Program Spotlight: Pulley Panthers

Minnesota, in particular Minneapolis, generally isn't thought of as a hotbed for college prospects. However, the Class of 2003 in the Twin Cities area appears to be the best collection of talent that part of the country has seen in a while. In turn, the Pulley Panthers should be loaded.

Pulley Panthers Should Be Loaded

Tony Yazbeck of the Pulley Panthers likes the group of kids they have to work with next season. In fact, Yazbeck likes them more than any other group they've had in recent memory.

"Top to bottom, this is probably our best group ever," Yazbeck said of the collection of talent that lives in the Minneapolis area and will lace them up for the Pulley Panthers this spring and summer.

"We might not have the great player but (Kris) Humphries is awful good."

Humphries, from Hopkins, will have his pick of colleges when he decides to commit. Minnesota, Louisville, Duke, UNC, Michigan State, UCLA, Texas and Iowa are in there, according to Yazbeck. He's a can't miss prospect," Yazbeck said. "He has all the skills. He's willing to work hard to get better. He's the gem of the class."

Charged with the task of getting Humphries the ball will be Minneapolis North's Cameron Taylor. "He's the best point guard in the state," says Yazbeck. "Upside is tremendous and he'll be a legitimate 6-3 when it's all done. He's the closest thing to Troy Bell we've had in a while." Florida, Michigan State and Maryland have noticed his skills.

St. Thomas Academy combo forward Dan Fitzgerald isn't bad either. "He plays for me at my high school so I'm biased," Yazbeck said. "Needs to get weight on. He can guard anyone from a 1-to-4 on the court. He'll end up high major. Minnesota, Iowa, Boston College are interested. Marquette has offered. He'll probably be at the Nike Camp. He can hop over anybody and shoot over the top. Now, he's incorporating the ability to put the ball on the floor and keep defenses honest."

Another Hopkins standout, combo guard Darren Clarke will play in the backcourt. "He's got a lot of skills. He has all the ability in the world. Marquette really likes him quite a bit. He's a scorer/slasher. He's going to have to improve defensively. He's a Big Ten, Big 12 player."

Dan Coleman, yet another Hopkins player, will play the power forward. "He's a legit 6-9 and very versatile and athletic." Yazbeck thinks he's "on the cusp" of being a high-major guy. Shooting guard Kevin Henderson of North will be a big contributor as well. "He's probably the meanest kid we have," Yazbeck said, meaning, "mean" as a positive. "I wouldn't trade him for the world. He eats glass. He's a combo guy."

Lawrence McKenzie from Patrick Henry will also get some burn in the backcourt. "He's very smart. He's a coach's son." Yazbeck says schools like Wisconsin and Nebraska are interested.

So, how many of these guys will wind up being recruited by the Gophers? "Obviously, they want Humphries bad," Yazbeck said. "They may mess with two or three of them, they may mess with all of them."

The Pulley Panthers will once again play a very aggressive traveling team schedule that will showcase them in the following events: Peach Jam, Super Showcase, Boo Williams Invitational, Sabes Family Foundation Invitational, St. Louis Eagles Invitational, Memorial Day Classic and Rumble in the Bronx.

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