During the first day of the Great American Shootout in Texas last week, the gym in which the Colorado Miners 16U squad was playing was so hot, the team’s guards could barely feel the ball. The gyms eventually cooled off…
During the first day of the Great American Shootout in Texas last week, the gym in which the Colorado Miners 16U squad was playing was so hot, the team’s guards could barely feel the ball.
The gyms eventually cooled off a little bit, but the Miners did not. The 16U team, playing up a division in the 17U NBA bracket, advanced all the way to the quarterfinals and finished the tournament with a 5-1 record.
“We said, ‘You know what, let’s play up and just do what we do,” Miners 16U coach JJ Brimble said. “We lost in the elite eight to the champs, the team that was just huge. They had a guard that was 6-foot-5, one that was 6-6 and long.”
Brimble was impressed with the way his undersized team gelled as a unit during the four-day tournament, beating teams with more size thanks to an up-tempo, unselfish style.
During the first three games, the Miners were led by D’Shawn Schwartz, the versatile 6-foot-5 forward ranked No. 1 in the 2017 class by Prep Hoops Colorado.
“He had moments where he was just dominant,” Brimble said.
As the Miners advanced to pool play, they were led by 2017 Doherty point guard Brevin Brimble, an extremely skilled ball-handler, who succeeded his coach said, at both attacking the rim and scoring with his mid-range pull-up, an aspect of his game that has seen major improvement this summer.
The Miners also had big performances from 6-foot-5 Hunter Maldonado – “He’s just a guy who does everything so well, an X-factor kid,” Brimble said – as well as 6-foot guard Emmanuel Burleson, who was a defensive catalyst on the perimeter.
But the most consistent performer of the weekend, Brimble said, was 6-foot-3 forward Malik Salley, who despite being undersized game up huge in the post on both ends of the floor.
“Malik Salley played probably the best tournament that he’s ever played with me,” Brimble said. “He’s long and can jump, but he’s guarding the biggest kid every time. He shot the ball well, he guarded, he blocked shots.”
Colorado Chaos: The Chaos went 16-8 as a program during the Great American Shootout, highlighted by the Chaos 17’s Blue squad, led by the likes of C.J. Cetta, Tarrell Parr and Cale Ferrin, making a run to the title game in the NCAA bracket of the tournament.
For Chaos’ top-flight 2016 squad, rising 6-foot-8 forward Clay Verk, led the charge, scoring in a multitude of ways and relentlessly attacking the glass.
“That was probably the best I’ve ever seen him rebound,” Chaos director Dave Matthews said.
Billups Elite: The top-flight 2016 team went 1-2 in pool play and dropped its first bracket contest in the NBA bracket.
Standouts for Billups were Antonio Capley, Khameron Davis, LaDarius Thomas and Chudier Bile.