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Posted On: 05/20/18 9:20 AM
The annual Minnesota Fury Shootout is being played at East Ridge and Burnsville this weekend and NHR was on hand Saturday to check on some of the local talent including Isaiah Watts and his Double-Double.
The Fury of Watts
The Minnesota Fury are in somewhat of an odd spot this weekend as hosts. They are playing for the fifth straight weekend (of six) and four of their better players (Cole Nicholson, Jack Middleton, Dane Zimmer, and Jacob Beeninga) have prom this weekend so availability is here and there. They had a full team win over Air Force one on Friday and then Saturday afternoon took a punch from RIP City but grabbed the win 58-43. There are tired Fury legs and thoughts of Prom dates but pulled through Saturday afternoon led by Bloomington Jefferson wing Isaiah Watts.
As a junior Watts scored a healthy 14.2 points per game for the Jaguars. He can produce points when his team needs it but Isaiah is usually in the smash-mouth role of whatever his team needs. Physically defending one the other team’s best player, move the ball and cut hard, tough screens, run the floor, rebound, etc, it’s a role Watts has taken to and played well for the Fury.
Saturday the Fury needed all of this and then some so Watts went out and put together and 13 point, 12 rebound double-double against RIP City. The workman effort included a top of the key three (Isaiah is usually good for one a game), a couple putbacks, transition score, and a pair of hard charging physical drives. Watts made six of his nine field goal attempts and was also the top rebounder in the game furiously grabbing a dozen.
Colleges need physical, mature players that can play a lot of roles and today at Prep Hoops we give you 6-foot-3 wing Isaiah Watts.
Deserving of a Look
As a strong, bull dozing attack type of player, Donn Ward of St. Paul Como Park made everyone at Burnsville High take notice on Saturday. Playing against the third ranked team in the state of Minnesota at the 17u level Ward left an impact with three ferocious finishes and a 15 point, 8 rebound game.
At 6-foot-2 Donn Ward scored 16.5 points per game in the St. Paul City as a junior. As a RIP City 17u player he’s finding a comfort as a hard driving wing scorer. And those finishes, wow. Let’s just say they we hope that Ballers TV gets the video and let’s the world see them. Ward’s first dunk was a physical two-hander over the top of 6-foot-7 Dane Zimmer. He then had a nice baseline finish over Charlie Gorres followed by a transition leaner that blew everyone away.
If a guy can finish like that it’s time to get him on the radar . Especially considering the way Ward competed stepping up to the level of competition. Donn is not only an explosive athlete, but a strong one as well. He ripped down eight boards plus made a three and a couple other attacks to score his 15.
Another RIP City player I suggest coaches check out is point guard Daevonte Munson out of Roseville. At the Proving Grounds and yesterday against the Minnesota this 6-foot-2 lead guard was in the lane whenever he wanted to be sucking in multiple players and kicking out for constant – and I will say that again, constant – wide open jumpers. RIP City had a tough time hitting those jumpers but Munson’s ability to get his man on his heels and attack left, or right with a dribble to the paint is something we’ve consistently noticed. Munson had a dozen points with five rebounds and six assists versus the Fury.
With two more wins on Saturday the Minnesota Matrix 16u squad improved to 15-4 on the year continuing to compete like a top ten team in state. Saturday they didn’t have 6-foot-9 Mason Miller of Ada-Borup but they did have a nice assortment of talent for Prep Hoops to observe which led us to the following observations:
Young, Bigger & Better Than You
The D1 Minnesota 15 and Under squad is playing up again meaning 14u and 15u kids are playing against older 16u kids, even though size wise they look like the mature group of kids. The 15s beat Kingdom Force 63-26 led by another hot shooting game from 2021 DeLaSalle shooter Cade Haskins. Cade scored 16 points and grabbed sever rebounds. He’s the kind of player you expect to make shots based off of his balance, the catch, and the smooth transition into the release.
2022 6-foot-5 Wayzata forward Camden Heide looks young in the face but his court intelligence is ranks in the upper 1 percent. A constant effort player, Heide seems to take every possession as a personal competition out working guys to his nine boards, fighting to move his feet to the help, attacking to try and score over the top including some physical dunk attempts that caught me off guard.
Yes this team has fighters like Heide, Carter Herink, and Luke Healy, but it also has some high potential competitors like 2022s Elvis Ohagwu and Kendall Blue. Ohagwu is one of the longest 6-foot-5 players I’ve ever seen and he looks like he’s going to grow several more inches into a high potential talent. His timing as a shot blocker and will to move his feet to beat smaller players to the spot or beat them to boards was evident. Then you have Blue at 6-foot-5 who is a comfortable handler and leader. You don’t find many middle school kids with this size, skill, vocal leadership, and understanding of when to attack a defense with a 35 second possession or when to attack it with his own skilled offense.
Then you have Riley Mahlman who grabbed nine mean rebounds despite foul trouble. Physically it’s already unfair going against the Big Ten offered 2021 football player but when you add the nasty streak it’s just something to stay away from.