Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Summer That Was 2008

#4 posting 8.17.2008
your daily dose of girls basketball news & information

Another Summer has come and gone. Week after week the story was building. Not all weeks were created equal. Not all stories were created equal. The Summer (and spring) of 2008 saw high drama, outstanding performances, and memories that will linger until November.
All these awards and comments are from what I saw over the course of the summer. If I didn't see it I didn't pass out awards.

Verbals continue the trend of getting earlier and earlier. There was a flurry of D2 verbals in the early spring before the AAU season got under way. Now that North Dakota and South Dakota are moving to D1 status accounts for the bump of three for Minnesota at this stage this year.
Other, more cautionary tales this summer include the Ohio/Kara Elofson situation. With coaching changes how good is the verbal? The problem with Ohio was a matter of communication. Ohio made told Elofson of their decision after the prime summer viewing period. North Dakota State has kept the verbals they inherited.
And then yesterday, the #1 recruit in the country, Elena Della Donne, said no to UConn and College basketball. Burnout is a possibility. Balance is needed.

Minnesota Verbals
2008—20 (12/8)
2007—16 (8/8)
2006—5 (5/0)

How will this pan out for the final 2009 total? If the past is prologue--
State (07-08-09)
IOWA 11-13-7
MICHIGAN 36-24-4
MINNESOTA 15-27-12

It is curious that Wisconsin and Michigan saw a steep drop from 2007 to 2008. However Wisconsin looks to easily pass the 2008 total this year.
There are some big names still on the tree. Look for the numbers to go up.

The 10s haven’t been flying off the shelf. Last year at this time, South Dakota had three players already verballed. This year there are only three throughout the entire coverage area.

How did this summer stack up with other seasons? Are players more skilled now? Are teams more efficient? The answer---yes, slightly. In fact the summer of 2008 edged past the high school 2007-08 season, again it was Michael Phelps close (in medal #7).
Season Year, pp100, floor %
Summer 2006 81.04, .391
Summer 2007 80.4, .387
Summer 2008 81.91, .388
High school 2007-08 81.53, .394

Not everyone is created the same. If you look at the different types of summer ball you will find the older the player, the better the results (for the most part). The top of the line performers are the All Stars as you would expect. Their pp100 was 92.1, 10.2 above the average, and a solid 27 points above 12 year olds.
Here are the different breakdowns
12s 65.1, .317
13s 76.9, .372
14s 74.0, .360
15s 85.4, .406
16/17s 82.7, .391
19s 80.81, .371
Add in the specialty events
All Star games (2008s): 92.1, .444
All Star Camps (2009s and under) 78.72, .380
High School Tourneys 77.67, .371
Summer Leagues 87.01, .385
Remember summer leagues have modified rules, especially on free throws, so the numbers tend to be inflated there.
If you notice in the age category the 15s are the highest. So the trend is on the upswing there.
At the 16/17 level I have separated the states.
Iowa 96.5, .447
Nebraska 87.5, .419
Minnesota 81.4, .388
South Dakota 78.5, .358
Wisconsin 77.6, .368
Iowa and Nebraska are top heavy with IBCA Select Red and CSS Bison making up the majority of the viewing. Both states only had 15 and 14 viewings. That compares with the 83 viewings of Minnesota teams.

If you are wondering AAU teams have higher pp100s than the MYAS. Overall the numbers are close with AAU better by one point, but if you look at the top level teams the pp100s are miles apart (or 20 points apart).

One of the big moves this summer was the purchase of a new lens. Looking back at the older photos I can see they are extremely dark. That is because they were taken on a 5.6. The 2.8 lets in more light. The other change was moving to for sales and for all the shots (good & bad) of the games. I was going to feature the top photo that was viewed over the summer, but it was too blurry for my taste. (It was Rachel Banham taking a pull up shot on the baseline vs DeLaSalle in the Sweet 16). I will be taking down some of the photos soon to increase storage space for the fall and winter seasons. If you are going to order, do it soon because you won’t be able to order once they are gone.

The next thing coming is a move to a full fledged website. A team of folks have been helping greatly to move to a website. Tests are being run. Kinks are being worked out. This should happen within a month. I can't have the famous black out that happened at the end of April again.

All these awards are based on what I saw. It does not include tournaments from around the country.

