With a day of rest to recharge the batteries, here are some observations from the eighth annual Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook Shootout, held Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Buuck Field House on the campus of Concordia University in Mequon:
Five Individual Standouts
Luke Fischer, 7-0, C, Sr., Germantown
Fischer was absolutely dominant in the Warhawks’ victories over Arrowhead and Milwaukee Riverside. He finished with 20 points in a 100-47 victory over Arrowhead and added 30 in a 79-50 victory over Riverside. He scored with either hand in the lane, stepped out to three-point range and made some triples and went 13-16 from the foul line. He also blocked shots and rebounded at a high level. The progression of Fischer from his freshman year to his senior year has been steady and consistent. He is now the premier low-post scorer among all Wisconsin prep basketball players and figures to have a terrific career for coach Tom Crean at Indiana.
Bronson Koenig, 6-3, PG, Sr., Aquinas
In a featured matchup against Duane Wilson and Dominican, Koenig finished with 14 points and seven assists while also doing a superb job of guarding Wilson, who wound up with 18 points but had to work hard for every single one of those points. Koenig has the length and size to lock-down a lot of opponents and his defense is, without a doubt, one of his biggest assets. But his best attribute remains his ability to pass. No player in the state has the ability to consistently make his teammates better than Koenig, who electrified the big crowd several times with his no-look passes off the dribble that led to layups for his teammates. With the uncertainty at point guard currently in the Wisconsin program, Koenig figures to step in next fall and battle for a starting spot in Bo Ryan’s program.
Duane Wilson, 6-2, PG, Sr., Whitefish Bay Dominican
There isn’t a high school player in Wisconsin with the ability to get to the basket as consistently as Wilson, who uses his combination of aggressiveness, quickness and speed to beat defenders off the dribble. He is also a very capable shooter from distance and an outstanding team leader for an otherwise young Dominican squad. Wilson had 18 in a three-point loss to a very good Aquinas squad and then came back with 34 in a come-from-behind victory over Whitefish Bay. Wilson’s stop-and-go, reverse dribble baseline move that eventually winded up in a highlight reel dunk against Whitefish Bay was the best individual play of the entire tournament. His ability to get into the paint and his highly competitive nature are perfect fits for coach Buzz Williams and Marquette.
Matt Thomas, 6-4, WG, Sr., Onalaska
For the most part, Thomas struggled with his long-distance shooting, making just three three-point baskets in two games. But he still wound up with 25 points in a 56-44 victory over Wauwatosa East and had 22 in a 64-54 triple overtime victory over Kaukauna in a rematch of last year’s WIAA Division 2 state-title game. He also went 12-of-12 from the foul line in the two games. There is little wasted motion in Thomas’ game. He owns a picture-perfect jump shot, doesn’t make many mistakes and defends and rebounds at a high level. His growth, both physically and mentally, over the past four years has been remarkable. He figures to have an outstanding collegiate career at Iowa State, which is yearly among the national leaders in three-point shooting.
Deonte Burton, 6-5, WF, Sr., Milwaukee Vincent
Burton had somewhat pedestrian numbers in the Vikings’ 64-44 victory over Wauwatosa West, finishing with 16 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. But his combination of physical strength, size, quickness and mental toughness remain highly impressive. He is a beast on the glass, is unselfish to a fault and is a true team leader for first-year coach Marquis Hines. Burton’s ability to rise above opponents in the blink of an eye and snatch a rebound or tip-dunk a rebound are unmatched in Wisconsin and should lead to immediate playing time for coach Buzz Williams at Marquette next season.
Five Emerging Prospects
Steven Minzlaff, 6-4, G/F, Sr., Bay Port
A do-everything player with excellent size, strength and skill, Minzlaff was outstanding for Bay Port, which continues to play without injured senior Peyton Armstrong. Minzlaff showed the ability to score in transition, from three-point range, off the dribble, above the rim and from the foul line while scoring 22 points in a 68-43 loss to Arrowhead and 31 in a 69-65 overtime victory over Wauwatosa East.
Michael Conway, 6-6, WF, Sr., Aquinas
While almost everybody at the Buuck Fieldhouse was zeroing in on the stellar matchup of Koenig vs. Wilson, Conway proved to be the difference in the Blugolds’ 50-47 victory. He had 11 of his game-high 17 points in the second half, including three triples and a beautiful baseline move that led to a two-handed flush. Also an outstanding quarterback in football Conway’s ability to make plays gives coach Rick Schneider another consistent scoring option to go along with Koenig and junior center Parker Weber.
