Like a Whole NCAA Basketball Season in Five Days

That’s how I would describe this Adidas Super 64 tournament. In the first two days, the teams are in pools (as I described in this post), which is like the conference regular season. Those teams that do the best in the pools (or are in a Super Pool, the equivalent of one of the BCS conferences) make it to The Big Dance, or the Championship Bracket. The others go into the Gold Bracket, which is analogous to the NIT.

Yesterday our Minnesota Fury Gold boys lost in the equivalent of an NCAA 7 seed vs. 10 seed matchup. I’ll update this post later with video highlights. But overall this Adidas 64 experience has been great, and after a trip to the Hoover Dam today we’ll check out the semifinals and finals tomorrow in the 17-and-under division. Many of the players in those games already have committed to major colleges, so it will be fun to watch some high-level ball.

This tournament brought the Fury Gold season to an end, and it was a great experience. My son Joe got to play with his cousin Tom and another Austin High School teammate, Zach Wessels, and some great boys from the Twin Cities area. They went 42-8 on the season and won several tournaments.

Given that they play only 24 games during their regular high school season in Minnesota, maybe the better analogy is that this AAU season from April to July is like two regular seasons. And especially since they are mostly playing against the best competition in their age group from the northern U.S.  (or in the case of this Las Vegas, from the whole country), it’s been a great way for them to develop their skills and become better players.

It should make for a lot of fun during next year’s Austin Packers regular season.


AAU Basketball in Vegas: Day 2

As I posted yesterday, I’m in Las Vegas for several days for the Adidas Super 64 basketball tournament. The teams play in age group categories (17 and under, 16 and under, etc.) and the first two days are pool play to decide which teams make the Championship bracket and which ones play in a lower bracket.

In the case of the 16Us (where my son Joe and nephew Tom play for the Minnesota Fury Gold), there are 88 teams in pools of four. Four of those (Pools A-D) are “Super Pools” in which all four teams make the Championship bracket. Those 16 teams all happen to be sponsored by Adidas. Coincidence?

In the remaining 18 pools (E-V), after the four teams play each other in round robin format, the two top teams make the 52-team Championship bracket. Our Fury Gold boys won big yesterday, and had a nice 46-32 win this morning against a team nominally from Texas, but which had a strong international flavor. Here are the highlights:

Since our boys are 2-0 in the pool, they’re now guaranteed a spot in the Championship bracket. They play the Utah Pump-n-Run 16s (also 2-0) tonight for the Pool P top seed. See the tournament site for bracket seeding. Check out what happened in Pool H, for instance. Three teams finished 2-1, and use a tiebreaker of cumulative victory margin. So even though they all had the same record in pool play, and a winning record at that, Iowa Pump N Run misses the Championship bracket by a single point. Our Fury Gold boys had exactly that experience earlier in the year in a tournament in Lawrence, Kansas.

The Super Pool teams get an advantage in that they all make the Championship bracket and the top three teams in each Super Pool also get a bye to the round of 32. Even so, I have to say this is the best-run tournament I’ve experienced. In addition to the 88 16U boys teams, they have about 180 17U teams here, as well as smaller brackets in the boys’ 15s and 14s, and also 17U and 16U girls. They have a neat iPhone app too, that updates scores and gives directions to the game venues.

It’s also fun to see some of the top national college coaches here scouting the talent. At one game I watched today, Coach “K” from Duke was just across the court (he’s in the white shirt in the middle):

And just a few feet away was his rival, UNC Tar Heel coach Roy Williams (standing in pink):

If the Fury win tonight, they’ll play the #4 team from Pool A. If they lose, they play the winner of Pool J.

I’ll update this post with video after the Utah game.

Updated (7/24/11): The Utah PNR win was so impressive it deserves its own post.


AAU Basketball in Las Vegas

I’m in Las Vegas today through Tuesday for the Adidas Super 64 basketball tournament, as our Minnesota Fury Gold 16U team (my son Joe Aase and nephew Tom Aase, as well as their Austin High teammate Zach Wessels are members) is participating in one of the largest events in the NCAA July evaluation period.

The tournament organization seems to be making full use of technology and social media (here is its Twitter account, and it’s using the #Super64 hashtag).

More updates to come as the week unfolds.

Update: The Fury Gold defeated San Pedro, CA this morning in their only game today. The final was 67-39; the halftime score was 46-20 and the Fury coasted the rest of the way. Here are the video highlights:

Tomorrow’s games will be tougher.