Posted On: 07/26/19 10:56 PM
The PrepHoops Hard Work Region Finals kicked off on Friday in Minnesota. It was a fun day of hoops with competitive games throughout the day as teams are fighting for a summer long championship! Read about what I saw in PrepHoops Hard Work Finals: Scotty B’s Friday Notebook!
Capital City Teamwork 16U Win Opener in Fun Game vs Wisconsin Rap
What a great way to start on Friday as Capital City Teamwork out of Springfield, Illinois battled Wisconsin Rap in the first round of 16U games. Early on it was Wisconsin Rap who jumped out to a lead behind the play of their big man Reece Sproul. The post displayed a soft touch around the hoop and was efficient on the block finishing with 15 points. Riley Simonz caught fire from deep recording 12 points. A name to remember for the Wisconsin squad is Najashi Tolefree. The 2022 wing playing up has projectability and a smooth scoring game. Michael Ousley from Springfield Lanphier got things going for the central Illinois squad. Slick scoring combo guard who works well from the mid-range with his jumper. Also had several impressive slashes en route to 18 points. I continue to be impressed with the playmaking of Shane Miller at the point for this squad. This 6’1” Springfield High product has good strength, gets others involved with excellent passing, and can take over scoring when he needs to. Recorded 12 points. Another pair of 2021 guards that played well were RJ Walker (Decatur Eisenhower) and TJ Price (Lanphier). Each scored 11 points. This group added top 10 2022 Tye Banks who normally runs with Meanstreets. The two guard is a strong scoring wing that did most of his damage in the paint for 7 points. Capital City Teamwork won 70-59.
Wisconsin Rap Impressive 17U Duo
I have become a big fan of Wisconsin Rap 2021 Brandin Podziemski watching him on the PrepHoops Circuit. He is looking like a future D1 two guard with his lefty game. Smooth ball handler that rips through and goes right by his defender. Finishes with nifty conversions as well as explosions inside. Plus shooter from three as well. Went for 16 points in opening win. Shilo Bowels is a nice sized forward that provided athleticism and slashing ability. Also was quick to the glass for 16 points.
Niego and Moustakas Shine in Narrow Chicago Lockdown 17U Win
Chicago Lockdown was the lower seed in their matchup with Team 1848, but with the talent on the Lockdown roster it wasn’t a surprise that they recorded a 71-68 victory to move on to round 2! The biggest reasons for that were the play of inside-outside duo Grant Niego and Luke Moustakas. Lyons 2020 point guard Grant Niego played one of the best games we have seen out of him during his career. He had it all working. Scored on threes, runners, and got to the free throw line for 28 points. Also did a nice job running the show! Moustakas is a 2021 power forward from Brother Rice that is a pick and pop face up four. Showcased that opening with three triples to begin the game. Stretches the floor and knocked down his free throws. Did a nice job on the glass as well finishing with 22 points.
Young & Reckless Boateng 17U Pieces Together Win in OT
It wasn’t the Y&R Boateng team we are used to seeing as they were missing most of their normal players, but they pieced together an overtime 66-64 win against the Iowa Mavs. It wasn’t pretty at times, but they got the win. Christian Shumate from Plainfield East was able to showcase more of his perimeter game in this one. Slashed and got out in transition along with crashing the glass with his high-motor. He had monster first half finishing with 24 points. Top 5 2020 Geneseo small forward Isaiah Rivera displayed his crafty scoring game on several tough drives and pull up jumpers for his 14 points. When the game was on the line they went to Alex Wood. The Normal U-High point guard beat his man off the bounce for a spinning layup to win it. He had 10 points. Naperville Central post Chris Conway made news off the court on Friday (see below), but also flashed his D1 potential in the game handling in the open floor and scoring in the paint for 10 points.
