I had the chance to sit in on a Champlin Park open gym tonight. Nothing like running stairs, jumping on boxes, and doing minute long defensive slides to get in shape. Varsity guys did get the chance to scrimmage for the majority of the night. The top guys had a surprising amount of trouble in a couple of games including the last game. Playing to 11 by 1s (3s worth 2). Back and forth when shirts (varsity reserves) take a 10-9 lead and then get a stop. Shirts with a chance to win and they do in big fashion. Varsity starter Josh Pella (the one varsity starter of note not with the main group) with a monster 1 handed tip dunk to win the game. Skins wanted goaltending but a great play wasn't going unrewarded. Count the basket and we're all headed home happy.

Notes from the evening. One can't help but comment on the long overdue new lighting in the Champlin Park gym. Of course that means we can no longer call it the Bat Cave. Great to see all the parents that were involved in running the 4 courts that were going and rotating the kids through the drills and scrimmages. Love seeing all the kids doing 2 ball drills. Not enough kids work on those skills to make sure they are productive with both hands. With football season for Champlin Park ending last Friday, you had a group of kids who were still in football shape but hadn't done basketball conditioning and they were feeling it. The Rebels have a big 3 of Jasper Duberry, Kyle Zimmerman and Josh Pella that will carry them but there's more. Dillon Hager's energy is infectious (not like H1N1 though). TJ Okafor has really improved over the last year. If he gains some strength and continues this pace of development, he can be a D1 prospect

For more boys basketball in the metro, including my season preview series of all 11 metro conferences and sections and a list of all the D1 and D2 signees statewide, check out my Twin Cities Boys Hoops blog