10-11 Minneapolis City Conference Preview

This is the third in my 2010-2011 season preview series.  In this preview, a look at the Minneapolis City Conference.  For a list of all the season previews, click here.

A year where it may be the end of an era in the state's oldest conference as it may lose a significant member after the season. Otherwise, plenty of youth returns but the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Edison Tommies (2009-10 season 1-24, 0-12 Conference, 7th)
A brutal season last season with a ton of youngsters.  Darion Patterson returns but the cupboard is largely bare.  Can't see them jumping out of the cellar.

North Polars (2009-10 season 20-8, 11-1 Conference, 1st)
A sad situation at North as enrollment has decreased 80% in 5 years and the school may close after this season.  Seems inevitable that this basketball institution won't be around much longer.  Senior guard Malik El-Amin is the top returning player.  Juniors Charles Smith, Taj Rich and Shondale Strickland return.  Size will be an issue with the departure of flyswatter Mark Devine in the middle.

Patrick Henry Patriots (2009-10 season 16-10, 10-2 Conference, 2nd)
Big losses at Henry with guards Jordan Hughes, Louis Cox and Dennis Joiner gone and most of the frontline.  But the JVs won the city last year and will reload the program.  Latrell Love and Tim Gill return up front to give the Patriots the top frontcourt in the league.  Guard Deonte Blakemore transfers in from Washburn and is the most explosive scorer in the city. 

Roosevelt Teddies (2009-10 season 11-18, 4-8 Conference, 5th)
The league's top returning scorer Calvin Jenkins is back.  He doesn't have a whole lot of help though.  Thankfully the section and bottom of the league is weak so that will keep the record from being awful.

South Tigers (2009-10 season 16-12, 8-4 Conference, 3rd)
The biggest loss in the league is center Alonzo Traylor.  Guards will be a strength with Carnell Sheppard and Walter Abram.  If Trent Pollard is here and eligible, he adds another scorer.  Look for Peter Goldstein to see time in the middle

Southwest Lakers (2009-10 season 3-21, 2-10 Conference, 6th)
This squad was also very young last year under coach Tom Weko.  Rodney Pierce-Tyler comes over from Cooper and he'll add firepower to the front line.  The other forward is Matt St. Anthony who lead the Lakers in scoring last season.  Aytron Scott returns at a guard slot along with sophomore Demetrius Cady.

Washburn Millers (2009-10 season 11-14, 7-5 Conference, 4th)
They too played young last year and should see major benefits from it this season.  Sophomore Nick Anderson is one of the top point guards in the 2013 class and he should thrive in the dribble drive system.  Clarence Thomas is the dynamic slasher and scorer in the system.  He lead the team with 14 PPG last season.  Dwight Anderson is the shooter.  Cedric Chappell almost averaged double figures last season and he returns.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Henry
  2. Washburn
  3. North
  4. South
  5. Southwest
  6. Roosevelt
  7. Edison
Conference MVP: Deonte Blakemore - Henry

Underclassmen to watch:  
Wunell Beard - Henry
Demetrius Cady - Southwest
Nick Anderson, Jamison Whiting -Washburn

Games that will determine the conference title
  • Henry at Washburn - Jan 6th
  • Washburn at Henry - Feb 8th
  • Henry at North - Feb 21st
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Hopkins at Henry - Dec 3rd
  • Holy Angels at Henry - Dec 7th
  • Shakopee vs Washburn - Dec 11th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka)
  • Henry at St. Thomas Academy - Dec 14th
  • Roseville at Washburn - Dec 14th
  • Henry at Augsburg tournament - Dec 28-30th
  • Columbia Heights at Henry - Jan 13th
  • Washburn at Columbia Heights - Feb 1st
  • Henry at DeLaSalle - Mar 1st
  • Twin Cities Game (Minneapolis Site) - Mar 5th

7 comments:

  1. Wow, thats somewhat of a shocker Czar....Henry over Washburn and Blakemore for MVP, interesting. I would give a very slight edge over Washburn, but I could also see Henry pulling it out....they just lost so many seniors from last year, the experience is the only question mark. North and South aren't slouches by any means, they'll make this league closer than what a lot may think, they have legit "players" on both those teams!

    As far as MVP, I would've guessed El-Amin, Thomas, Jenkins (although his team is pretty bad), maybe even Sheppard at South (he's been starting since 9th grade) or even Blakemore's teammate Love (he was flat out dominant in all the JV games I saw him play in, and was productive on the varsity level as well). At the same time, I've seen Deonte go nuts in games over the years, and explosive is a perfect word for him....he can literally score at will at times. So him as an MVP is just as likely as any of the other mentioned.

    The city is the city, so it will be pretty wide open as usual I'm sure. FYI, there was a huge rally yesterday for North, hundreds of supporters showed up and protested the closing, so there's still a chance of it staying open, we'll see.

