Alex Conover - Northstar Hoops Report

Adidas Gauntlet: Thursday

Minnesota took a full staff from the Peach Jam to the Adidas Championships two hours north and our team at GI did the same with our coverage. McKinley Wright led his D1 Minnesota team over Texas Pro in an overtime battle as Wright had yet another all-around performance.

Minnesota took a full staff from the Peach Jam to the Adidas Championships two hours north and our team at GI did the same with our coverage.  McKinley Wright led his D1 Minnesota team over Texas Pro in an overtime battle as Wright had yet another all-around performance.

Wright and Davis Duel

In of the most interesting position versus position battles of the summer McKinley Wright of D1 Minnesota and Kendrick Davis of Texas Pro put on a show for the large number of schools watching.  Experience won out as it was Wright’s team that eventually moved on to the next round of this single elimination tournament.

Wright, who had head coaches from Minnesota, Xavier, and Dayton watching along with assistants from Texas and Iowa State, won the battle late with a couple left side attacks to the rim as well as clutch foul shots and a huge steal to change possession in overtime.  Wright scored 16 points with nine assists, and seven boards but it was more than the numbers, it was the desire to make the game winning play. 

McKinley’s attitude to push his team in the next round came with big plays, and in small ways.  There were of course the attacks to the left side (his non-dominant but also quality hand) and the two put-backs in the paint among the massive frontline of both teams.  A simple but intelligent key moment was Wright’s reversal to Nate Reuvers for a three and the same could be said when Wright made the right read to Jericho Sims cutting to the rim on a baseline in-bounds set.  All the late game decisions from McKinley put his team in the next round and that is why a team like Minnesota has a head coach courtside for his game and likely the upcoming games.

Five-foot-10 Kendric Davis is a year younger than McKinley (a 2018) but the ability is clear.  The 5-foot-10 Davis has a compact frame, an explosive floor push, and a zipping pass to the wing that Jules Moor and Jase Febres benefited from for a combined eight three-point makes.  Davis totaled seven assists and double figure scoring numbers (many of his dozen were on free throws) playing against one of the best lead guards in the nation on one of the best teams in the nation.

The Race, for Race!

D1 Minnesota 2018 Race Thompson has Minnesota, Northern Iowa, and Marquette offers and several other programs on the baseline watching him close.  Thompson is a 6-foot-7/6-foot-8 jack of all trades player who will one day be knocking out three or four treys and the next day finish around the basket like one of the more explosive four men in his class. 

In the first D1 Minnesota 16U game of the weekend Thompson was the talk of the Upward Stats Event Center because he made the right decisions on the perimeter, he finished inside, and Thompson played some of the point forward role.  With a high scoring number (21 points) double-double (11 rebounds) Thompson spent about a third of the game pushing as the lead guard but also had the sequence of a three-point make, a turnover creation into a push up the floor giving the ball to the wing, and then a rim-running catch and throw down.

This is what makes Race so intriguing to schools, his versatility.  Thompson can play either forward spot plus this is a young man with a big time pedigree (dad is a Gopher football legend and a Green Bay Packer veteran) who has an explosive frame but hasn’t started lifting weights yet.  Strong potential to be a nationally ranked top 100 or top 150 kid.

Sims Turning a Corner

A year ago at this time Jericho Sims was playing Net Gain Sports (Sims, Wright, and Ishmael El-Amin moved over to D1 Minnesota with their coach Al Harris) and while the size and “wow, he could be special” was there, there wasn’t much for results. 

Fast forward 12 months and you can see that Jericho is taking major steps to consistent contributions.  Head coaches of Xavier, Minnesota, Kansas State, Nebraska, and Dayton watched Sims on Thursday (all have offered) while assistants from Iowa State, Texas, Memphis, and others all looked on. 

What they saw was a 6-foot-9/6-foot-10 raw talent grab nine points and nine boards playing on maybe the most talented frontline in the nation (with five star top ten 2019 talent Matthew Hurt and top 100 Wisconsin committed Nathan Reuvers).

