Sanford POWER is hosting the Who’s Next Combine tomorrow June 26th at The Pentagon in Sioux Falls. It will run from 1:00-5:00. Fargo POWER hosted their Who’s Next Combine this past Wednesday and it was a huge success. There will…
Sanford POWER is hosting the Who’s Next Combine tomorrow June 26th at The Pentagon in Sioux Falls. It will run from 1:00-5:00. Fargo POWER hosted their Who’s Next Combine this past Wednesday and it was a huge success. There will be 70+ athletes in attendance at the Pentagon tomorrow. There will also be numerous college coaches in attendance to check out the prospects. I am expecting a phenomenal day of basketball in Sioux Falls.
In this article, we are looking at 21 incoming seniors that will be at the Combine.
2023’s Players To Watch
Elliot Whitney Elliot Whitney 6'0" | CG Sioux Falls Lincoln | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’0 PG| Sioux Falls Lincoln
He had a breakout high school season for the Pats and was selected as an All-Metro Conference player. Whitney has great handles, he sees the floor well and he makes others around him better. He has returned from an injury I have been told that Elliot is back to being a playmaker. I have not seen him play live since last fall. I am excited to see how his game has grown. Will Whitney be one of the top PG’s on Sunday? He can also light it up from deep, will he perform as a top shooter? How is he on defense? Tune in on Sunday to find out.
Brayden Pankonen Brayden Pankonen 5'11" | PG Dell Rapids | 2023 State SD (2023) |5’11 SG| Dell Rapids
He is a top-notch athlete that is fresh off a State Championship in baseball and the State Tourney MVP. You do not want to miss this sharpshooter on the basketball court. Brayden is lightning quick and a dynamic player. Brayden will be one of the top shooters at the Combine. I am excited to see him compete with the other top talent from around the State. He will be in the running for the top shooter of the day. When they break into the 1on1 sessions, I am interested to see how Brayden finishes at the rim against the bigger guards. In the 5on5 scrimmages, will Pankonen float around the arc looking for triples or will he also attack off the dribble and score at the cup?
Tate Snyder Tate Snyder 6'0" | PG Sioux Falls Christian | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’0 PG| Sioux Falls Christian
He is a multisport athlete with State Tourney experience in hoops. I watched Snyder play a few times this winter and it was easily to see that he is a skilled PG that takes care of the ball. I am interested to see his overall skill and his shooting. I will also be looking to compare him with some of the top athletes in the 2023 Class and see how Snyder holds up. Will Tate be one of the top PG’s at the Combine?
Tate VanOtterloo Tate VanOtterloo 6'5" | SF Beresford | 2023 SD (2023) |6’4 G/F| Beresford
A versatile player that will hurt you from all over the court. Tate can play on the wing as a big shooting guard or get the job done in the paint as an athletic forward. He can slam with impressive hops and I like his finishing package. He also has the ability to be a tough defender. I am hoping to see VanOtterloo shoot the 3-ball with consistency. I would also like to see him get in the open court and throw down a few splashy dunks. He has the talent and athleticism to be a top 5 player in the gym. Will VanOtterloo play like a Top 5 Talent at the Combine?
Jonah Kocer Jonah Kocer 6'1" | PG Tea Area | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’1 G| Tea Area
A cool guard with nice skills and moxie. He values the basketball and delivers dimes. Kocer is a smart baller that makes smart basketball plays. Jonah shoots it well from deep and he creates for others. I am interested to see how he does defensively against some of the other top guards. Can he match up with bigger players on the wing? How will he look in the 1on1 drills? I expect him to be one of the top guards in screen-n-roll situations.
Randy Rosenquist Randy Rosenquist 6'0" | PG Dakota Valley | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’0 PG| Dakota Valley
He is an undefeated State Champion and a top PG in SD regardless of class. This will be my first time watching Rosenquist play live. He looks fast on film and everyone raves about his quickness. Will Rosenquist be one of the quickest players in the gym tomorrow? I am curious to see how his jumper looks. Can he knock them down from beyond the arc? I have watched him play stout defense in the past. It will be fun to see him in the 1on1 drills and watch him move his quick feet. Rosenquist is very high on my player watchlist.
