The Class C Top 10 Camp was once again at Grand Island Central Catholic on Friday. Some of the state’s best boys basketball teams from Classes C-1 and C-2 competed in pool play and culminated in Ashland-Greenwood winning the championship game (57-42) over Wahoo.
Other teams in attendance included Amherst, Auburn, Grand Island Central Catholic, Ogallala, McCook, Freeman, Central City and O’Neill.
Here are observations from the camp.
Ashland-Greenwood lost a lot with the graduation of Cale Jacobsen and others. There is a long way to go before the Bluejays can repeat as state champions but an undefeated day and winning the championship is certainly a step in the right direction. 2023 guard Brooks Kissinger was the most consistent player of all the teams that participated in the camp. His feel for the game, ability to change directions with quick and slow pace was impressive. If he gets a look from the top free throw line extended you can almost count on it going in. Kissinger should have a big winter season as the leader of the Bluejays.
If the roster that played Friday and has played in June is the team that Wahoo will play with in the winter then look out. The Warriors have more size at virtually every position than most Class A teams. Seven seniors are slated to return and the size with the athleticism is something that should suit them well going forward.
2023 F Benji Nelson has grown to a 6-7 wing capable of scoring at all three levels. 2024 guard Marcus Glock is unselfish and skilled, 2023 guard Kam Kasischke is a great on-ball defender that does a little bit of everything. 2023 wing Anthony Simon should play a big role next season. He looks taller than the listed 6-4 and can create space while being an effective rebounder on both ends of the floor.
The first game of the day for McCook was a look at 2023 guard Evan Humphrey (6-2, 185). Humphrey can flat out shoot from behind the arc. Last season he made a school record 95 three’s while shooting 45% from distance. Humphrey’s stroke almost reminds me of former Scottsbluff legendary shooter Dru Kuxhausen. It’s pure and literally every time it goes up you expect it to go in. There is not wasted motion in his shot and the release is quick enough to get it off with little space.
O’Neill guard Landon Classen had a great day. Not a lot of wasted movement, he’s longer than tall and looks as though he is not done growing. He has a quiet confidence, can see the floor well and is the team’s leader. At 6-2, Classen seems to be scratching the surface of how good he can be even though he has played a lot of games in his high school career.
Ogallala guard Jeron Gager (2023) was hampered a bit by an ankle injury he suffered on Tuesday at Doane’s Team Camp. Even though his quickness was maybe a little off he showed his scoring ability and ability to get past defenders with his first step and finish with both hands over the top of would be defenders.
Auburn was without lead guard Mav Binder and will be for the rest of the summer. That clearly will be an opportunity for others to step up and into meaningful roles. One player that has improved and should provide some much needed size is 6-7 post Carson Leslie (2023). He is not a finished product by any means but there are things that you like. First to the floor for a loose ball, working on chinning and keeping the ball high and finishing with consistency.
2023 Grand Island Central Catholic guard Ishmael Nadir was quick out of the gate for the Crusaders. He didn’t waste time showing his speed, agility, fluidity and burst to the basket in the 8 a.m. game against Central City. As the day went on teams struggled to defend him and keep him in front of them defensively.
Amherst’s forward Tayje Hadwiger (2024) most notably stood out. It wasn’t that he led the team in scoring multiple times, which he did, it was the little things. His 6-4 frame and strength allows him to rebound on both ends of the floor, his overall skill level stands out as well. He is smooth and makes the right play look easy. Mid-post jumpers went in, layups didn’t miss, defended the other team’s best player at times and wasn’t afraid to be physical in the post.