Posted On: 05/13/19 11:23 AM
Another year, another Battle at the Lakes event with a deeper field and outstanding talent. Here are the Sunday Headliners from Wayzata High School.
John Poulakidas – Know the Name
One of the top 2-3 players at the Prep Hoops Battle at the Lakes this weekend was John Poulakidas, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Naperville, Illinois. John is a left handed high percentage finisher that took his team to the 16u finals sometimes carrying his team on his back.
D1 Minnesota has a talented team comprised half of 2021s and half of 2022s and while their squad may be deeper, that roster just didn’t have a player that could figure out John Poulakidas. Poulakidas is a left handed space creating genius. The ball fakes and jab steps to get a player off balance led to John seeing his opportunity and like a predator John attacked that space to get to his pull-up. Even defenders that were able to recover were too late because John’s length and pretty touch led to a touched in completion.
It’s a scary formula really – make one small defensive shift mistake and that fraction of a second being off balance is all John needs to pounce and ruin your day. John ruined the day of D1 Minnesota 13 times over by completing a ridiculous 13 of 19 shooting in the 16u semi-final, a total that included five three-pointers. Add in eight rebounds and it was one of the most dominating individual performances of the weekend, but it came in the semis.
Mason Madsen – Speak the Truth
Mason Madsen and Gabe Madsen are twin brothers from Rochester Mayo High School/Wisconsin Playground Warriors and both are very, very good. With age they have of course become different types of players but excellent individual prospects nonetheless. Mason is the type of shooter at 6-foot-3 that has earned his scholarship offers, and we believe more will come (William & Mary offered this weekend). Especially considering the way Mason played in the Twin Cities this weekend.
Mason scored 22.1 points per game this winter as a junior at Mayo High and a big piece of that scoring formula is Mason’s beautiful three point shooting touch. Mason’s so quick to use a dribble and get into his shot that defenders can’t react and did we mention that release? When you see Mason provide that release it gives you a confidence of completion nearly every time. It’s almost comforting.
The Playground Warriors left the Twin Cities angry with their loss to Fundamental U but Mason held his head high scoring 21 points in the semi-final loss. Not only did his three-point stroke grab your attention but I think Mason is an underrated, or maybe under-appreciated defender. Type of guy that ends the hopes of a basket attack with high effort lateral steps. Another piece to Mason’s game that was very productive was the transition push. He either pushed rim, pulled up, or found a fellow wing (Gabe or Johnny Davis) for high percentage attempts.
One of the Weekend’s Best – Jayden Johnson
Fundamental U had a fantastic run this weekend led by guard Connor Kochera, post Connor Linke, and especially 6-foot 6 Batavia forward Jayden Johnson. Jayden averaged 16.5 points and 4.4 rebounds a game this winter shooting 52 percent from 2-point range (100 of 191) and 72 percent from the free-throw line while also sinking 71 threes.
This weekend in the Twin Cities Johnson also shot a high percentage from the three point arc making an unofficial count of 14 of his 30 attempted three-pointers including some huge makes in the semi-final win over the Playground Warriors. Not only did Johnson hit crucial threes late in the game against PGC to tie the game and take the lead, he made seven from the arc for the game total!
Sunday alone Johnson scored 58 points all together in a three game title contest run. He’s a strong 6-foot-6 at about 200 pounds that can do some work rebounding, shouldering players for space scoring near the basket, and of course Jayden has been filling it up while stationed around the half circle.
There are 13 division one schools in Illinois, time to get to work gentlemen!
The D1 Minnesota Youth
D1 Minnesota’s 15 and Under team won the 2019 Battle at the Lakes while there 16 and Under team lost in the quarters. On those teams combined are 15 2022 players that caught our attention.
Starting with the older group Camden Heide – a 6-foot-6 wing from Wayzata High School – is going to be one of the better shooters/bucket getters in the class. Trejuan Holloman and Prince Aligbe are talented and deserve all the recognition they get. Must be said though, Heide is going to be right there with them as he is not only skilled but explosive going at the rim as well.
Also playing up on the D1 16s that were freshman a year ago are Elvis Nnaji of Hopkins, Kendall Blue of East Ridge, and Jackson Loge of Morris Area. Nnaji is a 6-foot-8 big with the frame and agility that scream “big potential” while the 6-foot-7/6-foot-8 Loge is coming off a 17.8 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game freshman campaign at Morris Area. Throw in the big size, big potential game of Blue on the wing and it’s a nice group.
But wait, there’s more. Malcolm Jones, Dylan Wheeler and the D1 Minnesota 15s took the challenge of Wisconsin Playground Warriors and Wisconsin Crusaders on Sunday earning gold. Jones is the brother of Robert Jones (Denver signed center) and Malcolm plays with a real aggressive edge. Loves the position fight but has a soft touch too. Speaking of soft touch, Dylan Wheeler scored 13.4 a game at Mounds View this year and then this weekend made clutch baskets to put away PGC.
Also on this D1 Minnesota 15s is Joe Hurlburt, a 6-foot-9 big that put together an 18 point, 13 rebound per game season at Enderlin (ND) High School. Gus Hurlburt, the brother of Joe, also plays for the D1 15s and he’s coming off an 11 point, seven rebound per game frosh year. More talent to watch is BJ Omot from Mankato East and the Osseo pair Bernard Omooria and Joshua Ola-Joseph. Omooria is known for the dozen points he had versus Park Center in the section playoffs while Ola-Joseph has been the D1 15s leading scorer a number of times already this spring.
Beau Frericks of RWA continues to be one of the best shooters that laces up and competes on the Prep Hoops Circuit. More proof of that was given when he scored 15 points against the number one 17u team in the country yesterday. Add in ball handling as a combo, a nice touch to score on the move, and the feet set destruction of the opposition and you have a tough player to deal with.
Winning the 17U Regional was a 16 and Under team that has several 2022s! That was Grassroots Sizzle Weston, a team that is now 10-0 on the season. The biggest headliner is likely Chris Morgan from Ashwaubenon of Wisconsin, a guard that put up 13 points a game this winter shooting 36 plus percent at the arc and 80 percent at the foul line. Also in the backcourt of the Sizzle is Willie Wilson, a nine point per game scorer on the Minneapolis North state tournament team. The shooter? Donovan Smith, a 40 3pt percent shooter for a state title this winter
Maranatha Christian Academy big Chase Carter is one of the toughest low posts to deal with in the 16u division. He scored 7.4 points per game with 5.3 rebounds for MCA, one of the most balanced teams in the state. Throw in explosive Isiah Davis of Apple Valley (8pg as a sophomore) and you have a dangerous club.