The final day of AAU Basketball was highlighted by the broadcasted games on ESPNU. The two game broadcast included D1 Minnesota as well as Wabissa Bede and his unstoppable Mass Rivals team.
Yet Another Trophy for Mass Rivals, Bede
The 6-foot-2 Wabissa Bede opened up the Adidas Summer Championships title game with three early treys and an And1 elbow jumper make. Wabissa’s percentages from the floor were once again high as he continues to improve as a shooter.
The first thing you notice about Wabissa’s jumper is the lift he gets on his shot and as well as the beautiful snapping release that completes his attempt. When you look at film of previous years and see what Bede did against Garner Road you can definitely tell that Bede has disciplined himself in the gym to maintain form over many sessions of getting shots up.
There are two other key factors to Wabissa’s offensive playmaking: 1) his strength and 2) his handling skills that create him space. Bede is older than most 2017 talents with a mid-summer birthday so he has some maturation on most of the guards and his strength advantage is noticeable.
Bede is a hard player to knock off balance so when he attacks the cup or lifts for an elbow jumper (like on his fourth make) contact won’t bother him unless it’s extreme. In the second half he collected an outlet, pushed to the opposite elbow, saw the help defender hugged to his man so the angle was there and Bede attacked, bumped his man off, took contact, stayed on balanced and finished an And1.
He’s also a hard player to stay in front of because Wabissa has outstanding handles attacking in either direction (shoots jumpers often going left, loves the right hand attack to the rim). Bede also has a large variety of dribble separation combinations he can go to and his time alone in the gym has allowed him to perfect nearly all of them. We saw hesitation attacks, between the leg change of direction attacks, and a dragging step-back three-point make that left the defender frozen.
Bede is also one of the most engaged lead guards you will see on both ends. He’s constantly talking to his teammates directing or encouraging them during or after the play. Offensively he’s the type of player that makes the right read offensively, moves the ball, and then sprints to his next spot making sure he moves his defender with him (and when they don’t move like they should Bede gets into space after his sprint cut and sets up the next play).
Defensively Bede is one of the more verbal players on the floor talking teammates through screens, alerting teammates to his position, and directing players into help position. Bede also uses his strength on the ball to misdirect the opposing lead guards. If a player attacks Bede is quick to get his left forearm, elbow, and shoulder into a guy to knock them off their line and stop their momentum.
Mass Rivals won the title game 93-78 and was led by the 17 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two steals from Bede. Bede made 6 of 11 attempts, three treys, and capped an undefeated July were his team brought home four tournament championships. The team was 21-0 in Adidas play overall.
Wright Ends AAU with a McKinley Wright-Like Game
During the ESPNU broadcast one of the announcers said “Matthew Hurt is the star but McKinley Wright is the heart of the team” and it couldn’t have been more perfectly stated. Wright scored ten points, dished out nine assists, grabbed five boards, collected three steals, and provided the energy that his teammates love to compete with.
On nearly every first half possession the D1 Minnesota team utilized the high ball screen as Team Loaded was never able to figure out a way to adjust to Wright’s quickness turning the corner. Time and time again McKinley came off his screener tightly shoulder to waist and turned hard before his man could get around the screen or the other defender could cut off his angle. Wright was able to get 4-8 feet inside the arc and once there he made a pull-up, attacked the cup for scoring possessions, and countless times kicked out to a high percentage feet set shooter or hit a cutting teammate for a high percentage finish.
The second half was a different chapter as Wright made his impact with the transition push. McKinley jumped two passing lanes to intercept and push for points, picked up a loose ball on the fly and then assisted, and received outlets nearing top speed to go the other way. In transition Wright led his team to eight second half scores on nine opportunities. Twice he scored at the rim pushing to a spot to lift and release before the bigger defender could get an angle to contest. He also showed off a three-point make.
In this game you saw a piece of everything McKinley Wright does: leadership, halfcourt offensive production, transition production, rebounding effort, defensive affect as a ball pressure defender and a problem in the passing lanes.
