The Czar's Season in Review (All-Star Series style)

In the spirit of this week's all-star series, here's my season in review with my 4 all-star "teams". I've got 5 starters with an emergency sub on each team.

Maroon Team (MSHSL, insert your own joke)
  • Transfer Rule. As expected there was a major influx of transfers this year and some noteworthy ones at the state tournament level. Sedrick McBounds of Minnetonka and all 3 Bright brothers (Jeff, Joe and John) at 3 schools in 3 different classes. Do we know the impact yet? No. I want to see the Star Tribune follow up on their article by showing the numbers the year before the transfer, this year and for next season.
  • New Rules Emphasis. Handchecking and physical play were the big points this season. It was ugly early but teams adjusted. I had an official tell me that it actually made officiating the game easier as it eliminated a lot of the griping over hand checks. Easy call, its all a foul. But the officials got scolded twice during the season about it so there was some adjustment for the zebras too. I was disappointed that the off-ball chucking of cutters emphasis wasn't called, especially with 2 officials. I would think with the 3rd official that this is something that would be picked up on.
  • Seeding the state tournament. I liked it and it gave the best game. But if there's enough knowledge to do 4 teams, why not do all 8. With the amount of information out there, I don't think that seeding A and AA would be as painful as the coaches make it out to be.
  • Shot Clock. Only 40 games out of 5849 games statewide used it. Now that number isn't totally fair because of conference games not allowing it. But it still shows that even at an experimental level, I don't think the teams are buying in (and I'm not either for the record). I saw only 1 shot clock game all year and it wasn't a factor. Granted that was 2 good teams.
  • Mariucci Arena for the State Quarterfinals. Despite the Xcel Energy Center court, this was a great environment for the tournament with 11,663 showing up on the 1st day. I can't help but like the idea of using Williams and Mariucci with all the semis and finals at Williams. Great for Quarterfinal fans too as these buildings are right across the street from one another.
Gold Team (Coaches)
  • John Gray, Breck. Dismissed in February after an incident on the trip home from a game at Mankato East.
  • Kurt Pauly, Cooper. Dismissed in February after inappopriate language at halftime of Columbia Heights game. Did the punishment fit the crime and how much politics were involved in that?
  • Ross Ihry, Brooklyn Center. BC went 9-18 last year and started 9-3 this year before sliding to a 12-15 finish. But he's clearly turning around this program which had no more than 4 wins in the 2 season previous to the 9 wins last year.
  • Willie Braziel, Columbia Heights. CH improved from 4 wins and a miserable year last year to 13-14 this year finishing with a close loss to St. Anthony in the tournament opener. This earned him the 3AAA coach of the year award, congrats to him on that. With star Jacob Thomas only a sophomore now and coach Braziel's track record with the Roosevelt girls, things are looking up for the Hylanders.
  • Dave Johnson, interim coach Cooper. Have to mention the job he did as he took them all the way to the state semis. After losing his 1st game by 1 point at Spring Lake Park, the Hawks won 10 of 11 (only loss was a blowout at BSM) before the semifinal loss to Sibley. He earned a shot at the job fulltime and with all 5 starters back next year including Rodney Williams Jr, watch out for the Hawks next year.
  • Tim Theisen, Osseo. Despite a weak NW Suburban, the Orioles got big wins over Sibley and a terrific Sioux City Bishop Heelan team during the season and ran the table which is never easy. They also got thru the late season loss of Carrington Tankson, who despite no legs at the end of the section final, still almost led them past Cooper.
Blue Team (Teams)
  • Minnetonka, #1 preseason, they lose at home to Hopkins and then come from way behind in the section final vs Hopkins and in the state title game vs Sibley to take home the hardware. They built that team for 3 years, including taking their lumps with basically the same lineup 2 years ago vs the toughest schedule in the state and were 9-17. They lose a ton, but with Cole Stefan returning amongst others, they'll still be dangerous.
  • Benilde-St. Margaret's. On a mission all year. They take care of business in the title game in the N. Suburban by blowing out Cooper and then rolling to the state title despite a late hiccup vs St. Thomas. To think they did it with major injuries (Stu Neville, Alex Miller), terrific job there.
  • Minnesota Transitions. 1st charter school to make it to state, they get past the nay-sayers (including me) and make it all the way to the state title game. Kevin Noreen with a big year, but Virgil Baker was a great story for them. He's a tough replacement for them next year.
  • St. Bernard's. Only 2 tough losses (1 buzzer beater and 1 late OT loss) before the state semifinals. Jordair Jett dominant for them and an extremely athletic team. They return many pieces of that squad too.
  • Henry Sibley. Great job by coach Dasovich. They lose the heart-breaker early at Osseo and then another tough one at home to Minnetonka before being blownout at Hopkins. After a loss to Mounds View at Christmas they were 4-4. But they got healthy and rolled into the state final winning 22 of 23 including a tough win over a very good CDH team in the section final. That's all without varsity contribution from soph prospect Jake Kreuser who returns next year with Mike Bruesewitz and Chris Halvorsen.
  • Hopkins, 1-2 vs Minnetonka, 26-0 vs everyone else and not really challenged. Enough said. With Royce White coming in next year, yikes.
Green Team (Events)
  • Cody Schilling breaking the all-time scoring record at Mariucci Arena. That will really add to the history as I have a hard time believing that there will be another high school tournament game there in my lifetime.
  • Royce White's departure from DeLaSalle. He's now landed on his feet, let's hope it works out for him.
  • Official Dale Wakasugi collapsed during a game in Fridley in December, but made his return to the court in February.
  • Mobile LeFlore team accused of sexual assault after the Timberwolves shootout. Members of the team were pulled off a plane and questioned but ultimately released.
  • Red Wing girls set the national record for FTs in a game vs Holy Angels. If you prefer a boys record, how about the Central boys putting up a record number of points in the Twin Cities game vs Henry.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Really disappointed that La Crescent's Ian Anderson didn't make the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association All Star team. He was clearly the best player in this part of the state, and single handedly kept La Crescent in the game during the first half of the St. Bernards' game.

  3. Forgot to add that he outplayed Jett also.

  4. Outplayed Jett? I don't see why more pts in a game means outplayed? I seem to recall that when Jett matched up with Anderson (2nd half) he had a lot more trouble scoring. Also, straight zone from La Crescent - I think it would've gotten pretty ugly had La Crescent gone man... Do you honestly think Anderson could've stopped Jett?

  5. I would say that he didn't have a tougher time scoring, I would say that La Crescent finally took advantage of Abraham's height advantage and pounded the ball inside. He still had 10 points in the second half.

    As far as the zone defense, La Crescent played 1-3-1 all year and I never saw them get out of it. They played to their strength, which is a smart coaching move.

  6. And as far as outplaying him I stand by my comment.

    1st half
    fg fga ft fta tp ofr dfr tot
    Ian 8 11 2 2 18 4 1 5
    Jordair 4 7 1 1 9 2 2 4

    2nd half

    Ian 5 6 0 0 10 4 2 6
    Jordair 3 7 4 6 11 1 1 2

    Ian 13 17 2 2 28 8 3 11
    Jordair 7 14 5 7 20 3 3 6

    So my premise still stands.

  7. Larry Brown...that's all I gotta say.

  8. Hey jay, interesting you mentioned Anderson, he was just named the La Crosse Tribune player of the year.


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