11-12 South Suburban Preview

We begin week 3 of  my 2010-2011 season preview series with the 10th preview.  In this preview, a look at the South Suburban Conference.  For a list of all the season previews, click here.

A down year in the South Suburban but that's a relative term for what is still a very difficult league.  I see 8 teams that can beat you on any given night.  The top 3 stand alone with Apple Valley, Eastview and Lakeville North all making runs in the top 5 this season.  The next group of 5 is very competitive and then Burnsville and Jefferson I think will struggle at the bottom.

Apple Valley Eagles (2010-11 season 19-10, 13-5 Conference, Tied 3rd)
Probably the most important loss in the league is 6'7 forward Tom Schalk who's off to William & Mary (not to be confused with Lois and Clark or Penn and Teller).  But super soph Tyus Jones returns at the point to run the show.  His athleticism has taken a step up in the offseason and now he can be a scoring force in addition to his already superior ability to run a team.  Guards Dustin Fronk (shooter) and Harry Sonie (handler who will shoot) return for what will be a very small lineup.  6'3" Soph Dennis Austin is undersized but very active and figures to see lots of minutes up front.  He'll replace the departed Josh Johnson and Gavin Bronson on the front line.

Bloomington Jefferson Jaguars (2010-11 season 4-21, 2-16 Conference, 10th)
Yes they're slowdown style is enough to cure insomnia and unwatchable but it keeps the Jags competitive.  4 wins by a total of 13 points but 8 very close losses.  They lose leading scorer Marcus Alipate and post Reggie Lynch is now at Edina.  Post Kevin Handt and wing Matt Hovila are also gone.  Ryan Gilmer is the top returnee along with juniors Brian Fritzlar and Kevin Woebke.

Bloomington Kennedy Eagles (2010-11 season 16-12, 10-8 Conference, Tied 5th)
Leading scorer and top post Cullen Russo is off to Quakerdale Prep in Iowa.  Guard DeShun Patterson was an athletic guard.  Both depart as double figure scorers.  But the Eagles will still be loaded with guard firepower.  Point guard Darrian Pittman comes over from Maranatha.  Darrian Johnson and Rico Gunn (9.9 PPG) also return.  Jacob Kohner returns as an interior banger.

Burnsville Blaze (2010-11 season 12-14, 7-11 Conference, 7th)
The top 5 scorers are gone from a defensive minded squad that started well.  Then won a pair of 1 point games before losing 8 in a row.   Adam Lambrecht, Dan Motl and post Chase Roullier return from last year's rotation.  But in this league you need returning stars so I expect the Blaze to struggle against the tough schedule.

Eagan Wildcats (2010-11 season 21-6, 14-4 Conference, 2nd)
Eagan does suffer some heavy losses with forward Matt Hentges and sharpshooter Jameson Parsons gone.  Point guard Ben Sicoli is also gone.  But plenty returns with big guard Nick Sabatke (9.3 PPG) and forward Shea Mandli.  Guards Drew Bauer and AJ Bauer also return.

Eastview Lightning (2010-11 season 22-5, 15-3 Conference, 1st)
A talented group returns led by 6'8 F Joey King (Drake commit) at 17.6 a game.  Most of the offense will run through him.  The next 2 scorers were wings Frank Veldman and Shane McSparron.  They will be missed, especially Veldman who was a stickem defender last season.  The front line is loaded with King, Center Ben Oberfeld who is a double double threat and the return of Sam Burt (injured last season).  Burt is an athletic piece who should fit in nicely.  Point guard Darin Haugh returns to run the show as does shooter Chris Narum.  Bodies were in short supply last year so keep an eye on the depth especially in the backcourt.

Lakeville North Panthers (2010-11 season 12-15, 10-8 Conference, Tied 5th)
Another team like Eastview that was built for this season.  Leading scorer Adam Petterson and point guard Al Erickson are gone but this roster is still stacked.  South Dakota commit Tyler Flack leads the way as an athletic forward.  Brett Rasmussen is the bruiser portion of the duo.  There's also 6'3 Ryan Saarela.  The guards are solid with Trey Heid, Devin Shockley and Grant Erickson.  Shockley is a scoring threat but I'm told he'll sit out the first half of the regular season.

