AAU Summer Play Now Right Around the Corner
With the completion of last week’s state tournament, the summer AAU season cannot be far away. In fact, the AAU has already announced seeds for next months AAU state prelims and state tournament. The seeds are based on the finish…
With the completion of last week’s state tournament, the summer AAU season cannot be far away. In fact, the AAU has already announced seeds for next months AAU state prelims and state tournament. The seeds are based on the finish in the state tournament a year ago, with some exceptions. So let’s take a quick look at the upcoming season through the lens of the AAU’s seeds.
By the way, by the time of the AAU prelims, a #7 and #8 seed will be added to each class based on play in the AAU-sanctioned tournaments that are played between now and then.
Class of 2019/Juniors
You may recall that North Tartan 10th EYBL came out of nowhere to win the 2019 state championship last year with Macy Guebert, Liza Karlen and Sara Scalia leading the way. The team will have a substantially new look this year beginning with coach Gerard Coury taking over the reins. It continues with Kallie Theisen, Hannah Purcell and Taylie Scott all joining up from the now-disbanded Crossfire Theisen team that took #3 in the state last year. And, there’s a new name, of course, since they’re no longer 10th graders. They’re North Tartan 11th EYBL, and they’re your #1 seed heading into the summer season as a result of defeating (then) Fury 2019 Blue 46-29 in the state final.
The #2 seed also has a new name as the Fury has enhanced its relationship with adidas by joining the adidas national league called the Gauntlet. So its 1st team in its top 3 age groups will be called the Fury Gauntlet (formerly the Fury Blue). In this case, it’s the Fury 2019 Gauntlet, and they return Abby Johnson, Carly Krsul, McKenna Hofschild, Emma Carpenter, Taylor McAulay and others, and add new faces in Nevaeh Galloway, Kaylee Nelson and Taytum Thoades.
The #3 and #4 seeds are both from the Minnesota Stars organization, which announced on Sunday that Lindsay Whalen has became a minority owner. We'll have to wait and see just how active Lindsay will be in the day-to-day activities of the Stars and just what that means for the Stars, but obviously it is a very cool thing for the Stars and for girls basketball in Minnesota.
The #3 seed is Stars Nelson, which returns Destinee Oberg, Sara Stapleton, Lexi Hultman, Aja Wheeler, Aiana Whitfield and Dlayla Chakolis, and adds new face Grace Kirk among a few others. Stars Nelson lost to Crossfire 54-49 in last year’s 3rd place game, but moves up to #3 as the Crossfire Theisen is no more.
#4 is Stars Amundson, which returns Kacie Borowicz, Tori Nelson, Hannah DeMars, Macy Nilsen and Brieanna Smestad, and more. They edged (then) Fury 2019 Gold 48-44 in the 5th place game.
#5 is Fury 2019 Yellow, as the Fury’s 2nd team in each age group changes it name from Gold to Yellow. And #6 is the Comets 11th Elite, led last year by Lariah Washington and Alyssa Daugherty, who defeated Suns Keitzer 52-42 in the 7th place game last year. Suns Keitzer returns point guard Mimi Schrader among others.
Suns Keitzer is the alternate. That means they move up if one of the top 6 does not enter the tournament. They are not guaranteed the #7 or #8 seed, however.
Class of 2020/Sophomores
North Tartan is also the #1 seed among the 2020s as a result of their 47-45 win in last year’s 9th grade final over Fury 2020 Blue. Both teams change their names this year—they are North Tartan 10th EYBL and Fury 2020 Gauntlet, respectively, and they are #1 and #2.
Tartan 10th EY is of course Paige Bueckers’ team, and her teammates last year included Kenzie Kramer, Lauren Jensen, Mallory Brake, Mia Curtis and more. The Fury had Alyssa Ustby, Molly Mogenson, Rabyn Miles, Sidney Stensgard, Kaylie Van Der Werf and more last year. We have not seen either of these rosters for this coming season but we expect most players to return to both.
