NHR State Tournament Saturday: They Earned Respect!

Grassroots
Minnesota

Posted On: 06/3/18 9:37 AM

Who Earned Respect at NHR State on Saturday?  We run you through the list right now as these are the guys you want on your team and give you nightmares when they are in the other jersey.

Jake Kettner

Respect JAKE KETTNER and his ability.  This is a top 25 level player in the senior class, no doubt.  I simply love the comfort of which he shoots the ball.  When it comes off Jake’s hands it’s a thing of beauty and it looks just as pretty from 15 feet out to 26 feet. What’s more about Jake is that he is a fantastic ball handler for a two guard and as a passer he ranks with the best in the state.  I am a bi believer in Jake Kettner, and you should be too.

We all must Respect Malik Willingham has the GAME CHANGER he is.  Next year when people start talking Mr Basketball, Malik’s name will come up.  I will go out on the limb and say that.  His team won 26 games last year and this spring he has been fantastic.  This weekend Malik has been fantastic.  Yesterday I watched him get loose to score 19 first half points including five threes against the Heat.  His shooting touch and ability to win games for the Jays has me thinking big things going into the summer, and then the winter.

You have to Respect THE LOW POST ABILITY of Matthew Onken.  The Marshall 6-foot-5 power forward helped his team win 23 games this winter and now the SW Minnesota Stars are working on a back to back state title run.  There are other SPTS teams at the 17u level at state but the Stars are the only one playing in the final four today.  A big reason is the low post ability of Onken (averaged 13/7 this past winter).  The first thing about Matthew inside is his toughness.  He outworks you.  From there Matthew is brilliant in understanding position as he gives great targets and gets the right feel for his opponent into the quick spin, the short turn with touch, or the power move.  Onken put 14 on Heat Henderson and then took a casual seat watching his teammates dominate.

Hey Wisconsin, Respect PARKER NEILSEN.  Prescott point guard Parker Neilsen is good, very good.  He’s played in a way that has Select Cave in the state 16u semi-finals today.  Parker constantly broke down the Southwest Minnesota Stars defense including on the game winning play drawing in three guys and hitting his backcourt mate Joich Gong for a game winning corner three.  We’ve had a lot of Wisconsin teams at Prep Hoops events in Minnesota this year and when it comes to the 16u level Parker is one of the best guards we’ve seen from that state. Lots not forget to throw some Respect the way of Gong who not only hit the game winner but score 11 with six assists and six rebounds in that game.  Gong and Jax Madsen are going to be a great pair at East for two more years.

SW Stars

Respect THE TOUCH of Peter Soumis.  Hermantown didn’t just go to the Class AAA State Tournament this weekend on luck.  They have some players.  And one of those players is 2020 guard Peter Soumis who I watched fill up the stat sheet with four triples in a half including a buzzer beater that started with Soumis dissecting his opponent with the dribble followed by the dagger.  Northern Lakers commonly win games and when they don’t, they compete.  Peter is a big part of that. While we are talking about Hermantown we also need to make not that 6-foot-7 senior-to-be Connor Bich went for double figures twice on Saturday showing off his long range touch.

Respect the TEAM PLAY of the SW Minnesota Stars 17s.  59-35 over UVA Stan.  58-36 over a top 20 team in Heat Henderson.  48-27 over #5 ranked team in the state Comets K (Cade Goggleye is still out, DeVonne Harris is at state track, but they still have talent).  The Stars aren’t just winning games, they aren’t letting anyone score at all.  And the offensive execution led by Cooper Hansen moving the basketball, it’s been excellent.  When we observed the Stars Ty Roelofs (Willmar) and Cole Woodford (Redwood Valley) did an excellent job of moving within that Stars halfcourt structure to get to space and make comfortable attempts.

Respect THE SOUTH.  Is basketball good in southern Minnesota?  As the teams that lost to the SE Minnesota Lightning and the Southwest Minnesota Stars.  Both are in the 17u semi-finals and both have knocked off good basketball teams representing towns like Rochester, St. Charles, Spring Grove, Hayfield, Russell, Tyler, Ruthton, Marshall, Pipestone, Redwood, Willmar, and several others.

Respect SOUTH DAKOTA.  Let’s just get it out there, we love the way Max McCulloch works harder than everyone.  I can try and paint you a pretty picture of his skills and understanding but let’s be honest, ahead of all of that is Max’s absolute fight to make a play because he’s simply a much harder worker than you, than me, than pretty much everyone.  Max plays with the Southwest Minnesota Stars 16s on both ends and he scores double figures because he physically does more work than others earlier in the possession so when it comes time to make plays, he is in better space than others to finish.