Best: St. Thomas
Best lighting: Woodbury
Worst lighting: Lakeville North’s second gym
Coolest: or the best Meat Locker—Augustana’s alternative gym. The main gym was cold too. You did need a jacket watching the games at the end of June in the Dakota Showcase. The first day I was chilled, the second day I was better prepared.
Warmest: Bloomington Kennedy. True to form the Meltdown lived up to their appropriate name. It wasn’t like 2006, but you could feel the heat.
First gym: UW LaCrosse field house.
Worst Electrical situation: the black out at the Champlin Park summer league. At least I was only five minutes away, not 3 hours away.

Least favorite phone call to get in August: From an Ohio coach.
Most seen college coach in gyms: Adam Johnson, UW Superior. Seen at Delano, and Hopkins for obscure MYAS events, plus many, many other Summer tournaments.

Best run tournament:
For the third straight year it goes to the Dakota Showcase. You get updates and full fledged stats. No other site comes close.
Best Tournament field: Minnesota State AAU Tournament (top to bottom).
Sirens: The Memorial Day Classic at Menomonie, The tornado sirens went off, and the games went on.
Early Bird Tournament: MYAS event at Delano started at least 15 to 30 minutes ahead of schedule messing up my viewing.
Best Summer League: Lakeville North
Best All Star camp: for sheer volume Minnesota Elite Camp.
Best 3 straight weekends of tournaments: Summer Jam (Bloomington Jefferson), All Iowa Attack (Ames, IA), and Dakota Showcase (Sioux Falls, SD).
IBCA Select Red
Minnesota: NC Heat
Wisconsin: Team WI Select Samuels

Best Championship:
All Iowa Attack final with Team WI Select Samuels beating CSS Bison.
Best Championship I didn’t see: NC Heat over MN Stars Borowicz in the MN State AAU Qualifier.
Worst case of scheduling: Scheduling the MN State qualifier championship simultaneously with the Miss Basketball banquet.
Did not live up to the hype: North Tartan Larson vs MN Stars Borowicz in the final of the Summer Jam at Jefferson
Best Shocker: 2A All Stars beating the 4A All Stars in the Minnesota All Star Series Semis. It was the first time the 4A All stars failed to reach the final.
Atmosphere NC Heat vs MN Stars Borowicz. So much talent on the floor. The crowd at the Meltdown was the biggest (for colleges)
Comeback: NC Heat vs Metro Stars 19--the Tayler Hill lucky 13. Second—Team WI Select Samuels five point comeback in the last minute to tie Team WI Select Doucette in the finals of the Memorial Day Tournament in Menomonie.
Dramatic: North Tartan Larson's win over IBCA Select Red on the last second shot by Amanda Zimmerman. That game went back and forth the entire second half.
Changing of the guard: North Tartan 15 rallying to beat Metro Stars 19 in the semis of the Summer Jam.
Most disappointing final: The Summer Jam. The semis were golden—edge of your seat, bite your fingernails. The finals were not in the same category. North Tartan Larson took the title.
Best Defensive End Play: Shakila Boler’s block of a last second shot by Rachael Moen of Metro Stars Black at the buzzer preserving the win for North Tartan Larson.
Best revenge/civil war match: Team WI Select Samuels overtime win over Team WI Select Doucette.
Games I wished I could see, but they never played: NC Heat vs Team WI Select Samuels.
Games I wished I could see, but I wasn’t there: NC Heat vs CSS Bison in April.
Games that were played, but I picked the wrong court: Metro Stars White upset of Metro Stars Black in April at Kennedy among many others.
Battle of the heavyweights: Any time NC Heat played MN Stars Borowicz. NCH was 4-0 vs MSB on the summer.
Best day of games: Sunday semis at the Summer Jam at Jefferson. The magic didn't carry over to the championships.

Best Chemistry: IBCA Select Red. They genuinely supported each other’s successes.
Most improved as the summer moved on: MN Stars 15
Grittiest performance: Bloomington Kennedy in the Sweet 16. Down two starters they looked for ways to win and did.
Best Transfusion of talent: Amanda Zimmerman and Chelsea Poppens from Iowa to North Tartan Larson.
Most dangerous “second team in the program”: Metro Stars White
Best for one event: Minnesota 2A All Stars
Best Uniforms: IBCA Select, with CSS Bison close behind. They both have names on the backs of the uniform. Perhaps more will get the idea next summer.

