2010-2011 What to Watch For

This is the 24th and final preview in my month long 2010-2011 season preview series.  I finish the previews with a high-level look at the season for the not so intense fan.  Its my lists of the top players, teams, events and storylines of the 2010-2011 season.  Click here to view a list of all the previews and read any you may have missed

12 Players You Should See
  • Lucas Brown (Sr - Roseville)
  • Joe Coleman (Sr - Hopkins)
  • Tyus Jones (Fr - Apple Valley)
  • Shelby Moats (Sr - Waconia)
  • Kyle Noreen  (Sr - Minnesota Transitions)
  • Marvin Singleton (Sr - Hopkins)
  • Jonah Travis (Sr - DeLaSalle)
  • Ross Travis (Sr - Chaska)
  • Estan Tyler (Sr - St. Paul Johnson)
  • Jake White (Sr- Chaska)
  • Johnny Woodard (Jr - Duluth East)
  • Isaiah Zierden (Jr - Benilde-St. Margaret's)
All of the 2011 kids above are Division 1 signees except Noreen who is a division 1 talent.  Woodard and Zierden are 2 of the state's top prospects in 2012.  And any list would be incomplete without Tyus Jones.  Moats isn't in the 11 conferences I officially follow, but I did give the Wright County a look this year and he's a high-major player close enough to the metro so he has to be mentioned.  Another mention has to go to Lakeview Christian's sophomore guard Andres Broman who's 500 points ahead of Kevin Noreen's state scoring record pace.  Like Johnny Woodard, he has a group of games in the metro this season despite being stuck in the Duluth area.

12 Teams You Should See
  • Apple Valley
  • Benilde-St. Margaret's
  • Chaska
  • Cretin-Derham Hall
  • DeLaSalle
  • Eastview
  • Eden Prairie 
  • Hopkins 
  • Lakeville South
  • Osseo
  • St. Paul Johnson
  • Tartan
These are the creme de la creme, best of the best in the metro.  9 conference champions by my picks here which makes them obvious adds.  As to the rest, Eden Prairie gets added because they would win most of the other leagues and because their schedule almost always has them playing a big game.   Lakeville South has a very good core group of Alex Richter, Riley West and Spencer Pankonin returning.  Apple Valley with Jones and Thomas Schalk will make a run in the South Suburban as well.

12 Events You Should See
  • St. Paul Johnson at Lakeville South - Fri Dec 3rd
  • Breakdown Tipoff Classic - Sat Dec 11th at Minnetonka
  • Eden Prairie Holiday Tourney Semifinals-  Tu Dec 28th
  • Granite City Classic Semifinals - Wed Dec 29th at St. Cloud Apollo
  • Best Buy Holiday Tourney Finals - Th Dec 30th at Augsburg
  • Timberwolves Shootout - Sat Jan 8th at Target Center
  • St. Paul Johnson at Eden Prairie - Th Jan 13th
  • East Metro Showcase - Fri/Sat Jan 21/22nd at St. Paul Johnson
  • Border Battle - Sat Jan 29th at St. Cloud Tech
  • DeLaSalle at Benilde-St. Margaret's - Tu Feb 8th (Boys/Girls doubleheader)
  • Super Saturday in St. Cloud - Sat Mar 13th at St. Cloud State
  • Class AAA State Quarterfinals - Wed Mar 23rd at Williams Arena
Johnson opens the season with one of their toughest games of the season at Lakeville South.  That along with the game at Eden Prairie will be one of their few challenges.  The Breakdown Tipoff Classic is the event of the year with talent upon talent.  Eden Prairie's tournament is only 4 teams but loaded with Chaska, Waconia, Benilde-St. Margaret's and the hosts.  The Breakdown makes the list again with the Granite City Classic.  The semis could be Apple Valley vs Duluth E or Rocori and Orono vs St. Cloud Apollo.  All of those teams will be looking at the state tournament as a destination.   The projected Hopkins vs Johnson rematch highlights championship day at Augsburg in what would be the game of the year.

Moving to the new year, Marcus Paige vs Tyus Jones in a duel of high major point guards highlights another down year at the Timberwolves Shootout.  Wisconsin standouts Wally Ellenson and Bronson Koenig are Wisconsin highlights in the East Metro Showcase and Border Battle.  Hopkins represents Minnesota in both events.  DeLaSalle at BSM gets moved to during the week which is a shame, but this boys/girls double dip highlights 2 of the best teams in all of 3A.  March 13th in St. Cloud features not 1, not 2 but 3 pairs of section semifinals.  With teams like Rocori, Apollo, Orono, Rogers, Tech and Buffalo just to name a few, its an outstanding day of basketball in a great building.  Finally, the 3A quarterfinals could feature 5 outstanding teams and 2 of them unfortunately have to matchup in round 1.  Whoever gets left out is not going to be happy and a team you don't want to see in that quarterfinal matchup.

