Amid the busy summer schedule, kernel basketball shines at Kansas Team Camp – Mitchell Republic

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Far from the friendly confines of the Corn Palace, the Mitchell High School boys’ basketball team has recently settled into a new location – Allen Fieldhouse, home of 2022 NCAA basketball national champions, the Kansas Jayhawks.

At Bill Self’s 2022 team camp (Head Coach of the University of Kansas since 2003), held June 17-19 in the Arena on KU’s campus, the Kernels established themselves as one of the best teams present and finished the weekend 5th : 1 an appearance in the top 4 bracket.

“This group of seniors was so engaged from their sixth year when we started working with them that I wanted to put them somewhere cool,” said MHS head coach Ryker Kreutzfeldt. “I thought the University of Kansas, the national champion, would be a pretty good place to go.

“I know we have a competitive group, so I wanted to get into a competitive camp where we would face some good teams, which we definitely did,” Kreutzfeldt continued. “I think we learned a lot down there and got a little bit better, so that’s the best part.”

The camp was a destination for teams from across the Midwest, with Kansas and Missouri being heavily represented. Mitchell wasn’t the only South Dakota school making its way south, however; Clark/Willow Lake and McLaughlin were also in attendance.

Kreutzfeldt was joined by a group of nine Kernels — Jackson Childs, Gavyn Erickson, Charlie McCardle, Steele Morgan, Aiden Myers, AJ Siemsen, Colton Smith, Gavin Soukup and Markus Talley — for the nearly seven-hour journey, which began at 6 a.m. on 17th of June.

Compared to what Kreutzfeldt expects from his varsity roster for the 2022-23 season, Mitchell was able to play with a largely intact roster at camp, led by Morgan, a 2021-22 All-Eastern South Dakota Conference pick, among others Key Players of Last Season’s State Tournament Team at McCardle and Myers. Among the expected returnees for 2022-23, only Dylan Soulek, a standout with the Post 18 Legion baseball team who is in the midst of his own successful summer, failed to attend.

While the Kernels regularly attend team camps in the area each summer — Mitchell was visiting Dakota Wesleyan, Augustana and the University of South Dakota in 2021 — they’ve also added longer trips in recent years to attend top Division I programs less often . including at the University of Memphis and the University of Wisconsin.

“Back if [former coach Todd] Neuendorf was here, we tried to mix in as many as possible here and then try to get a big one every two years,” explained Kreutzfeldt. “We’re trying to throw in one of those to give the kids a chance to see a big college, live on campus for a few days and all that good stuff.”

The trip to Kansas is just the final stop in an eventful off-season for the Kernels. Just days before leaving for Lawrence, Mitchell was at Augustana Team Camp June 10-11 before heading to Hamlin on June 13 and Mitchell for cornbelt competition on June 15-16. This week, June 21, Mitchell began attending a league at the Pentagon in Sioux Falls, with more cornbelt action June 22-23. Across all competitions, Mitchell basketball participated in 30 games over a 13-day period.

Additionally, the Kernels have been participating in basketball practice sessions with a Sioux Falls-based coach in addition to their regular schedule of open gyms and other team activities.

But no matter what the situation is on any given day, the goal for Kreutzfeldt and the Kernels in as many basketball activities as possible is clear: constant improvement.

“That’s extremely important because you get better in the summer,” said Kreutzfeldt. “It’s a lot, but it’s good. … I think we have 10, 11 or 12 guys who are capable of playing varsity basketball and those guys will continue to prove themselves through December. I was just really happy with what I saw.”

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