2009 Timberwolves Shootout Preview

January 3rd, 2009 brings us the 2009 Timberwolves shootout. It's that time of year when Minnesota gets a chance to showcase its best. This year the Shootout (unfortunately) changes to a regional flavor with 3 Wisconsin teams and Sioux Falls Roosevelt with everybody else from Minnesota. All records, rankings and stats as of Dec 28th.

10 AM: Pelican Rapids vs Cloquet
Pelican Rapids comes in ranked #2 in class AA. They have a star in point guard Tydan Storrusten along with 6'6 Eric Shulstad. They're currently 5-0 with the closest win by 35 points. Cloquet has one of the top juniors in Minnesota in 6'10 Chad Calcaterra, but the Lumberjacks have struggled. They've won their last 2 after losing their 1st 4.

Prediction: Calcaterra is a one man band as Cloquet doesn't have anything else. Storrusten has a big day and Calcaterra gets his. Pelican Rapids wins 75-55.

12 PM: Osseo vs Sioux Falls Roosevelt
Osseo comes in ranked #7 in AAAA at 2-1 after a season opening loss to the #2 team in AAAA Henry Sibley. 6'9 Gonzaga recruit Sam Dower leads the way averaging almost 25 a game thru the 1st 3 games. Aaron Anderson transfered in from Hopkins. He defends well and can play both guard spots. He's their best outside shooter. Jayvin Reynolds is a rebounder and Kyle Mason is a slasher. DJ Phillips is a defender at the point guard spot.

Sioux Falls Roosevelt brings in 6'9 2010 Iowa recruit Cody Larson. Larson has played locally in the Howard Pulley Sabes Invitational each of the last 2 summers. He's a forward who can play inside or out. Adol Aluong is another player to watch for the Roughriders. They come in 2-1 after losing to rival Sioux Falls O'Gorman on December 20th in a battle of #2 vs #3 in the South Dakota big school class. They gave up 8 offensive rebounds to O'Gorman in 1 quarter despite only having 1 player taller than 6'3. That won't get it done against Osseo.

Prediction: I expect a low scoring game in this one. Osseo is too good defensively. Osseo 55-45.

2 PM: Henry Sibley vs Madison Memorial
Hands down the game of the day. Sibley comes in #2 behind Hopkins in AAAA. Memorial comes in #1 in Wisconsin's Division 1 (AAAA in MN). If you've been following my polls page, you'll see that Memorial is quickly jumping into and up the regional rankings in the midwest (#3, 9 or 12 depending on what poll you want to believe). Marquette recruit Jeronne Maymon has played here since he was a freshman and I said he would be a stud then. Well, he's #46 in the nation according to Rivals.com and #75 according to Scout.com. Rivals said he's the top incoming small forward in the Big East. He had a monster state tournament last season as the Spartans lost in overtime in the Division 1 title game (AAAA to Minnesota folks). The lefty can handle and he's a beast inside. Junior Vander Blue has committed to Wisconsin. He also played here this summer in the Sabes Invitational with the Madison Spartans. He's one of a ton of guards Memorial will bring to the party. Tre Creamer is another one of those to watch. But the most interesting player of the day to watch for me (since I've seen Bruesewitz, Blue and Maymon already) is 6'4 freshman Junior Lomomba. He's averaging 12.6 points per game, 3rd on the team behind Blue and Maymon.

Sibley has UW recruit Mike Bruesewitz. Since Sioux Falls Roosevelt is here, think of another UW guy, Joe Krabbenhoft. Juniors Jake Kreuser and Mike Rostampour also man the inside and they're getting better every day as D1 prospects. Maurice Hernandez is the best shooter and a very solid 2. Valpo recruit Chris Halvorsen is one of the top leapers in the state. #2 in the state for very good reason. They'll come in battle tested from the Bethel tournament and a win over Osseo.

A classic battle of size vs speed. Memorial has a ton of guards and they are terrific defensively. They will apply more and better defensive pressure than anybody Sibley will see all season. Yes that includes Hopkins and Marcus Williams because Memorial will send plenty of traps vs Hopkins who won't trap at all, and it won't be much if I'm wrong (maybe a Thumbs Up scramble off of free throws, but very little else). Look for Bruesewitz to do a ton of ball handling in this one along with help from Hernandez to help out when needed. Who will Jake Kreuser guard? Don't be surprised if we see tons of Mike Rostampour instead since he's better at defending the dribble than Kreuser. How much zone will Sibley use to limit penetration and allow Kreuser to be a shotblocker. Maymon will get his share of rebounds, but will their quickness allow them to steal rebounds or will Memorial be one and done against the big Sibley frontline.

Prediction: Memorial wins a war 65-64 and makes a big leap in the polls.

4 PM: Hopkins vs Lake Geneva Badger
Worst game of the day. #1AAAA Hopkins is loaded with D1 recruits (Royce White-Minnesota, Mike Broghammer-Notre Dame, Trent Lockett-Arizona State, Ray Cowles-Santa Clara). Badger isn't. Hopkins #9, #20 or #21 in the nation (yes nation, that's not a typo) depending on what poll you want to read. Royce White and Hopkins continue to adjust to each other. What will the chemistry be like in this one? Watch the on-ball defense of Marcus Williams as he's one of the best in the state in that department. Braden Tice leads the way for Badger with 13.5 PPG.

Prediction: Hopkins by 30 unless Badger goes stall.

6 PM: Robbinsdale Cooper vs Eden Prairie
A couple of D1 recruits on display here as Eden Prairie's 6'7Ethan Wragge will attend Creighton. Cooper's Rodney Williams Jr will attend Minnesota. He's the best leaper in the state. But Cooper isn't a 1 man band. Freddie Burton and Quincy Bethea are a very good backcourt. Joe Bright and Kenquane Brown give the Hawks a couple of other options up front. Williams often mans the middle despite the fact that he's a wing at the college level. Extremely athletic club.

Eden Prairie on the other hand is very disciplined. Marc and Timmy Miller give the Eagles rock solid guard play. Brett Ervin is a versatile inside player who can step out and score. It will be interesting to see how he's used in this game. The Eagles are very sound in their man to man defense and they don't turn it over or take bad shots on the offensive end. Cooper will want to get up and down and have a helter-skelter game.

Prediction: Cooper's athletes are too much. They win 70-58.

8 PM: St. Cloud Tech vs Manitowoc Roncalli
St. Cloud Tech comes in ranked #4 in AAAA. Roncalli comes in 4-1 and they're usually a Division 3 (AA in MN) power. Tech has one of the top point guards in the entire state in 6'3 Nate Wolters. He's a clutch player who is a very good defender. Junior Alex Hanks teams with him to form a terrific backcourt. Roncalli also backcourt oriented with the #9 sophomore in WI, 6'0 Ben Stelzer. He's averaging 22 a night this season. They run as good a motion offense as you'll see anywhere. I recommend staying for this game for that reason alone.

Prediction: On paper a bit of a mismatch but in the words of ESPN's Lee Corso, not so fast my friends. Roncalli is very disciplined and they're very sound in their man defense. They were undermanned vs St. Bernard's last season and behind most of the game, but then they got some threes to fall and put back an airball at the buzzer to pull the upset. Wolters holds down Stelzer and Roncalli won't have a good answer for Wolters on the offensive end. Tech wins 65-58. Tons of 3s go up in this one.

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