A down year in the league as talent has departed over the last couple of years. CDH has to be the favorite but I wouldn't be shocked to see my next group of 3 challenge them. Stillwater and East Ridge are the next group thanks to what they have coming back (top scorers). I think the bottom 4 all struggle.
Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders (2010-11 season 23-9, 15-3 Conference, Tied 1st)
The Raiders lose top scorer Raijon Kelly to Samford and also graduate post Connor Quicksell. But there's plenty returning. Point guard Cortez Tillman returns along with recent Wofford commit CJ Neumann up front. Glue guy Taylor Montero will return in January after suffering a knee injury this summer. Michael White, Kevin Miley and Luke Hamel will also see minutes up front. Look for Teddy Chapman to see some guard minutes. Keep an eye on their freshman class down the road as it is absolutely loaded. It includes one of the better 2015 prospects in the state, Sam Neumann.
East Ridge Raptors (2010-11 season 14-13, 8-10 Conference, 7th)
The Raptors improved from 6 wins to 14 in year 2 of the program and jumped 2 spots in standings. Leading scorer Justin Pahl is back as a premier shooter. The rest of the rotation is basically gone though including guard John Hietpas who was one of their top players the last 2 seasons. 6'7 lefty junior Conrad Sexe will see time in the middle. Guard Jared Morris figures to have a bigger role along with forward Nhamdi Nwokolo. Don't be shocked if frosh Sid Tomes sees significant point guard time this season as the Raptors build for future years.
Forest Lake Rangers (2010-11 season 17-11, 10-8 Conference, Tied 4th)
The Rangers lose their top 4 of their top 5 scorers including bomber Phil Hegseth and Evan Johnson who combined for 29 a night last season. Guard Tyler Rosenberger is the top returner. 6'6 junior Noah Davis will provide inside play.
Hastings Raiders (2010-11 season 3-23, 2-16 Conference, 9th)
The Raiders return their top player Darius Wilkerson who averaged 11 a night last year. Ellis Williams and Josh Monjeau return at the guard spots. They were able to gain experience last year with plenty of returnees seeing time.
Mounds View Mustangs (2010-11 season 11-16, 9-9 Conference, 6th)
This will be the 45th and final year for legendary coach Ziggy Kauls. With 721 wins to date, he will be hard to replace. 5 of the top 6 scorers are gone including double figure scorers Jordan Van Eps and guard Blake Anderson who combined for 30 points per game. 6'3 Forward Mike Kerfeld is the top returnee at 6 points a night. Kevin Sharpe returns inside along with guard Chris Severson.
Park Wolfpack (2010-11 season 1-26, 0-18 Conference, 10th)
The Wolfpack come into the season with a 40 game conference losing streak. They were by far the lowest scoring team in all of AAAA basketball at 40.9 PPG and now they lose 6 of the top 8 scorers. Austen Kruzeski and Anthony Tola are the top returnees who saw time. Junior transfer Trocon Barclay sat out last year after coming over from Johnson and is expected to contribute.
Roseville Raiders (2010-11 season 22-6, 15-3 Conference, Tied 1st)
The Raiders lose their top 2 scorers in wing Lucas Brown (off to Wofford) and point guard David Stanley. That's 33 a night that needs to be replaced. They also need to replace dirty work forward Connor Harlander who will be missed more than some may think and center Sam Peterson. 1 starter returns and that's athletic forward Emeche Wells who scored 12.7 a night and is a quality defender as well. He sprained a knee in football but should be ready for the season. 6'6" Soph Derek Magnuson is 1 of a very good group of sophomores to watch. He'll see minutes in the middle. Ben Farmer (also coming off injury), Logan Brown, frosh Kobe Critchley and sniper Mackenzie Johnson return at the guard slots
Stillwater Ponies (2010-11 season 15-13, 10-8 Conference, Tied 4th)
The Ponies return their top scorer, junior forward Andrew Duxbury but the next 4 scorers are gone. That includes athletic Paxton Harvieux and forward Jake Malwitz. Junior guards Sam Lagus (shooter) and Austin Holmberg will see guard minutes. Lefty Josh Johnson can step out and shoot it a bit at 6'6. He'll see minutes in the middle. They revamped the system to go 5 out last year, we'll see if they stay with that look this season.
White Bear Lake Bears (2010-11 season 17-9, 14-4 Conference, 3rd)
The world's finest hair resides at WBL with center Zach Meyer's mullet. He's the top returnee at 12.8 PPG. 13.2 PPG from guard Nate Sheldon needs to be replaced along with fellow guards Colton Smit and Vidal Vance. But I think the Bears will be just fine. Josh Tismer returns to run the point. Lucas Allen returns as another up front player and Eric Gebeke returns on the wing. Add in junior shooter Beau Smit and you have a nice group.
Woodbury Royals (2010-11 season 11-17, 7-11 Conference, 8th)
This team wasn't that far away last year with 12 of their 17 losses by 11 points or less. The top 4 scorers all return. That includes wing Ricky Suggs who fits their up and down style perfectly. (13.2 PPG only 5 3s in 150 FGs). Shooter Renard Suggs is back. Great stat note when looking him up. He had 52 3s and only 30 2s last year. I'm going to go out on a limb and say you might want to find him. Conner McKeen and Ryan Fritzke also return as double figure scorers.
Predicted Order of Finish
- Cretin-Derham Hall
- White Bear Lake
- East Ridge
- Forest Lake
- Mounds View
Underclassmen to watch:
- Sidney Tomes - East Ridge
- Kobe Critchley, Jacques Perra, Derek Magnuson - Roseville
- Sam Neumann, Kyler Briggity - Cretin-Derham Hall
- Matt Anderson - Stillwater
- Matt Ambriz- Woodbury
- Cretin-Derham Hall at Woodbury - Dec 16th
- Woodbury at Roseville - Dec 31st
- Roseville at Cretin-Derham Hall - Jan 6th
- White Bear Lake at Woodbury - Jan 10th
- Cretin-Derham Hall at White Bear Lake - Jan 17th
- White Bear Lake at Roseville - Jan 24th
- Woodbury at Cretin-Derham Hall - Jan 31st
- Cretin-Derham Hall at Roseville - Feb 10th
- Woodbury at White Bear Lake - Feb 14th
- White Bear Lake at Cretin-Derham Hall - Feb 21st
- Roseville at Woodbury - Feb 24th
- Roseville at White Bear Lake - Feb 28th
- Roseville vs Rocori- Dec 10th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic)
- Cretin-Derham Hall vs Hopkins - Dec 10th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic)
- Minneapolis Washburn at Roseville - Dec 13th
- Champlin Park at White Bear Lake - Dec 17th
- Cretin-Derham Hall at St. Thomas Academy - Dec 17th
- St. Paul Johnson at Roseville - Dec 20th
- Woodbury at Lakeville North - Dec 22nd
- Roseville at Midwest Players Classic - Jan 14th (La Crosse, WI)
- Cretin-Derham Hall at Eden Prairie - Jan 14th
- Roseville vs St. John's Lutheran (FL) - Jan 21 (East Metro Showcase)
- DeLaSalle at Cretin-Derham Hall - Feb 18th