The following preview is based on players that should be in attendance with their teams. All players are class of 2005 unless otherwise noted.
17 U POOLS AND PLAYERS TO WATCH
Houston Select - The top player is Henry Dugat, a 6-0 PG from Dayton (TX). He’s a top 75 player nationally and has received some attention from Kansas. C.J. Clark is a slender 6-8 forward with some bounce and Obi Ikeakor is a 6-9 BF with mid major, maybe better promise.
KC Keys - A bit of a question surrounds the Keys because their top player, 6-0 scoring machine Marcus Walker from KC (MO) O’Hara, may have left the team. If he has, he’ll play at the J.I. with Rocktown. They have some other nice players like undersized Lorenzo Riley a long armed 6-5 BF, and Jeremy Rodery a 6-8 BF from Liberty (MO). Without Walker though, scoring could be an issue.
N.C. Heat - Formerly Team Minnesota (where the N.C. comes from nobody knows), they have some talent led by 6-5 WG Ray Brown from Richfield (MN) High. He’s getting some Big 10 and Big 12 attention and even a few offers. Xavier Crawford (also from Richfield) is a very slender 6-9 and growing BF who has lots of potential and Ross Forman a 6-7 wing from perennial Minneapolis power Patrick Henry makes a lot of threes.
Labette County - It is a safe bet that there will be some kids from Labette County………………..
H-Squad- Based out of Los Angeles, Rick Isaac’s squad is always talented. If they bring their normal group (roster hadn’t been submitted yet), the players to watch are 6-6 WF Joe Darger from Riverton (UT) High. Kansas fans should recognize his name as he has been a target in the past. 6-2 WG Danny Williams from Fremont High in Oakland is as fine a three point shooter as there is in the country and is drawing high major looks. 6-7 (maybe only 6-6) BF Rashad Austin is a bit of a mini Kenyon Martin and throws down lots of dunks and blocks lots of shots, he’s getting some Pac-10 interest.
Randolph Boys Club - Ryan Tilema, a 6-7 WF from Randolph (WI) is skinny, but he grabs lots of rebounds, is a pretty good athlete and a dangerous shooter who could be a mid major. Jesse Black is a tough and athletic 6-5 forward.
MO Rebels - The player to watch here is 6-5 WG Dane Brumagin, a home schooled kid from Warrenton (MO) and one of the best kept secrets in the Midwest. He’s athletic, has plenty of range, and is fundamentally sound too. Justin Fuehrmeyer is a tough little PG who is a dangerous shooter.
KC Pirates - Tom Farmer, a 6-3 WG from KC (MO) Rockhurst, is arguably the finest shooter in the KC high school ranks. Brett Iliff is a decent guard from Blue Valley North.
Chicago Hoopsquad, Wichita Wolfpack, GS2 Magic, Sea Wolves - I'm not going to even going to pretend to know anything about the players in this pool. The Hoopsquad is an offshoot of the Illinois Warriors and made the semifinals at the Howard Pulley Invite last weekend. They should have plenty of mid major prospects.
Howard Pullley - Jeff Boschee once played for the Howard Pulley Panthers. Even though this is their #2 team, arguably the best player in their organization will be running with them. That is 6-5 WF Brandon Smith from Minneapolis (MN) Patrick Henry is a potential top 75 prospect. He’s a nasty athlete with a pretty solid all around game. He is worth watching at least once.
Springfield Heat - Coached by Mizzou freshman Spencer Laurie’s father Barry, the Heat are always tough. They aren’t as deep as in the past but Shane Laurie is a tough 6-1 guard and 6-5 WF Kyle Kirk (2006) who teams with Laurie at Springfield (MO) Kickapoo is one of the top sophs in the state of Missouri.
KS Dapper Dans - Don’t know much about this team.
Just Us Milwaukee- Top player is 6-8 BF Quincy Owens a 2006 kid from Milwaukee (WI) Washington. They will also have the services of 6-6 WF Cory Johnson another 2006 kid from Duluth (MN) East. Johnson already has some Big 10 offers and has been compared by some to Joe Krabbenhoft, but he plays more like a power forward.
Texas Top Prospects - The top player is Roderick Fleming a 6-5 WF from Desoto (TX) who has an on again off again commitment with Oklahoma State. 6-7 Justin Wilkerson has committed to Texas Tech and Jeremy Buttel is a 6-8 forward who will be at least a mid major. Solid and usually deep team won the 17 U division last year.
