Posted On: 07/28/18 11:03 AM

Prep Hoops spent Friday at the Las Vegas Classic watching 16u talent finish up pool play.  Some of the games were lopsided, so we thought, who could do it better? Fury, or Fury?

Fury, vs Fury?

Minnesota Fury Zurn is ranked second in the state, Minnesota Fury Kline is ranked fourth in the state.  Fury Kline won their pool games 68-44 (team from Utah) and 81-47 (team from Wyoming with horrible jerseys).  Fury Zurn won their games 85-38 (Houston team) and 79-61 (a decent California squad).  But once the teams stepped into the gyms to face the Minnesota Fury squads in the third contest of the day, it was quickly evident that the late Friday night fun would be more about creating our own excitement versus any type of competitive game.

So, it became, who could do it better?  The Fury team ranked second in the state and highly regarded? Or the Fury group that I’m sure believes strongly that they are just as good or better than the squad ranked in front of them.  These are well coached, talented kids after all.  Talented enough that coaches from Davidson, Colorado State, Northern Iowa, North Dakota State, and Concordia-St. Paul watched both teams play.

The first game started a bit more up-tempo.  No stats were ever given for the Fury Zurn win over BBC Elite but Charles Katona has that type of motor that runs on gas AND electric juice.  He has a double motor.  Those engines led to constant transition baskets, putbacks, floor runs, and attacks.  It was like watching Joe Coleman as a senior getting to the rim.  Sure a jumper would be cool, but why when it’s so easy to score baskets for your team from a foot?  That was Katona last night who had to of scored nearly 30.

Another key contributor was Eastview point guard Jaylen James, a steady lead guard with some fire to his game and a shooting touch that has better percentages with each showing.  The first half saw James make the net dance from the corner three-point area, catching a swung ball while on the move for mid-range jumpers, and a nice little touch going toward the rim softly finishing before a help defender could try and wave a hand in his direction.

Brady Williams continue to show that his feel for the game ranks with the best on both ends.  His timing on shot blocking, passing inside and out, and feel for when to use that athletic ability to finish from various areas sets him apart as does his growing skills as a wing.  Colin Meade had a number of finishes, Cameron Steele showed off his pretty touch and aggressive rebounding nature, and Josh Kamara made one of the rare threes he takes.  It was a good day, for a 47 point win.

Seeing the same faces in the crowd, noticing that Team Fundamentals has a lot more problems than just bad fundamentals, and being competitive, could Fury Kline match the Fury Zurn performance?

Cooper Olson was up to the task.  The 6-foot-6 Champlin Park power forward matched the constant energy and rim run for buckets that Katona showed off in the game before.  At one point he had about 5-6 scores in 8-9 possessions that included a nasty dunk, a putback, a reverse lay-up, and a straight line attack.  Olson has had a ground breaking year for Fury Kline and he didn’t care what helpless opponent was in his way, the numbers were going on the scoreboard.  Olson was bigger, faster, and stronger than every opponent on the other team and it was evident that his plan was to use those gifts.

And if a team doesn’t have the size to deal with Olson, what do you think happened with Jacob Hutson in the middle?  Let’s just say he scored comfortably.  Not many Team Fundamental players had the weight in their jersey to foul Hutson and make him notice, much less defend him. This game was even harder to watch as Fury Kline was up 26-4 and at that time of night in Las Vegas, other things enter the mind. Everybody seemed to get a lay-up and a three point attempt into the book. Except Hutson and Olson.  Threes are cool but when it’s so easy to build rim points, why not?

In the end, Fury Kline won by 48 points topping the 47 point differential that Fury Zurn had.

WOTN Also 3-0

Wear Out the Net Davis defeated “Full Package” 67-32 earning their third win of the week and putting them against Team (Blake) Griffin out of Oklahoma, a team that played in several EYBL 16u events this spring and summer.  Can WOTN handle them?  We feel like they can especially after the Friday game.

For starters, Steven Crowl is becoming every bit the prospect we’ve talked about him being.  Creighton Head Coach Doug McDermott, Drake assistant Larry Blunt, and UNC-Wilmington Head Coach CB McGrath all took a seat to watch the 6-foot-10 center from Eastview.  Crowl gave them the show they were looking for, and more.  At 6-foot-10 Crowl is one of the best passing bigs you will see and his soft, feathery touch around the basket led to constant quick off the feet finishes above his opponents.

What the schools want to see is how Crowl moves at his size and most are likely satisfied.  Steven is quick off his feet to finish, he moves well up the floor using his long strides, coordination looks solid, and laterally moving around the ball screens Crowl has done well this summer.  He’s also made a fantastic pair with high school and 16u teammate Tate Machacek who had another strong performance on Friday.  Love the comfort Tate has as found moving off of both Crowl and within the framework.  You can tell guys expect Tate to be in spots by the rim as they breakdown the defense and he usually is catching to finish the possession.

Another pair of guys that played well for the Fury are Sam Opsahl of Goodhue and Nathan Heise of Lake City.  A pair of southern Minnesota players from good programs about similar sized.  Heise – who is about 6-foot-4 – has one of the best shooting touches you will ever see.  It’s so soft and picturesque that it has to rank with the best in Minnesota today.  He also had a good frame for a college wing.  Opsahl was the jack of all trades player locking down defensively, handling the ball, making his 5-6 shots, and sending the perfect feeds to Crowl.

Parker Makes his Point

Parker Nielson of Prescott, Wisconsin has been a fantastic player for Minnesota Select Cave this year and in a loss Friday morning his value took another step in a positive direction.

There are some players that just have a confidence and a feel for the space of the game that only comes with experience.  Parker made so many natural plays to lead his team Friday that a video package may not do it justice.  His ability to get through traps and move through ball screen defenders is among the best in Minnesota 16U.  He also uses his body very well to get the defender on his backside allowing Parker to finish plays. Nielson also created shots for others doing all the work so they could comfortably catch and complete.