The Howard Pulley Panthers have had plenty of big-time talent come through their program over the years, but for some reason, they still don't get the national respect.
The Panthers were omitted from TheInsidersHoop.com Top 25 Preseason Traveling Team Poll, but responded with a semifinal berth in this past weekend's Boo Williams tournament.
``We're just Minnesota and that says it all," Howard Pulley boss Rene Pulley said. "People just assume there isn't talent in Minnesota, but we prove them wrong year after year."
Pulley showed it with victories over the Miami Tropics, California Elite and the Greensboro Gaters before bowing out against the Illinois Warriors in the semis of the gold division.
``We start different lineups because we have interchangeable parts," Pulley added. "We have 10 talented kids and we don't lose anything when we substitute. We've got size, shooters and a good complement of outstanding future Division 1 players."
The amazing thing is that they did it this past weekend without arguably their top player –South Dakota native Joe Krabbenhoft, who has already committed to Wisconsin and is out for at least another month due to an injury.
But guys stepped up in his place. Sophomore Isaiah Dahlman (6-6, 175) earned all-tournament honors.
``Even though we're young, we have experience at every position because we all start on our high school teams," Dahlman said. "This past weekend was a good surprise, though."
``We played great this past weekend because we played up to our potential," Pulley added. "But I don't know if they'll be 15 when we go to the next tournament. Our biggest concern is consistency because they are so young."
Howard Pulley Panthers (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Coach: Ahmil Jihad, Reggie Perkins, Antwan Harris, Bo Powell, Mel Newbern, Orieon Thurston
Top Prospect: WG/WF Joe Krabbenhoft (6-7, JR)
Projected Starters: BF Cory Johnson (6-7, SOPH); PG Angelo Johnson (5-10, SOPH); PG Courtney Tyler (6-2, JR); BF Urule Igbavboa (6-8, JR); C Bryce Webster (6-10, SOPH); G Isaiah Dahlman (6-6, JR)
Opening Tourney: Boo Williams (Va.) – April 9-11
Famous Alum: Troy Bell