5 stories worth following

Can the champs repeat?
Hopkins, Johnson and Minnesota Transitions all lose a major player (Peterson, Rosenbloom, Noreen) from their championship teams but all of them return multiple significant pieces in their quests to repeat.  Hopkins and Johnson are clear favorites to repeat and don't count out MTS either as they added a couple of valuable pieces and still feature Kyle Noreen and Rodney Owens.

Who's the best team in the state?
In national polls, the vote generally goes to Hopkins but ESPN has given Johnson due recognition.  December 30th will put a definitive stamp on who the best team in the state is.  That will be the team wins the Best Buy Holiday Classic at Augsburg.   The hope is for a Johnson vs Hopkins rematch but if MTS can knock off Hopkins and Johnson to win the title, one has to think they have a legit claim to the throne too.

Who steps up in Class AAAA?
Hopkins is the clear favorite again in 4A, but after that who is there?  Half of last year's 4A bracket suffered heavy losses and that doesn't count Owatonna who wasn't one of the elite teams in 4A.  Is it Eastview with most of their roster back or is their guard play an issue?  Does Tyus Jones lead Apple Valley to another level or is their lack of size too much to overcome?  Does Osseo's addition of Terez Van Pelt put them in the mix?  Does Joel Awich's dramatic improvement give Tartan an inside presence they haven't had in years and put them at another level?  Those are just some of the questions.

Success of the realigned teams
With all of the conference realignment falling into place this season, a couple of teams look to take advantage.  Chaska moves to the Missota where they're one of the favorites.  That beats playing the tough former Lake Conference schedule night in and night out.  But Chaska still has Eden Prairie and Apple Valley on the schedule so they still get a couple of those tough games.  Chanhassen will definitely be happy to see the bottom half of the Missota.  Robbinsdale Armstrong gets away from the huge schools in the former Classic Lake.  They look to make a run in the NW Suburban.  Eden Prairie gets thrown in with Minnetonka and Hopkins and has a ridiculously tough non-conference schedule.  Prior Lake steps up to the South Suburban which could be a rough introduction.  But with the talent coming up, it'll be good experience for them in a couple of years.

The Saga at Minneapolis North
The sad story of the decline of Minneapolis North came to a head with a vote to close the school.  Then it was we aren't going to admit any more freshmen.  What ultimately happens on the north side still is unknown but does any of the off-court discussion translate to on the court.

11 comments:

  1. What are your thoughts on champlin park ?

    I believe they have a realistic shot at a return to state....

    ReplyDelete
  2. My section 5AAAA and NW Suburban previews explain that. If the Rebel JV kids come up and produce, then there's a chance for nice season. But the section is still Osseo's to lose.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What will MCA need to do to dethrone MTS?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Also, how will MCA fare against the 4A schools on its schedule: Jefferson, Eden Prairie, and Henry Sibley?

    ReplyDelete
  5. And will a Tom Dasovich led team finally beat Kenny Novak's Royals?

    ReplyDelete
  6. MCA should have a OK chance against Jefferson and Sibley but size could be an issue. The Eden Prairie game is tough. Dasovich won't beat Hopkins. For MCA to beat MTS they'll have to slow the game down and figure out a way to contain Rodney Owens and Kyle Noreen

    ReplyDelete
  7. Its also worth adding that Transitions will play at Johnson on February 22nd. Johnson also has tough games in Wisconsin on Dec 17 at Milwaukee Hamilton and vs Milwaukee King at the Midwest Players Classic in La Crosse on Jan 15th.

    ReplyDelete
  8. no bryan sprang in your players to watch list?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Joshua, it's always tough to pick a limited number. I can't name everyone but he's definitely worth watching.

    ReplyDelete
  10. why is kyle noreen so overly rated, the kid cherry picks. R. Owens is by far the best player on the team. But I believe mts chances at winning are very slim, because there PG is that kid from Minneapolis Edison. Matt Lanier Is A Big one to watch also.

    ReplyDelete
  11. That kid from Edison is a very improved guard. He will be great this year simply because he is playing with better players. I predict he will have a breakout season this year. And his name is DaRion Patterson.

    ReplyDelete

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