The 2017 NY2LA Sports Next Level Invitational got underway from Mequon Homestead High School on Wednesday. Kicking off the live period, day one featured action in the NY2LA Association championships and the open division. Advancing to the Platinum Bracket, the Minnesota Comets got an impressive performance from star point guard Matthew Todd on day one…

Top Performers
Cole Bergan – 2018 – F – Pentagon National

Bergan is a versatile, mismatch problem at the forward position. The 6-foot-8 senior is a nice catch and shoot big man can roam the perimeter and hunt 3-pointers. Bergan runs the floor very well and is comfortable handling the ball. He can also play on the block and is especially effective when he gets to his right hand. Bergan is also a decent passer, particularly at the high post. He delivered some excellent bounce passes in traffic, finding cutters around the rim and setting up his teammates to be successful. Bergan had a solid double-figure scoring effort in an open division win over Kingdom Hoops. 

Matthew Todd – 2018 – PG – Minnesota Comets
One of the most entertaining players in the NY2LA Association, Todd got July underway with a bang. Todd was like a surgeon at the point guard spot, dissecting defenses with his scoring and passing ability. There’s no real secret to Todd’s game. He just takes what defenders give him and he’s a great enough shooter to put the ball in the bucket even against perfect defense. Division 1 schools may overlook Todd because of his size, but the senior has been as productive as any guard in the league. A high-IQ floor general with a very efficient assist-to-turnover ratio that makes winning plays, Todd’s ability to run a team separates him from most guards. He was distributing the basketball at a high level during Wednesday’s win over All-In Athletics. In short work, Todd registered 11 points and 5 assists during a blowout victory. 

Blake Verbeek – 2018 – F/C – Grand Rapids Storm
Verbeek got off to a great start, scoring eight of his team’s first 10 points in a win over All-In Athletics. The 6-foot-10 senior showcased his versatility by extending his range well beyond the arc. Against smaller defenders, Verbeek was comfortable with his back to the basket, showcasing a nice jump hook. Verbeek made some terrific outlet passes that led to transition run outs and he also got up the floor himself and was able cash in on some easy buckets. Verbeek needs to put on weight and improve his toughness/explosiveness around the rim, but he plays with a good motor on the offensive glass and defensive end. In time, he could develop into a nice pick n’ pop big man at the Division 1 or 2 level. 

Stock Boosters
Ben Davidson – 2018 – G – Grand Rapids Storm

Davidson displayed some savvy play during Wednesday’s win over All-In Athletics. The 6-foot-3 point guard took advantage of lazy defense early, leaking out for easy transition buckets. Against a zone, Davidson hit the gaps hard and sliced his way to the bucket more point blank looks. A good drive and dish guard, Davidson felt the defense coming his way and created open shots for his teammates. 

Mohamed Diallo – 2018 – SF – Colorado Titans
The defensive effort was on point for Diallo Wednesday night. In a tough matchup against Ohio State commit Musa Jallow, Diallo made the top 100 prospect work for everything he got and even made some things happen. A smooth athlete, Diallo is a lengthy 6-foot-5 with nice lateral quickness. He gets off the floor quickly and also impressed as a weak-side shot blocker. 

Eddie Creal – 2018 – G – Hoops4Health
A kid that seems to play well every time we get eyes on him, Creal kept his team close up until the final minutes in a loss to the Kevon Looney Rebels. A strong, explosive combo guard, Creal finished some impressive dunks in transition without a ton of momentum going to the rim. He turned defense into offense, getting his hands in the passing lanes, hustling for loose balls, and working the glass – all of which led to transition opportunities for his team. A relentless attacker, Creal has the physical strength to deliver a beating to interior defenses. He finished with a team-high 16 points in Wednesday’s open division loss. 

Dwayne Walker – 2018 – SG – Kevon Looney Rebels
Walker continues to rise this summer after coming on strong in May. Although he didn’t shoot the ball well in the first half, Walker shook it off en route to a game-high 24 points in a win over Hoops4Health. A lanky, athletic shooting guard, Walker excels at getting to the bucket, hanging around the rim, and finishing around defenders. When he gets hot from the outside, it’s already over. The lefty has a quick, effortless trigger and knows how to create space for his shot. Some Division 1 programs have been calling about the 6-foot-4 senior as of late. 

Recruiting Notes
Blake Verbeek is receiving interest from William & Mary, Rice, Colgate, Stanford, Bucknell, Davidson, East Carolina, and others. 

San Diego, Cleveland State, North Dakota State, Loyola (IL), and others are showing interest in Matthew Todd. 

Cole Bergan holds offers from South Dakota State, North Dakota, and North Dakota State. He listed Northern Iowa, Nebraska-Omaha, Drake, and Northern Colorado as schools currently expressing interest.