07-08 Rules Emphasis

As many of you know, the MSHSL has put an emphasis on contact this season saying the game has gotten too rough (see the Boys BB page on the MSHSL site for a link to the details). I saw my 1st Minnesota game of the season (TG at AHA, game 8 overall) last night and this emphasis is brutal. 50 fouls and a ton of FT, 90 minute game time and absolutely no flow to the game. Everything and I mean absolutely everything on the ball was called. But with a 2 man crew, the off the ball stuff wasn't getting called (like chucking cutters). I predicted this would happen, but its even worse than I thought. Teams were in the bonus halfway thru the half. As an example, Cooper shot 14-32 from the line last night in a 46-45 game. (I'll watch that game on tape this week). Also saw that Minneapolis South went 39-47 from the line in their game to put up 91 pts.

Most fans don't know about the new emphasis so its going to be interesting. The City schools are going to go nuts with this as street ball allows muggings. I'm guessing 5 technicals is the Over/Under for the 1st Henry game as they just mug people.

Simply put, this is the worst rule "change" that the game has seen since the idiot rule to make people on the FT lane stay out until the ball hits the rim.

Big 8 Shootout thoughts

So I was at the Big 8 Shootout at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI over the weekend. Nothing like 7 games in 1 day to start my season. I missed day 1 but I did see all 7 games on day 2. Some thoughts. Note that the Big 8 is the Madison area big schools (Verona joins next year) + 2 Janesvilles and Beloit.

1) The Big 8 is more athletic than the Minneapolis City or St Paul City leagues. This surprised me. Madison East and West were in the bottom half of the league last year and they would compete for conference titles in the city leagues here.

2) Janesville Craig is loaded. Lucas Burns will be a nice player for Concordia-SP next year. their 2-3 matchup zone really was interesting and befuddled Madison Edgewood all night. They'll compete with Madison Memorial for the Big 8 title. (Note: Memorial plays DLS and then in the TWolves shootout on Jan 4th and 5th, Jeronne Maymon is a stud and they have other talent too like Vander Blue, they also have a great rematch against Minnetonka in the Border Battle on Jan 26th)

3) La Crosse Aquinas lost 4 starters from last year including co-Mr. Basketball Scott Christopherson. They ran Madison West out of the building after getting down 14-2 early. 50-50 in the 3rd quarter and after an Aquinas timeout, they go on a 19-0 run across the 3rd and 4th quarters to put it away. Jimmy Whitehead is a real player for them. Look for them to win the Mississippi Valley again.

4) Girls games were ugly. Janesville Parker doesn't have the size they've had in the past, but they're still very good and can really shoot which you don't see much from girls teams.

5) Marquis Mason of Madison East is terrific. He's the #5 soph in Wisconsin and has been offered by Marquette. Strong, tough, improving shot, a handful. St. Bernard's plays them in Milwaukee on Dec 27th in what should be a very good game.

6) Eau Claire Memorial got hammered by East, but they'll be OK in the Big Rivers. Madison Edgewood will be a very solid team in the Badger South. East/West will be mid-level teams in the Big 8. I look forward to possibly seeing their matchup at East on Jan 25th (prior to the border battle in Verona)

07-08 Saga begins

The Minnesota season begins in earnest tonight with Girls games all over the state. My games of note in the metro.

BSM at Minnehaha
CHOF at Visitation (at St. Thomas Academy?)
South at Johnson
Totino-Grace at Holy Angels (my game of choice)

Other games on my schedule this week

Wednesday: Woodbury at Southwest (Woodbury runs the best pre-game drills around)
Thursday: Cooper at Fridley
Friday: Central at Holy Angels, Roseville at South, I may do the Arlington at Edison game to see Julianne Mitchell play. She had 35, 19, 7 and 10 steals to beat Breck this week.
Saturday: Hill-Murray at Minnehaha (only game of the day so far, very surprising)

Classic Lake Conference Preview


The Classic Lake was tough all around last year. This league finished 81-20 in non-conference play last year. Armstrong and Wayzata lose loads of talent from extremely good teams so they'll be a step down this year. But its all about the top 2 teams in the state. Minnetonka and Hopkins.

