2012-13 Suburban East Preview

Week 3 of my my 2012-2013 season preview series begins with the 11th preview in the series.  In this preview, a look at the Suburban East Conference.  For a list of all the season previews, click here.

Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders (2011-12 season 19-9, 15-3 Conference, Tied 2nd)
CDH loses their standout trio of CJ Neumann, Taylor Montero and Cortez Tillman who were 3 year varsity stars inside and outside.  The sophomore class is absolutely loaded and 4 of them could start.  Donnell Gresham comes over from Tartan as a candidate to run the point.  Versatile Joe Rosga saw time late last season.  Football star Jashon Cornell is a brute who can play inside.  Sam Neumann was the 2nd leading scorer at over 14 points a game as a frosh.  Luke Hamel is a returning banger from last year.  Senior Teddy Chapman is also a point guard option.  Junior Steve Moman saw plenty of time last year as well.

East Ridge Raptors (2011-12 season 9-18, 6-12 Conference, Tied 7th)
The Raptors have to replace also 20 points a night from shooter Justin Pahl.  Nnamdi Nwokolo has to be replaced up front. There's a good core coming back.  Soph Sid Tomes returns to run the point.  The quality juniors also return.  That includes shooter Jake Knupp, forward Brian Ishola and Ryan Mathis.  Senior center Conrad Sexe is the top returning scorer at almost 9 per game.

Forest Lake Rangers (2011-12 season 12-16, 6-12 Conference, Tied 7th)
The Rangers return their top scorer in center Noah Davis at 14.8 PPG.  He's known most for his shooting ability.  Guard Tyler Rosenberger averaged double figures and needs to be replaced.  Forward Anthony Tyler also returns as a forward.  Junior guard Matt Degendorfer averaged 5.6 a game playing all season.

Hastings Raiders (2011-12 season 8-18, 3-15 Conference, 9th)
Over the last 2 years, Hastings has lost 31 of 32 to teams in the league other than Park.  The Raiders lose all 8 players who played more than 10 games last season.   No other player saw action in more than 6 varsity games last season.  Juniors Drew Pottinger and Zach Wiese should  join the rotation this season.  Senior Alex Wiese is the most experience returnee.  They will have to find size.

Mounds View Mustangs (2011-12 season 18-10, 10-8 Conference, Tied 4th)
The Mustangs were the inspirational story of last season.  In hockey lingo, they stood on their heads and sent 45 year coach Ziggy Kauls out on a high note and almost knocked off Roseville (2 pt loss) in the section semis.  Assistant Dave Leiser takes over the program.  He'll have to replace the top 6 scorers.  Junior forward Tim Hanson averaged just under 5 points a game and is the only returning member of the rotation.

Park Wolfpack (2011-12 season 2-25, 0-18 Conference, 10th)
The Pack has lost 58 straight games and 63 of 64 in league play dating back to 2009.  There were no double figure scorers last year.  4 of the main 7 players depart.  Leading scorer Justin Myers will anchor the front line.  Junior guards Sully Brenke and Jordan Pinnix will anchor the backcourt.  If guard Trocon Barclay plays after sitting out last season, that would be a significant boost to the lineup. 

Roseville Raiders (2011-12 season 24-5, 16-2 Conference, 1st)
The Raiders won the league last year and are still loaded.  Wing Emeche Wells gave them a defender and athlete, Collin Johnson was a great glue guy.  Sniper Mack Johnson returns with 16.5 PPG.  Logan Brown and soph Kobe Critchley also return and can handle the ball.  Ben Farmer is a quality point guard who sat out all but 1 game last year due to injury.  Soph Kyler Briggity comes over from Cretin-Derham Hall and saw varsity time late in the year.  He's a lightning quick point guard.  Keep an eye on the chemistry with all those backcourt options.  Jordan Burich had a breakout year last year in the middle, he returns.  Juniors Derek Magnuson and Jake Geyen are other interior options.  Juniors Jacques Parra and Lance Gardner could also see time on the wing.