#3 is E1T1 Premier, which was led by Zhane Thompson and Jasmine Smiley a year ago. #4 is Stars 10th Antl. We have seen coach Antl’s roster and it includes some upgrades. Emily Russo, Gus Boyer, Olivia Christianson and Abby Schulte lead a talented roster. Last year E1T1 bumped off Stars Antl 43-37 for 3rd place in the AAU tournament.
#5 is North Tartan 9th West which last year featured Lily Tennyson, Kendal Cox and Lydia Haack. We expect some significant changes to this roster, but they hold on to that #5 seed. #6 is Heat Hinck which featured Lindsey Becher and Cianna Selbitschka a year ago. Both are gone this year but almost everybody else returns. NT West defeated the Heat 44-38 for 5th place last year.
So-Minn Fury 2020 and Crossfire Jorgenson are the alternates. SMF had Olivia Christianson last year, but she has moved over to Stars Antl. Crossfire had Abby Schulte, but she too has moved to Stars Antl.
Class of 2021/Freshmen
Tayler Hill Elite 2021 opens the 2018 summer season as the favorite at 2021. Jade Hill, Kierra Wheeler and Ivanae Tensaie led a remarkably athletic group last year, and most are expected back. They clobbered (then) Fury 2021 Blue 55-36 in last year’s final.
#2 is again the Fury—Fury 2021 Gauntlet will be their name. Alexis Pratt and Sophia Hart led the way a year ago and most of this roster is also expected to return.
#3 is Stars Hersch. With the additions of Tamia Ugass, Adalia McKenzie (from Tayler Hill) and Paige Kindseth many see Hersch as the favorite at 2021, but for now they are the #3 seed. They defeated North Tartan 8th West 55-38 in the 3rd place game as Katie Borowicz led all scorers, and Katie is back with Stars Hersch for this summer.
#4 is North Tartan, with a twist. North Tartan had 3 8th grade teams last year. The West team finished #4, Tylor Coley’s team finished 5th and Jake Kuppe’s team 7th. Coley’s team has moved over to the Suns (see below) while the West and Kuppe team have been reorganized into what is more readily recognizable as a #1 team and a #2 team. The #1 team will take the name of its new coach—North Tartan 9th Ruth Sinn. And there are those who see Tartan’s top 9th graders and coach Sinn as an irresistible combination, and in other words, there are those who would make this team the favorite in its age group. This could be the most athletic and most competitive of the age groups, and the 2021s overall are expected one day to be one of the best recruiting classes ever. So there is no time like the present to start watching these teams if you haven’t done so already.
#5 is the previously-mentioned Suns 9th Coley featuring the coach’s daughter Kendal, and #6 is Crossfire Schuck. The alternates are North Tartan 9th Dickman and Top Flight 2021 Metro.
Class of 2022/8th Grade
As some of you know, Northstar Girls Hoops covers 4 classes—in the summer, that means 8th through 11th. Some of this year’s 8th graders have already gotten our attention for their play on their varsity teams at school. But for many of them, this is the 1st opportunity to get on our radar. In short, we don’t claim to have a lot of insight toward this class just yet, but we will be developing it over the summer. Watch for an unranked 2022 Watch List to be published in April.
#1 is Stars Kolden, which was led by Emma Miller last year. They defeated Real Athletics-Ware 40-29 in last year’s tournament.
#2 is Real Athletics, led by coach Ware and his daughter Desiree, who played for Maranatha this winter.
#3 is North Tartan 8th West, which clobbered the Fury 2022 Blue 63-21 last year. The Fury is #4 with the new name, again, of Fury 2022 Yellow. #5 is North Tartan 8th Scalia, led by coach Peter Scalia and Stillwater guard Amber Scalia. #6 is Fury 2022 Blue. Tartan defeated Fury 49-47 last year for 5th place. There are no alternates named at 2022.
So those are some of your top AAU teams for this coming summer. Watch for much more about the teams and their rosters as we move toward the AAU Prelims May 4-6 and the AAU State Tournament May 18-20.