Ethan Determan Ethan Determan 6'3" | SG Harrisburg | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’2 SG| Harrisburg
He was an All-State player last season in Class AA and he averaged 20 ppg, 4.1 rpg. Expect Determan to be one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the gym on Sunday. Ethan is a pure shooter, if his defender leaves him, expect a made shot. I want to see Ethan get hot and put on a shooting display. When it comes to a player watchlist, Determan is near the very top of mine. I have a feeling the college coaches in the gym will also be keeping a close eye on the sharpshooting Tiger.
AJ Akot AJ Akot 6'4" | SF Sioux Falls Washington | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’4 SF| O’Gorman
I think he is one of the most underrated players in South Dakota. O’Gorman was super deep last year, if he was anywhere else he may have been a star on varsity. At times this spring, AJ has looked very good on the PH Circuit. Tomorrow will be a chance for AJ to prove that he can be a dude for OG this next season. Akot is very long and athletic. He is an unselfish player and he is great at grabbing offensive rebounds. I want to see AJ shoot the 3-ball tomorrow during the skill drills. I imagine that he will be one of the best defenders in the Pentagon. On offense, can he take over or will he blend in? If he gets a breakaway, look out. You will be in for an athletic slam dunk!
Cole Peterson Cole Peterson 6'2" | PG Sioux Falls Washington | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’2 G| Sioux Falls Washington
I watched him play a few times this winter and Peterson is a team-first player and a great passer. I like his feeling and understanding of the game. Cole should get the chance to be the primary ball-handler for Washington this next season. The Combine will be a great measuring stick to see if Peterson is ready to lead the charge for the Warriors. I have heard people brag up his defense, I am excited to see his on-ball D first hand in the 1on1 portion of the Combine. I know Cole can knock down the 3-ball. With other top shooters in the gym tomorrow, we will have a good idea of how Cole stacks up to some of the flamethrowers.
Steele Morgan Steele Morgan 6'4" | PF Mitchell | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’5 PF| Mitchell
He will be a walking double-double next season. I am excited to see Morgan play live for the first time. I watched him play online a handful of time last season and it was easy to tell that Steele is a special athlete. I hope he gets a chance to make some explosive and splashy plays. Morgan has had a great spring and I expect him to have a great showing tomorrow. Will Morgan be Top 5 talent at the Combine? We will find out at the Pentagon.
Matt Eng Matt Eng 6'2" | PG Sioux Falls O'Gorman | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’2 PG| O’Gorman
I have watched him play multiple times this spring and Eng always shoots it well. The question is not, “will he get hot?” The question is, “when will he get hot?” It always happens and Eng is a game-changer from beyond the arc. Will he put on the best shooting display tomorrow? He will certainly be in the running for the best shooter. If Eng and Muirhead end up on the same team for the 5v5 scrimmages, watch out! There will be many SHOWTIME alley-oop lob passes and spectacular SLAM finishes from the OG dynamic duo. I have seen it all spring and these two are amazing together. Let’s cross our fingers in hope that they end up on the same team.
Cooper Long Cooper Long 6'3" | SG Lyman | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’3 SG| Dell Rapids
He is a next-level prospect and a multi-sport athlete. On the hardwood, Long can put up big numbers with his athleticism and playmaking ability. I am excited to see him in the 1on1 action and to see how well he creates his own shot. I am also interested in seeing how he compares to the other top shooters at the Combine. Does Cooper belong in the conversation with the other top guards in SD? How well does he jump and finish at the rim? Time will tell and I am sure that Long will be nothing but impressive.
Zander Benz Zander Benz 6'7" | PF O'Gorman | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’7 C| O’Gorman
Like a couple of his Schooler teammates, Benz played in Fargo on Wednesday at the Fargo POWER Combine. Zander is a consistent BIG that does the little things. He moves his feet well on defense, boxes out, and contests every shot. He has good mobility and his wingspan is impressive. Benz will do work on the block and hit perimeter J’s. He is a bit underarted because OG was so deep last year and Zander did not get much varsity burn. This year will be a different story and college coaches need to start taking serious notice, right now!
