Two local St. John basketball players and their coach have been keeping busy lately, honing their basketball or coaching skills in AAU basketball tournaments last weekend. St. John coach Clint Kinnamon along with his players Kade Kinnamon and Dean Wade were in Minneapolis, Minnesota facing up to competition from schools across the Mid-West and Central States.
Kinnamon's Mid-Kansas 17U team's tournament had 40 teams entered from 13 states, with his son Kade Kinnamon on the roster of 11 - players coming from Kansas towns as far west as Holcomb and Scott City on eastward to Eureka.
The Mid-Kansas 16U team coached by Layne Frick had St. John's All-Stater, 6'8” Wade as the tallest player on the roster of nine, and the tallest in both divisions. McPherson's Kyler Kinnamon (Former St. John basketball great Kurt Kinnamon's son.) was also on the team. The team had players representing Kansas towns from as far west as Hays on eastward to Manhattan and Topeka. Their tournament consisted of 32 teams entered from 10 states.
At first things didn't go so well for Wade's 16U team, losing their first game by four points to Wisconsin's hoops Academy. But something must have woken them up because they came storming back in the second pool play to give the Wisconsin Swing a spanking, defeating them by 23 points.
Their lop-sided victories continued to mount in the 1st Gold Division bracket, beating the Swings's again by 23, moving the Mid-Kansas 16U team on to the quarter-finals. It was then TP-Elite's turn to get crushed, with the Kansas team winning by a 19 point margin.
The team was on a mission and went on into the finals by defeating the Iowa-Mav's by 19 points. They won the tournament and the Gold by defeating the Wisconsin Shooters by 20 points.
Kinnamon's Mid Kansas 17U team took a hard loss in the first round of pool play, losing to the Minnesota Comets by one point in a buzzer-beater.
Then came a match-up against one of the toughest teams in the country – the Texas Select squad. Kinnamon's team played a good game against them, staying close and down by only seven points with seven minutes to go. But playing against a team that has five division-one players suited up, three of them on the top 100 list, it was just a matter of time before the Texas team started pulling away, winning the match by 20 points.
Texas-Select had players as tall as 6'7'', 6'8”, 6'10”, 6'10”, and 6'11”.
Considering that a whole host of Division I coaches and assistants were watching the game, the games outcome came as no surprise. Coaches such as Wisconsin's Bo Ryan, Oklahoma's Long Kruger, KSU's Bruce Weber, Georgetown's John Thompson, St. Louis's Jim Crews, OSU's Travis Ford and Iowa State's Fred Holberg to name a few division I coaches that came to watch the players and evaluated their talent and abilities.
Kinnamon's Mid-Kansas team came back and defeated the Green Bay Gunners by 14 points.
The team took an even harder loss in the quarter-finals, going into two overtimes against Hoops Academy and losing by four points.
The Mid-Kansas teams next competitions will be this upcoming weekend in Olathe at the Jayhawk Invitational.