Team Previews:

Minnetonka in 1 word, loaded. They already returned all 5 starters from a year ago including Iowa signee SG Anthony Tucker and Evansville signee F CJ Erickson. The only concern was height. Well, they bring in big man Sedrick McBounds from De La Salle to address that issue. With their top 9 players returning, this is the #1 team in the state. Andy Burns and Kyle Risinger run the point. Tyler Schilling gives them intangibles. Andrew Latzke and Tucker give them shooting. UT Udo gives them energy and defense off the bench. Cole Stefan is a star sophomore and he can't even get playing time for this team.

Hopkins loses their star backcourt of Blake Hoffarber (U of M signee) and Tyler Nicolai along with starting PF Chris Pfeiffer. But the cupboard isn't bare. They return Arizona State recruit junior Trent Lockett, star sophomore DJ Peterson, junior Raymond Cowles on the wing with junior point guard Marcus Williams and big men senior Anthony DiLoreto and junior Mike Broghammer. Clearly the #2 team in the state and very likely #1 next year

Robbinsdale Armstrong loses their terrific guards from the state runner-up team last year. Replacing Alex Rubin will be tough, but they're well-coached so look for them to be competitive. Look for JD Robinson to provide them with leadership.

Wayzata loses star Chris Taylor, but his younger brother Kellen is still there. They will also be competitive.

Edina as always will serve as the last place team.


Conference Champion: Minnetonka
Teams you must see: Minnetonka, Hopkins
Other teams to watch: None
Surprise Team: None
Teams you don't want to see: None

Games that will determine the conference title

  • Hopkins at Minnetonka, Fri Feb 15th
  • Minnetonka at Hopkins, Mon Mar 3rd
Noteworthy Non-Conference games
  • Robbinsdale Cooper at Armstrong, Fri Dec 7th
  • Armstrong at Buffalo, Sat Dec 8th
  • Robbinsdale Cooper at Hopkins, Tues Dec 11th
  • Hopkins at Benilde St. Margaret's, Fri Dec 14th
  • Minnetonka vs De La Salle at Marshall, Sat Dec 15th (Breakdown Tip-off classic)
  • Minneapolis Henry at Hopkins, Tues Dec 18th
  • Minnetonka at Henry Sibley, Tues Dec 18th
  • Henry Sibley at Hopkins, Fri Dec 21st
  • St. Thomas Academy vs Hopkins (projected) Sat Dec 29th (Hamline Tournament final)
  • Minnetonka vs Minneapolis Henry (projected) Sat Dec 29th (Hastings Tournament final)
  • Hopkins vs DeMatha at Target Center, Sat Jan 5th (Timberwolves Shootout)
  • Minnetonka vs Campbell Hall at Target Center, Sat Jan 5th (Timberwolves Shootout)
  • St. Paul Johnson at Hopkins, Tues Jan 8th
  • Eden Prairie at Minnetonka, Fri Jan 11th
  • Robbinsdale Cooper at Minnetonka, Fri Jan 18th
  • Cretin-Derham Hall at Hopkins, Tues Jan 22nd (Boys/Girls doubleheader)
  • Minnetonka at Benilde-St. Margaret's, Th Jan 24th
  • Minnetonka vs Madison, WI Memorial at Verona, WI, Sat Jan 26th (Border Battle rematch)
  • Hopkins at Minneapolis Henry, Tues Jan 29th
  • Cass Lake-Bena at Hopkins, Sat Feb 2nd

St. Paul City Conference Preview


The powerhouses stay at the top, the low-lifes stay at the bottom.

Team Previews:

Johnson loses PG Sal Simmons, but they return Darnell Cox and look for Dion Suggs to have a breakout season.

Como Park had a disappointing non-conference season last year, but they return basically everyone. Look for them to make a run at the conference crown.

Central was 1-13 non-conference last year, but 8-6 in the league. They return a load of talent including Larry Brown. They'll push for the conference crown.

Nothing else compelling in the league. Highland Park, Harding and Arlington will be in the middle of the pack. Humboldt is still a doormat.


