What to watch for in the 2012-13 Season

The Czar's 2012-2013 Season Preview Series concludes after 5 weeks and 25 previews.  In this final preview let's condense everything for the casual fan.  Its who to see, what to see, when and where to see it.

10 Teams You Should Watch
  1. Apple Valley
  2. Hopkins
  3. De La Salle
  4. Osseo
  5. Edina
  6. Roseville
  7. Park Center
  8. Eden Prairie
  9. Blake
  10. Maranatha
Apple Valley and Hopkins are the top 2 teams in AAAA with a gap after them.  De La Salle is a landslide pick to repeat as champions in AAA.  Defending AAAA champs Osseo can't be discounted either.  They'll get a stiff run in the NW Suburban from a potent Park Center squad.  The Lake continues to be completely loaded with Edina and Eden Prairie expected to push for the top 5 all season.  Blake looks to make this their year and section 6AAA has opened up for them.  Roseville has a ton of pieces coming back as they look to get over the hump and reach state out of section 4AAAA.  Maranatha was upset last year but they're loaded as a top 10 team in class A and a yearly powerhouse in section 4.

10 Players You Should See
  1. Tyus Jones (Apple Valley)
  2. Rashad Vaughn (Cooper)
  3. Reid Travis (De La Salle)
  4. Anders Broman (Lakeview Christian)
  5. Riley Dearring (Minnetonka)
  6. Graham Woodward (Edina)
  7. Reggie Lynch (Edina)
  8. Quinton Hooker (Park Center)
  9. Brock Bertram (Apple Valley)
  10. Amir Coffey (Hopkins)
3 of the top 2014 players in the nation (Jones, Vaughn and Travis) top the list.  Next I'll include Anders Broman since he'll be making a few trips to the metro this year.  He's almost certain to have the state scoring record wrapped up by the end of the calendar year.  That means metro fans won't see the record breaker but they'll still get a treat in having multiple chances to see an outstate star.  A Wisconsin commit, yeah that's a no brainer for this list (Dearring).  The Edina duo of Graham Woodward and Reggie Lynch were 2 of the biggest stockraisers of the summer.  Hooker is a hard-nosed point guard who's a pleasure to watch.  The next big thing in Minnesota ends our list as freshmen stars Brock Bertram and Amir Coffey will see plenty of varsity time and are stars in the making.

10 Events You Should Attend (ordered by date)
  1. Breakdown Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka- Dec 8th
  2. Hopkins at Apple Valley - Dec 18th
  3. Park Center at De La Salle - Jan 3rd
  4. Timberwolves Shootout - Jan 5th
  5. Super 60 Showcase at Heritage- Jan 26th
  6. Border Battle at Prior Lake- Feb 2nd
  7. Park Center at Osseo  - Feb 5th
  8. Maranatha at Heritage - Feb 15th  
  9. Apple Valley at Prior Lake - Feb 26th
  10. Tri-Metro Conference Tournament Championship - Mar 1st
The best event of the year is the Breakdown Tipoff Classic.  This year is no exception and a couple of Wisconsin teams are making the trip across the border to join in the fun.  The regular season's toughest ticket will be Hopkins at Apple Valley in a possible state championship preview.  Expect a jam packed raucous atmosphere for that one.  I love the contrast with the run and gun and quick lineup of Park Center having to go to the island jungle to face the defensive minded Islanders and Reid Travis.  Point guard play of Quinton Hooker vs 2015 star Jarvis Johnson on display there too.  There are few environments better than a full house for a big game on the island.  The Timberwolves shootout features the top 2014 players (Tyus vs Rashad is the showcase) but also features Iowa State recruit Matt Thomas vs Anders Broman along with Iowa commit Peter Jok and top 100 player Clayton Custer from Kansas.  Broman returns to the metro for the Super 60 showcase at the end of the month.  That also features St. Paul Johnson vs Edina in a major contrast of styles.

Then a jam packed last month of the season.  The Border Battle is stacked once again.  Apple Valley vs Madison Memorial is the showcase game but there's lots more than that.  I'll see Appleton West take on De Pere to open my season.  That's a pair of Wisconsin conference favorites who will test their luck here against De La Salle and Hopkins in the Border Battle.  Park Center at Osseo is a matchup that could finalize the NW Suburban championship.  When these 2 district rivals get together the intensity is at a higher level.  Unfortunately the 1st meeting at Park Center is the same night as Hopkins vs Apple Valley.  Then a pair of teams expected to be in the top 10 in class A.  Maranatha returns to the scene of last year's bounce out of the playoffs.  This one could have major implications.  The MCAA North Division title, top seed in the conference tourney and top seed in section 4A could all be on the line.  If Apple Valley gets knocked off in league play it might just be at Prior Lake on Feb 26th.  The Lakers gave Apple Valley all they wanted last year in both games.  The point guard and post matchups are enough to make a fan drool.  The inaugural Tri-Metro title game will likely feature a rematch of 2 of the best in class AAA, De La Salle and Blake.  They also meet at Blake on Feb 12th in a game that will almost certainly determine the regular season champion. 

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