08-09 Season Preview for the Casual Fan

The 08-09 Conference and Section Preview series concludes with our 25th preview (such a nice number). In this edition, we take a high-level look at the season. Many of you who read are diehard fans like me, but there are also plenty of fans out there who only see a handful of games per season and want to see the very best players and teams. This preview is for those fans. If you missed any of the 13 conference previews or 11 section previews, you can find links to all of them on the Section & Conference Previews page.

Top 10 Local Games
  1. Hopkins at Robbinsdale Cooper, February 3rd. Top 2 teams in the state with the top 2 players in the state going at it.
  2. Henry Sibley vs Madison Memorial, January 3rd (TWolves Shootout at Target Center). Marquette signee Jeronne Maymon makes his 3rd trip to the Target Center to take on Mike Bruesewitz. Those 2 going at it will be a war.
  3. Minnetonka vs Hopkins, March 17 (Section 6AAAA Final at Osseo). The regular season games should be on here too, but I didn't want to mention them more than once. The section final will be up a notch and both teams are loaded as Hopkins tries to avenge last year's section final loss.
  4. Hopkins at Henry Sibley, January 9. #1 takes on my #3. An early UW vs the U of M preview with Royce White vs Mike Bruesewitz.
  5. Milwaukee Vincent vs Hopkins, January 23 East Metro Showcase at Johnson. A matchup that I've wanted to see for years. These are arguably the top traditions in each state. Vincent is #6 in the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook preseason poll and is loaded with talent as always. The only thing missing is longtime Vincent coach Tom Diener.
  6. Hopkins at Washburn, December 12. A Howard Pulley scrimmage as many of the players from both teams played together during the summer. Washburn is the most talented team in AAA so this game will be high-flying.
  7. Washburn at Johnson, December 16 (rematch likely March 7 in Twin Cities Game at Arlington). A matchup of arguably the top 2 teams in AAA and definitely 2 extremely athletic teams. City bragging rights at stake with high intensity.
  8. Henry Sibley at Minnetonka, December 16 (possible rematch December 30th in championship of Bethel Holiday Tournament). Size vs Speed in this one.
  9. Osseo at Sibley, December 9. Sibley looks for revenge after Carrington Tankson's buzzer beater beat them last year at Osseo.
  10. Hopkins at St. Bernard's, December 18th. St. Bernard's is one of the top teams in all of AA and very athletic. Jordair Jett vs Marcus Williams is the matchup of note here and Ed Cassidy knows all about Royce White from his days at DLS.
10 Teams To Watch
  1. Hopkins
  2. Robbinsdale Cooper
  3. Henry Sibley
  4. Osseo
  5. Minnetonka
  6. Tartan
  7. Washburn
  8. Johnson
  9. St. Bernard's
  10. Minnesota Transitions
Top 5 Seniors (all top 125 in Rivals.com rankings)
  1. Royce White (Hopkins, U of M)
  2. Rodney Williams Jr (Robbinsdale Cooper, U 0f M)
  3. Trent Lockett (Hopkins, Arizona State)
  4. Mike Bruesewitz (Henry Sibley, Wisconsin)
  5. Sam Dower (Osseo, Gonzaga)
5 More Seniors To Watch
  1. Marc Sonnen (Tartan, Northern Iowa)
  2. Ethan Wragge (Eden Prairie, Creighton)
  3. Mike Broghammer (Hopkins, Notre Dame)
  4. Mike Muscala (Roseville, Bucknell)
  5. Raymond Cowles (Hopkins, Santa Clara)
You can see the entire list of D1 and D2 signees from Minnesota on the 2009 Division 1 & 2 signees page.

5 Juniors to See (in no particular order)
  1. Cole Stefan (Minnetonka)
  2. Jacob Thomas (Columbia Heights)
  3. Chad Calcaterra (Cloquet, see him at the TWolves shootout vs AA power Pelican Rapids)
  4. Kevin Noreen (Minnesota Transitions)
  5. Dyami Starks (Duluth East, multiple games in the metro)
5 trips out of the metro to watch
  1. Washburn vs Osseo, December 30. Projected semifinal of Granite City Classic at St. Cloud Apollo.
  2. St. Cloud Tech vs Tartan, December 13 Breakdown Tipoff Classic in Marshall. Marc Sonnen vs Nate Wolters in a battle of great point guards)
  3. St. Paul Johnson vs Milwaukee Washington, December 23 at Milwaukee Lutheran showcase. A battle of a AAA power vs one of the best teams in Wisconsin.
  4. St. Paul Johnson at Sioux City Heelan, December 19. Heelan and Iowa signee Brennan Cougill lost a tough game to the Govs at Johnson last season. The return matchup should be outstanding.
  5. St. Bernard's at St. Cloud Tech, February 7. Jordair Jett get his input on the best point guard debate as AA and AAAA powers collide.
Top Metro Christmas Tournament
The Bethel tournament is absolutely sick this year. Take a look at these 4 teams. Johnson, Minnetonka, Eden Prairie and Mounds View. One of them is guaranteed to play for 7th place as they're all on the top half of the bracket. Amazing as all of those teams are no worse than 2nd in their leagues. On the bottom half, Minnehaha plays Sibley in the 1st round which means 1 of them will finish no better than 5th. Almost every game of this tourney is guaranteed to have a good team playing in it. If you're outstate, the Granite City at St. Cloud Apollo is also loaded with Osseo, Washburn, Forest Lake, Monticello, Rocori, Duluth East, Apollo and Sartell.

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