LaMonte Bearden, 6-0, PG, Jr., Germantown
Bearden is quickly emerging as one of the top class of 2014 prospects in Wisconsin and his play for the loaded Germantown squad at the WBY Shootout had fans buzzing. Quick with the ball in his hands, Bearden triggers the Warhawks’ potent transition game and has the ability to either score or pass to one of his talented teammates. He can finish above the rim, has great length and can also make perimeter shots. He is definitely a player NCAA Division I coaches will monitor over the next nine months.
Joe Sherburne, 6-6, WF, Jr., Whitefish Bay
A player with very good length and size, Sherburne showed the ability to make long-distance jump shots while also rebounding and scoring in the lane for the Blue Dukes, who lost to Dominican but turned around and posted a memorable 55-54 victory over previously unbeaten Little Chute. Sherburne needs to add some weight and strength to his long frame, but his future appears very bright as he continues to make steady progress under coach Kevin Lazovik.
Nick Klar, 6-4, F, Jr., Milwaukee Marquette
Klar may have been the difference in the Hilltoppers’ impressive 63-58 victory over a very good Oshkosh North squad. He finished with 23 points in that contest, making a pair of three-point shots while also scoring off the dribble and from the foul line. His versatility and physical strength were very impressive.
Five Premier Class of 2015 and 2016 Prospects
Diamond Stone, 6-9, F/C, Soph., Dominican
Stone is the nation’s top class of 2015 prospect because of his potential, his size, his demeanor and his skill. He is still learning the game in terms of how to compete on every possession and how to work for position in the lane, but his unselfishness and ability to snatch rebounds off the rim are both outstanding. Stone has excellent feet, soft hands and the ability to gather multiple offensive rebounds on a single possession. He plays with a great court disposition and figures to remain one of the most watched prospects in the history of Wisconsin prep basketball over the next two-plus years.
Miles Sigh, 6-2, G, Soph., Whitefish Bay
Sigh played very well in both games for the Blue Dukes, scoring 10 points in the upset victory over Little Chute and adding 13 in the loss to Dominican. He has good size and a willingness to guard the opponent’s best perimeter player. Sigh played with supreme confidence and backed that up with stellar all-around play.
Kyle Monroe, 6-4, WF, Soph., Ashwaubenon
In a 47-29 victory over Plymouth, Monroe showed the ability to consistently finish off of strong moves to the basket. He has good size, good physical strength and superb quickness off the dribble, making it difficult for defenders to keep him away from the basket.
Ethan Bublitz, 6-0, G, Soph., Kettle Moraine Lutheran
Though the Chargers dropped games to Lodi and Saint Thomas More, Bublitz was very impressive for coach Todd Jahns. He is extremely quick with the ball in his hands and also showed off a very soft shooting touch from the perimeter. One of four sophomores on the varsity roster at KML, Bublitz figures to blossom over the next couple of seasons as he adds weight and strength to his frame.
Garrison Goode, 6-5, F, Soph., Milwaukee Marquette
Goode is still feeling his way a bit on the offensive end of the court, but his size, length and anticipation proved to be very beneficial for the Hilltoppers on the other end of the floor. Once Goode becomes stronger and more of an offensive threat, he will emerge as a highly sought-after collegiate prospect.
Five Lasting Impressions of the 8th annual WBY Shootout
1) The energy and buzz in the crowd for the Dominican vs. Aquinas game will not soon be forgotten by the players, coaches and fans in attendance. Most came out to watch future Wisconsin Badger point guard Bronson Koenig of Aquinas go up against future Marquette Golden Eagle point guard Duane Wilson. They were treated to an outstanding game that featured several twists and turns of momentum as well as strong play by both Koenig and Wilson, not to mention Diamond Stone of Dominican and Michael Conway of Aquinas.
2) The strong play of Germantown. The Warhawks are 11-0 and have won 39 games in a row dating back to last year’s 28-0 squad that won the WIAA Division 1 state title. Coach Steve Showalter’s team is blessed with talent, size, depth, quickness, speed, hunger and skill. It will take an almost perfect effort by any opponent to beat the Warhawks this season.