Conference Champion: Johnson
Teams you must see: None
Other teams to watch: Como Park, Central
Surprise Team: Arlington
Teams you don't want to see: Humboldt

Games that will determine the conference title

  • Johnson at Central, Tues Jan 18th
  • Como Park at Johnson, Wed Jan 23rd
  • Central at Como Park, Monday Feb 4th
  • Central at Johnson, Th Feb 14th
  • Johnson at Como Park, Tues Feb 19th
  • Como Park at Central, Fri Feb 29th
Noteworthy Non-Conference games
  • Holy Angels at Central, Fri Dec 14th
  • Stillwater at Johnson, Tues Dec 18th
  • Henry at Johnson, Th Dec 20th
  • St. Bernard's at Como Park, Sat Dec 22nd
  • Johnson vs Appleton, WI East, Sat Dec 22nd (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Johnson at Hopkins, Tues Jan 8th
  • Minneapolis Washburn at Central, Sat Feb 2nd
  • Johnson at Minneapolis Washburn, Fri Feb 8th
  • Minneapolis Washburn at Como Park, Sat Feb 16th

Tri-Metro East Division Preview


The Tri-Metro East is a surprisingly tough division. St. Croix Lutheran used this to make a run to the section finals last year. Look for some tough games at the top of the division.

Team Previews:

Concordia Academy returns star PG Zach Towle and they play an exciting style. Look for them to make a run in section 4AA.

St. Bernard's brings in transfers Jon Bright from Minneapolis North and Jordair Jett from St. Agnes. They'll be able to score with anyone, but can they get inside play.

St. Croix Lutheran loses star Wade Guerin, but they do return Chris Breuer from last year's section final team. They could make noise here.

St. Agnes loses Jordair Jett to St. Bernard's but the cupboard isn't totally bare. They will still be competitive.

Mounds Park Academy loses AJ Barker to De La Salle, look for them to be awful.


Conference Champion: Concordia
Teams you must see: None
Other teams to watch: St. Bernard's
Surprise Team: St. Croix Lutheran
Teams you don't want to see: Mounds Park Academy

Games that will determine the division title

  • St. Bernard's at Concordia, Tues Jan 8th
  • Minnehaha at Concordia, Tues Jan 22nd
  • DLS at Concordia, Tues Jan 29th
  • St. Bernard's at Minnehaha, Fri, Feb 1st
  • Concordia at St. Bernard's Tues Feb 26th
  • DLS at St. Bernard's Tues Mar 4th
Noteworthy Non-Conference games
  • New Life at Concordia, Th Dec 6th
  • St. Bernard's at St. Paul Como Park, Sat Dec 22nd
  • Shakopee at Concordia, Tues Jan 15th

Tri-Metro West Division Preview


The Tri-Metro West is the weaker of the 2 divisions of the Tri-Metro with 3 teams that aren't any good. But De La Salle is the heavyweight here. Look for Minnehaha to make a run with their youth.

Team Previews:

De La Salle returns top national junior Royce White in addition to a bunch of guards from last year. The loss of Sedrick McBounds to Minnetonka is a major loss as it leaves White as their only inside player. The return of Jeremy Randle to run the point will be a major factor. AJ Barker transfers in from Mounds Park Academy and will be the key to their success. If Barker provides DLS with the 2nd scoring option and outside shooting they need, they will make a run at a state title.

Minnehaha Academy returns their top 8 players from a solid team of a year ago. 6-5 Junior Taylor Sparkman leads this group. If they get interior play, they'll be very dangerous. Look for them to make a run at a state berth in section 4AA.

Breck loses PG Marcus Hill but returns Dakota Tidd and experienced guard Thomas Smolenski. They could give Minnehaha a run at 2nd in the division.

Blake loses star forward Blake Williams and will rebuild.

Brooklyn Center and St. Paul Academy continue their rebuilding efforts.


Conference Champion: De La Salle
Teams you must see: De La Salle
Other teams to watch: Minnehaha Academy, Breck
Surprise Team: None
Teams you don't want to see: St. Paul Academy

Games that will determine the division title

  • DLS at Minnehaha, Tues Jan 8th
  • Minnehaha at Breck, Tues Jan 15th
  • DLS at Breck, Tues Jan 22nd
  • Minnehaha at Concordia, Tues Jan 22nd
  • DLS at Concordia, Tues Jan 29th
  • St. Bernard's at Minnehaha, Fri, Feb 1st
  • Minnehaha at DLS, Fri Feb 22nd
  • DLS at St. Bernard's Tues Mar 4th
Noteworthy Non-Conference games
  • Holy Angels at Minnehaha, Tues Dec 11th
  • De La Salle vs Minnetonka at Marshall, Sat Dec 15th (Breakdown Tip-Off Classic)
  • Holy Family at Minnehaha, Fri Dec 21st
  • Minnehaha vs Braham, Th Dec 27th (Totino-Grace tournament)
  • Madison, WI Memorial at DLS, Fri Jan 4th
  • DLS at Minneapolis Henry, Tues Jan 15th
  • Whitefish Bay Dominican (Milwaukee, WI) at DLS, Sat Feb 2nd
  • Benilde-St. Margaret's at DLS, Sat Feb 9th (Boys/Girls doubleheader)
  • St. Thomas Academy at DLS, Fri Mar 7th