Respect THE STATE CHAMPS.  Any time you have a team full of D1 seniors (Dan Oturu to Minnesota, Sy Chatman to UMASS, Ryan Larson to Wofford, Jake Prince to Southern Miss Football – Get better Jake!) there is always going to be young players behind them getting better.  Think the Raiders will fall off and flip their record around? No. They have players waiting for their chance.  Guys that played on the state title team, and guys like 6-foot-6 Danny McGraw who scored 17 for Select Cave getting them to the semis.  McGraw, a 2020, scored actively first and then got the confidence going to make a shot at the arc and a fade out of the post.

Hey Minneapolis City, Respect CHARLES JOHNSON.  I really like the element that Charles Johnson has brought the Minnesota Comets DLR team as their point guard.  Johnson, who is from Washburn, gives the team another gear in transition, he gives the team a ball pressure defender, a corner turner, and most importantly the two stats Johnson cares about are assists and wins.  Johnson doesn’t force his offense, he forces the defenders to scramble while he gets good shots for his teammates.  Have to love that about about a PG.

Ethan Matrzke

Turn the water off, stay out of the pool!  Respect the Lightning!  It’s another Prep Hoops event and yet another late tournament run for the Southeast Minnesota Lightning.  These guys really do a fantastic job in all ways.  It’s great to see Ethan Matzke moving well and hitting shots, I love the vocals and toughness of Samuel Holtz, the shooting of 6-foot-5 Mason Tapp was crucial to the Lightning win over Comets DLR, Drew Leistikow got his numbers like usual, and then there is Mr Prep Hoops Event Jarvorius Toney, a 6-foot-7 guard. At first I wasn’t sure that Toney should be listed as a guard and then I saw him handle comfortably against 6-foot-1 guards and then Toney turned around and defended them too.  I watched him changed the game against the Comets with his dribble separation into three second half jumpers.  Not only Respect the Lightning, scholarship schools, it’s time to respect Jarvorius Toney!

Respect the DEFENSIVE MENTALITY of MENTALITY Minnesota.  I can not share enough how much I respect the way that Mentality is being coached and the way they are competing.  These guys have really done a nice job molding players like Julian Hutchinson of Burnville, Kameron Givens of DeLaSalle, and Curtis Jones of Minneapolis South into defensive playmakers and patient and efficient offensive guards.  There are too many of their players to throw in paragraph form, let’s go Bullet Points of Doom!

  • Kameron Givens scored 19 on the Rise to push his team.  Time for people to respect him giving DeLaSalle some good minutes this year.
  • Julian Hutchinson was the Saturday Defensive MVP state wide.  A total game changer
  • Curtis Jones is more than I thought he was.  This young man is turning into an all around player.
  • Marcus Shepley.  The way Mentality plays Shepley is often guarded by a bigger forward and none of them can move with the sudden burst of Shepley.
  • Respect the left hand of big Anthony Rayson!  He is so good with that touch and nobody can knock him off balance.

Respect the SHOOTING TOUCH of Ricky Eason.  Ricky hit four threes and scored 20 in the sweet 16 round.  He scored a dozen and made two threes in the quarters. Eason has been knocking down jumpers all spring long and right now coaches know that when they play the Cougars this fall they have to worry about that shooting hand when it dances it’s way into the gym. Also, Respect Jared Rainey and his ability to go at whatever type of team he plays.  Elite’s Finest was, interesting, and Rainey got through all of the shenanigans to score 17 and move his team to the next round of play.

Respect the JOHNSON FAMILY.  Jacob Johnson of Champlin Park had a really good day for Heat Nelson on Saturday going to the cup over and over and over using his length to convert for double figure numbers in the rounds of 16 and 8.  He is the younger brother of Jeremy Johnson and a nice player in his own right.

Respect St. Peter 2020 BIG Wyatt Olson of the D1 Rise.  Olson is a 6-foot-5 frontcourt skilled bruiser that kind of gets lost in the conversation because of Kettner, but playing with Rise has put Olson on the map.  Also, so do his double-double against the Mentality on Saturday.

Finally Respect THE WORDS of Gary Smith!  “Give Me the Damn Ball” Gary said after making a three, and then he made another.  Then he attacked, then Gary scored a putback, and a drive, and another short jumper.  The quickest 14 point run I’ve seen this spring.