The Czar's Profile

The Twin Cities Hoops Czar

Mike Fratello
I'm originally known by my TCHoopsCzar moniker (Twin Cities Hoops Czar) on the Minnesota Preps and Minnesota-Scores boys basketball forums. Its a tribute to the one and only Czar of the Telestrator, Mike Fratello (pictured). It comes from the early 90s when I feel he should have won the NBA coach of the year award in Cleveland. It also notes the fact that I can't walk by a whiteboard without drawing up a play on it. While there are many variations of the blog title and moniker used, (e.g tchoops, tc hoops czar, tc hoops blog, twin cities hoops blog, etc etc) very often it gets simplified to The Czar.

I'm a rabid high school basketball fan with no affiliation or allegiance to any metro school. I focus mostly on the boys basketball scene in the Twin Cities, but I may comment on the girls game or Wisconsin action if there's nothing going on with the boys. My perspective is that of a fan first and foremost. I combine that with my 3 seasons of experience as a player and 5 years as a manager. I also consider myself to be a basketball purist and student of the game. What I write here is best described as a diary of what I see and think as I follow the different teams and travel to the 120+ varsity games I see each season. I hope that you'll find the site to be an interesting source of opinion via my posts and also a valuable place to find free information on local players and teams via the many links to other sites that I've provided. If you do enjoy it, please pass the word on to others. In addition to writing this blog, I also write a weekly basketball column for under my real identity, Kevin Alsteens (see my real picture here).

Details of how I cover the season can be read here. If you have corrections, suggestions, ideas or want to contact me, you can always contact me by clicking here.

The Cast of Characters and other stuff you should know

While I do take basketball seriously, it is only a game. Therefore, in the spirit of The Czar character, I use a royalty theme from time to time to lighten the mood. Here's an explanation of the references within that royalty theme.
  • The Kingdom - Short for The Czar's Kingdom. Specifically refers to the 11 conferences and independent teams in the metro that I write about.
  • The Old Kingdom - Not to be confused with The Czar's Kingdom. This refers to the La Crosse, Wisconsin area where I grew up. I make a trip back usually once a season to see a game, usually at the beginning of the season or around the holidays.
  • The Emperor (of the Old Kingdom) and Her Majesty - The Czar's parents. You'll see The Emperor mentioned when attending a game with The Czar. Usually once or twice a season and usually in The Old Kingdom.
  • The Emperor's Palace - The home of the Emperor and Her Majesty.
  • Dacha de Czar - The Czar's home
  • The Crown Prince - The Czar's brother and leader of the Kingdom's army. AKA The Secretary of Defense (SecDef)
  • The Chairman (of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) - The Crown Prince's father and the senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense.
  • The Basketblogger - A friend of The Czar. Will see a game with The Czar from time to time. He did his own blog on the local basketball scene during the 07-08 season before he ran off and got married. You'll see him add comments here from time to time.
  • The Caveman - The Czar's best friend. The nickname is due to a nasty back injury he had back in high school that forced him to sit out an entire season. The huge back brace he had to wear caused him to look hunched over, like a caveman. A high school classmate came up with the nickname but it stuck with me and that's how I've known him ever since.
  • Duchess Bubbles - The artist responsible for helping me with the site images that you see in the blog header.
  • Czar's Seating Rules - This is a reference to where I'm usually located at games. It means top row (against something with a back rest due to morbid obesity), center court and opposite the benches. 
  • Bolshevik! - Remember that it was the Bolsheviks who overthrew the Russian Czar (Nicholas II) during the Russian Revolution of 1917-1918. In context of writings here, used to express a high degree of disgust with something or someone. 
  • THE WORLD'S WORST OFFENSE - This is my reference to The Flex Offense.  I find that most teams run this offense like mindless robots and its almost always brutally painful to watch.  Hence I use all caps to express my overwhelming dislike of the offense.  It is not a reference to the team running it.


  1. Thanks for the reference here!

  2. Whenever you go to Johnson games I notice that you always talk about Roosevelt and Estan. There are many other players on the team that contribute have you ever thought about giving them some credit too?

  3. Because that's who people want to read about. If somebody else has a big game they get mentioned.

  4. quick question. is there a girl counter part to this?

  5. I personally don't do a girls counterpart to this. But and follow the girls scene pretty closely.


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