BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - This year, the Sabes Invitational put on by the folks that run the Nike backed Howard Pulley Panthers basketball program celebrates it's 10th anniversary. While not one of the largest events in the country in terms of total teams, the Sabes has annually fielded some of the top programs from around the Midwest.
Friday night, action kicked off at the seven court facility at Bloomington High and it was a player from the host team and another local that stole the show as rapidly emerging 2011 wing Joe Coleman and recent Iowa State signee Calvin Godfrey both put on a show.
Minneapolis Wing Explodes In Front Of Home Crowd
We first got a look at 6-foot-3, maybe 6-foot-4, shooting guard Joe Coleman of Howard Pulley Blue back in April at the first session of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League/Boo Williams. At Boo, the looked to be a lean, strong and explosive slasher who could play above the rim.
Friday night, Coleman was all of that and much, much more. He spotted up for kick-out passes and swished home deep jumpers from either wing. He took weaker defenders into the high post and killed them with turnaround jumpers and when all else failed, he drove to the cup and tried to dunk on anybody in his way as violently as possible.
If what we saw Friday night is the real Joe Coleman and he can replicate anything close to this type of effort against good competition, then he could be well on his way to four star status. Regardless of ranking, he's a guy who is making the jump to the next level with his game and Midwestern high majors should be tracking him quite closely.
More Friday Night Notables
Technically, recent Iowa State signee Calvin Godfrey really has no reason to be playing this weekend. But, we're sure glad that we are able to get a look at the beastly 6-foot-7 insider who is taking the floor with Minnesota Grassroots. Bearing a striking resemblance to former class of 2009 standout Karron Johnson, he's a wiry strong kid with powerful shoulders and explosive hops. He tries to tear down the rim at every opportunity, has good hands and is ready to rumble at the drop of a hat. He will undoubtedly need skill development, but he brings an edge to the table that a rebuilding Iowa State program could sure use.
Some in the state of Iowa have gone so far as to proclaim that 6-foot-5 freshman wing Peter Jok could even better than class of 2010 stud Harrison Barnes. Frankly, that's silly and sets completely unrealistic expectations. That being said, the star of Kingdom Hoops 15 and under squad is certainly one to watch. For a little over a half, the slim wing had his way with KC Pump 'N Run's 15U bunch. He hit deep jumpers, scored on a series of pretty post moves and played selfless, team basketball while looking like a guy that high majors need to keep an eye on. However, we've got to credit KC PNR's Manny Watkins -- a long 6-foot-3 wing and the son of Missouri assistant Melvin Watkins -- for totally shutting down Jok over the course of the final 10 minutes of the game as KC pulled away for the victory.
As they usually do, the Houston Hoops rolled into town with a very talented squad. Notably, the Hoops have a wealth of young guard talent and on Friday night it was 2012's Rasheed Sulaimon who stepped up to the plate. A slim 6-foot-2 shooting guard who can slide over and play some point, Sulaimon's jumper was a thing of beauty as he hit on several deep jumpers. While not a high flyer, he is also quite crafty off the dribble and he makes defenders pay with floaters. Next up for him is to improve his lateral quickness and work on developing some strength.
Back home in Wichita, KC Pump 'N Run 15U standout Conner Frankamp is known by the nickname of "White Chocolate". In Minneapolis, there was no need for nicknames because he was too busy getting buckets. Off the dribble, off of deep catch and shoots, the 5-foot-11 point did it all. Like his name would suggest, he's got some flair off the dribble but he's also a sneaky athlete who can convert tough finishes at the rim. He had a big freshman campaign (shot over 50% from three) at North High in Wichita and could be one to watch down the road.
Observations From Around the Gym
His future is going to be on the gridiron, but man is Everett Pleasant of the Houston Hoops fun to watch. Totally opposite of his last name on the floor, he scraps, tosses around elbows and dunks with aggression whenever possible. If a fight breaks out in the gym, you best hope he's on your side. . Even though he's sidelined by a broken foot, 2012 stud point guard L.J. Rose is on hand to show his support for his Houston Hoops teammates. We'll mention just one more Houston Hoops guy and then we are done talking about them for the night. Southpaw 2012 combo guard J-Mychal Reese actually benefits some from Rose's absence. With Rose out, the athletic Reese gets more of an opportunity to showcase his PG skills. There's been a raging debate among many scouts about whether he projects more as a PG, SG or a combo and he'll get more a chance to show whether or not he can run the show full-time until Rose returns. Some low and maybe even mid majors who are still looking for an available point guard might want to check in on Lou Cox. He's skinny and on the smallish side at 5-foot-10, but the product of Minneapolis (Minn.) Patrick Henry is a waterbug who can fill it up from deep when left open. Finally, we are interested in getting a better look at 2013's Akoy Agau from Omaha. A 6-foot-7 forward, he looks to have some tools and hasn't yet matured. He put up 18 points and 15 rebounds in the Nebraska state championship game so it's obvious he's got to have some game.