08-09 North Suburban Preview

This is the 7th installment in the 08-09 Season Preview series. If you missed the 1st 6 previews, you can use the Section and Conference Previews page to go back and read them. In this installment, we take a look at the North Suburban Conference.

Robbinsdale Cooper Hawks (2007 Season 23-9 4th Place AAAA, 17-3)
Discussion of the North Suburban in 08-09 has to start with the Hawks. They return basically everybody from last year's state qualifying squad. Joe Bright and Kenquane Brown return to man the front line. Freddie Burton returns to man the point and Quincy Bethea is a 2 guard who can light it up. Bethea also does a nice job of finding people off of penetration. Not to mention, star Rodney Williams Jr also returns. They have plenty of scoring and athleticism. An absolute nightmare to play against.

Benilde-St. Margaret's Red Knights (2007 Season 29-3 AAA State Champions, 19-1)
The Red Knights lose Jordan Taylor (Wisconsin) and Armond Battle (Tulsa) to the D1 ranks from the state title team of a year ago. They also lose their only other regular big guy Stu Neville. But coach John Moore still has plenty coming back. Justin Segal returns to run the point. Darren Glover gives them a shooter to replace a Matt Thomas. Peter Crawford will attempt to fill Battle's role. After watching him during fall league play, he looks poised to have a real breakout year. Size is a question. Will sophomore Myles Barnes get some looks up front?

Spring Lake Park Panthers (2007 Season 18-11, 13-7)
Losing Tim Merritt and Cory Polta costs them their inside play. Biggest loss is the inside/out versatility of Bemidji State commit Taylor Hall. He was really the guy who made them a different team last year. Lefty point guard Shaun Jensen returns along with guard Trey Scott who was just named a player of the week for week 1 of the Breakdown fall league. If junior Elijah Sabah can replace some of Cory Polta's inside play, the Panthers will be near the top of the league again.

Irondale Knights (2007 Season 15-12, 12-8)
The Knights return guard Rayveen Banks, but lose Colin Utke's size. Bjorn Westlund also returns at a guard spot. Another team that may have concerns with size.

St. Louis Park Orioles (2007 Season 15-12, 11-9)
Head coach Larry Ronglien moves on to UW-Stout. The roster has left too. Sophomore Aaron Ziman will have to be one of the youngsters to step up.

Fridley Tigers (2007 Season 15-13, 10-10)
The Tigers lose most everything but do return a nice piece in senior forward Isaiah Thomas. They're a well-coached squad with good tradition so I expect more wins than their talent shows.

Columbia Heights Hylanders (2007 Season 13-14, 8-12)
Coach Willie Braziel's squad was one of the best turnaround stories of last season and it looks to continue here. Junior guards Jacob Thomas and Harold Rainey return to man the backcourt. Senior Akrau Imbu will have to be their guy up front. Juniors guards Marcus Shaw and Larry Harris are also very talented. Size will be a struggle for them, but don't be surprised if this squad makes another jump this season. Next year will be a year to really keep an eye on them.

St. Francis Fighting Saints (2007 Season 10-17, 8-12)
Longtime head coach Ron Larson (28 years) retired and then took the Anoka-Ramsey job so the Saints will have a new voice this season. Center Andy Grzesik-Grimm is gone but guards Joe Foss and Alex Balluff return with big Seth Akason.

Totino-Grace Eagles (2007 Season 6-20, 5-15)
The Eagles lose a ton of seniors led by guard Micah Koehn and post Nate Uher. Junior guard Johnathon "Tazz" Crockett returns as a player who is very good defensively and quick enough to develop into a nice offensive player. I'll also be watching to see what kind of impact junior forward Mohammed Kromah makes.

Chisago Lakes Wildcats (2007 Season 6-21, 4-16)
The Wildcats may return the 2nd best player in the league in 6'8 big man Josh Figini. He had a monster year of 22 PPG and 11 RPG last year. He can step out and shoot it all the way to the 3 point line as he made almost 1 triple per game. Unfortunately, there's not much around him.

North Branch Vikings (2007 Season 8-19, 3-17)
The Vikings lose their best player Jake Chambers and also lose John Lindstrom. They'll look to junior Kyle Grote to step up this season.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Robbinsdale Cooper
  2. Benilde-St. Margaret's
  3. Spring Lake Park
  4. Columbia Heights
  5. St. Francis
  6. Irondale
  7. Fridley
  8. Totino-Grace
  9. Chisago Lakes
  10. St. Louis Park
  11. North Branch
Player of the Year: Rodney Williams Jr - Robbinsdale Cooper

Games that will determine the conference title
  • Columbia Heights at BSM - December 12th
  • Cooper at Columbia Heights - December 16th
  • BSM at Spring Lake Park - January 13th
  • Columbia Heights at Spring Lake Park - January 16th
  • Cooper at BSM - January 27th
  • BSM at Columbia Heights - February 3rd
  • Spring Lake Park at BSM - February 19th
  • Cooper at Spring Lake Park - February 27th
  • BSM at Cooper - March 6th
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Cooper at Armstrong - December 12th
  • Eden Prairie vs Cooper - January 3rd (Timberwolves Shootout)
  • Minnetonka at Cooper - January 24th
  • Hopkins at Cooper - February 3rd
  • De La Salle at BSM - February 7th
  • Columbia Heights at St. Bernard's - February 12th


  1. Aaron Ziman of St Louis Park is
    a sophomore.

  2. Yes he is, I got it confused because he played up a year with the MN Select 16s this summer. Corrected.

  3. watch out for a couple of players (sophomores) from irondale:

    Bryan Sprang- it is like watching peja stojakovic play. The kid always makes his shots.

    Danny Blumberg and Vincent Calistro- You probably saw them play during the spring season. They were on the minnesota heat elite team.

  4. Myles Barnes, how do you feel he will fair this year? I feel he has tons of potential, keep an eye on him!! Also Peter Crawford is explosives, and Darran Glover is a sharp shooter...

  5. Josh, I'm definitely a Crawford fan. Glover can definitely get hot. I look for Tall Kid Tall (Alex Miller) to be the primary big guy. He's really improved since last season. With those 3 and Segal at the point, BSM will be just fine.

    As to Barnes, I'll most definitely be keeping an eye on his progress. I liked him last season and he did fine with Pulley this summer. I don't think he starts this season, but he has enough talent to see time off the bench. He should tear up the JV level.

    Another youngster I'll be following is Isaiah Zierden (son of Lynx head coach, gophers radio voice Don Zierden). He's got some nice potential as a point guard. I really liked what I saw of him this summer.

  6. I cant wait to see Cooper's guard Quincy Bethea light them up this year. He can get hot like a firecracker and throw that alley to Rodney, like no one else! Go Quincy!

  7. As we can see Barnes of BSM is playing many minutes and starting he is off to a great start with 12 points per

  8. As we can see Banres of BSM is starting and averaging 12 points per


Have a different take than mine? You can provide your take here.