Grassroots Update: Roots 17U

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Washington

Posted On: 07/3/18 7:00 AM

Based in the Longview area, the Roots Sports Academy was founded a few years ago by Josh Wilson and Scott Pisapia to give local kids the opportunity to enhance their lives through sports. The Roots 17U basketball team will be out this summer doing their best to win games and get some college exposure for themselves.

“We’re the small town squad trying to compete – that’s our mantra,” Pisapia said. “The kids just love the game.”

Here’s a breakdown of the roster and how they have performed this far:

Reece Gibb (2019 Mark Morris HS) – Gibb is a 6-foot-4 shooter who like many kids out of the Mark Morris program, is fundamentally sound and does a lot of the little things that help teams win ball games. At his size he’s able to shoot over small guards or post them up down low, and is quick enough to get around bigger players. His older brother Grant was at Eastern Washington but has since transferred to Linfield, who is also recruiting the younger Gibb as well – who would love the opportunity to play with his older brother in college.

Isaiah Flanagan (2020 Woodland HS) – Flanagan is playing up with the 17U squad. He’s tough, can really take care of the basketball, and is strong on both ends of the floor. Flanagan comes from a football and track background and is a tremendous athlete, but also provides great floor leadership as well.

Jacob Thompson (2019 RA Long HS) – Thompson has height at 6-foot-6, but is a bit of a positionless player – Pisapia compares him to Draymond Green in terms of his versatility. He can guard the post but offensively he can bring the ball up the court or come off of screens. He’s athletic but also tough and hard-nosed.

Alex Kaino (2019 Ilwaco HS) – Diminuitive at 5-foot-7, Kaino is a blur on the court as he is a big-time track athlete in the hurdles. He obviously gets up and down the court very fast but he has quickness in the half court and plays with toughness.

Stefan Vossenkuhl (2020 Ridgefield HS) – Vossenkuhl is a long 6-foot-2, left-handed, and smooth and Pisapia compares him to a smaller version of Tayshaun Prince. He can score both inside with a nice touch around the basket but can also step out and hit perimeter shots.

Grant Vanderberg (2019 Kalama HS) – Like many of the other players on the team, Vanderberg is a multi-sport athlete as a football wide receiver. At 6-foot-2, he has a 6-foot-7 wingspan with big hands, and this has helped as he’s often had to play bigger. Pisapia believes he has some college potential.

The roster is filled out with some other local players: Thomas Sprague (2019 Mark Morris HS), Maxwell Ross (2019 Kalama HS), Jebediah Sheldon (2019 Ilwaco HS), Montego Mercer (2019 Kalama HS), and Randall Keithley (2019 Kalama HS).