D1 Minnesota’s Depth on Display in Denver

May 1, 2013
D1 Minnesota’s Depth on Display in Denver

The D1 Minnesota teams were all in action at Best Buy Mile High Classic in Lakewood, Colo. this past weekend. The program certainly has its standout players, but each of the D1 Minnesota rosters are well balanced and stocked with talent.

With talent up and down their rosters, the D1 Minnesota teams can beat opponents in a number of ways.This article will mention some names, but there are many others deserving of a look.

One event for those in the Twin Cities to mark in their calendars is the 5th Annual Summer Classic which is scheduled for July 18-21, 2013 in Bloomington. This tournament will provide locals an opportunity to see each of the D1 Minnesota teams go up against tough competition from outside of the state.

Anyone on the 17U team can step up and have a big game. If size is needed, they can rely on 6’9″ forwards Ian Theisen and Paul Friendshuh, both of whom can also score away from the basket. Need a 3-point assassin on the floor? J.P. Macura, a 6’5″ guard from Lakeville North is lethal from long-range.

Sometimes you need an aggressive high flyer who can attack and energize the game. Delshon Strickland can help you out with that. After watching his dunk below live as it happened in the gym, I think my face was frozen in a bitter beer face for about 30 seconds. Nasty.

On Sunday morning the 17U team lost a close one in the semifinals to Billups Elite who then lost to the Colorado Miners in the championship. D1 Minnesota had beaten the Miners, led by 2014 point guard Josh Perkins, on Friday night (before bracket play began).

The 16U team features 6’9″, 250 pound Henry Ellenson, potentially a top 15 player in the 2015 class. With his size he can beat up a lot of competition on the blocks, but it’s his versatility and skill as a basketball player that make him such a standout. Henry has a pretty outside shot and can make a defense pay from anywhere on the floor.

The 16U team beat the Colorado Hawks for the championship on Sunday. The Hawks feature 6’8″ 2016 De’Ron Davis who is an impressive talent. Davis had a strong game, making an impact defensively, scoring and passing. In comparison to Ellenson, though, Davis doesn’t have similar perimeter abilities at this point. Henry can be just as dangerous out on the wing as he is on the low post.

When D1 Minnesota guard Marshawn Wilson (2015, Hill Murray) gets on a roll he’s a lot of fun to watch. He can knock down shots from the perimeter, but with his leaping abilities he’s a guy that can drive or post up defenders and create high-percentage scoring opportunities. If Marshawn has the ball near the bucket he seemingly effortlessly elevates high above the defender and tosses the ball in for two.

Like the program’s other squads, the 16U team has a wealth of other talent. In Denver, 6’4″ wing Billy Wampler (2015, Eau Claire Regis) demonstrated his nose for the ball and frequently made key plays. Whether it was a defensive stop, big rebound, nice pass or timely trey, Wampler often stood out.

A talented Billups Elite team handled the D1 Minnesota 15’s on Friday night with relative ease. In the rematch which was also the 15U championship game, the Minnesota kids got their revenge with a 67-50 victory.

6’6″ Amir Coffey is a legit standout in the 2016 class. His length and versatility are excellent and enable him to play and defend several positions.¬†Apple Valley’s 6’10” center Brock Bertram continues to progress nicely.

Patrick Dembley, younger brother of 17U point guard Jordan, is a nice looking lead guard. Rece Dietrich is a long 6’5″ wing from Barron (Wisc.) and impressed with his smooth pull up jumpers. Need some extra athleticism on the court? Call on Tyler Johnson.

The list goes on and on… and it even includes a couple of 2017 kids: Jack Sorenson (was sidelined this weekend, but is a kid to watch at Lakeville South in the coming years) and the long 6’6″ forward Goanar Mar from Mankato West.

Jake Dale, also from Mankato West, stands only about 6’4″ but plays a lot bigger. Like Wampler for the 16U team this weekend, Dale was often involved in key plays and demonstrated the ability to get to where the ball is before others. He rebounded very well and scored on nice post moves throughout the weekend. An aggressive and good all-around basketball player.

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