Posted On: 08/7/18 5:06 PM

Over the next several days NHR is going to tackle several different items from the 17u season in relation to players, teams, and events.  We start with what teams met expectations, what teams exceeded expectations, and what teams underachieved. 

OneD1 Minnesota – Above Expectations.  With the talent that D1 Minnesota I believe everyone expected them to be a top team on the Adidas circuit all year long with a national ranking attached.  The overachieving came because of the way the team gelled, the way that Pat McCaffery fit in very well, and the way that Jamison Battle, Zeke Nnaji, and Tyler Wahl took their games and pushed them to a higher level while players like Matthew Hurt and Tyrell Terry gave what was expected without missing a beat.

Two.  Grassroots Sizzle – Achieved Expectations.  We have to remember that this team started two guys that are 16u level, another that is 15u, and a couple off the bench playing up as well.  They were young last year when they got their feet wet in UAA play, they were young this year when they finished above.500 in UAA events this year, and next year it’s a team that will likely be nationally ranked considering the talent they have.  

Three. Minnesota Fury – Above Expectations.  Fury had the talent to be good but they did things that I think were above and beyond what many thought they could.  Play D1 Minnesota to the final seconds?  Beat Houston Hoops EYBL squad?  Win 45 of 53 games? Play incredible team defense with unselfish offensive play the way they did?  Nobody could of predicted that.  As good as their starting five (six) were, I also thought that Isaiah Watts and Andy Stafford played great in their roles and Regan Tollefson made himself into a Northern Sun player (committed to U of Mary yesterday).

Four.  Howard Pulley – Above Expectations.  Coming into the year if you had told me Pulley was going to win 7 EYBL games out of 16 I don’t think I would have believed you (I was thinking about five).  Coach Harris commonly gets more out of his teams that expected and he really did that this year.  With Blaise Beauchamp and Lu’Cye Patterson playing up and performing well, and later joined by more young players in Kendall Brown and sometimes Trejuan Holloman, this team won 35 games overall.  Also, David Roddy had a great year and Antwan Kimmons proved to be steadier than expected.  

Five.  Minnesota Comets – Achieved Expectations.  The Comets were close to underachieving this year because they seemed to have a different roster for each of their first six events.  Injuries and absent players throughout the spring hurt the Comets in terms of Ws and Ls but for the games they struggled, the Comets more than made up for that with an excellent run the final four events.  Isaac Fink proved to be a consistent big number go-to guy, Matt Johnson had a great year, Jack Thompson played well, and Austin Jentzen really improved. 

Six. WOTN – Above Expectations.  The expectation is that WOTN is going to defend but they put together a very strong list of wins and they won 36 games!  Eli Mostaert, Tommy Jensen, and Gavin Patton became much better players than we knew they were and WOTN faced a tougher schedule than they’ve had in the past and did well.

Seven.  Heat Nelson.  Above Expectations.  This was one of the fun to watch teams of the year that really gelled and played fantastic basketball.  Jared Rainey proved to be one of the best guards in the state while names Ricky Eason, Elijah Barlue, Jacob Johnson, and Joshua Albers became known by many.  

Eight.  SE Minnesota Lightning.  Above Expectations.  If there is super over achieving the award goes to the Lightning.  A 32-9 record competing with teams that in early April we would have said they had no business competing with.  Jarvorius Toney, Drew Leistikow, Dylan Miller, and Sam Holtz put themselves on the map while Ethan Matzke looked like the player we saw before his injury. 

Nine.  SW Minnesota Stars.  Achieved Expectations.  The Stars are a constant defensive working group and their list of wins included many teams that may be bigger or faster but they did not work harder or play as well.  Cole Woodford was fantastic and how fun was it watching the Hansens defend!?!?!

Ten.  Heat MacDonald.  Undecided.  I have a hard time coming to a conclusion here.  Winning 62 percent of your games in high school gives you a 17-11 record.  Is that where this team should of been (31-19 on the year)?  I’m not sure.  Talent wise I think the team finished about where they were expected to but they have been together for a long time which made a couple of the upset Ls surprising.  Sam Schwartz proved himself as a D2 level guy this year. 

Comets K – Achieved Expectations – Won many games because they played great team ball

Mentality Minnesota – Above Expectations – 37 wins in their first year! Wow. 

Comets DLR – Achieved Expectations – Record wise they weren’t great but the team got better and they played as tough of a schedule as any second team will

Twin Cities Pirates – Under Expectations – Didn’t quite get to the level we thought they might with the talent they had

Howard Pulley Justice – Can’t judge this team in any way, they were put together for the final four events of the summer

Crossfire Belle – Under Expectations – After the great 16u year they had, I thought they would of had success like some others above them, but still had a solid year. 

44 Elite – Undecided – Tough to judge them as there really weren’t much for expectations.  Some good players played well, won 24 games

Fury Kaupa – Under Expectations – Late season slide led to more losses than they would like

D1 Minnesota Rise – Achieved Expectations – This club actually won more games and battled with good teams in a better way than expected.  

Select Leafblad – Under Expectations – It was a tough schedule but a 2-13 record against top 20 Minnesota teams is why they finished under .500 and didn’t win the games they were hoping to. 

Heat Henderson – Achieved Expectations – 26 wins!  A very solid year

D1 Minnesota Prospects – Achieved Expectations – I didn’t believe with my first view they would be above .500 but they were

Rip City – Above Expectations – A 22-12 mark on the year and some players that got a chance to be noticed.  Good season. 

E1T1 – Above Expectations – Never expected them to be in the top 25 but they fought their way into it.

Select Ellis – Above Expectations – This team finished much better than I expected them too.