09-10 Classic Lake Preview

How appropriate that on this first day of snow, I start my 2009-2010 Season Preview Series. We start with a look at the Classic Lake Conference. For a list of all previews in the series, view the season preview page here.
Armstrong coach
Greg Miller


The Classic Lake loses a ton of talented seniors from every team but this is the Classic Lake where we reload and not rebuild. Plenty of very talented juniors in the league will keep the league at a high-level. While there's plenty of talented perimeter players, the league is seriously lacking in quality bigs.

Edina Hornets (2008 season 22-6, 5-3 Conference)
The Hornets lose their top 6 scorers after a terrific season. I underestimated the Hornets last year and I may be doing it again. Forwards Stephen Asp and David Gschneider return and Brendan Canova takes over at point guard so there is experience. Freshman Graham Woodward is a youngster that I'll be following for them.

Hopkins Royals
(2008 season 31-0 AAAA State Champions, 8-0 Conference)
Its Hopkins, what else needs to be said. Lose 5 Division 1 seniors and reload with enough talent to still be considered a state title contender. Ho hum. DJ Peterson is the most experienced returnee and the only senior of note. Otherwise the roster is young and very talented, but with limited experience and size. Junior Marvin Singleton saw big minutes last year of the youngsters and that's it. Sophomore Siyani Chambers will run the point and explosive junior Joe Coleman will fill it up from the wing. The 5th spot is the question mark.

No size returns for the Royals so the question mark is how much will Marvin Singleton play inside (best for Hopkins) vs outside (best for his college development). Coach Novak could go 5 small with Singleton playing up front but traditionally he insists on keeping a big body on the floor. Problem is there's no Broghammer, VanderVieren, DiLoreto type of option for them this season. Cameron Selmer will come off the bench to make shots and Jeremiah Tolbert also provides depth at guard. Super frosh Riley Dearring and soph Zach Stahl will be young options for the rotation as well. But I'm skeptical on Dearring getting as many varsity minutes as people think.

Minnetonka Skippers
(2008 season 12-14, 0-8 Conference)
Tor Anderson takes over the reins of the dribble drive from Kyle Risinger. Anderson sat out all of last year after transferring from Prior Lake but he's a great fit. Cole Stefan and Nick Latzke are perfect fits as they will man the shooter spots and shoot it they can. Leonard Glass and Blake Nelson return along with guard Chad Howard from last year's paper-thin rotation. Will Glass play inside or out now that behemoth Taylor Nelson is gone? Either way he'll need to continue his development to open things up for Latzke and Stefan. Without an effective inside threat and after going 0-8 in league play with a talented roster, I wonder if the luster has come off the dribble-drive motion. Armstrong held Stefan and Latzke to 29 total points in the 2 games last year so I think a plan is out there. The key will be Anderson's ability to generate offense for others. Defensively will they be able to rebound and stop people? If nothing else, they should be fun to watch.

Robbinsdale Armstrong Falcons
(2008 season 13-15, 3-5 Conference)
Armstrong has long been known for quality guard play with the likes of Alex Rubin and Damarius Cruz and even back to Jon Bryant (I have to mention a Wisconsin Badger right?). This year will be no exception with trio of point guard David Weber and wings Andy Seidlitz and Marquel Curtis. Curtis is the leading returning scorer and should have a big year. His shot is respectable and he's big enough to overpower smaller wings. Seidlitz is the one of the best shooters in the state and he's rarely mentioned. Huge question mark in the middle as the only returning interior player of note is Joe Lewis who's pretty limited athletically but smart. They're sound and their schemes are second to none so they'll be very competitive.

Wayzata Trojans
(2008 season 21-7, 4-4 Conference)
Wayzata loses an entire rotation of 6 seniors, including a starting crew that all averaged in double figures. But I have some optimism for this crew. I look for Caleb Crockett and Chris Kroeten to manage the backcourt with Connor Hegarty and Eric Robertson up front. While many may peg Robertson as a breakout candidate due to his 6'7" size with skill and athleticism, my vote goes to Kroeten who was a major force on last year's JV squad. I'll also be interested to see if sophomore Chad Potas gets time in the middle. They may struggle in league play and section 6AAAA does them no favors, but a favorable non-conference schedule will allow them to get out of the gates quickly and rack up 10-12 wins and confidence before the conference slate.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Hopkins
  2. Minnetonka
  3. Robbinsdale Armstrong
  4. Wayzata
  5. Edina
Conference MVP: Tor Anderson - Minnetonka

Breakout/Surprise Player: Chris Kroeten - Wayzata

Games that will determine the conference title

  • Minnetonka at Armstrong - February 4th
  • Hopkins at Minnetonka - February 12th
  • Minnetonka at Hopkins - March 2nd
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Hopkins at Columbia Heights - December 9th (Czar's note 10/21/09, fixed location and updated game date)
  • Champlin Park at Minnetonka - December 11th
  • Hopkins vs Tartan - December 12th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka)
  • Chaska at Minnetonka - December 12th
  • Sibley at Minnetonka (projected) - December 19th (Minnetonka tournament)
  • Hopkins in Augsburg tournament - December 28th-30th
  • Minnetonka at Columbia Heights - January 7th
  • Duluth East at Hopkins - January 14th
  • Minnetonka at Lakeville South - January 21st
  • Hopkins vs Maple Northwestern (WI) - January 22nd (East Metro Showcase at Johnson)
  • Hopkins at Benilde-St. Margaret's - January 30th
  • Columbia Heights at Minnetonka - March 5th
I had a chance to ask Armstrong coach Greg Miller some questions about his Falcons and the Classic Lake. Minnesota Preps subscribers can read that interview here.

Greg Miller photo courtesy of MNPhotoNet.net

4 comments:

  1. Nice summary. Agree with a lot except for POY. I look for Cole Stefan to have a very nice year and bounce back into the spot light. I don't see Dearing getting much time this year. Unfortunately, he's a lot like the other players on the roster but younger. Novak doesn't have a history of playing freshman I'll use Chambers as an example. That could change if Hopkins struggles early however and Novak changes to a development focus for next year.

    Not a dominant big in the conference compared to last year so I'm looking forward to a lot of up and down basketball. Should be fun to watch.

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  2. This was tough.

    I had Stefan penciled in at the start, but that seemed too easy. I think Stefan will be off the ball more and won't get his unless Tor is a factor getting into the lane and getting him open looks. If Tor has a big year, then Stefan and Latzke will have big years, if not they'll suffer through another year like last year, hence my vote.

    Honestly, the guy who probably should get more mention is Marquel Curtis.

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  3. Now I would completely agree with you on Marquel but didn't want to seem the homer!

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  4. 43hoopspimp,

    I think that people are going to be shocked this year about Dearing, like i said earlier I saw him play twice and I couldn't believe that he was going into the 9th grade. As a freshman he's better than most of the players right now!! I believe he will play alot or maybe start this year. Hopkins will (repeat) will need him this year for scoring. Dearing's is the best freshman in the state, he the only player in Mn in his class who is ranked in the top 20 in 2013 some have him as high as 9. Ever since the article I've been following him he's top 5 in 2013 and 2012 Google his name WOW!!!!

    ReplyDelete

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