Colorado Pump N’ Run - Dazz Thornton is a tough 6-6 BF from Denver (CO) East who is a serious Mo-Valley target. Pierre Curtis is a nice 6-2 PG from East as well. Also intriguing are 6-10 (2006) Ray Hall from Denver (CO) Mullen and 6-9 BF Sam Warren from Cherry Creek.
Fox Valley Skillz - Their two best players are probably both 2006 kids. Trevon Hughes is a lightning quick and strong 6-0 PG drawing big time attention, and J.P. Gavinski is a 6-10 BF with lots of skill who has a chance to be a high major player.
Team Ft. Worth - I didn’t recognize many of the names on the roster, but they are guaranteed to be athletic and have at least 3 or 4 mid major prospects. They do every other year.
KC Pump N’ Run - Hosting team featuring 6-9 WF/BF Leo Criswell from KC (KS) Piper who most KU fans should know about, high major talent. Antonio Hanson a 6-1 lefty PG is committed to Oklahoma State. Brady Morningstar is a 6-3 PG who is the son of former KU player Roger Morningstar. 6-7 BF Chris Balham from Shawnee Mission West, 6-8 Jay Tunnel from Topeka West and 6-4 WG Danny Brown are also drawing significant D1 attention. Head Coach L.J. Goolsby has had his team (formerly the KC Nets) in the finals each of the last three years but has yet to capture a championship
Dakota Schoolers - Joe Krabbenhoft’s old AAU team, but he isn’t in Lawrence to help out. They’ll play hard, have some size and will be very well coached. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them give KC Pump N’ Run fits.
M.L.K Mash - This is Ft. Worth (TX) Dunbar high school’s varsity team, more or less. They are always a power in Texas high school ball and usually very athletic. Interesting note is that this is Antonio Hanson’s former high school team.
KC Orangemen - Run by all around good guy and founder of the KC Hoop Scoop Milt Mouzon, the Orangemen aren’t littered with D1 talent. Ryan Spearman a 6-0 guard has deep range and his high school teammate at KC (KS) Sumner Academy Joe Hutchingson (here’s hoping he is sporting his impressive fro) is a nice 6-4 wing. Matt King from Leavenworth a 6-9 Center is awfully skinny but has some potential.
Houston Elite - Houston Elite features the tourney’s second best talent, 6-7 WF Gerald Green from Houston (TX) Gulf Shores. He has a legit shot to be a McDonald’s All-American and does it all. He shoots the three, hits from midrange and finishes athletically near the rim. His high school teammate Jovan “Wink” Adams is a potential top 50 player nationally and they have a good supporting cast. They should be one of the tourney favorites.
NE Bison Red - They were supposed to have Creighton commitment 6-1 PG Josh Doetzler, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be in town. The best prospect on the team is 6-10 (but skinny) C Matt Hill a 2006 kid from Lincoln. He could be a high major down the road.
CO Hawks - Charlie Mays, a 6-10 talent, is the most intriguing name on the roster. He could be a big timer if he ever put his mind to it. He handles, shoots and is athletic around the rim. His head isn’t always there, though. They should be coached by Mark Perlmutter who managed the 1988 national championship team.
Jackson MS Panthers - Their best player is 6-4 WG Terry Martin who recently (like last night) committed to Bobby Knight at Texas Tech. He’s from Monroe (LA) Richwood and his 6-8 teammate Kenneth Cooper is another high major prospect. They’ll be surrounded by plenty of athletes and will look to get out and run. It should be a good matchup between them and Houston Elite.
Rocktown - Brandon Rush returns home for what may be his last ever high school/AAU event in the greater Kansas City area. Rush is a potential preps to the NBA player and a complete high wire act at 6-7. He’s brought along a buddy of his from Durham (NC) Mt. Zion, 6-7 BF Tracy Smith who is a top 40 player nationally. 6-9 BF/C Julius Powell is top 75 nationally and Ryan Scott a 6-3 WG is the son of former NBA’er, and member of lethal weapon 3 at Georgia Tech, Dennis Scott. If Marcus Walker plays with them, they could be the favorite based strictly off of overall talent. Of course, this will be their first event together.
New Mexico - Last year 6-3 WG Harvey Hale (KU target) was the star for this team, however it is unknown if he will get a weekend off from playing with the Texas Blue Chips to make it to Lawrence.
Waco Basketball- The important thing is that there is no Kouresh (sic) on the roster.
North Texas Rice Owls - The best player is 6-4 wing Mike Miller from Dallas (TX) Jesuit who made the all tournament team in the 17 U division of the Jayhawk last year.