Best shooting exhibition
: Sari Noga, North Tartan 15
Most unorthodox shot: Sam Abens, All Iowa Attack (Knoxville)
Best 3 point start: Rena Kneeland, New Prague vs Centennial in the Sweet 16.
4 letter words for scorers: Hill, Nipe and Noga
Best at pushing the ball up court: KK Houser, CSS Bison
Most Versatile: Tayler Hill, NC Heat
Player under 5-5: Still Tyisha Smith, MN Stars Lady Cats Jihad
Player over 6-5: Still Amber Dvorak, MN Stars Borowicz
Grunt Player: Erica Gress, Metro Stars 15
Get the Ball to: Tayler Hill, NC Heat. This was not even close.
Shot blocker: Nicole Griffin, Team WI Select Samuels.
Hustler: Amanda Johnson, Ashby (at the Top 100 camp at St. Cloud)
Best rebound one hand snatch and grab: Tori Rule, Midtown Lady Monarchs & DeLaSalle
Under the radar: Sara Peterson of MN Fury and Minnehaha
Wasn't on the radar: Amanda Johnson, Ashby (at the top 100 camp)
Breakthrough: Laura Peterson, Team WI Select Samuels (Osseo-Fairchild, WI)Toughest Break: Shakila Boler, North Tartan Larson
Best Comeback: Chelsea Poppens, North Tartan Larson. She survived the Parkersburg, IA tornado.
Best move: Kayla Hirt, North Tartan 15. She made a steal near the top of the key against MN Metro Stars 15 in the MN AAU Qualifier, got control of the ball, went full speed with a behind the back dribble in stride and scored the lay up plus was fouled.
Best almost dunk: Chelsea Poppens, North Tartan Larson vs MN Stars Borowicz.
5 Minutes from now folks will be noticing: Jackie Johnson, North Tartan 14
Get your camera ready for: Suriya McGuire, North Tartan Larson
No, I am not stalking (most times I saw a player): Cassie Rochel of MN Stars Borowicz and Lakeville North
Stock is Rising: Kayla Hirt, North Tartan 15
Poised for a good High School year: Emily Kaus, MN Fury
Best player not to play AAU (MN): Nicole Smart, Ada-Borup
Best player not to play AAU (Area): 6-3 Jordan Hooper, Alliance, NE
Where for art thou—Players I wish I could have seen, but they never were in the same gym: Taylor Wurtz of Ripon, WI.

North Tartan
took the state titles at 13, 14, and 15 and with that trifecta NT takes the program honor for 2008. At the older ages NT Larson and NT Crosby were competitive and successful too. Once NTL had their line up together at full speed in June they won the Summer Jam. They pushed a strong team from the Dallas area in the Chicago tournament in July. Once Shakila Boler went down with a knee injury, NTL had to make adjustments.
NTC’s high water mark early came in the MN AAU Qualifier as they led NC Heat in the first half of the semifinals. Later in the summer NTC made it to the semifinals of the Meltdown.
The team that turned heads was the 15s. They competed with and defeated higher level teams. Their biggest win came in the Summer Jam quarters as they beat Metro Stars 19s. The rest of the summer they had a second place finish in the gold bracket at the End of the Trail and a second place finish in the Orlando Tournament. NT15 did that without Sari Noga and they were also missing Rachel Banham in the final game in Orlando. At the Meltdown their team had a few more players pulled up to NTL. NT15s response? Win the tournament.

As always there were many fine coaching performances this summer. Paul Hill of NC Heat and Gerard Coury of North Tartan 15s had strong summers. This summer the honor goes to Royce Samuels of Team Wisconsin Select Samuels. At the 16/17 level TWSS did not have any player on the roster that was on the Wisconsin AP All State team (there are six teams in the WI AP list) or the honorable mention list. Samuels took that group and melded them into an effective force. Their focus was defense with 6-6 Nicole Griffin patrolling the middle. The rest of the squad was just a bunch of hard working grunts that overachieved. Samuels is enthusiastic and intense and got the most out of his squad this summer. Two wins that stood out for this group included the comeback win against sister team Team WI Select Doucette in overtime and then the win over CSS Bison in the All Iowa Attack Tournament in June. TWSS also was named gbbrecruit team of the week four times this summer.
In other events TWSS won the USJN tournament early in July at Cincinnati, the AAU Junior Olympic tournament in Detroit, and finished 6th in the Nike Showcase in Chicago.

