Not only was the month of August quite busy for some St. John ball players, it also capped a very successful summer season for them playing MAYB and AAU basketball, ending in a MAYB National Championship for 16-year-olds (16U) and having a successful run making it to the Nationals for the 17-year-olds (17U).
St. John's 6'8” post Dean Wade was on the Mid-Kansas 16U All-Star team that won the MAYB National Championship held in Wichita on Aug. 1-4, by defeating the Texas Lighting All-Stars in the finals.
St. John's 6' guard Kade Kinnamon played for the Mid-Kansas 17U All-Stars, and was coached by his dad Clint Kinnamon. Kinnamon's team showed what they were made of by playing several very athletic, top ranked teams toe-to-toe this summer, the outcomes undecided until the final buzzers.
MAYB players for the 16U team came from Hesston, Eureka, Salina, Manhattan, McPherson, St. John, Hays and Topeka. The 17U team had players from Holcomb, St. John, Scott City, Plainville, Medicine Lodge, Winfield, Hesston and Meade.
In AAU ball, the teams had multiple tournaments throughout the summer in Minneapolis, St. Louis, Dallas and Las Vegas. Many of the players from both teams were Kansas All-Staters.
During the Nationals pool play, Wade's 16U team “average margin of victory” was 43 points.
The 16U team finished no worse than 10th in any of these very large tournaments.
The first AAU tournament that Kinnamon's team played in was the 32 team St. Louis-Mullen Sports High Profile on July 12-14th. With a 3-2-record, the 17U team lost in the consolation finals bracket to Colorado's Chaos Elite and had wins against the KC Keys, the St. Louis Renegades, and Colorado's Next level. Their other loss was to Omaha's Sports Academy.
The 184 team Dallas-Great American Shootout was next on July 18-21st. After losing in the first round of the NBA Gold Bracket, the team had wins against Houston's Centex Attack, Denton's Alodia Blue Cure and losses to San Marcos's Saints Elite by three points in overtime. They lost by two points to the Dallas's Mustangs Harris who eventually became the tournament champ.
Their last major 17U AAU tournament was Las Vegas's Adidas Super 64 held on July 24-28th. They lost in the Semi-finals of the Bronze Bracket. The 17U team had wins against Detroit's OAA Select, Arizona's Flagstaff Hoops, Sacramento's Manteca Wildcats and Western Nebraska's Panhandle Explosion. The team's losses were to Compton's Triple Threat, Northwest Ohio's Basketball Club and to Houston's Top Achievers Pistons.
The 16U AAU team finished fifth at Las Vegas.
At the 64 team MAYB Nationals on August 1-4th, Kinnamon's team had wins against Fayetteville's Arkansas Ice, Wichita's KS Select, South Kansas City Metro's South KC Spartans and lost to Kansas City's Legacy East.
"This was a great group of players to coach” said Kinnamon. “They all have a common goal and interest and got along fantastically. Many friendships were made that will last a very long time."
Kinnamon continued saying,"Each of them had numerous opportunities to be watched by junior college, NAIA, Division 3, Division 2 and Division 1 coaches. Several are now on the radar of coaches who will then follow up in the recruiting process."
"All of the players high school programs will benefit from the AAU experience. The games in the summer are played at a much faster and higher level than most all of the high school games the guys will be playing in. That will really help them and ultimately their high school squads next season."
"I appreciated the parents of the players as well. They were so supportive and helpful. Lots of hauling players to and from cities and sites and many loads of laundry in hotel laundry rooms."
"Greg Raleigh and Layne Frick both deserve a huge thanks for giving me the opportunity to put the team together and coach them."
St. John's Zuriel Reyes played in two AAU tournaments and Cole Kinnamon and Jorge Calleros played some AAU ball. McPherson's Kyle Kinnamon, son of former St. John player Kurt Kinnamon and grandson to Jerry and Kay Kinnamon played on the MAYB 16U Championship team.