The Best of the Midwest tournament was held at Geneva High in Geneva (IL) this past weekend, featuring 15 of the top AAU teams from established midwestern programs. The states of Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri and Iowa were represented in the 16-under and 17-under age groups. Several of the Illinois programs represented last year were unable to attend due to regional AAU games being scheduled this weekend, including the Chicago Flames and the Chicago Hoops Express programs.
Competing in this year's tournament...
Hoopstars Midwest 16s
Hoopstars Midwest 17s
Full Package White
Full Package Silver
Full Package Pacesetters
Iowa Elite 16s
Iowa Elite 17s
North Tartan 16s
North tartan 17s
Michigan Belles - Haverson
Michigan Belles - Lyon
Capitol City Express
Indiana's Finest 16s
Queen City Jaguars 16s
* The speed of the game continues to increase. The North Tartan 17s team this weekend dropped 120+ points on the Michigan Belles, who failed to reach 80. Even more amazingly was the fact it was the Michigan Belles team that featured Michigan State signee Tiffanie Shives. The Belles also have Indiana State recruit Heather Seyfred. This tournament has each team playing four games over two days. There are players who also play for more than one age group, as was the case with a player with the Hoopstars program, who played with both the 16s and 17s. So she got eight games in this weekend. This did not used to be the case, but it has become a reality. If your daughter doesn't play competitive basketball twelve months of the year, it is likely she will not have the endurance in a few years to play Division I basketball.
* I thought the referees in general did a good job this weekend. Yet when you consider the speed of the game and the physical nature of where the game is going, to keep everyone pacified you need three refs on the floor. The Saturday games averaged 37 fouls called per game, and there were still accusations that the refs were "letting the players play". In comparison, games in which the University of Minnesota played last season averaged 32 fouls per game.
* It may just be me, but there seemed to be an unusual amount of tie-ups resulting in change of possession this past weekend. There is probably an argument that the hand speed and awareness of defenders is getting better, but it is undeniable that offensive players need to take better care of the ball.
* It was interesting to see all-american post Porsha Phillips of Stone Mountain (GA) playing with the Queen City Jaguars from the Cincinnati area. I heard Phillips was brought up to play this summer with Myia McCurdy of Queen City. Both players have been invited to participate in the USA Basketball Youth Developmental festival this summer. There will be a change in the number of U.S. players invited this year to the festival. Last year, four teams of twelve were chosen to play against each other. This year, only three teams of twelve players will be chosen from the U.S., and the remaining team will be brought in from Canada.
* Ashlee Bridge, a 5'11 forward from Cincinnati, has committed to Vanderbilt according to Queen City team sources. Bridge comes from the same high school as current Vanderbilt all-conference guard Dee Davis. Queen City head coach Kornell Battle was hired as the Director of Basketball Operations for Vanderbilt in 2003 by former Xavier head coach Melanie Balcomb.
* The University of Minnesota will curse the day they let North Tartan junior guard Amy Beggin verbal to New Mexico. She impressed us last year at the Best of the Midwest, and has continued to polish her game. She led the North Tartan 16s team in scoring during the tournament.
* The Best of the Midwest Tournament in 2006 will be changing weekends and growing in size.
Over the next few days, OGFP will be posting some of the results from the tournament, plus a dozen or so scouting reports of players that caught our eye by playing well during the weekend.