The boy’s basketball state tournament got kicked off yesterday in Minneapolis with the quarterfinals from Classes AA-AAAA. I was able to catch a handful of the games throughout the day, and these are some of the prospects who impressed! Dylan…
The boy’s basketball state tournament got kicked off yesterday in Minneapolis with the quarterfinals from Classes AA-AAAA. I was able to catch a handful of the games throughout the day, and these are some of the prospects who impressed!
In an exciting quarterfinals battle with Minnetonka, Dylan Omweno Dylan Omweno 6'0″ | PG Eastview | 2023 State MN came off the bench and made a difference for Eastview. He excels in that 6th man role where he comes off the bench and immediately brings a spark of offense with his speed and shot creating ability. Towards the end of the first half he hit two DEEP threes that sent his team into the break with confidence and the lead. His speed also made an impact defensively as he was able to jump passes for steals, and then get out into the open floor for a pair of dunks. With that 94 foot NBA court, no one stood a chance at catching up to him from behind. Omweno finished with 25 points and 3 steals in 25 minutes of action.
Chiang was dominant in the paint for the defending state champs, and his presence in the paint helped limit Andover to just 38% shooting from the field. Andover doesn’t have a lot of size, but they have athletic guards that can penetrate and finish inside. That really wasn’t the case yesterday as Chiang’s length, timing, and quickness off the floor allowed him to block 5 shots and alter a handful more. I was impressed by his ability to stay out of foul trouble despite how many shots he slides in to contest. That’s a credit to how well he does at walling up and going for the clean block rather than trying to swat everything into the stands. On the offensive end he was efficient with the chances he got, exploding off the floor for finishes over opposing forwards or dunks. Ring finished with a well-rounded 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 blocks while shooting 6-8 from the field.
PJ was another player who came in off the bench and provided an immediate spark for his team. DeLaSalle scored a couple of quick buckets but then got into a rut offensively. PJ came in and changed that as he was putting himself in the right place at the right time to receive dump-off passes and power up to the basket. With a point guard as good as Nas Whitlock, PJ knew he just had to find a small pocket of space and Whitlock was going to get him the ball. Once that happened Pounds was just too big and too explosive to stop from finishing. He threw down some powerful dunks that got the crowd going, as well as showing his touch off the glass. PJ’s dominance inside provided a nice change of pace from a team that is very guard dominated. He finished with 20 points on 9-12 shooting.
Collin absolutely stuffed the stat sheet last night in a win for Holy Family. The senior big man finished the game with an impressive 25 points, 11 rebounds, 13 blocks, and 5 steals in 32 minutes of play. He can cover so much ground in one stride, and when you combine that with timing and quickness off the ground, it allowed him to slide into space to send shots flying off the court when Eden Valley-Watkins looked to attack. On the offensive end he showed his quick spin move on the baseline and soft touch around the basket. His high-low action with Boden Kapke Boden Kapke 6'11″ | C Holy Family | 2023 State #153 Nation MN is one of the hardest combinations to stop in the state as both of them finish at a high level and have the height to face up and see over the top of defenders to deliver an accurate pass. Mulholland also flashed the outside shooting touch as he went 3-5 from beyond the arc, including a pair from the NBA line.
Noah’s shooting percentage was limited last night, but I liked the fight he showed going up against a pair of 6’10+ bigs. He wasn’t backing down, and was still looking to attack out of the post, still managing to put up 11 points off of some strong finishes. Kept his eyes scanning the floor for open shooters out of the post to pick up 3 assists. Defensively he was physical trying to limit his man’s low post touches, and was always finding a body to box out. He’s a strong big at 6’8 but also showed some mobility as he was running the floor hard. This was probably the toughest test Noah will ever face at the high school level, and I think the experience will only help him moving forward. Promising big man in the 2024 class.
Nolan Winter Nolan Winter 6'10″ | PF Lakeville North | 2023 State #98 Nation MN took full advantage of his height advantage on Tuesday, finishing with a dominating 25 points and 17 rebounds before taking an early seat. He didn’t really have to leave the paint much as he was getting touch after touch right around the basket. Nolan isn’t a 240+ pound big who’s just going to bully defenders, but he does such a good job of creating a seal and providing an angle for his guards to lob it into him allowing for a quick catch and finish. Also showed quick reflexes and hustle to pull in offensive boards and go right back up with them. Winter has the skill to play/shoot out on the perimeter, but when he’s able to dominate in the paint like he did yesterday, he always takes the more efficient option.
Eastview was leading just about the entire game, but Andy wasn’t giving up. He made big play after big play down the stretch to have his team right in it in the end. Andy plays with great change of speeds to just work his way into any spot on the floor, and although his 3 assists aren’t going to burst off the box score, he had plenty more assist opportunities as he created a ton of looks at the basket for his team. Andy excels at looking defenders off, and almost passing open his teammates before anyone else in the gym realizes they’re open. Really crafty finisher at the rim who knows how to use the rim to shield off shot blockers and can spin it off the glass in a variety of ways. Stefonowicz drained 3 triples, and also made some nice steals as he jumped long pass attempts to get possession back for his team. Finished with 22 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals in an exciting game.