McKinley averaged 11.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game in 40 contests with D1 Minnesota this spring and summer shooting 53.5 percent from the floor on 299 attempts, 34.8 percent from the arc on 23 attempts, and 74.7 percent free throw shooting on 158 attempts. Wright led the team with 50 steals and had 207 assists to 82 turnovers.
A Star is Born, Nationally
The two hour broadcast utilized many storylines but the conversation usually came back to the 16 year old 2019 talent Matthew Hurt. Hurt gave the home audience a dozen points and nine rebounds that included his ahead of the pack floor run and quick vertical bounce for finishes. Matthew shot 5-16 from the floor so this was not the average game for the five star talent but Hurt showed the national audience flashes of the talent that today brought him offers from Louisville and North Carolina.
The new takeaway in this game was a motivated Matthew Hurt as a defender. Matthew has improved this year as a defensive rebounder but in this final game of the year against Team Loaded, Hurt’s ability to move his feet laterally was one of the day’s more interesting notes.
Team Loaded big Kiyon Boyd is a known name and Hurt was able to defend him on several possessions helping to limit Boyd to 2-10 shooting. Matthew’s ability to move laterally with Boyd (and others) cutting off the angle to the rim and forcing hard to the baseline was apparent on several plays. Hurt also showed on screens well forcing Team Loaded guards to rotate the ball instead of going with their attacking desire.
D1 Minnesota finished 36-4 this season and has five 2017 players on the team that are listed by at least one service as nationally ranked players. And on a team with all of that talent Matthew Hurt led the team in scoring (13.8 points), rebounds (7.2), blocks (78), free throw percentage (78.1%), and Efg% (58.8%). Matthew made 55 percent of his 380 shot attempts and 36.7 percent of his threes.
- Ishamel El-Amin ended his summer with another pair of treys, an acrobatic finish bringing the ball to the other side of the rim on his decline to finish, and he had 13 against Team Loaded. El-Amin was scoring all AAU season long hitting 42.4 percent of his 132 three-point attempts in 40 games. What we also liked about El-Amin against Team Loaded was how well he fought over the top the screens defensively to stop opposing guards from getting an angle to the corner. Ishmael looks to be a much improved defender.
- The wild bounce of Jericho Sims led him to scoring twice early, pulling down nine boards, and having two highlight dunks late: one a baseline dump-off and a the other an alley-oop at the buzzer. Jericho’s biggest accomplishment this year has been his consistency of effort (which shows in his rebounding) numbers and how fluid Sims has been in the post. The beauty of his right shoulder turn into a pivot to the rim or squaring up after the spin is how natural the moves are, and not something that takes thought before the action.
- D1 Minnesota has a pair of top 100 level talents in the frontcourt in Sims and Nathan Reuvers who is committed to Wisconsin. Sims was the team’s second leading rebounder and third leading shot blocker for the year grabbing 6.1 caroms a game with 41 blocks overall. Sims shot 58.1 percent from the field taking between 5-6 shots a game. Reuvers gave D1 Minnesota 11.5 points and 4.9 rebounds a game shooting 48.4 percent from the floor and 32.5 percent from the arc taking about nine shots a game.
- Goanar Mar, who recently committed to George Mason, is known for his outstanding defense with the ability to guard three positions. Mar stood out offensively making a corner trey, a trey at the wing, scoring on an attack after up-faking an opponent, and also hitting foul shots on his way to 14 for the contest. Mar scored 9.7 points a contest in 40 games with 4.2 rebounds a night and was second on the team in steals. For a guy known for his defense the 6-foot-7 Mar made 35.6 percent of his 118 treys and sunk over 71 percent of his foul shots.
- Mass Rivals guard Azar Swain, a Yale commit, is commonly referred to as an undersized two but this 5-foot-10 competitor just fights and that’s the best way to explain him. Made four treys in the title game, scored 16, and battled defensively from start to finish.
- Harvard commit Mario Haskett Jr knocked out three triples in the loss to D1 Minnesota. Haskett was a player that Minnesota was in on last fall at the guard position but then focused on other talent.