Northwest Suburban Conference Preview


Look for another down year in the Northwest Suburban. Osseo should sleepwalk to the conference title. Everything else after that is up for grabs

Team Previews:

Osseo returns size and experience. Zach Peterson and Sam Dower will man the inside with talented Carrington Tankson and sniper Dan Brown returning on the perimeter. Look for them to make a run at a state tournament berth.

Elk River returns 3 starters from a year ago. Junior Jack Gavin returns as their leading scorer. If they get post play, this could be a dangerous team.

Andover loses their top 3 players including center Jimmie Johnson.

Park Center showed significant improvement last year. Can they continue it this year?

Blaine returns Kyle Kreklow who could make a run at leading the conference in scoring. Will they return to the top half of the conference after 2 down seasons?


Conference Champion: Osseo
Teams you must see: Osseo
Other teams to watch: Elk River
Surprise Team: Blaine
Teams you don't want to see: Coon Rapids, Centennial

Games that will determine the conference title

  • Osseo at Elk River, Fri Feb 6th
Noteworthy Non-Conference games
  • Sibley at Osseo, Tues Dec 11th
  • Elk River at Buffalo, Tues Dec 11th
  • Elk River vs Princeton at St. Cloud St, Th Dec 13th
  • Buffalo at Osseo, Th Dec 13th
  • St. Cloud Tech at Elk River, Sat Jan 5th
  • Osseo in St. Paul Johnson showcase, Sat Jan 26th

North Suburban Conference Preview


The North Suburban returns 3 terrific teams from last year. 3A State runner-up Benilde-St. Margaret's and 3A state qualifier Spring Lake Park will be factors. 4A Robbinsdale Cooper returns highlight reel Rodney Williams, Jr and brings in transfer Joe Bright from Minneapolis North. Tough games at the top with not much in the middle.

Team Previews:

Benilde-St. Margaret's returns Wisconsin recruit Jordan Taylor at the point along with versatile Tulsa signee Armond Battle on the wing. With their depth and experience, look for them to make another run at a state tournament appearance.

Robbinsdale Cooper is led by top 50 national junior Rodney Williams, Jr. He had a breakout year last season and this season he will be called upon to the leader and goto guy. Joe Bright transfers in to man the other wing position. If they can get post play and solid point guard play, they can make a run in Section 5AAAA.

Spring Lake Park made a state apperance in a weak 3A section last year. With Minneapolis Henry joining their section, don't look for that to happen again. Cory Polta is a load inside and guard Shawn Jensen is a very nice player. Look for them to have a very nice season.

Totino-Grace returns Micah Koehn at guard and they return 6 players from their rotation last year. Look for them to potentially pull a major upset during the season.

Fridley looks to rebound after a down season.

Columbia Heights rebuilds with former Minneapolis Roosevelt girls coach Willie Braziel. Look for them to be much improved.

The rest of the league leaves nothing to be desired.


Conference Champion: Benilde-St. Margaret's
Teams you must see: Benilde-St. Margaret's, Robbinsdale Cooper
Other teams to watch: Spring Lake Park
Surprise Team: Totino-Grace
Team you don't want to see: St. Francis

