Posted On: 04/30/19 12:08 PM
This past weekend the Prep Hoops Circuit traveled to Madison for the spring live period, where talent was flourishing in front of college coaches of all levels. Many of Minnesota’s top teams and prospects took part in the event, and we break down a handful of the players who stood out at the 17u level.
Josh Rogers (6’3 2020 W, MN Fury-Kallman)- Josh Rogers looked much improved from when I saw him last with Minneapolis Washburn in the high school season. The long and wiry wing was forced to play a lot of big for a team lacking height, but he was up to the task, making up for his lack of size in the post with his athleticism and long arms. He was tenacious on the boards and also found success as a shot blocker. On the offensive end he was showing his skill set as a wing, finishing inside off of cuts and putbacks, knocking down outside jumpers, and punishing the rim in transition with his impressive vertical. He finished with 24 points against ABC Young Lions, and was a nice looking wing prospect.
Jordan Merseth (6’5 2020 C, MN Rise)- Looking for great post footwork? Look no further than Jordan Merseth. He was a wizard on the block for Minnesota Rise, making his defenders look silly with an array up post moves and ball fakes that led to a lot of buckets inside. At 6’5 he doesn’t have the best height for a center, but he has a strong frame that allows him to push taller defenders around on the block. It seemed that every time he got the ball in the post he was going to score, or at the very least get a good look at the basket. Jordan also showed the occasional ability to knock down an outside jumper, and displayed some perimeter ball skills. He’ll be a key piece in what figures to be a loaded Mankato East squad next year.
Nate Heise (6’4 2020 G, MN Fury-Zurn)- Heise continued his strong AAU season with another big weekend on the Prep Hoops Circuit. He displayed his usual shooting ability, knocking down shots with confidence and a quick trigger with distance well beyond the arc. His ability to push the ball in transition is something that really stood out, as he really gets Fury going as a team when he plays with pace. Nate has great hands on defense that allow him to force turnovers, where he is then able to push the other way for easy baskets for both himself and his teammates. Heise also showed off his explosiveness with a few dunks, including an alley-oop in transition. Having gained a number of D2 offers in recent months, the D1’s were also in attendance to see the stock-riser, and he made sure to leave an impression.
Simeon Sharp (6’1 2020 G, RIP City)- Simeon was one of the quickest guards I saw all weekend, and he was effective using that quickness to leave defenders in his dust. He found himself getting to the rack consistently with his ball handling and quick first step, and was a crafty finisher around the rim. Despite playing at such a fast pace, Simeon rarely looked out of control, and always kept his head up when attacking the rim to keep his options open. He was a big numbers guy in the St. Paul City Conference, and that scoring ability carried over to the weekend in Madison.
Jacob Stolzenberg (6’2 2020 G, MN Matrix)- Jacob Stolzenberg was ripping through the nets all weekend long with his sharp shooting from beyond the arc. It seemed that he couldn’t miss as he knocked down shot after shot from outside. In a game against Gallo Sports Center, Jacob finished with 27 points while knocking down 7 threes with his quick release. The shots he knocked down weren’t wide open set shots either, as he was coming off screens and pulling up off the dribble over the outstretched hands of his defender. He was one of the most impressive shooters at the event, and was a key piece in MN Matrix’s success in Madison.
Charlie Katona (6’6 2020 SF, MN Fury-Zurn)- The D1’s were in attendance to watch the skill and versatility of Fury’s Charlie Katona. The 6’6 wing prospect did a little bit of everything for Fury, showing his range by knocking down threes, getting to the bucket off the dribble, and running the floor in transition for slashing buckets. Against a scrappy North Florida Hurricanes squad, Charlie had some tough finishes through hard contact, keeping his chin pointed at the rim and finishing calmly through the hits. He was putting up efficient double-digit scoring games all weekend long, and is a legit Division One prospect moving forward throughout the AAU season.
Jacob Jennissen (6’11 2020 C, MN Matrix)- One of the most intriguing prospects in the gym was the 6’11 big man Jacob Jennissen. Jennissen is a guy who’s shot up in our recent 2020 state rankings, and that rise is for good reason as he displayed potential and improvements all weekend long. Despite constantly facing physical defense and double teams in the post, Jacob remained calm and kept his balance when looking to score inside. He’s capable of quickly exploding the rim for dunks and finishes, and does well to keep the ball where shorter defenders can’t reach it when he goes up for putbacks. Jennissen was also physical on the boards, and grabs everything with two hands before chinning the rock and outletting to his guards.
Tait Nelson (5’10 2020 PG, MN Heat-Vang)- Tait is a big number guy for St. Anthony Village during the high school season, and showed off some of that scoring ability this past weekend. Against a South Dakota Attack squad that was arguably the best team in the field, Tait was effective on both ends. He was fearless attacking the rim and finishing over height, and has a quick pull-up that was consistently drawing his defenders off guard. On the defensive end Tait is a scrapper, and was creating multiple turnovers with his intensity and quick hands. He’s one of those players that makes opposing point guards work to get anything set up offensively.