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Posted On: 07/31/18 6:57 AM
Another trip to Las Vegas, another big set of Minnesota victories, another Minnesota Fury victory over a shoe team, and another day that Malik Willingham was the best in show.
Maybe Now They Will Learn
Let’s take a trip back through time shall we?
In 2015 the Minnesota Fury took out Meanstreets 57-44 completely dominating the game followed by nearly taking out Seattle Rotary.
There was the summer (also 2012) that D1 Minnesota (it was Minnesota Pump N Run then) had defeated Minnesota three times but when the two met in Vegas in the Elite Eight, it was Fury who got the upper hand.
And of course the 2012 game where Minnesota Fury beat a Dallas Mustangs team that back then was one of the best out there, and they did it by 15 points.
We also should point out the 2016 year when the gym was littered with coaches to see the star from France when Jordan Horn took control of the game and grabbed D1 offers.
This year it was a little different because not only did the Fury beat Houston Hoops, they did in double overtime with Shaka Smart, Bobby Hurley, and around 20 high major schools in the gym. And they did it beating Houston Hoops EYBL squad which is run by Hal Pastner, the same guy who runs Bigfoot Hoops and the Vegas Classic.
The performances? Let’s start with the buzzer beater that Jack Middleton hit or the huge three he made in the overtime session. Or the several times that Dane Zimmer moved off the screen to catch and score a perfect six for six over the length of future high major players. Cole Nicholson took his power game right at the boys from Houston and scored 13 points with eight rebounds, Jake Beeninga hit big shots for his team high 14 points, and Sam Nissen came off the bench to make the game winner for the 62-61 win.
Impressive? Yep. Worth the Trip? Memories created forever. Memorable? For us yes, but shoe teams in Vegas need to beware.
Malik and Those Numbers!
Every year there is a player that we all sit back and wonder “when is that offer coming to him???” and this year that player is Malik Willingham. Malik is a scoring machine that took Waseca to a way better season than expected over the winter and who has filled the stat sheets with high percentage big numbers all 17u season long.
Will an offer come? Minnesota-Crookston has been a July constant for Malik and Bemidji State has been a long time regular too. When we saw Select Leafblad play 3Deep in that “Wild & Wacky Vegas Game of the Year” (why do they always seem to happen at the Tark Academy?) Malik had Concordia-St. Paul and Minot State watching as well. The offers are very likely to come although Willingham may have to go on a visit to the schools to receive that offer which is often the case.
That game against 3Deep? A perfect candidate for why Malik is the player he is. Willingham opened the game up on fire knocking down his first four shots and then a buzzer beater just before the half to get him to 15. In the second half his shooting touch went cold, so he created for others. Bradley Winter and Willingham formed the perfect screen and roll combo as Winter had a perfect game shooting and Willingham totaled a dozen assists. Yes a dozen!
Add in the rebounds and Malik was one board away from a triple double. What he wanted was a win with a triple double, but a 21 point, 12 assist, 9 rebound game is very impressive.
Fink Scores in a Blink
Springfield guard Isaac Fink has a big bag of quality division two options and that might be the perfect place for him. The schools think so, all the top Northern Sun schools spent their summer tracking his Lamborghini (Springfield colors of course) to every event Fink played in.
Everyone knows that Fink is a top player in the state, he’s proved that leading his high school team to a career of wins playing all positions. And that 32 point/21 rebound (or was it 31/22, not sure) summer state title game was another example that Fink can ball above all. But where does he fit at the next level? I give you two answers.
First, the kid is an all around basketball competitor. He gives you consistent numbers and constant production in many ways plus his teammates and coaches love competing with him. Second, he’s proved over and over again that he can be the catch and shoot guy on the wing that changes games with his three-point touch. This past week in Vegas Fink had a pair of games making seven threes and two more where he made five in a game. That’s filling it up, fast. Lamborghini fast. Or maybe the Lewis family fan but whatever….
So what D1 programs could it be? We saw Wofford, North Dakota State, and Idaho at multiple games but there were other programs as well.
Who is Next for David Roddy?
Northwestern, we saw you. Nebraska, you were up there! The Big Ten schools came into the gym to watch Howard Pulley play on Saturday and it certainly wasn’t to see their opponents in the game we watched, it was David Roddy. Remember, David Roddy took a visit to Northwestern and he really impressed the school with his maturity during that meeting. Colorado State, Northern Iowa, Richmond, Davidson, and so many others were there too, every game.
I’m sure he impressed them with his 23 point, nine rebound, three assist game on Saturday as well throwing down the craziest tomahawk dunk with power that I have seen in a long time. In fact, you have to think about what David could be agility wise after working in a college weight room program taking his physical ability to an ever higher level.
Think, Jordan Murphy? It’s possible that might be stretching it as Jordan will be the all time leading rebounder in Gopher history and has an outside shot to be their all time scorer, but that’s the type of game that Roddy could bring. David shoots it better than Jordan, we can say that and he is going to rebound like Jordan does.
DLR Dudes Get Better
Comets DLR was in the NY2LA this year and they faced a pretty tough schedule this season including beating at top five Louisiana team in Las Vegas. What I was most impressed about though was how much better all of their players are from the start of the year. Here is an example:
Connor Bich: He’s a legit stretch four at the college level who is making perimeter shots at a higher rate
James Flicek: Are you kidding me with this guy? So tough and what a fun playmaker.
Josh Jeziorski: Just earned a scholarship from MN-Crookston today as a skilled 6-foot-4 wing.
Jon Stimmler: Coming into the year I thought he was just a good post, now I think he is a consistent number Juggernaut that can play very well in the S&R era
Charles Johnson: A Minneapolis City all league player and a reason that Washburn will be one of the top three teams in the league.
Thomas Geiske: Tommy Buckets Man, Tommy Buckets. I didn’t think he was much physically over the winter but he’s put in the work and is physically where he needs be to get buckets in bundles
Jack Rush: First thought, just a JV guy. Now this is a guy that is really going to help Lakeville North this year.
Winter Frosts the Predator
So this jumping jack of a player that moves and has the hair of the Predator likes to dunk and he does it well. The kid plays for 3Deep and after a dunk he yelled at Winona/Select power forward Bradley Winter. What the kid should of done is maybe asked himself “how do I defend?”
Bradley Winter moved off the screen, ran the floor, and cut behind the defense to catch and finish 13 of 13 shots scoring 26 points with ten rebounds. A perfect day from the field and the perfect way (individually) to end his 17u career. Winter is maybe the biggest surprise player of the 17u season and a guy that schools are going to be following at Winona to see if key can keep this up.
Final Weekend Notes
Another player that has really improved is Austin Jentzen. Never did I think he would be able to hold his own against the type of player he faced Saturday but Austin certainly did with a near double-double
Matt Johnson is too young for the Old Reliable nickname but that’s what he is. Always reliable to be tough, hit 3 or 4 threes, and lead the team.
I saw Nobal Days play the best game of the dozen Pulley games I’ve watched this year. 12 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
Trejuan Holloman came into a game off the bench and changed it from a bad offensive flow to the perfect flow needed for Pulley to move a two score game to a double figure lead. Such a mature player, and he hasn’t even taken a high school class yet!