World-Herald prep recruiting specialist Mike Sautter was in Atlanta, Georgia, over the weekend to watch the second session of the Adidas Uprising Gauntlet series.
Midlands teams in the tournament included Omaha Sports Academy 17U, 16U and 15U.
Below are some standout performers.
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OSA 17U Adidas had a successful weekend in Atlanta, finishing with a 4-1 record, and losing to the eventual Silver Division champion NY Jayhawks (New York) 74-68 in the quarterfinals.
The biggest win of the weekend came on Sunday against Team Rush (Kansas City, MO), which features 6-foot-7 Creighton target Christian Bishop.
Through two weekends the team is shooting over 50 percent from inside the arc and over 40 percent from 3-point range.
“I am really pleased with how we are progressing as a basketball team,” OSA coach Bob Franzese said. “Our shooting percentage is a direct reflection of our unselfish play.”
An 8-2 record through two weekends with the losses coming by a combined 12 points should be enough for it to qualify for the Gauntlet Finale in Spartansburg, South Carolina, July 15-17.
A few standouts from the weekend in Atlanta.
>> 2018 Omaha Burke guard Shereef Mitchell. There really is no argument of who the top performer was for OSA 17U. Mitchell continued his strong play from a week ago in Dallas to Atlanta. He is a quick-twitch athlete that can explode to the basket. Not only did Mitchell score virtually whenever he wanted, but he was also the defensive stopper for OSA. He typically was matched up against the opposing team's best scorer. Mitchell played well enough to earn his first scholarship offer from UNO on Saturday afternoon.
>> 2018 Bellevue West forward Khuath Gatkuoth didn’t score a ton of points over the weekend. What he did do was rebound well and showcase his natural athleticism. In OSA’s 74-45 win versus (Dallas) Triumph Gold on Saturday, Gatkuoth pinned a ball on the backboard with two hands as if he was putting a sticker on the glass with the basketball.
>> 2018 Millard North guard Nick Ferrarini once again led OSA in scoring in Atlanta. Known as a deadly 3-point shooter, he showed he can score at all three levels including finishing with contact at the rim and an efficient mid-range jump shot. Defensively he was more than sufficient while guarding some explosive athletes.
>> 2017 Winnebago wing David Wingett, an unsigned senior, had a great Sunday offensively in two games. He scored 35 points in two games and was 11 of 24 from 2-point range. Wingett, an explosive offensive player, is headed to Charlotte (NC) Basketball Academy for a year of prep school next season.
>> 2018 Papillion-La Vista wing Ed Chang is playing for the Iowa Barnstormers and had some struggles offensively Friday and Saturday, but made up for it Sunday. In the Barnstormers 74-58 win Sunday, he scored 19 points in 24 minutes. Chang pulled down four rebounds while shooting 6 of 11 from the field, including 3 of 7 from 3-point range.
>> 2019 Omaha Creighton Prep’s Akol Arop scored a game-winning basket on an inbounds play with two seconds on the clock Friday night versus Team Rose (Chicago). Arop is a freakish athlete that gets off the ground in a hurry. In four possessions Friday night he blocked three shots and sent in a monster dunk. If he develops a face up shot he could see some offers start to pour in from Division I schools.
Made up for it with this game winner. OSA 16U Adidas 87 Team Rose 86. pic.twitter.com/jcerd6ZenG— MikeSautterOWH (@MikeSautterOWH) April 29, 2017
A rundown of some other players from Nebraska in Atlanta:
>> Bellevue West junior Cedric Johnson was bothered by a bit of a knee injury. Despite the injury, Johnson played good defense, rotating to the open man and was more than serviceable offensively.
>> Omaha Burke freshman guard Xavier Watts led the OSA 15U Adidas team in scoring in four games. Watts, a standout football player, made some timely passes and showed his range at times.
>> Kearney High’s Kanon Koster seemed a bit more comfortable in Atlanta. The junior scored 17 points and connected on all four of his 3-point shots in OSA’s win Friday night.
>> Javier Turner, who played last year at Omaha Benson and will transfer to Omaha Central, is a raw 6-foot-8 athlete that seems to just be scratching the surface of how good he can be.
>> Nebraska's Division I programs were out in force Saturday to scout the talent. Creighton's Greg McDermott and Nebraska's Tim Miles were in attendance, keeping a close eye on Chang and Heiman. UNO assistant Tyler Erwin was at every OSA 17U game, and Nebraska assistants Kenya Hunter and Jim Molinari were in attendance, too.
>> Head coaches in attendance were South Dakota’s Craig Smith, Jacksonville State’s Wade Harper, Missouri’s Cuonzo Martin, Weber State’s Randy Rahe and Minnesota coach Richard Pitino, who was checking on Heiman.
>> Other Division I programs represented were West Point Army, Loyola-Chicago, East Tennessee State and South Dakota. Harvard was checking on Koster, along with assistants from Air Force, Northern Iowa, Oral Roberts, South Dakota State, Tulsa, Boise State, Richmond, Kansas State, Missouri State, Bradley, Wichita State, Denver, Southern Methodist, UT Arlington, Rice and North Carolina-Wilmington.