WI Playmakers have arrived in the Prep Hoops Next circuit and are ready to work. A competitive group within the Circuit, this group is set to rise to the occasion and face some of the top programs in the nation…
WI Playmakers have arrived in the Prep Hoops Next circuit and are ready to work. A competitive group within the Circuit, this group is set to rise to the occasion and face some of the top programs in the nation in coming events. A high IQ team with smooth sets has focused on getting the most out of each player. The tightly knit group focuses on winning by committee and a joy to watch compete.
I was able to catch up with the head coach of this solid 14U team and program director of Wisconsin Playmakers and here is what Kris Becker had to share about his team.
What are your thoughts on how your team has competed thus far in circuit season? How have you prepared?
We have done well to kick off the season. Competing against great competition we have found success through how connected we are as a group. We have played 3 tournaments and have found success in multiple ways, which is promising. Our preparation Is always to put them in uncomfortable practice situations and force them to persevere and compete. We are becoming tougher which will be needed for this, and future, summers.
Which Prep Hoops Next event are you looking forward to most and why?
Battle at the Lakes. It is the best event in our region through April and May and every good team is in attendance. We are looking forward to testing ourselves against such a talented field.
What are your team strengths and areas that could use improvements?
We are extremely connected and truly like being around each other. That allows us to have great team chemistry. Our offensive strengths center around our pace, shooting and execution. We rarely take bad shots and force teams to guard our action. We try hard to play the game in transition off our opponents’ makes or misses. Our improvement opportunities are physicality around the rim, committing to keeping other teams off the glass and discipline through long defensive possessions. Our defensive execution is solid but getting 10 players on the same page every possession throughout the summer will be important.
Below is the latest team roster and a few notes on what each player brought to the squad thus far within the circuit
Quinn Gerke |G|
Quinn does it all, but shooting is his strong suit. Quinn has great feel for the game; sees the floor well, High IQ and scores at all 3 levels. Off the dribble, attacking the rim, post up or shooting the 3 Quinn will exploit matchups in every game. Quinn is reliable at every spot on the floor and he is our offensive engine. We rely on him to handle, space the floor and get us into our action. He is a very good defender at his position and rebounds really well from the PG/SG spot. Quinn’s overall floor game is as good as anyone in NW Wisconsin.
Braylon Backaus |G|
Braylon is a creative scorer with sneaky athleticism. Has really elevated his shooting from distance to become a more dangerous scorer this year, which we will need. His ability to handle in tight spaces makes him press and double team proof (more often than not). Braylon’s growth physically has made him a different player on both ends.
Graysen Becker |G|
Graysen is a problem in transition and when playing downhill. He is extremely athletic and is a creative finisher and solid at the 3 point line. He wields a strong mid-range game to go along with his floor spacing tough from range. He puts a lot of pressure on opposing defenses with his quickness and athleticism in both the full and half court. Graysen is bouncy and off the rebound he turns the court instantly to our advantage. He is very good defensively against multiple positions and enjoys the defensive side of the ball.
Keaton Wollan |F|
His coach Becker says, “Keanton is an old school warrior”. He competes with reckless abandon, can guard all 5 spots, can score at all 3 levels and unquestionably has the highest motor on our team. Keaton’s ability to impact the game with and without the ball and on both ends separates him from most. Keaton has a lot of finishing options against any size defender. His continued development will be key to this team. Keaton is an elite defender against all positions.
Miles Schmidgall |F|
Miles brings size and rebounding to this team. He is becoming more offensively aggressive but has several options around the rim and can score with both hands. Can put it on the deck and lead the break off the rebound. He guards at a high level at 4 or 5 and allows us to get into transition. Schmidgall is a very good defender against the 3-5 and moves his feet well enough that we are able to switch all the way through the lineup.
Adam Brieske |F|
Brieske is big, strong and is our vocal leader. Adam’s ability to handle it at his size, post up and run the perimeter make him a tough guard. He has elevated his 3 point shooting, has a great mid range and finds teammates well. Adam has historically had to guard posts, now as a 3 or 4 he really challenges the other teams big guards and wings and he rebounds it extremely well. Adam is one of the more versatile players on both ends in NW Wisconsin.
Luke Weber |G|
Weber is a smooth lefty with a great stroke. He has shot the ball really well so far this season and he pursues the front of the rim constantly. Defensively, Weber is able to guard the 1-3 and is a sneaky good rebounder for his size. He guards the other team’s top guards when he is in the game. Luke impacts the game defensively in our 1-3-1 with his quick hands and anticipation and in man through his pressure. Luke is a fearless defender and will make you earn it.
Brendan Chenault |G|
Chenault is a work horse for his team. He rebounds above his size. He gets to the rim and finishes well and he is an amazing teammate. Coach Becker says, “He is a “get it” player on this group. He gets what we do, he leads with his effort, he leads with his voice and he produces with his game. Brendan is young for this grade so as he continues to develop physically…..watch out. It would not surprise me if Brendan was one of our most impactful players at 16U and 17U. He has that in him.”
Owen Lauden |G|
Owen is another young player for this grade but his game doesn’t show that. Owen is a light out shooter from deep, a creative attacker of the rim and has a pull game to match. Owen will chase down boards and add extra possessions for our team on both ends. Defensively Owen will guard the 1 or 2 and competes hard while limiting the opposing teams production at those positions. .
Max Haldeman |G|
Haldeman is developing into that player where you’re surprised when he shoots that it doesn’t go in. He has really grown in the last 12 months in his game, aggression, toughness and it shows. Coach Becker says, “Max gives us positive possessions on both ends and shoots it at an elite level off the kick or fast break. He has added some downhill attack into the mix and his growth physically has made him a greater force on defense.”
Chase Radloff |F|
Radloff is a developing big with huge upside, as his size 16 shoes will attest. His growth on the toughness front has been evident the last few months. As he continues to grow and battle he’s finding his offense around the rim. Chase can hit the occasional 3 but is best 15′ and in. Chase impacts on defense with his length and lateral movement. He moves well for a player his size and has a little chip on his shoulder, in a good way.
Drew McConkey |G|
Drew will fill in on this team when we are short. He was late, but welcomed addition. Drew is a 5 tool, old school type player. He can play every position, high IQ and will exploit mismatches. He plays all 5 positions for us and not only knows them but finds success in each one. Defensively Drew guards all the spots well and is another player that rebounds and gets us into transition quickly.
How does your roster stack up against last season’s roster? Any major changes?
“We have added a few players to this group. 6’5” Miles Schimidgall, 6′ Drew McConkey and we got 5’10 sniper Owen Laudon back. The biggest improvement in our roster is our guys all have developed a ton physically and have a lot left in them. This season we can run a lineup between 6′-6’5”.”
What facet of the game do you want to improve on most going into next season?
“I would like us to become more willing communicators both on the floor and on the bench. This will be an extremely important growth in these young mens game as they transition into high school.”
Who are your best returning players? Who are your best additions, if any?
“Quinn Gerke, Graysen Becker, Braylon Backaus, Adam Brieske and Keaton Wollan are best returning players. Miles Schmidgall and Owen Lauden are our best additions.”
Prep Hoops is excited to watch the growth of these athletes throughout the remainder of the Circuit season.