Games that will determine the conference title

  • Spring Lake Park at Cooper, Fri Dec 21st
  • Spring Lake Park at BSM, Fri Jan 18th
  • BSM at Cooper, Tues Jan 22nd
  • BSM at Spring Lake Park, Tues Jan 26th
  • Cooper at BSM, Fri Jan 29th
  • BSM at TG, Th Feb 7th (Boys/Girls doubleheader)
  • Cooper at Spring Lake Park, Fri Feb 8th
  • Cooper at TG, Fri Mar 7th
Noteworthy Non-Conference games
  • Cooper at Armstrong, Fri Dec 7th
  • Spring Lake Park at Mounds View, Fri Dec 7th
  • Cooper at Hopkins, Tues Dec 11th
  • Hopkins at BSM, Fri Dec 14th
  • St. Michael-Albertville at Spring Lake Park, Sat Dec 22nd
  • Braham or Minnehaha Academy at Totino-Grace, Fri Dec 28th (TG tournament)
  • BSM vs Madison Memorial at Target Center, Sat Jan5th (Timberwolves Shootout)
  • Holy Angels at BSM, Th Jan 10th
  • Cooper at Minnetonka, Fri Jan 18th
  • Minnetonka at BSM, Th Jan 24th
  • BSM at De La Salle, Sat Feb 9th (Boys/Girls Doubleheader)

Suburban East Conference Preview


The Suburban East won't have the really scary team like Woodbury last year, but this league is very balanced except the bottom 2 teams. Lots of tough games here

Team Previews:

Mounds View returns 5 starters from a year ago including star F Mike Schramm. They're well-coached and very disciplined. Look for them to exceed their 17 wins of a year ago.

Cretin-Derham Hall loses inside force (and Iowa FB recruit) Broderick Binns and PG Joe Springer, but the cupboard isn't bare. These football kids can play hoops too. They have QB John Nance to run the point with Notre Dame WR recruit Michael Floyd a real presence on the wing. Star Linemen Joe Schafer and Soph Seantrel Henderson return as bangers in the post. And as always, they will have kids who can flat out shoot it. They will be a tough out in the tournament.

Stillwater returns star big man and Winona State recruit Joel Armstrong. They will be a factor in the conference race.

Park returns guards Craig Brown and Jake Lindstrom who can really light it up. If they can replace the rebounding of Brad Sand, they can surprise people.

Woodbury loses 8 of their top 10 players including Winona State recruit Max Hintz and post Rob Pien from their exciting team of a year ago. They return their backup PG and starting shooting guard Aaron Myers. Look for him to have a huge year.

Forest Lake will disturb people with their slow pace and 2-3 zone.

White Bear Lake loses their top scorers including guard Alex Healy. Expect them to rebuild.

Roseville and Hastings are still rebuilding after dismal seasons last year.


Conference Champion: Mounds View
Teams you must see: None
Other teams to watch: Cretin-Derham Hall, Stillwater
Surprise Team: Park
Teams you don't want to see: Hastings, Roseville

Games that will determine the conference title

  • CDH at Stillwater, Tues Jan 8th
  • CDH at MV, Fri Jan 18th
  • MV at Stillwater, Fri Feb 1st
  • Stillwater at CDH, Fri Feb 8th
  • MV at CDH, Fri Feb 22nd
  • Stillwater at MV, Fri Feb 29th
Noteworthy Non-Conference games
  • CDH at Eden Prairie, Fri Dec 7th
  • Stillwater at Johnson, Tues Dec 18th
  • Shakopee at MV, Fri Dec 21st
  • CDH at St. Thomas Academy, Fri Dec 21st
  • Cloquet at MV, Mon Jan 14th
  • CDH at Hopkins, Tues Jan 22nd (Boys/Girls doubleheader)
  • Stillwater at Sibley, Sat Jan 26th or Mon Jan 28th

MCAA Preview


The more things change, the more they stay the same. Things begin and end in this league with Maranatha. The rest of the league looks to catch up.

Team Previews:

Maranatha returns star senior David Hanson who will put up huge numbers for them. In the past 2 years he's had a terrific supporting cast. This has made MCA a top 1A team. This year Hanson is the star and there's no clear supporting cast. They have tradition, but lack experience.

Heritage returns star guard Stu Herman and Soph big Sam Schwalbe along with F Jon Hirte. If they manage to get past MCA, look for them to make a run at the league title.

New Life Academy returns leading scorer and 1st team all-MCAA player Max Banchy and junior big man Robbie Anderson. Look for them to finish in the top half of the league.

West Lutheran doesn't return size, but they do return 4 starters from a respectable team last year. Look for them to have a say in the final conference results.

Southwest Christian is a team that the coaches in section 4A like. With their 2 top scorers gone, I'm not sure why. But they did go 19-9 after the loss of D1 player Kit Avery, so there is talent there.

Trinity loses their 2 top scorers but does return people and is a traditionally solid program. Look for them in the upper half of the league standings.