    What do you think the chances are of any of these teams actually competing for state?

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  2. Good guards at North and South and I think Southwest is much improved. Love can have a big season, but Blakemore is going to be the difference maker for them. Washburn is at North the last Thursday night of the regular season which could also be interesting especially if it could be the last ever home game there.

    I'll get into section stuff later in the previews, but with Hopkins and DeLaSalle lurking, that's not good. Don't be shocked if the team that makes the biggest tourney run is Roosevelt. Their section is just that bad.

    Hopefully North sticks around, but with only 265 kids and the district costs there being astronomical (4K per kid vs 1500-2K elsewhere), I'm not optimistic.

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  3. I totally agree with u with Southwest, they'll be a sleeper team for sure and might even walk away with a couple upsets throughout the season. St Anthony can go, and he has an edge to him that can motivate teammates.

    The 'Velt' back at state??? Wow, that was the norm in the middle to late 90's, its been awhile so that would be nice to see.

    As far as the North situation, this is the dominoe effect of open enrollment and programs like the Choice is Yours (there's other factors too). Kids who litereally live blocks away from North are going to Suburban and charter schools who supposedly offers them better opportunities. This is why alot of these suburban athletic programs are so successful, and the inner city kids suffer, most of the inner city talent is at other places. There's no way that a schools enrollment drops 80% in 5 years, thats insane! I think we've gone here before in the past and its kinda touhchy, so maybe this one should be left alone.

    Being a 'City guy', I commend the young men who've decided to stay a part of the Mpls City Conf, and not take their talents elsewhere (especially the kids at North, for them not to transfer or move is very admirable under their circumstances). A bug is constantly being put into their ears, saying that the only way they can succeed is to get out of the city and thats so not true. I've talked to alot of these players and their parents and they feel disrespected and unfairly treated compared to their suburban peers.

    There's a handful of guys in this conference that can play, with or against anyone else IN THE STATE with no problem at all (actually outplay most), but yet they never get the credit, exposure, or write ups they deserve.

    Whats your opinion on that Czar, being on the media side of things yourself, just curious?

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  4. I never though I would say this but you are wrong about Edison. They have reloaded greatly this year. They have two big men seniors in Blake Williams and Devarius Wright who can play anywhere on the floor. Those two are going to be a problem for every team in the conference. Also they have two new guards that have transfered in. Allen Freshwater from Colombia Heights and Harry Smith from Washburn. Freshwater is probably the truest point guard in the minneapolis conference now and Smith is a shooting guard who can score from anywhere on the floor.Look for Wright,Williams,Freshwater, and Smith to all start.

    Don't forget about juniors Josh Perez, Bernard Robertson, Tyshawn Seas and Dedric Holifield. They are all great athletes. Only problem is Holifiled who likes to play by himself. If he gets together as a team the Tommies will have a wonderful year.

    My predicted order of finish:
    1.Washburn
    2.Edison
    3.Henry
    4.North
    5.South
    6.Roosevelt
    7.Southwest

    Dec. 17th when Edison plays Henry at Edison we are going to be able to see just how for real the Tommies are

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  5. twincites, let's hope Edison is improved, but if those guys are all that good, where were they last year? Edison wasn't even competitve last season

    hoopaholic, I agree there are a ton of good ballers in the city. But its about team record and results. That's what might keep us media away. When Henry was that loaded, people showed up.

    I also think that city conditions are often used as a crutch to justify a bad situation. Coming from a not so good part of town once upon a time myself, I never had that bug put in my ear so I never had that belief. That said, fate did me a huge favor and got me out.

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  6. This will be one year where the Minneapolis get a lot of exposure and attendance at a lot of games.

    Back to Edison. Wright and Williams were both ineligible last year. All the juniors i mentioned were playing on JV except for Perez. Then it's the two transfers i mentioned. Edison should have a really good year.

    I think you should do a story on the December 17th when Henry plays Edsion. We will all be able to see just how for real Blakemore is when he goes up against Smith(transfer from Washburn) since they both played with Washburn last year. Smith defense is great and will give Balkemore a real work out. Pay close to attention to Smith. He might not be known but he can give u a show. I really think this will be a game 2 write about.

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  7. Ive seen this henry team play at minnetonka, and they are looking pretty solid. Blakemore can shoot beyone nba 3pt land. i pick them to go to state but not win it all.

    As for this Blake Williams guy, i watched him play at the Mounds Park academy Jamboree and he was by far the best player in the gym hes about 6'7 can play any position on the floor. I spoke with him, hes very humble and laid back but on the court he is energetic and communicates well on both sides of the court, very prolific scorer. He was also at the 43 hoops showcase and put on a show a year or two ago.

    Also southwest should be great, rodney tyler is incredible talent long arms and they have a player that looks and plays like james harden, Matt St. Anthony should have an impact on this team as well.

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