May 9, 2006

Reflections on the Sabes Invitational

This weekend the Sabes Invitational took place and was won by the Howard Pulley Panthers. There was a lot of good young talent on display from several teams most of which are located in the Midwestern United State. Youngsters like Cody Schilling, Dimitri Riggs and Jordan Taylor opened some eyes while veterans Angelo Johnson, Demond Watt and Trevor Mbakwe put forth the expected solid efforts.

Of the 16 teams in the Sabes tournament, only two were new to the experience (Madison Spartans and ECI Elite) as most are programs the fans in attendance have seen in the past five tournaments. Missing this year was the Dallas Mustangs, the KC Rocktown team, which disbanded, and the St. Louis Eagles 17s because most of their group went to prom. The St. Louis Eagle 16s did come and they went undefeated as they crushed several opponents in the younger division. Locally Minnesota had eight teams among the 32 invited including five Pulley squads and one each from Minnesota Select, Minnesota Icemen and the Royal Cats.

Pulley Panther Angelo "Bear" Johnson had the most consistently outstanding seven game event of anybody in attendance. His explosive speed with the basketball could not be stopped as Bear penetrated to the middle when ever he wanted all tournament long. He scored several acrobatic lay-ins in traffic and hit some floaters in the lane. His jumper was on all weekend and Johnson hit a good percentage of his three-pointers.

Bear is now in the class of 2008 after he went to prep school and reclassified down from being a senior to being a sophomore. High major schools across the country like Iowa State and Georgetown are showing interest in Bear and don't be surprised to see him ranked high in the 2008 listings when they come out in the near future.

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