09-10 Northwest Suburban Preview

Osseo coach
Tim Theisen

This is the 8th preview in my metro area season previews series. In this installment, I take a look at the Northwest Suburban Conference. To access all of the previews in the series, view the season preview page here.

The league has some teams taking major hits due to graduation. Do those teams rebuild or reload? Will that mean that Osseo still wins the conference crown? Will Elk River rebound from a down season? With all the star power gone, what players step up as stars in the league?

Andover Huskies (2008 season 12-16, 7-11 Conference)
The Huskies lose leading scorer Brett Tester and his 19.5 ppg. Jason Schneider returns along with juniors Tyler Finnes and Ben Mei to provide some experience.

Anoka Tornadoes (2008 season 8-19, 4-14 Conference)
Guard Bernie Ward departs but the Tornadoes have some pieces to work with. Lomumba Ismail returns to man the middle. Bryan Sherva and Spencer Grow are returning wing pieces. Add in David Mooers, who is the leading returning scorer, and the Tornadoes should jump up out of the league cellar.

Blaine Bengals (2008 season 15-15, 8-10 Conference)
The dynamic forward combination of Billy Giddings and Dylan Rodriguez is gone to the NSIC along with role players Jeff Harstad and David Leafblad. Guard Jesse Briggity returns but he missed the entire summer with a bad back. If he's not healthy, that's the best returning scorer down. Junior forward Zach Romashko's figures to step out from the shadows this year. Dan Robel gives the Bengals another experienced guard.

Centennial Cougars (2008 season 15-12, 12-6 Conference)
Anthony Adams was a nice surprise last year. He's gone but Centennial still has enough to make a run. Tony Gerding returns at the point. Nathan Kuck gives them a shooter. Jeff Burns and Brian Sarvela saw significant time last season.

Champlin Park Rebels (2008 season 17-11, 12-6 Conference)
The Rebels look to be the major threat to Osseo's throne. Jasper Duberry returns at the point. Kyle Zimmerman and Josh Pella are a dynamic forward duo. Zimmerman is undersized but the lefty is surprisingly effective inside and he can also step out to 3 and shoot it. Pella is an athletic wing who can do a bit of everything. Jordan Reibling is a shooter and Dillon Hager is a defensive minded backup point guard. Junior TJ Okafor could have a breakout year inside. Him and D'Andre Williamson will man the center spot.

Coon Rapids Cardinals (2008 season 9-18, 7-11 Conference)
The top 6 scorers are gone, including Ben Baker and Blair Townsend. There's limited experience returning so I expect a long year.

Elk River Elks (2008 season 12-16, 6-12 Conference)
A down year last year for the Elks. Point guard Jack Gavin and forward Nick Held were the top 2 scorers and have departed. Matt Buhmann returns as the leading scorer and rebounder. Junior Ben Erickson, seniors Taylor Berger, Jack Nelson, Matt Kush and Travis Banken all return so there is varsity experience. With coach Randy Klasen, they'll be sound and stay in a bunch of games.

Maple Grove Crimson (2008 season 18-10, 12-6 Conference)
Head coach Mark Arzdorf has a big task at hand. The entire rotation, including star Josh Pedretti, is gone. But they still have a set of nice forwards. Bryce Burkman and Sam Schwalbe will provide post presence. Jordan Harrell may end up being the top scorer. Youngsters Will Johnson and Andra Griffin are ones I'll be following.

Osseo Orioles
(2008 season 29-3, 17-1 Conference)
Despite the loss of the force known as Sam Dower, the Orioles will still make a run at the league title. Aaron Anderson returns to run the point. John Rowland is a great shooter from the 4 spot and as he showed in last year's AAAA title game, a matchup problem. Then the JVs take over and its a good group. Juniors Joey Sonnefeld and Jerrod Bervin are talented forwards along with senior Chris McMorris. Dalton Graff gives them a steady guard. Andy Friesen provides a little size.

Park Center Pirates (2008 season 6-21, 5-13 Conference)
Voltaire Nalls was their best scorer on the wing and he's gone but there are a couple of pieces here. Junior point guard Terez Van Pelt had a nice summer for the Minnesota Fury and is gaining some interest at the next level. Justin Casey returns to man the middle. Jordan Lynn is back and freshman Quentin Hooker is one to watch.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Champlin Park
  2. Osseo
  3. Centennial
  4. Blaine
  5. Elk River
  6. Maple Grove
  7. Park Center
  8. Anoka
  9. Andover
  10. Coon Rapids
Conference MVP: Kyle Zimmerman - Champlin Park

Breakout/Surprise Player: Zach Romashko - Blaine

Games that will determine the conference title

  • Osseo at Centennial - January 14th
  • Champlin Park at Osseo - January 19th
  • Champlin Park at Centennial - January 22nd
  • Centennial at Osseo - February 12th
  • Centennial at Champlin Park - February 19th
  • Osseo at Champlin Park - February 23rd
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Champlin Park at Minnetonka - December 11th
  • Osseo vs De La Salle - December 12th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka)
  • Champlin Park vs Cretin-Derham Hall - December 12th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka)
  • Champlin Park vs Hopkins - January 9th (Timberwolves Shootout)
  • Duluth East at Osseo - January 16th
I had a chance to ask Osseo coach Tim Theisen some questions about the Orioles and the Northwest Suburban Conference. Minnesota Preps subscribers can read that interview here.

Tim Theisen picture courtesy of MNPhotoNet.net


  1. Hey Czar,

    Hate to disagree but Kyle Zimmerman won't be the MVP on his own team this year. That award will go to Dubery who is a very nice PG. Crafty only gets you so far. Has there been any discussion of Sellers being eligible? The omission makes me think not. He'd add nicely to that group.

    Conference MVP - Aaron Anderson from Osseo. If Osseo gets anything going in the middle..... I like your pick for breakout player but would add Okafor from CP who is still young from an experience standpoint and much like his brother, his best days appear to be ahead of him.

    Overall the conference appears to be down this year after some very solid years but who knows for sure.

    Great reading though Czar!


  2. Pimp, everything I've heard indicates Sellers won't be eligible so that's why I didn't mention him. Unfortunate for the kid and he would have been a nice pickup for just about everybody. I think you could make a case for everything you said and you'll see that I mentioned Okafor as a breakout candidate but Romashko is going to have to lead Blaine where Okafor has help. If Osseo wins the league again, then Anderson would likely have to get the MVP votes.

  3. "Andover Huskies (2008 season 12-16, 7-11 Conference)
    The Huskies lose leading scorer Brett Tester and his 19.5 ppg. Jason Schneider returns along with juniors Tyler Finnes and Ben Mei to provide some experience."

    Guess you forgot to include the Huskies leading scorer, Andrew Berndt? Humm..wonder how that was over looked as he's been 'carrying the team' a direct quote from the tv crew at QCTV.

  4. Johnny, hind site is 20-20. Schneider and Finnes averaged 8.5 and 7.6 pts last year in 28 and 26 games. Berndt averaged 4.7 pts in 17 games. So based on that and my 1 viewing of Andover last year, I had to pick somebody. Give Berndt and the rest of the Huskies credit, they've had a better year than I anticipated. You get some right, you get some wrong.


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