Gavin Muirhead Gavin Muirhead 6'7" | PF O'Gorman | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’7 PF| O’Gorman
Gavin was outstanding all spring on the PH Circuit and he was a star on Wednesday at the Fargo Who’s Next Combine. He was turning heads with his jumping, dunking, and slams. Muirhead has also been impressive with his outside shooting, blocked shots, and rebounding. Expect another great day from Gav at the Pentagon. He will be playing in his back yard (Sioux Falls), and the Pentagon is the home court for his AAU team (Schoolers). Im predicting that Muirhead has a rockstar day and that there will be many eye balls on him from college scouts.
Parker Stansbury Parker Stansbury 6'4" | SF Harrisburg | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’5 F| Harrisburg
He was also up in Fargo on Wednesday. It was my first time watching Parker play live and he left a positive first impression. I like his unselfishness and the fact that he did not force shots. Often times at events like this, players want to get up as many shots as possible and dominant the ball. Parker hit his fair share of shots and they were all good looks. Stansbury shoots it well from 3-point land and he can also knock down mid-lane jumpers. He is a versatile defender with his length. I am expecting Stansbury to have another quality day of hoops on Sunday.
Ethan Koltz Ethan Koltz 6'11" | C Sioux Falls Jefferson | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’11 C| Sioux Falls Jefferson
I watched Koltz play at the NDSU team camp and he had a nice showing. Koltz is certainly a rim protector and shot blocker. He is also going to grab a good amount of rebounds every game with his height and long arms. I like his mobility and effort. Koltz is an intriguing player and he and the Cavs should have a big upcoming season. I am excited to see overall skill in the early drills and to see how he moves his feet in the pick-n-roll game. How will Ethan look against the other top BIGs? Can he start making a name for himself as a top BIG in the 2023 Class?
Damon Wilkinson Damon Wilkinson 6'10" | C De Smet | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’10 C| De Smet
This BIG is a Champion and a winner! The Bulldogs lost a ton of talent to graduation and Wilkinson will now be the main-man for De Smet. He will also be the focal point for opposing teams. Damon will have a great senior season, no question about it. The question is, can he get the Bulldogs back to Aberdeen? Damon is not just a stud basketball player, he is a big time football recruit. I watched him play live last fall, I am interested to see how much bigger and stronger he looks tomorrow.
Gage Gasca Gage Gasca 6'7" | C Sioux Falls Washington | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’7 PF| Sioux Falls Washington
I saw him live last fall and I watched him a couple time this winter online. Gasca is an intriguing player with his size and length. I think he is going to have a very nice upcoming season with Washington. Look for Gasca to battle on the boards and to not shy away from contact. I am interested in seeing his shooting range and his post moves from the block. Tomorrow will be a good start to proving that he is ready for the big leagues and to be in the conversation as one of the top BIGs in Class AA.
Jacob Vandeweerd Jacob Vandeweerd 6'8" | PF Canton | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’8 C/PF| Canton
You know this kid is talented and he has a ton of potential if he is playing with the Pentagon Schoolers Vincent team. Jacob has recently had an offer from Mount Marty. There is no question that he is a next-level basketball player. I am excited to see how the C-Hawk looks against other top posts. If he gets matched up on a smaller forward, can Jacob move his feet and stay with his man? At the same time, when he gets the ball on the block, I would like to see the C-Hawk dominate and put his defenders in jail with strong moves. I watched him play live back in December, it will be interesting to see how his game has improved since then.
Easton Kempf Easton Kempf 6'5" | PF Elk Point/Jefferson | 2023 State SD (2023) |6’6 PF| Elk-Point Jefferson
This Huskie is big strong and tough. There are many big and talented forwards signed up for this event. I am interested to see how Kempf does against the other BIGs. Kempf may be a bit undersized compared to some, but he will not under matched when it comes to strength. I am interested to see how the other big men handle his physicality. I watched Easton play live in December, I cant wait to see how he has improved since then!
Ayden Klein Ayden Klein 5'11" | SG MOC-Floyd Valley | 2023 State IA (2023) |5’10 SG| MOC Floyd-Valley
He was at the Who’s Next Combine in Fargo on Wednesday. Ayden shot the ball well and his jumper looked very smooth. Klein is from Iowa but he plays for the Pentagon Schoolers. He will be hoopin on his homecourt tomorrow and I expect him to shoot well. Klein will be very familiar with many of these players and I predict that he has a big day in front of the college scouts.