The summer is hot, and NC Heat was definitely hot this summer. Undefeated in Minnesota, at the national stage NCH found success too. NCH finished 2nd in the tournament of champions in Atlanta; 2nd in the National AAU tournament in Orlando; NCH won the diamond bracket in the River City tournament in Memphis.
NCH has had a core group together for six years. They have won the State tournament every year. They made some key additions this year that gave them more depth and versatility.
The Heat's trademark is defense. NCH used presses, double teams, and plain grunt work to stymie and frustrate opponents.
Of course with Tayler Hill on the floor NCH was never out of any game. Anne Berner anchored the middle. Katya Leick was another defensive cornerstone. Megan Nipe provided her sharpshooting. All at one point were named to All Tournament teams in the out of state tournaments.
NCH was gbbrecruit team of the week three times during the course of the summer. Will there be an NC Heat next year? The word is NC Heat is looking to be a full fledged program and will run teams at every age level. I am sure more details will be coming.

Tayler Hill
of NC Heat was the gbbrecruit player of the year in the 2007-08 winter season and she takes her second straight honor with a hands down performance throughout the summer. Her signature performance this summer took place in one minute against the Metro Stars 19 team at the Woodbury Battle of the Hardwood. Hill scored a lucky 13 points in one minute as she lifted her squad on her back and carried the Heat across the finish line. Hill’s 3 point shooting is getting to be more consistent. She has always been a slasher and is adept to the line. Besides her scoring and will to win Hill has other aspects of her game that are overlooked---her defense is top notch as she can read what the opposition is thinking and her passing ability is also top flight-- she knows who to get the ball to, and when to get the ball to them. Hill will be going for the triple crown in the winter of 2008-09.
Hill was gbbrecruit player of the week three times and led the summer with 6 trench player honors. By the way her pp100 for the summer was a 142.97, and her floor % was .641.
To solidify her repution she is the only player that made all three teams—overall, defensive, distributor--and they were all first team selections.

Shakila Boler
, North Tartan Larson & Bloomington Kennedy
Tayler Hill, NC Heat (Minneapolis South)
Megan Nipe, NC Heat & Centennial
Sari Noga, North Tartan 15 (Parkers Prairie)
Laura Peterson, Team WI Select Samuels (Osseo-Fairchild, WI)
Kiara Buford, MN 4A All Stars & Gym Rats 19*
Angela Christianson, North Tartan 15 & Alexandria
Kionna Kellogg, IBCA Select Red (Ames, IA)
Marissa Kastanek, CSS Bison (Lincoln Southeast, NE)
Cassie Rochel, MN Stars Borowicz & Lakeville North
Amber Dvorak, MN Stars Borowicz (Hinckley-Finlayson)
Sam Hoyt, Team WI Select Samuels (Durand, WI)
Trisha Nesbitt, IBCA Select Red (Ames, IA)
Sam Price, Team WI Select Samuels (Eau Claire North, WI)
Jaime Printy, IBCA Select Red (Linn-Mar, IA)
Kayla Hirt, North Tartan 15 (Bemidji)
Alyssa Kamphaus, CSS Bison (Seward, NE)
Sam Mehr, Metro Stars Black (Eastview)
Britta Syverson, MN Finishers (Mpls Southwest)
Brianna Tisch, Metro Stars Black (Chaska)
Erin Green, Fridley
Kelsey Evans, North Tartan Crosby (Willmar)
Bailey Lund, Bloomington Kennedy
Katie Loberg, North Tartan Larson (Princeton)
Brittany Zins, Metro Stars Black & Bloomington Kennedy
* only 2008 player to make the list.