Illinois Battle – Young & Reckless Denard Knocks off Gateway 17U
This was one of the games we circled when the schedule game out. A lot of under the radar talent on the floor in this game from the state of Illinois. Young & Reckless Denard got the win 74-65. It was a breakout game from Walter Payton 2020 small forward Jabari Chiphe. Played with the most confidence we have seen out him in a while coming off the NCAA Camp. Made quick and aggressive moves along with knocking down mid-range jumpers for 22 points. Leo power forward Kendale Anderson is a grown man on the interior! Against a much smaller Gateway squad Anderson mauled on the interior for second chance points and played physical inside recording 13 points and double digit rebounds. Best we have seen St. Ignatius shooting guard Dan Florey in the last couple months. The shooter knocked down a trio of threes, but it was his passing that shined finding his teammates for good looks in the half court. Gateway Illinois was once again led by Collinsville point guard Ray’Sean Taylor. The top 20 2020 prospect has that “it” factor you can’t teach. Scores effectively from all three levels. Lives in the lane with his dribble penetration. Went for 16 points. Alton 2020 shooting guard Moory Woods has really come into his own over the last couple months. The athletic wing was great in this one using his acrobatics at the cup, high pointing rebounds, and competing on the defensive end for 17 points.
Team Factory 16U Shows Depth in Opener
It isn’t all about Chucky Hepburn for Team Factory as they showed they are a team that can definitely win the 16U pool. The Nebraska squad is most noted for the play of their compact scoring point guard. The 2021 standout Hepburn did a nice job of mixing up slippery drives as well as finding his teammates for dimes. Frankie Fidler knocked down a ton of threes. Greg Brown is a wing that drilled stop and pop jumpers. Tyler Sandoval is a post to watch at 6’7”. He has decent mobility and is efficient around the cup.
Six Man Illinois Bears Zurliene 17U Cruises to Blowout Win
With only six guys the Illinois Bears Zurliene squad picked up a 57-37 victory over Wisconsin Hoops Select in 17U play. I continue to say that Caleb Zurliene is a no doubt low-major prospect. The 6’4” long and lanky wing had a reverse jam the minute I sat down. His back was hurting a little, but that didn’t stop him from consistently attacking the basket with explosive drives. Also hit the glass and was great dishing it putting up a stat line of 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists. Freeburg two guard Luke Ervie put together a solid contest knocking in a couple threes and using his strength inside recording 12 points. Jacob Schadegg did his usual damage from deep for 9 points. Daulton Burgner out of Altoff will make a fine small college player with his versatility. He had 12 points. 2022 Brady Moore was playing up a couple age levels and he more than held his own recording 7 points.
Malachi Key One to Monitor
A prospect that continues to intrigue us is Rock Island 6’6” 2020 power forward Malachi Key. He flashed again in the first half of the QC Ballers loss to Wisconsin Rap. Key is a kid that when engaged is a quality rebounder. He has length and athleticism. Confidently knocked down a couple threes.
Jeffery Oakley Game Winner
Team M.O.R.E. picked up a 60-59 win over Wisconsin Academy in thrilling fashion. Their bouncy forward Jeffery Oakley crashed the glass in the final seconds for a put back that won the game at the buzzer. He had 21 points in the victory.
Devon Vanderheydt Emerges for Peoria Area Elite 16U
Washington 6’6” forward Devon Vanderheydt was very good stretching the floor with his shooting. Projects as a power forward that can really shoot the basketball. He drilled an array of threes both off the catch and in the pick/pop.
Christian Czerniak is Creative Playmaker
We caught a little of the All-In Williams 17U 64-41 opening round victory. Continue to like the evolution of St. Charles North guard Christian Czerniak. He is a creative ball handler that can shoot it and passes with a lot of flair!
3 Point and Dunk Contests a Success
The PrepHoops Hard Work Region hosted the first ever three point contest and dunk contests at the Finals. The three point winner was Josh Brown from Minnesota Heat who won 29-24 in the final round. The championship dunker was Zach Spann from Minnesota Magic who recorded a perfect score of 30 in the finals.
Chris Conway Commits to Oakland
The biggest news of the day on the recruiting trail came when Naperville Central post Chris Conway broke his commitment to Oakland on PrepHoops. You can see our video interview with him here.