3) The performance of Duane Wilson against Whitefish Bay. With his team trailing 41-40 entering the fourth period, Wilson put on a highlight show for the packed crowd in the fourth period, scoring 12 of his game-high 34 points to lead the Knights to a 62-48 victory over their cross-town rivals. Wilson scored in a variety of ways, including a couple of crowd-pleasing dunks that put the Blue Dukes on their heels.
4) Whitefish Bay’s 55-54 victory over Little Chute. With two future Green Bay players on its roster in Turner Botz and Kenneth Lowe, Little Chute is loaded with talent and is the pick of many to win the Division 3 state championship. After opening a 19-9 lead after one period against Whitefish Bay, the Mustangs had their hands full the rest of the way. The final 10 seconds of the game featured turnovers by each team, missed free throws and, eventually, a missed shot at the buzzer by Lowe that would have won the game for the Mustangs. Credit Whitefish Bay for battling back from an early deficit and playing exceptionally hard against one of the state’s premier teams, regardless of division.
5) Kaukauna’s victory over Wisconsin Lutheran. Like Whitefish Bay against Little Chute, Kaukauna trailed for much of its game against Wisconsin Lutheran. But the Ghosts, who lost a heart-breaking triple overtime contest to Onalaska the day before, came back to pull out a 55-54 victory on a pair of free throws from junior Kyle Schalow.
State Championship Outlook
A year ago, all five state champions in the WIAA State Tournament competed in the WBY Shootout – Germantown in Division 1, Onalaska in Division 2, Brillion in Division 3, Dominican in Division 4 and Sheboygan Lutheran in Division 5.
Here are the best bets of this year’s WBY Shootout participants to potentially win a state title come March … Germantown in Division 1, Whitefish Bay in Division 2, Little Chute in Division 3, Dominican in Division 4. No Division 5 teams competed in the WBY Shootout this year.
Special note … the Division 3 field at the WBY Shootout was simply outstanding. In addition to Little Chute, the squads from Aquinas, Lodi and East Troy each have a legitimate shot at capturing the state championship.
A Few Final Thoughts …
* Thanks to the athletic administration and men’s basketball program at Concordia University in Mequon for against providing outstanding facilities and hospitality for the WBY Shootout.
* Thanks to the athletic department, administration and basketball program at Dominican High School for again serving as host school for the WBY Shootout.
* Thanks to all the workers and volunteers who annually help to make the WBY Shootout one of the premier events in the state.
* Thanks to the fans who attended the WBY Shootout and again supported the greatest game in the country – high school basketball.
* Thanks to the players, coaches, fans and parents of all 29 participating teams.
* Thanks to all my family members who continue to give up their time to help run the event.
* Thanks to Aurora Sports Medicine Institute for providing training services throughout the 25 games.
* Thanks to the outstanding officials who worked the games at the WBY Shootout. The three-man crews once again did an outstanding job.
WBY Shootout All-Tournament Team
Luke Fischer, 7-0, Sr., Germantown
Duane Wilson, 6-2, Sr., Dominican
Bronson Koenig, 6-3, Sr., Aquinas
Matt Thomas, 6-4, Sr., Onalaska
LaMonte Bearden, 6-0, Jr., Germantown
Deonte Burton, 6-5, Sr., Milwaukee Vincent
Kenneth Lowe, 6-7, Sr., Little Chute
Brett Prahl, 6-9, Sr., East Troy
Diamond Stone, 6-9, Soph., Dominican
Michael Conway, 6-6, Sr., Aquinas
Ten Others Who Played Consistently Well
Turner Botz, 6-6, Sr., Little Chute
Steven Minzlaff, 6-4, Sr., Bay Port
Jordan Shea, 6-4, Jr., Lodi
Riley Vander Wyst, 5-11, Sr., Kaukauna
Nick Klar, 6-4, Jr., Milwaukee Marquette
Nate Moore, 6-2, Sr., Wauwatosa East
Keelin Johnson, 6-2, Sr., Whitefish Bay
Cooper Radtke, 6-5, Jr., Oshkosh North
Jerrelle Deberry, 6-4, Sr., Destiny
Nathan Dodge, 6-4, Sr., East Troy
Tag(s): WBY Shootout