Posted On: 05/17/18 3:00 PM
In our weekly feature “What We Learned” we take a look back at the tournament we attended the previous weekend and recap some of the aspects of the event that stood out to us! Time to dive into what happened in Minnesota at Battle at the Lakes!
D1 Minnesota Stacked at 17U and 16U
The talent in the state of Minnesota has been on the rise in recent years. A number of NBA players and high level college players have come out of the state. Look for a lot more with the talent on D1 Minnesota. The Adidas squad dominated at both the 17U and 16U levels taking home the championship at both ages. The 17U squad has four top 100 players nationally led by elite forward Matthew Hurt. He displays a skilled game that will translate to the NBA in a couple of years. Also Zeke Nnaji, Tyrell Terry, and Iowa native Patrick McCaffery are so talented. The 16U squad is pushed by post duo Ben Carlson who is a physical low post presence and Dawson Garcia who is an uber skilled inside-outside threat.
Young & Reckless 16U Squad One of Best in State
It was a strong run for Y&R 16U in Minnesota. They started off with a monster performance on Friday night when we saw them blowing out their opponent. Seryee Lewis was dominant inside and Johnny Close did what he does which is nail threes. Keshawn Williams was a consistent performer throughout the weekend. Reggie Strong joined the group on Saturday to give them a boost. Josh Holmes and Kendale Anderson did the little things. Bryce Hall showed some things in his debut. One of the more talented 16U teams out there. They reached the semifinals where they ran into a loaded D1 Minnesota squad.
Davis Walker Breaks Out
When you go to home school it is kind of hard to stand out during the high school season so travel team ball is crucial. 2020 guard Davis Walker had a breakout weekend for Team RWA. The athletic combo guard displayed a natural feel for scoring both with jumpers and getting to the rack. Also a decent passing feel. He was really good when I saw him in person on Friday and then dropped 29 points in an upset win over one of the top seeds Sizzle led by Jalen Suggs. Put himself in the mix for a top 25 ranking with his play.
Gordon and Baker Continue Monster Springs
One of the more dynamic duos in the state of Illinois this spring has been Team Rose 16U wings Myles Baker and Dajuan Gordon. They both had it working again in Minnesota. The thing I have been most impressed with is the consistency out of these two. Not a lot of down games from either. Gordon has taken his game to another level and is primed for a potential jump into the top 5 overall in 2019. Elite jump shooter that has rounded out his game. Baker is also a feathery shooter that has improved his game off the bounce.
Tujautae Williams Emerging as D1 Prospect
Williams showed us flashes during the high school season, but the Orr standout put it all together with the Chicago Demons over the weekend. He is a long and lanky forward that can handle the ball with long strides getting to the hoop and his jumper is getting better. Rebounds well and has a chance to be a plus defender. Posted a few big time performances in Minnesota.
Chicago Demons 17U Make Noise
Speaking of the Demons they pulled off one of the more impressive wins from an Illinois team defeating the #2 overall seed Texas Impact who has some grown men on their roster. Williams definitely led the way in their run over the weekend, but the Demons showed it is more than just him. Hope guard Javion May is a crafty scorer. Teon Nesbitt out of Butler Prep is a plus perimeter shooter. Tavis Stampley from Lincoln Park is a projectable wing that can shoot it. Corliss post Joe Doyle brought defense and rebounding inside.
Keenan Jones Shows More
We have had Whitney Young 2019 small forward Keenan Jones labeled as a 3 and D guy for a while. Meaning he is a solid spot up shooter and can defend on the perimeter. He showed much more than that in Minnesota. Got to the rim off the bounce with quick drives. Aggressive slashes and played with a higher motor on both ends of the floor.
First Look at Team RWA 17U
There have been a lot of offers flying around for Team RWA 17U and that was the team we came into the event most looking forward to seeing. Metamora 2019 power forward Thomas Hall wasn’t dominant, but you can definitely see low-major ability. He is a plus area rebounder and can score inside as well as in pick and pop situations. Fred Cleveland and Treye Tucker are a pair of tiny guards that ran the show. Despite their size they got after it on D and pushed the tempo. Julian Barr out of Lincoln Way East was perhaps the player that made the biggest noise on the team. He is a plus perimeter shooter that also has athleticism.
Meanstreets and Young & Reckless 15s Have Talent
Meanstreets and Young & Reckless 15’s both made it deep in the field with Meanstreets knocking off Y&R to reach the championship. Both squads have young talented to track. With Meanstreets their backcourt of Nathanael Hoskins and Blake Peters had nice showings. Hoskins runs the show and is crafty in the lane. Peters is a lethal shooter. At the forward spots Tevin Smith and Troy D’Amico are two of the better small forwards in the class. Young & Reckless is highlighted by Carmel’s Kimahri Wilson. The quick and shifty point guard didn’t have his strongest outing when we saw him, but he is no doubt one of the top lead guards in the class. The breakout player was John Poulakidas from Neuqua Valley. The 6’6” wing is a plus shooter from three that can also put it on the deck a little. Elijah Bull is a tiny point guard that shot lights out from three. They also have future Simeon star 2022 shooting guard Jaylen Drane who is a thin and wiry explosive wing.
Gyms in Minnesota
We went to a pair of gyms in Minnesota and they were absolutely enormous! Wayzata in particular was the biggest high school I have ever seen in my life! It had eight courts and seemed like a thousand fields for other sports surrounding the school that was the size of a college!