Stillwater Ponies (2011-12 season 13-14, 10-8 Conference, Tied 4th)
Coach Randy Jordan loses shooter Aaron Nichols and a couple of front court pieces.  Leading scorer Andrew Duxbury returns with almost 14 points per game to lead the frontcourt along with soph forward Matt Anderson who was the 2nd leading scorer last year.  Those 2 will be difficult for league opponents to guard all year.  Junior Nick Ogren also returns up front.  Seniors Austin Holmberg and shooter Sam Lagus return to anchor the backcourt along with Aaron Romportl.

White Bear Lake Bears (2011-12 season 15-13, 9-9 Conference, 6th)
Heavy losses for the Bears.  Top post player Zach Meyer and his outstanding mullet, forward Lucas Allen, wings Nick Weiland and Eric Gebeke and guard Josh Tismer all graduated.  That's 5 of the top 6 scorers.  The perimeter play will still be strong though.  Leading scorer Beau Smit returns as a quality shooter.  Guards Alex Rost and Tanner Hinck will fill in there.  Junior Stevie Hjelmberg should pick up some scoring slack on the wing.  Pat Mulvaney gives them another returning forward.

Woodbury Royals (2011-12 season 24-6, 15-3 Conference, Tied 2nd)
The Royals have to replace 3 of their top 4 scorers in workers Ryan Fritze and Connor McKeen and slasher Ricky Suggs.  Ben Rexroth also needs to be replaced in the middle.  The Royals should be able to accomplish most of that.  Robert Claypool returns to run the point.  Explosive shooting guard Renard Suggs is also back.  Last year's transfers Diallo Powell and Mario Franco also figure into the rotation also with junior shooter Matt Ambriz.  This group is a good group to get out and run with but teams will try to slow them down.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Roseville
  2. Woodbury 
  3. Cretin-Derham Hall
  4. Stillwater
  5. East Ridge 
  6. White Bear Lake  
  7. Forest Lake
  8. Mounds View
  9. Park
  10. Hastings
Conference Overview:
Roseville is the clear favorite with so much returning at all positions.  I'll go out on a limb and pick Park to break their league losing streak and finish in front of Hastings.  Mounds View loses so much they have to fall out of the middle of the pack.  Forest Lake should be about the same.  White Bear Lake has enough coming back to stay ahead of that group. Trying to pick 2-6 was difficult.  Woodbury is explosive enough and CDH is talented enough to stay up there but a year away.  Stillwater can beat any of them but I think they lack the athleticism that the teams ahead of them have.  Since they've finished 4th the last 2 years, I'll pick them 4th this season.  East Ridge lost to the Ponies twice last season by a total of 3 points so I take them 5th.  I still like their young nucleus.  With a point guard and big returning with their wings, they stay ahead of White Bear Lake.

Conference MVP: Renard Suggs - Woodbury

Underclassmen to watch:  
  • Sidney Tomes - East Ridge
  • Kobe Critchley, Kyler Briggity - Roseville
  • Sam Neumann, Joe Rosga, Jashon Cornell, Donnell Gresham, Brian Lankford - Cretin-Derham Hall
  • Matt Anderson - Stillwater
Conference Games to Watch
  • Woodbury at Cretin-Derham Hall - Dec 18th
  • Cretin-Derham Hall at Roseville - Jan 3rd
  • Roseville at Woodbury - Jan 18th
  • Cretin-Derham Hall at Woodbury - Jan 29th
  • Roseville at Cretin-Derham Hall - Feb 8th
  • Woodbury at Roseville - Feb 22nd
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Woodbury vs Buffalo - Dec 8th (Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka)
  • Roseville vs Holy Angels - Dec 8th (Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka)
  • Roseville at Minneapolis Washburn - Dec 11th
  • Edina at Woodbury - Dec 13th
  • Roseville at St. Paul Johnson - Dec 14th
  • Roseville vs West Des Moines Valley (IA) - Jan 5th (Timberwolves Shootout)
  • Eden Prairie at Cretin-Derham Hall - Jan 12th
  • Cretin-Derham Hall at De La Salle - Feb 16th

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