March Madness in July

I’ve admittedly been infrequent (some might even say derelict) recently in developing new posts here on SMUG. The main reason is my focus during this season on my son Joe’s AAU basketball team, and chronicling their spring and summer season.

Right now we are in the middle of what I call “March Madness in July.” It’s the time when NCAA coaches are able to be on the road scouting talent and offering scholarships. Joe and his cousin Tom, both seniors-to-be for Austin High School, are playing with the Minnesota Magic Elite AAU team, based in the Twin Cities. And aside from my work-related blogging, my discretionary effort recently has been on the Magic site, where we have profiles of each of the players as well as video highlights from many of their games.

As I write this, Lisa and I are in the air above Tennessee on the way to Orlando for a national AAU tournament at the Wide World of Sports complex. Next week we head to Las Vegas for the Fab 48.

I probably will do a post with more analysis of the Magic site as part of the curriculum here, but for now here is video from the first half of one of the team’s stronger efforts, from a tournament in St. Cloud at the end of June:

The Magic site is similar to the site I developed for the Austin Packer Fast Break Club, which support the Austin High School team.

Both are examples of what you can accomplish with a Flip camera and $30 or less for a custom domain on

Fury Gold 16s Undefeated in #Super64 Pool

I had originally planned to update yesterday’s post with highlights from the Minnesota Fury Gold 16s game vs. Utah Pump N Run Red 16s, but the performance last night was so strong that I decided this win deserves a post of its own.

The Minnesota lads spotted Utah a basket, but then went on a tear, building a 32-21 halftime lead. The lead was narrowed to five on a couple of occasions in the second half but the Fury played tenacious defense and took care of the ball for a 52-36 win. Let’s go to the highlights:

Now the Fury enter bracket play and face the fourth-place team from Super Pool A, Wisconsin Playground Warriors, who lost their three pool games by a total of 13 points against top competition. They’ll no doubt be hungry, so our boys will need to be at their best.

It was nice to see @tchoopsczar yesterday (here’s his blog); when we chatted after scouting the Playground Warriors he mentioned that Minnesota teams were undefeated in the Adidas tournament. As of this writing the Minnesota teams are 24-3 overall (The Fury program is 11-0). We’ll see how bracket play goes, but so far it’s a good showing for the Gopher state.

Basketball Recruiting Season Begins

My son Joe has just finished his sophomore year of high school, and so as a member of the Class of 2013 this was the first day he could receive calls from Division I basketball coaches, according to NCAA rules. Today he’s talked with coaches from Cal Poly, Illinois-Chicago and South Dakota State. It’s an interesting process, and our first experience with it at the D1 level.

Joe has had a fun spring season with the Minnesota Fury Gold 16U team (along with two other players from his Austin High School team – his cousin Tom, also a sophomore, and freshman Zach Wessels.) Their Fury team is 35-4 on the spring and is playing great team ball. They resume tournament action in July, playing the King James Summer Showcase in Chicago, the Best Buy Pump N Run tournament in Minneapolis and the Adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas.

In June, Joe, Tom and Zach are playing with their Austin High School teammates in several team camps. This weekend they play at Iowa State University in Ames, and last weekend it was in Cedar Falls at University of Northern Iowa. Here are Joe’s highlights from the game against the Howard Pulley 16U team, one of the top AAU all-star teams in the state. Joe was 11/14 from the field (8/9 from three-point range) and had 30 points. The Packers dropped an 86-84 contest on two free throws by Siyani Chambers with :06 remaining.

Note: This video includes every shot Joe took in the Pulley game. I thought it was helpful to show the misses as well as the makes. And at the 1:00 mark I missed the finish on his breakaway dunk. It’s kind of hard to get all the action when you’re sitting under the basket instead of at midcourt.

Here is a more extended highlight reel that is mostly made up of footage from Joe’s sophomore season in high school.

We’re looking forward to what should be a fun Summer. I’ll occasionally post some updates here in the coming months. See the Packer Fast Break Club site for more in-depth coverage.