Pulley draws national attention to Minnesota talent



PrepScenesquareGuards TYUS JONES (Apple Valley), ISAIAH MCKAY (Park Center), JARVIS JOHNSON (DeLaSalle), SACAR ANIM (DeLaSalle), MASON JENSEN (Ballard, Iowa) JAKE LAWSON (Hopkins) and BJORN BROMAN (Lakeview Christian) teamed with post players REID TRAVIS (DeLaSalle), JAMES LAWSON (DeLaSalle), and SAM NEUMAN (Cretin-Derham Hall) to lead the Howard Pulley Panthers to a 79-72 victory over Each 1 Teach 1 to capture the 2013 AAU 17U Super Showcase in Orlando, Florida last Sunday.

Behind the guidance of coaches ANTWAN HARRIS, MICHAEL WALKER, JABBAR WASHINGTON and DEDRICK JENKINS and Executive Director RENE PULLEY, the Panthers outshined the competition before a national audience, leaving no doubt that the Twin Cities has some of the top prep basketball talent in the country.

Travis, the No. 40-ranked player in the country according to ESPN, led the way with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Jones, ranked No. 3 and No. 1 at point guard, added 20 along with eight assists. Wright contributed 15 points, and Anim chipped in eight.

Earlier in the week, Travis and Jones dazzled a national television audience on ESPNU by  scoring 31 and 20 points respectively in leading Howard Pulley to a 64-61 victory over the Boston Amateur Basketball Club (BABC).

Reid, a 6’-8” forward who should move up in the rankings, was the game’s MVP, while Jones had announcers drawing comparisons to Los Angeles Clippers all-star CHRIS PAUL.

MARVIN BOND, a standout forward for St. Paul Central in the 1980s, remembered when Howard Pulley began in a small gym in North Minneapolis in 1985.

“The league gave everyone in the metro a chance to play the game we loved,” said Bond, who played on state tournament teams for the Minutemen in 1980, ’81 and ’82. “What Rene has done to get the players national exposure has been amazing.”

Former Robbinsdale Cooper guard RASHAD VAUGHN, who will play at Findlay Prep in Las Vegas for his senior season, is the nation’s top-ranked shooting guard (ESPN).

Pulley’s championship confirms that Minnesota has some talented prep players. The state of 10,000 lakes has always produced talent; the difference today is that the whole country, thanks to Howard Pulley, is taking notice.

Mitchell P. McDonald welcomes reader responses to mmcdonald@spokesman-recorder.com.