Holy Trinity combines with Lester Prairie this year. HT went 3-24, Lester Praire went 24-3 and the combined program lost 15 seniors. All conference performer Jr Chris Neumann returns to lead an inexperienced group.

Meadow Creek returns 4 starters but is still young. Look for them to potentially make a leap next season.

Providence loses their top 2 scores but does return many other players. Look for this still new program to continue building toward the future.


Conference Champion: Maranatha
Teams you must see: Maranatha
Other teams to watch: Trinity, Heritage, West Lutheran, SW Christian
Surprise Team: Lester Prairie
Team you don't want to see: Concordia-Bloomington

Games that will determine the conference title

  • Heritage at Maranatha Tues Jan 8th
  • Trinity at Maranatha Fri Jan 11th
  • Maranatha at SW Christian Th Jan 17th

Noteworthy Non-Conference games
  • Oh Day Aki at Maranatha Tues Jan 22nd
  • Maranatha vs Barneveld, WI at Verona, WI (Border Battle) Sat Jan 26th
  • Oh Day Aki at Heritage, Tues Feb 12th
  • CHOF at Heritage, Tues Feb 26th
  • West Lutheran at Minnesota Transitions, Fri Feb 29th
  • Minnesota Transitions at New Life Tues Mar 4th

Lake Conference Preview


As always the Lake Conference is loaded. There are at least 6 teams that can beat anyone on any given night and the bottom of the league has no really bad team (unlike most leagues). Every game in league play will be tough.

Team Previews:

Eden Prairie returns star junior Ethan Wraage along with guard Ryan Grant and big man Carter Bykowski. They'll be the happiest team around after getting out of the section with Hopkins and Minnetonka. Look for them to be a very dangerous team come tournament time.

Eastview is a team many people like. They return 4 starters from a surprise team of a year ago and played together all summer. Losing leading scorer Seth Jonker hurts, but they will be dangerous.

Burnsville returns a couple of star guards in Tarell Clark and Max Van Ordstrand. They're athletic and entertaining. If they get post play, they'll be tough.

Jefferson will have a new look without Cole Aldrich but with Aaron Barmore and Moses Alipate back, the cupboard isn't bare. It will also be interesting to see if frosh Marcus Alipate makes any contribution to the team. This team will go as far as Moses Alipate takes them.

Next we have 2 teams that are very good on paper, but haven't gotten it done.

Rosemount returns their leading 2 scorers including Iowa recruit 6-10 Andrew Brommer. This team can be extremely dangerous if Brommer has a breakout year like Cole Aldrich did last year.

Kennedy returns wing players Carlton Starr and Bobby Fong. They should be able to score, but will they stop anyone.

Chaska loses big man Marty Gregor, look for them to rebuild.

Apple Valley loses a load of talent including PG Steve McGuiggan and F Aaron Ford from last year's terrific team. Look for them to rebuild.

Lakeville S loses a ton of seniors. After the 2nd half debacle of last season, look for them to restore order with a new staff and team.


Conference Champion: Eden Prairie
Teams you must see: Eden Prairie
Other teams to watch: Eastview, Burnsville, Jefferson, Kennedy, Rosemount
Surprise Team: Eagan
Team you don't want to see: None

Games that will determine the conference title

Despite a 20 game schedule, every game is tough, especially on the road.

Noteworthy Non-Conference games
  • Cretin-Derham Hall at Eden Prairie, Fri Dec 7th
  • Duluth East at Eastview, Wed Dec 26th
  • Eden Prairie in Bethel tournament final Sat Dec 29
  • Hopkins at Kennedy, Th Jan 3rd
  • Burnsville at Minnetonka, Tues Jan 8th
  • Eden Prairie at Minnetonka, Fri Jan 11th
  • Burnsville at Hopkins, Fri Jan 18th
  • Eastview in St. Paul Johnson showcase Sat Jan 26th

Minneapolis City Conference Preview


The times they are a changing in the Minneapolis City conference. Henry and North have new coaches and young teams. The last time North or Henry didn't play in the Twin Cities game was 1994. Is this the year that another team finally wins the league title? Washburn will definitely have a say in this. With former Washburn assistant Bo Powell taking the North job, what will change there?

