Posted On: 05/13/19 10:05 AM

D1 Minnesota was expected to win the 17u division and they did more than that, they dominated opponents.  

The 17U Champs – D1 Minnesota

D1 Minnesota had a full squad and they put together a complete team effort this weekend winning six games and improving their season record to 17-0 on the season.  This is a team that won’t have one guy scoring 20 or more points very often, the team balance is simply too great.  It was the formula for success of last year’s D1 Minnesota 17u team and looks to be the case even more so in 2019.  Each player had a role in the success so we go Basketball in Bullet Points to run through what we saw:

Austin Andrews:  The basketball intelligence of Andrews sometimes blows me away.  His natural reaction of catch and move to space is as good as it gets.  He makes plays like the behind the back pass to Dobbs or his turn and touch bank shot in reactionary ways.  A 6-foot-5 forward, I feel like Austin is more combo forward than people think. 

Dalton Banks:  Banks reminds me so much of former Park Center/North Dakota guard Quinton Hooker that it’s a bit odd.  Banks has a motor and a defensive understanding that makes opposing guards very comfortable with each initial read.  Love his consistency of delivery and opportunistic bucket attack. 

Kendall Brown: My appreciation for what Kendall Brown can do was brought to another level this weekend.  For one, he just turned 16 years old!  All that ability in a player that is among the youngest in his grade.  At 6-foot-8 and explosive it’s like Brown has somehow added another seven inches to his vertical bounce putting himself in Jericho Sims/Rodney Williams territory of arial ridiculousness.  And every time Kendall grabs a defensive board you have the feeling something big is coming the other way.  A guarantee for his team in transition.  Five star prospect?  For life.  

Ben Carlson:  With eyes on D1 Minnesota three times yesterday I thought Ben was the most consistent rebounder on the team, he was at the rim with his lunchpail completing plays, and we saw his range at least once each game.  So much stronger than most even at the 17u level but has agility with it. 

Connor Christensen:  Connor is what they call a program guy.  The player that leads on and off the floor.  People navigate to him and he provides the leadership.  Defensively he is an A+.  One of the best defensive talk, effort, and position guys I have ever seen.  And at 6-foot-6 he was hitting jumpers again yesterday.  Division one schools he will make your team better.  Join Air Force in offering or be sorry. 

Steven Crowl:  Steven has stepped right in and fit so well for this team.  Why?  Because Crowl’s basketball upbringing has taught him how to play within a team concept on both ends and Crowl blends right in.  At 6-foot-10 he’s shown touch from four feet and 14 feet, he’s contesting attempts with length all over the court, and on a team that passes the ball as well as D1 does, Crowl’s basket run is often fed. 

Drake Dobbs:  The secret ingredient to this team is Drake Dobbs.  That quick burst to the angle that not only beats a defender to the spot with quickness but also strength to leverage by, it was seen over and over again.  This is a team with high major players lurking all over and when Dobbs is collapsing the defense from the top of the key it’s impossible to defend. 

Dawson Garcia: If a player on this team is going for consistent double digits it will be Dawson.  His combination of of perimeter jumper, transition completions, dribble attack against other bigs, and low post game commonly led to team high totals.  Dawson is an alpha male scorer and anybody that watched Prior Lake this year is a aware, but he conforms well with this team. 

Kerwin Walton:  Kerwin is a total game changer with his jumpshot which is why yesterday’s title game with Fundamental U went from a one score contest to a blowout in minutes.  Walton’s four first half threes were a key part of a game clinching 18-0 first half run.  Walton has also worked hard to become a relentless, consistent position defender.