11-12 Section 5AAAA Preview

This is the 16th preview in my 2011-2012 season preview series.  In this preview, a look at section 5AAAA.  For a list of all the season previews, click here.

Defending Champion: Osseo  

Predicted Seeding
  1. Osseo
  2. Maple Grove
  3. Champlin Park
  4. Robbinsdale Cooper
  5. Centennial
  6. Park Center
  7. Irondale
  8. Coon Rapids
Changes for this season include Maple Grove (section 8 champ last year) and Coon Rapids (section 7) replacing Mounds View (off to section 4) and Spring Lake Park (down to 3AAA).  This is a deep section.  You have the top 4 teams from the quality Northwest Suburban including 2 defending section champs who return plenty of talent.  Add in Park Center with star guard Quinton Hooker and Cooper with super soph Rashad Vaughn and there's plenty of talent to go around.  The storyline to follow is how the 3, 4 and 5 seeds fall into place.  Cooper can really help their seed with 2 wins in the 2nd session of the Bethel holiday tournament on Dec 29/30.  Those wins would be against Champlin Park and very likely Centennial.  All 3 of those teams also play a good Spring Lake Park club and have other tough non-conference games.  Cooper ends up with the toughest schedule in the North Suburban as they play all 4 other contenders twice and only 2 of the 6 bottom teams twice.   Not to mention rival Armstrong, DeLaSalle and Hopkins on the non-conference slate.  Centennial has a bit of size and their starting guards are back.  Park Center has Hooker and 2 other athletes returning but in this section I think 6 is the exact slot for them.  Irondale drops off from last year and Coon Rapids continues to rebuild.

Sleeper: Centennial.  Lots of teams who could surprise but who ever the 5 seed ends up being is very dangerous.  Mitchell Kuck when hot can get 30 from deep.  Jared Nelson returns to run the point and they have size.  If its Cooper, Rashad Vaughn could put the team on his back.  Champlin Park would be far more talented than the average 5 seed.   

Section Winner: Osseo.  Too much talent, experience and tradition.  Ian Theisen and Bryan Gichaba inside.  Bridge Tusler is a warrior on the wing.  Michael Brush can knock down shots.  DJ Hebert and Will Johnson from the football are tough.


  1. I see that park center continues to not get any respect. Granted pc will be a young team with no seniors, but three returning sophomore starters from last year provide the leadership the pirates need. They've put in a lot of work over the off season and have spent plenty of time in the gym grooming younger pirates to step up! What they lack in size they make up in knowledge, skill, and pure dedication. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by this young power house team! Can't wait to read the reviews once the pirates take the respect they deserve! Keep an eye on juniors quinton hooker and treyton daniels.

  2. bbmom, Park Center does return a nice group of 3 juniors but there's no way based on last year's results and what the other teams have returning that I can pick them higher. The other 4 teams from the NW Suburban all return as much or more from teams that were better last year. That said, I expect the Pirates to continue to improve.


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