Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Padding the Stats: Shoe Circuit Grassroots Basketball is Coming to Omaha

July 14, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic robbed local sports fans of a lot over the past year-and-a-half. Among the events wiped off the calendar was a scheduled stop for the Adidas 3SSB grassroots basketball circuit in Omaha last spring.

Now, more than a year later, the Omaha Metro is cashing that raincheck. Some of the best youth basketball teams in the country will hit the courts at the Iowa West Field House in Council Bluffs this weekend for the Adidas Boys 3SSB Championships.

The Adidas 3SSB (which stands for 3-Stripes Select Basketball) is one of three major shoe circuits for summer basketball, the other two being the NIKE EYBL and the Under Armour Association (UAA). The OSA Crusaders are a member of the 3SSB circuit and Omaha Sports Academy is serving as the host for the tournament this weekend.

The tournament is open to the public and basketball fans who head over to Council Bluffs will get a chance to see some of the best players in the country like 5-star Southern Assault guard Keyonte George, 5-star We All Can Go wing Chris Livingston, 5-star Team Loaded NC wing MJ Rice and 2023 5-star We All Can Go guard Mikey Williams.

The OSA Crusaders 17U team will open tournament play against Compton Magic (led by 5-star forward Kijani Wright and 4-star guard Dylan Andrews) on Friday at 4:10 p.m. The Crusaders feature a pair of prospects from Iowa with Nebraska interest in Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln guard Josh Dix and West Des Moines Valley forward Ruot Bijiek.

In addition to the 5-star prospects on the court, fans at the Field House this weekend will likely see some of the biggest names in college basketball coaching.

This past weekend was the first live recruiting period (where Division I coaches are allowed to be in the building to watch recruits play in person) since July of 2019. On Friday night at the Field House, Michigan’s Juwan Howard, Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann, Purdue’s Matt Painter and Missouri’s Cuonzo Martin were among the head coaches lining the baseline for MOKAN EYBL 17U’s game during Midwest Live. On Saturday, Fred Hoiberg himself made a stop in Council Bluffs to watch 2023 5-star target Omaha Biliew play with the MOKAN EYBL 16s.

Hoiberg and his staff will likely be jetting all around the country this weekend. The UAA’s second session will take place in Frisco, Texas, this weekend. Nebraska Supreme, the club that features Nebraska targets Jasen Green of Millard North and Isaac Traudt of Grand Island, went 6-1 during the first session in Atlanta. Last weekend was Green’s first time playing summer ball in front of Division I coaches since he was 15 years old, and after a strong showing he’s picked up new offers from Creighton, Iowa State (re-offered by the new coaching staff) and Missouri. You can bet the Huskers will have somebody in Frisco this weekend.

The most famous grassroots tournament, the Nike EYBL Peach Jam, has already started in Augusta, South Carolina, and will continue into the weekend as well.

I mentioned Green’s new offers above, but he wasn’t the only one who made the most of the first live period of the year. His teammate, Jayden Dawson of Omaha Central, has received offers from Drake, George Mason and Indiana State in the last few days. I tagged him as the Nebraska prospect who arguably had the most to gain this month, and he’s off to a good start.

Josiah Dotzler, the Bellevue West point guard who is playing for the OSA Adidas 3SSB 16U team, received his first offer from Liberty on Monday after the Crusaders went 3-2 in Birmingham.

Recruiting over the past year has been incredibly difficult for both coaches and players without the ability to see each other face-to-face. As someone who has been embedded in the high school basketball and recruiting world for nearly a decade, it was so cool to show up last Friday and finally see coaches in the gym once again. This is a big opportunity for local kids looking to make their dreams of playing at the Division I level come true, and based on those offers over the last few days we’re off to a good start.

Traudt is a well-known name. He has basically every offer he could want at this point and is now going though the process of narrowing things down and working towards a decision. While Green holds multiple high-major offers, his recruitment was significantly impacted by the extended dead period and is now looking to make up for lost time. Dix is in a similar boat to Green.

Guys like Dawson, Creighton Prep’s Luke Jungers (who just picked up an offer from Omaha), Bellevue West’s William Kyle III, Omaha Westside’s Chandler Meeks and Reggie Thomas, Lincoln Pius X’s Sam Hastreiter, Papillion-La Vista South’s Daniel Brocaille, Papillion-La Vista’s Kyle Ingwerson and plenty more have a lot on the line over the next two weeks, and I’m glad they’re finally getting this opportunity.

I really wish I could be in Omaha this weekend to check out the Adidas event, but I’m coaching my own team and will be down in Kansas City. Even so, I’m happy for the basketball community in Omaha and hope we can make this a regular occurrence.

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