2012-13 St. Paul City Preview

This is the 10th preview in my 2012-2013 season preview series.  To end week 2 of the series, a look at the St. Paul City Conference.  For a list of all the season previews, click here.

Central Minutemen (2011-12 season 11-15, 7-3 Conference, 2nd)
The Minutemen have plenty of pieces back.  Junior Markus Taylor-Knighten returns for a 3rd varsity season.  He was the leading scorer at 14+ per game.  If he has a breakout season, Central has enough talent to be a threat to Johnson.  Senior Malik Durant-Haines returns as the top post in the league.  He also was a double-digit scorer last year.  Scoring wing Montrell Williams needs to be replaced.  Junior Felix Taylor looks to fill in there after seeing lots of time last season.  The JV squad was loaded last year and undefeated in the league.  Rayeon Williams is one of those who can contribute.  Markyce McAdory is a quality scorer.

Como Park Cougars (2011-12 season 3-20, 2-8 Conference, 5th)
The Cougars lose their leading scorer Andre Schowalter-Perry from a very down season.  The next 5 scorers return for what should be an improved squad.  Wings Keiron Sauer and Mikal Baschnagel lead the way with Wyatt Johnson running the point.  The group as a whole lacks size and athleticism.

Harding Knights (2011-12 season 10-15, 5-5 Conference, 4th)
Can't complain too much about Vern Simmons as coach of the year last year, but Knights head coach Dean Keenan made a great case last year.   Their backcourt of Viseth Kourmarn and David McClain made it go and will be missed.  Their athletic front line loses double figure scorers Earnell Barner and Khiry Moore.  Leading scorer Kenneth Reed returns up front with 14.6 PPG.  Wes Ulmer will fill a spot in the backcourt.

Highland Park Scots (2011-12 season 15-11, 6-4 Conference, 3rd)
The Scots lose 3 of their top 4 scorers including 2 guard Ty'Shaun Williams, Elijah Jackson and forward Nate Anderson.  Point guard Dion Bradley topped the team with 18.8 PPG and returns. Guard Ahmed Musse also returns as a guard option.  Chase Johnson is an option up front.  This group also needs to find size.

Humboldt Hawks (2010-12 season 3-20, 0-10 Conference, 6th)
Khalil Withers and Malique Adams-Virning both return as double-figure scorers.  Dominique Khammarath also returns as a scoring option.  Raheem Thompson will need to be replaced.

Johnson Governors (2011-12 season 22-9, 10-0 Conference, 1st)
The Govs will be deep and loaded as always.  Player of the Year Marcus Marshall is off to Missouri St after averaging 21 points a game.  Quashingm Smith-Pugh had a great summer and is back.  Lanky Wayland Johnson II returns along with Bajuan Adams.  Soph Jalen Mobley will have a bigger role as well. 

Washington Eagles (2011-12 season no varsity program, 5-17 JV)
The school formerly known as Arlington officially returns to varsity play after a 2 year school transition to a technology magnet school.  Good to see that gym back on a full time slate.  Love the history display on the walls.  Senior center Kahnen Gbojeuh averaged a double double last year during the JV schedule.  He'll be the biggest threat.  Senior Al Libby will provide scoring on the wing. 

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Johnson
  2. Central
  3. Highland Park
  4. Harding
  5. Como Park
  6. Humboldt 
  7. Washington
Conference Overview:
Johnson comes into the season on a 54 game conference winning streak.  The league record is 56 held by Central from 1983-1987.  In a case of outstanding scheduling, the Govs will get a chance to tie that record in the perfect place, at Central on Jan 22nd.  The last time a team other than Central beat Johnson in league play?  Valentine's Day 2006 at Highland Park.  Last conference home loss was to Central Jan 28, 2005.  The bottom 3 in the league are was down.  Central is talented once again but they underachieved last year.  Johnson doesn't have the elite D1 talent leading this season, but coach Simmons will still have plenty of resources.  Highland Park and Harding each have their top scorer back.  The bottom the league has 3 teams who will struggle.

Conference MVP: Quashingm Smith-Pugh - Johnson

Underclassmen to watch: 
  • Jalen Mobley - Johnson
Conference Games to Watch
  • Johnson at Central -Jan 22nd
  • Central at Johnson - Feb 14th
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Roseville at Johnson - Dec 14th
  • Eden Prairie at Johnson - Jan 10th
  • East Metro Showcase - Jan 18-19th (at Johnson) 
  • Edina vs St. Paul Johnson - Jan 26th (Super 60 Showcase at Washburn)
  • Twin Cities Game - Mar 2nd (Minneapolis Champion)

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