Lakeville South Cougars (2010-11 season 21-9, 13-5 Conference, Tied 3rd)
Down the street, the Cougars lose almost the entire rotation.  The top 4 scorers (Alex Richter, Jon Christensen, Riley West and Spencer Pankonin) are off to the NSIC.  Mitch Liedner will miss basketball to finish school early for football at Minnesota.  Matt Heller is the only returnee and he just missed a football game due to concussion.  But the JV squad last year was very good (pounding St. Paul City champ Johnson 60-34 on opening night).  Ty Powell will take over at the point.  Lefty Nick Sanborn will see minutes up front along with Nick Bachinski.  Roster could surprise, but I see them as a year away.  Think of them the way you may have looked at Lakeville North last year.

Prior Lake Lakers (2010-11 season 6-21, 3-15 Conference, Tied 8th)
Now a look at the finest southern resort town in The Kingdom (Not fair to call it Siberia, you'll read that in the next preview).  The Lakers had already matched their 3 wins from 09-10 by New Years (3-4).  Then point guard Jon Sobaski broke his wrist and South Suburban play started.  That's a bad combination and the Lakers went 3-17 the rest of the way (including last 6 with Sobaski).  A different team this year with 7 footer Carson Shanks eligible after sitting out last year (transfer from Eastview).  2 of the top 3 scorers are gone but you have a nucleus of Sobaski (soph), Shanks and 6'10 Jeff Probert (both juniors) to build on for 2 years.  Add in forward Jack Harrison at 6'5 and you have one of the biggest potential front lines around.  Harrison and Jack Kaiser provide a full year's worth of experience.

Rosemount Irish (2010-11 season 7-21, 3-15 Conference, Tied 8th)
MN-Moorhead commit Matt Nelson leads the way as the only double figure scorer coming back.  Forward Brandon Forcier and guards Charlie Broback and Evan Mitchell also return.  Soph guard Garrett Goetz may take over the point.  Interior scorer of lefty Andrew Nelson will need to be replaced (9 PPG).

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Eastview
  2. Apple Valley
  3. Lakeville North
  4. Bloomington Kennedy
  5. Eagan
  6. Lakeville South
  7. Prior Lake 
  8. Rosemount
  9. Bloomington Jefferson
  10. Burnsville
Conference MVP: Tyus Jones - Apple Valley

Underclassmen to watch:  
  • Tyus Jones, Dennis Austin - Apple Valley
  • Jon Sobaski - Prior Lake
  • JP Macura - Lakeville North
  • GT Johnson - Eagan
  • Tommy Gadtke - Bloomington Jefferson
  • Brett Shepley - Burnsville
  • Garrett Goetz - Rosemount
Games that will determine the conference title
  • Eastview at Lakeville North - Jan 10th
  • Eastview at Apple Valley - Jan 13th 
  • Lakeville North at Apple Valley - Jan 24th
  • Lakeville North at Eastview -  Feb 10th
  • Apple Valley at Eastview- Feb 14th
  • Apple Valley at Lakeville North - Feb 24th
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Eden Prairie at Apple Valley  - Dec 6th
  • Lakeville North at Chanhassen - Dec 9th
  • Lakeville North vs Champlin Park - Dec 10th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka)
  • Prior Lake vs Osseo - Dec 10th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka)
  • Eastview vs Benilde-St. Margaret's- Dec 10th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka)
  • Apple Valley vs Tartan - Dec 10th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka)
  • Lakeville North at Eden Prairie - Dec 20th
  • Eastview at Spring Lake Park - Dec 20th
  • Moorhead at Eastview - Dec 23rd
  • Prior Lake, Rosemount & Apple Valley at Granite City Classic - Dec 28/29 (St. Cloud)
  • Lakeville North holiday tournament - Dec 28/29
  • Apple Valley vs Onalaska, WI - Jan 7th (Timberwolves Shootout)
  • Prior Lake vs Cedar Falls, IA - Jan 7th (Timberwolves Shootout)
  • Eastview at Midwest Players Classic - Jan 14th (La Crosse, WI)


  1. You got Kennedy's record wrong. It was 10-8 in conference and 15-12 overall.

  2. Thanks for that, thought I had updated all of those but overlooked that one. Ironically I had their 5th place finish right. Fixed now (MN-Scores has Kennedy at 16-12 last year)


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