Sims opened the game with an aggressive swat on Houston offered John Walker III, grabbed five first half rebounds off the rim among the Texas Pro length, and in the second half went on a three score run that opened the game up for D1 Minnesota. 

In that run of field goals Sims caught and finished an alley-oop directly over the top of a 6-foot-6 player, cut hard after a screen at the elbow to score on a set, and then hit a turn around jumper out of the post falling back to about 15 feet.  The massive potential is there and that is why other programs like North Carolina, Duke, and others were jotting his name down just in case Sims can continue to become the consistent forward we saw today.

McCabe Flare

Jordan McCabe and Wisconsin Playground Warriors breezed to a win over Team Rush Thursday and it was classic McCabe entertainment and production from start to finish.  Minnesota assistant Nate Pomeday joined assistants from fellow offered programs West Virginia, Missouri, and DePaul, as well as assistants from several high major non-offered schools, in watching McCabe lead open court attack.

McCabe had a variety of basket creations from others that included a full court 75 foot assist on a dime to a runner who didn’t need a dribble, there was the snap rotation on a line to the waiting hands of a shooter in the corner, and then the no-look fully turned assist to a cutter at the rim complete with a Ric Flair “Whhooaahh”.  Jordan also hit a couple threes pulling up and then strolled calmly the other way. 

This was classic Jordan McCabe.

Adidas Gauntlet Notes

  • Tyler Herro’s one dribble pull-up jumper ranks with one of the best in the country and his shooting touch and lift on his jumper continues to remind me of former LA Laker first round pick Sam Jacobson (not quite that bounce though).  Love how Herro pushes in transition comfortably as well as uses his body so well to shield inside the arc on his attack.
  • There was a period of time where Adam Trapp was grabbing defensive boards and non of his teammates even thought about going for the board, they just sprinted up the floor with visions of open floor scores in their heads.  That is what the 7-foot-2 2018 center brings.  Teammates don’t have to worry about boarding as much and opponents give up on the glass often after seeing his size near the ball.  He had offered schools Iowa and DePaul watching.
  • Six-foot-4 guard Jordan Lathon was playing at a pace ahead of everyone’s schedule on Thursday.  Every transition push, quick outlets, and pull-up jumper he took, and made, was in transition and opposing guards just couldn’t get back on defense to get in front of him.  A talented up-tempo 2018.
  • At 6-foot-5 Jace Febres of Texas Pro was one of the best shooters that GI saw on Thursday.  Goanar Mar is one of the nation’s elite defenders (this past winter he forced players like Gary Trent Jr and others into tough shooting nights) but Febres would sprint off screens, get his feet set quickly, and focus on the rim to catch and hit over Mar.  Jace made six triples and scored the most 22 points of his life but the schools will remember it because all of his makes were hotly contested and he did it on just a dozen attempts in an overtime game.
  •  Wisconsin committed Nathan Reuvers hit four treys and scored 19 points with five boards in about 20 minutes of time but none were bigger than the wide open top of the key three that guaranteed overtime.  Reuvers got 16 shots up in those 20 minutes and was huge in his 6thman role for D1 Minnesota.
  • Matthew Hurt had a dozen points and seven boards despite foul trouble.  Add his late game basket and clutch foul shots to tie the game with single digits on the clock to the plays that put D1 Minnesota into the next round. 
  • Matthew Van Komen is listed as a 7-foot-4 center as a 2019 from Utah on the Exum Elite Utah Prospects squad.  He looks to be nearly every one of those inches and the amazing thing is that Matt has really nice hands to catch and complete plays when he can see the play developing.  Van Kommen had at least four second half finishes catching the ball about a half a foot below the rim and softly touching over the top.  His effort to sprint up and down the floor, and sprint into ball screens was notable as well.
  • That Elite Exum Utah Prospects/D1 Minnesota 15U game included a nice guard in Rylan Jones from Utah and a shooter to note in Jamison Battle from Minnesota.  

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