Team Previews:

Henry loses star Al Nolen, Jr but returns star Jerry Sweezy and a couple of very talented sophomore guards in Jordan Hughes and Louis Cox. They may be young, but you don't pick against the champ until beaten.

Washburn returns loads of talent including Rashede Hageman and Cedric Martin. If Hageman can stay out of foul trouble, this team can make a run at the league title.

North loses coach Brett McNeal and you never know their roster. But with tradition and talent, they can't be counted out.

South had a ton of athletic juniors last year. If coach Joe Hiser can unite his team, they have enough talent to be a real spoiler.

Roosevelt will be competitive thanks to coach Dennis Stockmo despite his (dis)honor of being the worst dressed coach around.

Edison and SW are doormats looking for hope out on the horizon.

Conference Champion: Henry
Teams you must see: None
Other teams to watch: Henry, Washburn
Surprise Team: South
Team you don't want to see: Southwest

Games that will determine the conference title

  • Washburn at Henry Fri Jan 11th
  • North at Washburn Th Jan 17th
  • North at Henry Sat Jan 26th
  • Henry at Washburn Th Feb 14th
  • Henry at North Mon Feb 18th
  • Washburn at North Fri Feb 22nd
Noteworthy Non-Conference games
  • Henry at Totino-Grace Tues Dec 11th
  • Shakopee at Washburn Tues Dec 18th
  • Henry at Hopkins Tues Dec 18th
  • Henry at Johnson Th Dec 20th
  • Washburn vs St. Thomas Academy Th Dec 27th (1st round Joe Hutton tournament at Hamline)
  • Henry vs Minnetonka (projected) Sat Dec 29th (Hastings tournament final)
  • De La Salle at Henry Tues Jan 15th
  • Holy Angels at Washburn Tues Jan 15th
  • Hopkins at Henry Tues Jan 29th
  • St. Paul Johnson at Washburn Fri Feb 8th

Random Christmas Tournament Thought

So we have a bunch of private school tournaments in the cities over the holidays and I got to thinking. The St. Thomas event was short a team and De La Salle didn't have an event. So then I read that De La Salle is going to play 3 games in Houston, TX over Christmas and New Orleans St. Augustine is coming here to play in the St. Thomas event.

Is it just me or does that seem totally insane. Swap the teams. Shorter trip for both. And after all, the St. Thomas event is called the CATHOLIC spirit, why wouldn't De La Salle be a fit for this event.

Missota Conference Preview

The Missota Conference loses some noteworthy stars this season. Zach Filzen from Northfield is off to Northern Arizona, Eric Carlson of Shakopee is at NDSU and Holy Angels loses star Phil Wirtjes. The league may very well split like last season where teams were either at the top or at the bottom, there wasn't any middle group.

Team Previews:
Holy Angels returns tough guard Stoddard Barnhill and post presence James Pfitzinger. Look for Clarence Hightower to have them contend for another conference title.

Shakopee loses Eric Carlson, but they return some guards and are always tough defensively. If they can rebound on the defensive end, they'll be in the mix at the end of year.

Prior Lake returns sophomore Tor Anderson, a top underclassman in Minnesota. Look for them to make a run.

Replacing Northfield in the 4th spot in the league is New Prague thanks to returning guard Tony Johnson.

Northfield loses star Zach Filzen, look for them to rebuild.

Red Wing, Farmington and Hutchinson were a combined 10-30 in league play last season. Ick. Red Wing has really taken a nosedive from their state tournament days vs Henry after coach Kraig Ulveling resigned to take over the Wingers girls program.

Conference Champion: Holy Angels
Teams you must see: None
Other teams to watch: Holy Angels, Shakopee, Prior Lake
Surprise Team: None
Team you don't want to see: Hutchinson

Games that will determine the conference title
  • Prior Lake at Holy Angels Fri Jan 25th
  • Shakopee at Prior Lake Fri Feb 1st
  • Shakopee at Holy Angels Fri Feb 8th
  • Holy Angels at Prior Lake Tues Feb 19th
  • Prior Lake at Shakopee Tues Feb 26th
  • Holy Angels at Shakopee Wed Mar 5th

