minnesota metro as well (ND Attack and ND Phenom).

The Location.  Remember the days when Bloomington Jefferson and Bloomington Kennedy seemed to host every Grassroots event in Minnesota?  The Proving Grounds are bringing things back to those good old days with the Bloomington locations.  The 17u field will be playing their games at Kennedy and those games will start Friday night with a single pool play game starting at 6:30.  Friday night has four rounds of games and then on Saturday the 17u kids get a bit of sleep-in before games start around 11am/Noon.

The Talent.  As a writer that mainly focuses on Minnesota and the Dakotas I will keep my focus there and let our team of writers from other states talk about their talents.

Prospects from Minnesota to See.

  • 6-7 Brock Bangasser of Crossfire Peterson.  Learn Brock’s name because he has good size and averaged a double-double at HLWW this year with 13/10.
  • 6-8 Jeremy Beckler  of Heat Henderson.  Great size, put up great numbers this winter, and now we all get to see what Beckler can do against the state’s better teams.
  • 5-10 Jacob Beeninga of Fury Wilde.  Beeninga is one of the state’s toughest, most skilled, and most clutch players (committed to Minnesota State Moorhead).
  • 6-4 Owen Boerema of Crossfire Belle.  Owen is one of those higher potential players that this event is made for.  What he can he do versus the better guys in state?
  • 6-2 Mario Dukes of Rip City.  Tough, aggressive, with a good feel Dukes does a lot of different things for his teams.
  • 6-5 Charlie Gorres of Fury Wilde.  Gorres is an explosive forward that is a double-double threat that can play both forward spots.  D2?  Those offers are already in.
  • 6-3 Jake Kettner of D1MN Rise.  Jake is a scholarship level talent that you could see in the NSIC some day, or he would be a tremendous MIAC talent.
  • 6-3 Drew Leistikow of SE MN Lightning.  We documented previously how well Drew played this winter but need to point it out again now.
  • 6-4 Ethan Matzke of SE MN Lightning.  Before his knee injury Ethan was surely a top ranking prospect.  He’s still working back to full health.
  • 6-4 Jack Middleton of Fury Wilde.  Middleton is a top shooter/defender in Minnesota’s senior class and a player that will either play D1 or D2 basketball.
  • 6-3 Reegan Nelson of Crossfire Belle.  Nelson led Melrose to a 26-3 record this year teaming with Preston Keaveny and they are teaming with Crossfire.
  • 6-5 Cole Nicholson of Fury Wilde.  In today’s era of basketball it’s about results and it’s about winners.  Cole is both.  Another D2 offered talent that will receive more.
  • 6-3 Jared Rainey of Heat Nelson.  The Maple Grove PG that led his team to state is now leading Heat Nelson to a strong start to the year.
  • 6-4 Sam Schwartz of MN Heat MacDonald.  Sam is receiving strong D2/D3 interest and this is another big weekend for him as many local schools will be watching.
  • 6-3 Marcus Shepley of Mentality MN.  Marcus is one of the smoother, acrobatic attacking players in this event.
  • 6-3 James Sommer of Mentality MN.  James is one of the better PGs in Minnesota’s 2020 class, a guy to get on your radar.
  • 6-7 Dane Zimmer of Fury Wilde.  One of the smarter big men in Minnesota who could land in the NSIC or MIAC.

Some Local Sleepers to Watch.

  • 6-3 Josh Albers of Heat Nelson.  Led Mounds View in scoring this year and has a good family name at his school.
  • 6-5 Logan Benson of Heat MacDonald.  Benson had a strong season in Wisconsin and is one of the two MacDonald Cheese Products (Bailey Blanchard the other).
  • 6-2 Zac Centers of Mentality MN.  Centers scored 12-13 a game for the Zephyrs this winter and a solid wing for Mentality.
  • 5-9 Jovan Christian of TC Finest.  Jovan led Harding in scoring once again this year and is as experienced at this level as anyone.
  • 6-4 Joey Ganley of Heat Henderson.  A guy we always want to mention because of the activity and intelligence he plays with.  Think Hamline committed Eric Stai.
  • 5-10 Yohanes Gebeyehu of Heat Ismail.  Yohanes has done some playmaking at Prep Hoops events in the past and this could be a good weekend for him.
  • 6-6 Charlie Haff of Fury Kaupa. Haff came off the Hornets bench and battled every game as the reserve big for the Hornets.  He has a college future some place.
  • 6-1 Curtis Jones of Mentality MN.  Jones had a big year at South this winter as a sophomore and should have a big two years as a 17u talent.
  • 6-5 Adam Leary of Rochester Mayo.  Leary grabbed our attention last fall and his size and activity is something to watch for.
  • 6-5 Wyatt Olson of D1MN Rise.  A 2020 that had a few double-doubles for Rise in Sioux Falls taking a big step forward as a second key option for his team.
  • 5-10 Isaiah Robinson of TC Finest.  A speedy playmaker from Simley who has played very well for TC Finest so far this April .
  • 6-1 Jordan Schiffler of Crossfire Belle.  Jordan led Albany in blocks, steals, and assists, was the second leading rebounder, and third leading scorer. Does a lot.
  • 5-10 Montrell Stokes of Select Ellis.  Stokes came off the bench for Osseo and gave them some key minutes, with Ellis he has a bigger role to prep for his senior year.
  • 6-3 Joseph Stokman of Crossfire Peterson.  A guy that can shoot the ball at any point.  Game changing touch.
  • 6-6 Reegan Tollofson of Fury Wilde.  Reegan had a big scoring year for Chanhassen and so far he’s given the Fury some solid minutes at forward.

Five From North Dakota

  • 6-2 Ben Bohl of ND Attack.  Bohl is a proven winner at the high school level and the second best prospect in North Dakota’s senior class.  Now he gets to prove himself against some of the best in the Midwest.
  • 6-7 Dalton Albrecht of ND Attack.  Dalton had a very good showing as a long face-up forward in St. Cloud, now let’s see what he has to prove, at the Proving Grounds.
  • 5-10 Cadyn Schwabe of ND Attack.  Cadyn made a great impression in St. Cloud and now with the Attack playing in their third event he’s got a better feel for those around him.
  • 6-2 Trapper Jacobs of ND Phenom.   Again, you want to talk about scoring in bunches, Trapper put up a 50 spot this winter and scored 25 a night.
  • 6-2 Mason Hedberg of ND Phenom.  Mason scored 17 a game with Bohl this winter and Mason is a top ten level prospect in North Dakota himself.