Posted On: 04/30/19 6:00 AM
Many of the top 17U and, especially, 16U teams at Hard Work Live played at the Sports Enhancement Academy Verona complex. I, too, was there all weekend!
Here are the small forwards who showed the most college potential:
John Sutherland (2020) | 6-6 | Northern Lakers 17U / Grand Rapids (MN)
The big wing is a matchup problem because of his combination of ball skills and size. Sutherland allows for lineup flexibility, as he can play either forward spot. Likes to attack the basket — whether that’s from the perimeter or after facing-up in the high-post. Finishes through contact. Sutherland made good decisions at a stand-still but didn’t showcase court vision on the move in tight spaces. Provides rebounding and shot-blocking.
Brian Brooks (2019) | 6-4 | The Work Foundation 17U / John Marshall (IL)
Brooks is a physical player who lived on the glass all weekend — proving too strong to be kept off the glass when he crashed. Athletic kid who can defend up a position because of his length and power. Brooks knows how to get to the rim and showed touch, even when he was bumped.
Mark Leonard (2020) | 6-4 | Minnesota Laceup 17U / Century (MN)
Leonard projects as a perimeter wing at the next level, yet did most of his damage in the paint for an undersized MN Laceup team. Using a strong frame, Leonard scored from the mid-post, on drives, and sprinkled in a couple put-backs. Truly finished everything. Capable of defending big because of his power. Flashed the ability to shoot from distance.
Kaleb Skelly (2021) | 6-4 | Minnesota Heat – Johnson 16U / Spring Lake Park (MN)
Skelly sprints the floor consistently — and by “consistently,” we mean every single play — and found a lot of easy buckets through sheer hustle. Challenges shot-blockers at the rim with strong takes. Good touch through contact. Skelly flashes the ability to shoot it and takes care of the ball when he handles it.
Ryan Miles (2021) | 6-4 | Minnesota Fury – 16U / Richfield (MN)
Minnesota Fury had a big team and Miles made sure it was capitalized on by getting the ball to his posts. He even drove it in himself. A big wing, Miles can get to the basket by using his body on straight-line-drives. Likes to make drop-down passes to the block. Miles can board it and likes to push pace when he finishes the defensive possession.
Mohamed Ahmed (2019) | 6-7 | Rip City 17U / Como Park (MN)
Ahmed is a tall, slender wing with the tools to defend three positions at the next level. Importantly, he knows how to switch, too. Blocked shots on help-side or when defending the dribble-drive.
Offensively, he likely won’t be a kid who is asked to handle the ball a ton his first few years in college. Ahmed, however, will provide scoring with his shooting ability and straight-line-drive. Quick first step and the athleticism to finish in traffic. Shows vision and passing ability in the lane. Adding size to his frame would take his game to a new stratosphere — and that may very well happen in due time.
Mahad Faisal (2020) | 6-5 | Minnesota Heat – Dimond 17U / Chaska (MN)
A mobile 6-foot-5 wing with light feet and lateral quickness, Faisal has the physical tools to defend multiple spots. He, in fact, impacted the game defensively by always being in the right position and staying in front of his man when they had the ball. Faisal has a slight frame but can get to the free throw line with his style of play. He’s a stop-and-start type attacker who changes speeds and direction very well. Prone to losing his handle when crowded. Faisal really shot it well and came up with rebounds from the weak-side.