The Proving Grounds: Saturday Afternoon

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Posted On: 04/28/18 6:46 PM

Bracket play has begun on the Proving Grounds and one team up for the task has been the Kansas City Spurs.  A championship in Omaha and now the Spurs want one in the Twin Cities.

Mikel Henderson

KC’s Got You Pop!

Not only have the Kansas City Spurs patterned their logo and jerseys after the San Antonio Spurs dynasty, but coaches Donald Weston and Bryan Watson have this team running some of the best halfcourt offensive stuff we’ve seen this weekend.  The KC version of the Spurs is also following suit by consistently winning.  Last week in Omaha the Spurs won the Midwest Live event and through three games in the Proving Grounds the Spurs have wins of 67-47, 92-38, and 62-33.

The latest victory was by 29 is over Minnesota Heat Henderson who is no slouch.  Coming into the match-up with the Spurs, Heat Henderson had a record of 7-3 on the season and they are ranked 15th in the Minnesota state 17u rankings.  The Spurs moved through the Heat like it was 2014 all over again (San Antonio Spurs over the Miami Heat 4-1 in the NBA Finals). Five-foot-11 guard Keyon Thomas scored 13 points on eight shot attempts slashing to the cup against a late reacting defender and finding creative ways to complete plays while avoiding length.

Length did not bother 6-foot-6 power forward Dalen Ridgnal of Kansas City who bounced off the ground to collect a dozen rebounds.  Dalen was the quickest player off his feet in all situations and if that wasn’t enough, Ridgnal made sure the board was his by violently collecting the ball with limbs flying everywhere.  Rodman style.  The long Spurs forward also finished four times in the paint for his team missing a double-double by a point.

One of the guys directing all of the efficient Spurs offense was six foot senior Mikel Henderson.  The Lees Summit North lead guard is a player that always had his head up surveying the floor.  Henderson was commonly the player vocalizing the offense and then following through with the right pass and a sharp cut to keep the defense honest.  Following the cut Mikel scored five times with basket cuts and a nice mid-range game.  Add in the 6-foot-8 pair of power finishes and boards from Siler Tschirhart and the acrobatic finishes from Arnold White and this is a Spurs team that isn’t likely to be going home early.

Heat Stock Raisers

Noah Chamberlain

The Minnesota Heat has college coaches talking and it’s because three guys from three different teams have played well and made coaches take notice.  In other words, they are proving their worth on the Proving Grounds.

Jeremy Beckler of Heat Henderson/White Bear Lake.  An early morning game was tied with a minute to go, and then 6-foot-8 Jeremy Beckler made the contest his.  First Beckler caught and made a quick move shifting the defender followed by a step through to And1 finish.  This put Heat Henderson up three over Crossfire Belle.  Back the other way a loose ball was gathered by Beckler who dove on the floor, collected, and called timeout.  Forced to foul the Crossfire went at Beckler who then put the game away with four foul shot makes in the final half minute.  Against the Spurs Beckler was the lone Heat player that was able to score consistently against a tough defense.  Beckler showed decent form in making two threes and a jumper and he got off his feet to dunk in traffic.

Jared Rainey of Heat Nelson/Maple Grove.  One name gathering steam with college coaches if 6-foot-1 guard Jared Rainey.  Fresh off leading a state tournament team in scoring and assists, Rainey has Heat Nelson at 8-3 three with his crafty but at times explosive rim finishes.  Jared has been a smooth playmaker utilizing the quick dribble into a pretty pull-up jumper but also going at the basket and touching in shots before the defense can get a good contest.  With good size, a dynamic playmaking ability, and consistently getting results Rainey is lifting up the Minnesota 2019 prospect charts.

Noah Chamberlain of Heat MacDonald/St. Thomas. Perhaps the most talked about player today has been 6-foot-6 wing Noah Chamberlain from St. Thomas.  Noah had a nice year for the Cadets helping them to state with six points, three boards, and three assists a game, but nothing like we’ve seen so far this April.  In one of the top games of the day Heat MacDonald beat a good SSA team in the first round of bracket play with Noah scoring 14.  Chamberlain at 6-foot-6 played point guard, aggressively had two blocks, and his 14 points included two attacking finishes through traffic (a finish with his right, and a finish with his left) as well as a late jumper.  A player his size with this skill and playing that cool down the stretch sticks out because it’s rare.  And colleges have noticed.

Hutson Goes for 33

Jacob Hutson

The Prep Hoops Proving Grounds is in year one but has attracted coaches from Iowa State, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, a few east coast D1s, half of the NSIC, and much of the MIAC among others.  A player they are throwing on their recruiting lists as they’ve left the building – if they didn’t have him on their lists already – is 6-foot-9 Edina big Jacob Hutson of the Minnesota Fury Kline 16s.

Jacob is a big that is comfortable facing and shooting from 14 feet in plus he likes to use that one dribble attacking into a physical finish.  Hutson greatly improved his low post game this winter working with the Edina coaching staff and playing against Lake Conference competition.  Today Hutson showed everything he had in scoring 33 points in the most recent Fury Kline game.  Get him on your list coaches!  Dawson Garcia, Ben Carlson, Dain Dainja, Steven Crowl, and Jacob Hutson among others.  The list of talented Minnesota 2020 size warranting D1 attention continues to grow.

Proving It on the Proving Grounds

Dylan Miller from Mason City, Iowa

Drew Leistikow is a different player than we expected, in a good way.  At 6-foot-3 he is a forward that led a very good St. Charles team in scoring.  Today he was leading the SE Minnesota Lightning in scoring regularly.  Against Wisconsin RAP the Lightning forward made 7 of 13 shots not only making a few jumpers but aggressively going at the rim to score 21 on 7 of 13 shooting.  When Drew is comfortable he gets results and there is nothing more comfortable than a 7 for 7 foul shooting game.

  • Wisconsin RAP took a loss to the SE Minnesota Lightning but James Kelly had a nice showing with 16 points and seven rebounds going at the rim.  At 6-foot-4, strong, and agile the Lightning didn’t have a player that could physically match him.
  • Also from the Wisconsin RAP we really liked 6-foot-5 Zachary Klug.  Knocked down a pair of threes, passed the ball quite well, and did things with one dribble to score the rest of his 14.
  • The SE Minnesota Lightning has a pair of Mason City, Iowa kids that played a big part in their win.  Dylan Miller constantly went at the RAP defense forcing them to take a charge or he was getting a result he wanted (foul or finish). Miller scored 14 while teammate Jarvorius Toney grabbed seven rebounds.  Toney is 6-foot-6/6-foot-7 and listed as a point guard in high school (Iowa stats show he led his team in assists).  What we saw was a quick off his feet forward that grabbed rebounds where others couldn’t go.
  • One of the best rim running bigs at the Proving Grounds has been Heat Nelson’s Tyler Baribeau of Mesabi East.  In the games we looked on Baribeau was getting ahead of his man to complete plays over and over again.
  • Six-foot-4 Joshua Albers is starting to blossom.  He’s become a more reliable scorer for his 17u team as his confidence continues to grow.  Albers was seen twice today scoring in double figures completing plays from a number of different distances.
  • Sam Schwartz of Heat MacDonald made two clutch late shots in the MacDonald win over SSA plus Sam did a nice job running the ball screen motion that his team uses.