Tayler Hill, NC Heat
Sari Noga, North Tartan 15
Shakila Boler, North Tartan Larson & Bloomington Kennedy
Sam Abens, All Iowa Attack (Knoxville, IA)
Jessie Althoff, MN Comets & Becker
Taylor Bare, Triple Threat (Anoka)
Angela Christianson, North Tartan 15 & Alexandria
Mallory Cramer, Minneapolis South
Aubrey Davis, MN Stars Lady Cats-Jihad & Bloomington Kennedy
Amber Dvorak, MN Stars Borowicz
Karin Gibson, Metro Stars White (Eden Prairie)
Kara Hofschild, MN Dynamite (Andover)
Sam Hoyt, Team WI Select Samuels (Durand, WI)
Marissa Kastanek, CSS Bison (Lincoln Southeast, NE)
Emily Kaus, MN Fury 16 (Eastview)
Dani Mangen, MN Stars Borowicz & Osseo
Trisha Nesbitt, IBCA Select Red (Ames, IA)
Megan Nipe, NC Heat & Centennial
Laura Peterson, Team WI Select Samuels (Osseo-Fairchild, WI)
Sam Price, Team WI Select Samuels (Eau Claire North, WI)
Jaime Printy, IBCA Select Red (Linn-Mar, IA)
Carissa Wolyniec, Metro Stars White & DeLaSalle
Brittany Zins, Metro Stars Black & Bloomington Kennedy

Nicole Griffin of Team WI Select Samuels casts a long shadow over the lane. At 6-6 Griffin controlled the paint. Her mobility is good. I would characterize her frame as wiry. She is stronger than she looks. It is the wing span that is her signature card. She is also getting more aggressive after loose balls. Going to the floor numerous times this year and coming up with the ball.
Nicole Griffin
, Team WI Select Samuels (Milwaukee Griffin).
Tayler Hill, NC Heat (Mpls South)
Tori Rule, Midtown Lady Monarchs and DeLaSalle
Sarah Peterson, MN Fury 16 and Minnehaha
Cassie Rochel, MN Stars Borowicz and Lakeville North
Emily Cady
, CSS Bison (Seward, NE)
Jade Geif, MN Suns 15 Greg and Lakeville South
Erica Gress, MN Metro Stars 15 (Apple Valley)
Katya Leick, NC Heat (Park-Cottage Grove)
Chelsea Poppens, North Tartan Larson (Aplington-Parkersburg, IA)
Taylor Bare, Triple Threat 16 (Anoka)
Anne Berner, NC Heat (Forest Lake)
Abby Busch, MN Stars Eckmann & GFW
Chiamaka Okonkwo, Osseo
Bridget Schuneman, Metro Stars White & Centennial

Shakila Boler
of North Tartan Larson and Bloomington Kennedy gets the assist title. NTL knows her value. They felt the effects of her absence after her injury in July. Boler is effiecent and heady.
Shakila Boler, North Tartan Larson & Bloomington Kennedy
Tayler Hill, NC Heat (Minneapolis South)
KK Houser, CSS Bison (Lincoln Southeast)
Kaiya Sygulla, North Tartan Crosby & Lakeville North
Katie Wolff, Team WI Select Doucette (Marshfiled)
Brittany Chambers
, MN Stars Borowicz (Jordan)
Steff Comer, Minnetonka
Sam Hoyt, Team WI Select Samuels (Durand)
Kate Thompson, MN Stars Borowicz (Wayzata)
Amanda Wagner, MN Stars DeWitt & New Prague

These awards go to players I had not seen until this summer.
: Played High School ball. Kionna Kellogg of IBCA Select Red won the first newcomer honor this summer in the Iowa AAU State tournament and then took the player of the week honor at the end of the Dakota Showcase. Kellogg is 6-1 has good length and speed. She is ahead of the play

: Yet to Play High School ball: Jackie Johnson of North Tartan 14. Johnson will be a freshman at Eden Prairie. She is 6-1 and a lefty.

2006: North Tartan Larson
2007: Centennial

Is there a gbbrecruit jinx? Each one of the NTL players in 2006 did not reach the state tournament in the 2006-07 high school season. Centennial didn’t make the state tournament in the 2007-08 high school season. NC Heat will look to snap this odd coincidence.

2006: Jill Young, South Dakota Elite, Mitchell Christian (South Dakota State)
2007: Katelin Oney, IBCA Select, Cedar Rapids Washington (Northern Iowa)

Young’s team didn’t make the state tournament her senior year. Oney’s team CRW did make the Iowa 4A State finals and lost to Iowa City on a last second lay up.

2007: Brian Frye, Metro Stars Black

2007: Metro Stars Black

Now I need to rest.

Next up: tomorrow.