17U Postseason Series: Top Pick and Roll Ball Handlers


Posted On: 08/8/18 11:00 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. Today we hit on some of the guys who we deem the most trustworthy in ball screen actions.

Pick and roll is a staple of practically every AAU offense. It’s simplicity makes it an ideal action in accelerated seasons. A well-executed one can lead to so many good results while a poor one can stagnate what feels like the entire game. Defending ball handlers who know how to negotiate ball screen defense can be a headache.

Here are some guys who look at their best when using using ball screens:

Issac Fink – Comets Lewis

Fink isn’t characterized as a point guard but he handles the ball and initiates offense as well as any guard in the state. At 6-foot-4, he doesn’t need a great deal of space to elevate and shoot over guys typically guarding him — a decent screen usually supplies him with ample time and space for a quality look. He’s a difficult cover in pick and roll actions because he can see over helf defenders and his court awareness and passing ability is top-notch.

Jared Rainey – MN Heat Nelson

Rainey made the most of his first year on varsity during the high school season with Maple Grove, averaging better than 13 points and 5.5 assists and certainly proved his mettle this summer as a leader for Heat Nelson. Rainey puts a lot of pressure on the defense in ball screen actions as he’s always looking to either turn the corner quickly or split hedges and get into the paint. He’s a solid mid-range shooter and a terrific finisher.

Tommy Jensen – WOTN

There aren’t many players who look more comfortable running ball screen actions than Jensen. The Lakeville North senior averaged 11.2 points per game in his first season starting for the Panthers. He showed he’s fully capable of excelling in an offense not built around pick and roll last winter, but he’s shown just how effective he can be in that situation this summer with WOTN. Jensen is patient with the ball and does a great job probing the defense to either get to his spot in the mid range, all the way to the rim or to an area where he can draw an extra defender and feed an open teammate.

Jacob Beeninga – Fury Wilde

Perhaps the most entertaining offensive player in the 2019 class, Beeninga is a savant with the ball in his hands. His shooting range extends well beyond the 3-point line, which means his defenders needn’t dare duck under ball screens. Beeninga isn’t just a long bomber though, as his mid range game and ability to finish in the paint over length set his game apart from most other guards in the state.

Jackson Jangula – Comets Kirchner

Jangula’s proven he can distribute the ball during the high school season but he showed this summer playing with Comets how much scoring juice he’s got in the tank. Jangula shoots it well out to the 3-point line and doesn’t need a lot of space to do so and he’s at his best when he’s using his explosiveness to split gaps in pick and roll and get to the rim. 

Malik Willingham – MN Select

Another one of the most entertaining pure scorers in the state, Willingham’s floor game has improved a lot over the course his career. Willingham’s scoring ability isn’t ball screen dependent but he’s excellent in those situations. The ultimate heat-check shooter, Willingham puts pressure on defenders with his ability and willingness to put up shots well beyond the 3-point line. At 6-foot-2, he’s got the size, strength and burst to wreak havoc on help defenders in the paint and he’s improved a great deal as a facilitator.