10-11 Northwest Suburban Preview

Now to the second group of conference previews.  This is the 7th preview in the series, a look at the Northwest Suburban Conference.  For a list of all the season previews, click here.

Osseo looks to reclaim the league crown as the league welcomes Robbinsdale Armstrong.  I see the Falcons making an immediate impact.  Nice star power in the league with no fewer than 5 teams having a top flight player.  And there are a couple of teams in the bottom half with nice young players.

Andover Huskies (2009-10 season 16-11, 11-7 Conference, tied 3rd)
Over 30 points a game departs with the graduation of Andrew Berndt and Jason Schneider.  Tyler Finnes is the top returnee at 13.2 PPG.  Ben Mei, Gabe Wolfe and junior John Hennessey are 3 returnees who saw rotation minutes last season.

Anoka Tornadoes (2009-10 season 19-9, 11-7 Conference, tied 3rd)
Center Lomumba Ismail was one of the top bigs in the league last year.  His 16 points and 9.3 rebounds will be missed.  3 other seniors, including 2 who averaged double figures are also gone.  Junior guard Marcus Tyus had a breakout season last year and this will be his team this season.  After averaging 13.6 PPG last season, he could push for 20 PPG this season.  Seniors Eric Jordan, Spencer Specht and Spencer Grow were part of the rotation last year.  Eli Guptil and Brandon Lindquist are 2 others who should make contributions. 

Blaine Bengals (2009-10 season 6-21, 4-14 Conference, 9th)
Maple Grove coach Mark Arzdorf moves across the league and returns home to coach the Bengals.  Guard Jesse Briggity is gone but the Bengals do have a couple of pieces coming back.  Power forward Zach Romashko was the top scorer in the league last season at 18.1 PPG with 8.2 rebounds a game.  Junior forward Duke Anywanu looks to have an expanded role.  Dan Robel returns to run the point.

Centennial Cougars (2009-10 season 13-14, 10-8 Conference, 5th)
7 of the top 9 players are gone for the Cougars.  That includes guards Nathan Kuck and Tony Gerding.  Austin Malinowski is the top returning player at 5 points per game.  Josh Matheson is the other returning player from the rotation.  Is Mitchell Kuck one of the players to pick up the slack?

Champlin Park Rebels (2009-10 season 24-6, 16-2 Conference, 1st)
The heaviest losses in the league award goes to the Rebels.  The top 8 players are all gone including the 3 headed monster of Josh Pella, Kyle Zimmerman and Jasper Duberry and a productive group of role players around them .  TJ Okafor is one of the top athletes in the MN 2011 class.  He didn't see as many minutes as I would have expected last year and one has to wonder if that will bite the Rebels this year.  Teddy Gibson is the other notable returnee.  Very inexperienced but the Rebels JV squad was 20-3 last year so this squad is difficult to figure out.

Coon Rapids Cardinals (2009-10 season 11-17, 6-12 Conference, tied 7th)
Torren Dowdy came on as a nice surprise last season at 16.6 a game.  Along with Ricke Setts, he's part of the top 5 players graduating.  Malcolm Farley is the top returner at 5.5 points a night.

Elk River Elks (2009-10 season 16-12, 9-9 Conference, 6th)
The Elks got off to a hot 11-4 start last season and then had a rough second half to only finish 16-12.  7 of the top 8 scorers are gone.  Seniors Ben Erickson and Will Iverson are the top returners.

Maple Grove Crimson (2009-10 season 4-22, 2-16 Conference, 10th)
A very long year for the Crimson last season.  6 seniors are gone and a new coach takes over.  Sophomore Bryce Wojta is the top returner at 8.3 points a game.  Expect another long year.

Osseo Orioles (2009-10 season 22-6, 15-3 Conference, 2nd)
We don't rebuild, we reload.  That's true at very few places but Osseo is one of them.  Lose point guard Aaron Anderson to North Dakota and Terez Van Pelt comes over from Park Center to fill that spot.  DJ Hebert comes over from Cooper and he's another quality guard.  Senior forwards Jerrod Bervin and Joey Sonnenfeld return along with freshman center Ian Theisen.

Park Center Pirates (2009-10 season 12-15, 6-12 Conference, tied 7th)
Big losses for the Pirates.  None bigger than Van Pelt moving next door to Osseo.  They also lose center Justin Casey and forwards Jordan Lynn and Bryan Asberry.  That accounts for almost 48 points a night.  Sophomore guard Quinton Hooker will lead the way along with forward Kevin Handy.

Robbinsdale Armstrong Falcons (2009-10 season 14-13, 5-3 Classic Lake Conference, 2nd)
The Falcons get a nice landing in the Northwest Suburban after being booted from the Classic Lake.  A pair of quality guards, David Weber and Andy Seidlitz are gone.  Also gone is smart forward Joe Lewis.  But guards will still be a strength.  KJ Bluford and Levi Abercrombie return.  Bluford averaged 10.7 a night last year and Abercrombie had a big summer for MN Select.  Star Marquel Curtis returns on the wing after averaging 22 a night last season.  Big enough to overpower most 2 guards, quick enough to go around big forwards.  Lanky Jaevon Walton returns inside.

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

Underclassmen to watch:  
Joe Robel - Blaine
Bryce Wojta, Jake Weineke - Maple Grove
Ian Theisen, Bridge Tussler - Osseo
Quinton Hooker - Park Center

Games that will determine the conference title
  • Armstrong at Anoka - Dec 9th
  • Osseo at Anoka - Dec 17th
  • Osseo at Armstrong - Jan 18th
  • Anoka at Armstrong - Jan 28th
  • Anoka at Osseo - Feb 3rd
  • Armstrong at Osseo - Mar 1st
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Rogers at Anoka - Dec 3rd
  • Osseo at Buffalo - Dec 7th
  • Hopkins vs Osseo - Dec 11 (Breakdown Tipoff Classic)
  • Osseo vs Plainview-Elgin-Millville - Dec 30th (Projected Rochester Rotary Championship)
  • Champlin Park at Bethel Tournament - Dec 28th-30th
  • Robbinsdale Armstrong at Robbinsdale Cooper - Feb 5th

2 comments:

  1. This conference has a feel I love with all the 43 kids.

    Can't argue with Marquel as your pick as I'm a fan. Van Pelt should via for the title as well though if he's able to expand his game to include getting his teammates involved.

    It'll be a two horse race with Armstrong and Osseo. I like Blaine over Anoka. Anoka has Tyus while Blaine brings Zomaskso, Duke and a shooting guard who's name escapes me. The rest of the league will be competitive against one another.

    A lot of young talent is this conference as well. Interesting to see if it pans out.

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  2. I think Coon Rapids will be the surpise team with Malcom Farley and athetic freak Tim Satiago as their leaders. They will have a talented group of youngsters to help out, sophmores, Edvonte Hibbler, and Josh Mathews. Along with long, lanky, and athetic junor forward Omot Okwan who had solid year of the bench with Mn Fury will suprise this confrence and is my suprise player pick.

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