Posted On: 05/11/19 8:55 AM

The Battle at the Lakes 17u opener included a 30+ point performance from a top 5 Iowa player, several Wisconsin standouts, and a good warm-up for the Wisconsin Playground Warriors. 

Wetzel for 30

Six-foot-4 shooting guard Jack Wetzel is a top five 2020 talent out of Iowa that heard from South Dakota State, Northern Iowa, Colorado State, NDSU and Princeton after the open period.  What makes Wetzel the type of prospect that had college coaches likely spending their Friday night watching Ballers TV?

Before we get to his Friday night Battle debut it’s important that we quickly review the impact that Wetzel had on his Cedar Rapids Kennedy team.  In 22 games Wetzel scored 17.8 points a contest grabbing 6.6 rebounds a contest while also leading his team in steals.  Wetzel was a 44.1 percent shooter as a junior which is even more impressive when you consider more than half of Jack’s shots were taken from the arc.  With schools needing shooters now more than ever Jack made nearly 38 percent of his three-pointers plus 81.5 percent of his foul shots. 

Wetzel has division one schools calling of course but there is also a long list of division two programs hoping he will land at their level.  That’s why Bemidji State, Minnesota State-Moorhead, Minnesota-Crookston, Minnesota-Duluth, Minot State, St. Cloud State, Sioux Falls, Upper Iowa, and Winona State all stood observing as Wetzel made seven three pointers and scored a game high 32 points against the Wisconsin Starz Elite. 

The Wisconsin players weren’t sure who Jack was early so he moved to the wing/corner to hit a pair of early threes.  Quickly it became obvious that players were going to need to help teammates heavily off screens and all Starz players knew that they had to go full blast with a closeout when the ball went to Wetzel.  Problem was though, when wild hands came at Wetzel to bother his release, I’m not even sure Jack blinked.  It was an even distribution of drainage with Wetzel locked in on the rim.  Gain Elite won their opener 79-67 and move on to play All In Gold, one of 64 Adidas Gauntlet programs this year, at 9am Saturday morning.  

Gabe Madsen

Let’s Talk Gabe Madsen

Gabe stands either 6-foot-5 or 6-foot-6 and he’s easy to spot on the floor.  So what gives it away?  The unique pony tail (think David Beckham or Clay Matthews) is one item that catches the eye, as does one of the tallest guys on the floor effortlessly flowing through mid-game traffic for transition scores at the rim.  Or perhaps it’s the soft stroking NBA three-point makes (scored on five of them Friday night) that had people nodding and saying “that’s the Rochester stud”.  

Gabe, brother Mason, and father (and head coach) Luke Madsen arrived at Mayo High School before their sophomore season from Wisconsin with a lot of interest.  It was additional talent for the state of Minnesota to enjoy, and it was clear that Gabe and Mason were division one players.  For me it was a winter viewing of Gabe that assured me he was a high major talent. Players at 6-foot-6 rarely have Madsen’s skill level and in the Border Battle everything was confirmed.  Last night against the Minnesota Bulldogs, Gabe had five threes and two dunks for a 19 point, baseline video guy entertaining evening. 

Madsen recently picked up a scholarship offer from new Virginia Tech Head Coach Mike Young and Michigan was recently in Rochester to see Gabe workout/play.  Michigan is expected to continue to pursue Gabe through the summer and message to college coaches, if John Beilein has his eyes on a player, you should have eyes on that player.  Wisconsin Playground Warriors is one of the favorites to bring home Battle gold so we will track them closely this weekend at Wayzata High School. 

Gerald Gittens Jr.

It’s a (Rap), Podziemski & Gittens Can Go

Wisconsin Rap’s first game opponent the South Dakota Network had a miserable time dealing with the aggressive ball pressure trap that the Rap hit them with early and often.  That’s why the Wisconsin club had a 37-9 lead and put away the Network 70-28 setting up a big game with All Iowa Attack today at 9am.  

The Rap was led by 6-foot-5 2021 forward Brandin Podziemski from St John’s Northwestern Military High School.  Brandin Averaged 22.5 points and 9.3 rebounds as a sophomore making 45 percent of his 205 attempts from three-point range.  Last night Brandin took advantage of a scrambled defense to knock out three treys and score 21 points with seven boards. Podziemski made his final five shots and the South Dakota kids didn’t have a match up for him.

The top defender for me was Gerald Gittens Jr along with Justin Steinike.  Both harassed ball handlers to the point of embarrassment but it was the strong build and active feet of Gittens that really demoralized the Network early.  Gittens, who came to St. John’s Military Academy by way of Brooklyn, New York, averaged 15.8 points and 6.5 assists per game this winter.  Last night the listed 6-foot-1 guard had 14 points (two threes made), five boards, and four assists.

Shooter Alert! Shooter Alert!

Treyton Zastrow zapped the Minnesota Bulldogs with six threes and 20 points on Friday.  Every three that Zastrow made brought smiles to the faces of Zastrow’s Playground Warriors Basketball club teammates igniting the full group of reserves enjoying life in the 80s Maple Grove folding chairs.   PGC won the game so handily we will save the opponents from the embarrassment of the final tally, and six of the Playground players were in double figures led by Treyton’s 20s.

Treyton Zastrow

Zastrow averaged 24 points and 3.2 assists as a junior shooting 86 percent from the foul line and 47 percent from three-point range.  Treyton made 70 of 150 attempts at the arc and last night it was clear to all how his percentages are so high. 

Battle Notes

  • SD Network guard Kesean Ladd of SF Lincoln scored four times against the Rap pressure.  The 6-foot-3 senior-to-be was able to evade multiple defenders at times showing a soft touch to score four jumpers.  It wasn’t his best shooting game but his ability to get to space was clear. 
  • Hunter Kostrous of SD Network/Yankton High School is 6-foot-9 and entering his senior year.  Hunter had a game high six boards and scored three times vs Wisconsin Rap. 
  • The first double-double of the Battle at the Lakes came from Cole Chapman, a 6-foot-10 center from Mahtomedi High School and Gain Elite.  We know that Chapman had at least 11 boards and ten points and at least eight of those boards were offensive.  There were just so many possessions where Chapman had multiple o-boards it was tough to mentally track them all. 
  • With Trevon Chisholm playing with the Wisconsin Starz we assume the 2019 is still available and as a 6-foot-6 power forward coming off a 14.5 point and 7.6 rebound per game season at McFarland HS there is some interest there.  Especially considering how hard Trevon played to open the evening.