Noteworthy Non-Conference games
  • Burnsville at Prior Lake Th Dec 6th
  • Prior Lake at Eastview Sat Dec 8th
  • Holy Angels at Minnehaha Tues Dec 11th
  • Holy Angels at St. Paul Central Fri Dec 14th
  • Shakopee at Minneapolis Washburn Tues Dec 18th
  • Orono at Holy Angels Tues Dec 18th
  • Shakopee at Mounds View Fri Dec 21st
  • Prior Lake vs Spring Lake Park Th Dec 27th (Tartan tournament 1st round)
  • Holy Angels vs St. Paul Johnson (projected) Fri Dec 28th (Catholic Spirit Semis at U of St. Thomas)
  • Holy Angels vs Cretin-Derham Hall (projected) Sat Dec 29th (Catholic Spirit finals)
  • Prior Lake at Tartan (projected) Sat Dec 29th (Tartan tournament finals)
  • Holy Angels at Benilde St. Margaret's Th Jan 10th
  • Shakopee at Concordia (Roseville) Tues Jan 15th
  • Holy Angels at Minneapolis Washburn Tues Jan 15th

Classic Suburban Conference Preview

In past years the Classic Suburban has been one of the best conferences around and this year it won't disappoint. At the top you have 2 heavyweights in St. Thomas Academy and Henry Sibley. Tartan returns a pair of very good guards, Richfield returns a bunch of guards from last year's team and Hill-Murray returns 6-8 Peter McKeown for new coach Dick Ghizoni.

Team Previews:
Defending 3A state champion St. Thomas Academy returns big man Alex Schneider, sharpshooter Mike Fitzgerald and pesky Fritz Valdvogel. The losses of Nate Burr and Jared Gray will hurt on the defensive end, but this team will still be solid defensively and shoot lights out from 3.

Henry Sibley returns 4 noteworthy players from last year including Chris Halvorsen, PG Peter Leslie, Noah Kaiser and soph big 6-11 Jake Krueser. Look for Litchfield transfer 6-6 Jr Mike Bruesewitz to make a big impact for them by giving them interior toughness.

Tartan returns guards Sam Ryan and Mark Sonnen. Sonnen is a D1 prospect who can really fill it up. Ryan has been a 4 year starter on varsity at the point but he broke an ankle during the football season which could be a major factor.

Richfield returns a bunch of guards from last year's team but loses star Santino Clay. Can they make outside shots on offense and will they be able to rebound and stop people on the defensive end with their lack of size. They'll be small and quick. Jim Dimick's teams are usually sound defensively but last year's roster couldn't stop people. Look for a bunch of high scoring games against them this year.

Hill-Murray returns 6-8 Peter McKeown who I think is the best big man in the league (apologies to Alex Schneider at STA and Jake Krueser at Sibley). With Troy Larson returning and new coach Dick Ghizoni, I think they could make a run at a top half finish in the league.

Simley loses star big man John Hutchins so I expect them to rebuild around a couple of returning starters.

North, Mahtomedi and South St. Paul will also be looking up at the rest of the league.

Conference Champion: St. Thomas Academy
Teams you must see: St. Thomas Academy, Henry Sibley
Other teams to watch: Tartan
Surprise Team: Hill-Murray
Team you don't want to see: South St. Paul.

Games that will determine the conference title
  • STA at Sibley Fri Jan 25th
  • STA at Tartan Fri Feb 22nd
  • Sibley at STA Tues Feb 26th
  • Sibley at Tartan Fri Mar 7th

Noteworthy Non-Conference games
  • Sibley at Osseo Tues Dec 11th
  • Duluth East at Tartan Fri Dec 14th
  • Sibley at Marshall Sat Dec 15th (Breakdown Tip-off Classic)
  • Duluth East at STA Tues Dec 18th
  • Minnetonka at Sibley Tues Dec 18th
  • Sibley at Hopkins Fri Dec 21st
  • Cretin-Derham Hall at STA Fri Dec 21st
  • Rochester Mayo at Tartan Fri Dec 21st
  • STA vs Washburn Th Dec 27th at Hamline (1st round Joe Hutton tournament)
  • STA vs Hopkins (projected) Sat Dec 29th at Hamline (Joe Hutton title game)
  • Eden Prairie vs Sibley (projected) Sat Dec 29th at Bethel (Bethel tournament title game)
  • Tartan at Verona, WI Sat Jan 26th (Border Battle)
  • Stillwater at Sibley, Sat Jan 26th or Mon Jan 28th
  • St. Thomas Academy at De La Salle Fri Mar 7th