2013 Timberwolves Shootout Preview

Its once again time for the annual Timberwolves Shootout.  This year is a different schedule with only 4 games but some of the better games we've seen in the event in a few years.  Those games are early thanks to the Timberwolves hosting Portland in the night cap.  Here's my look at what to expect from the 4 games.

9:00 AM Game 1 - #5A Lakeview Christian vs #2 D2 Onalaska (WI)
Onalaska makes a return trip to the shootout after losing at the end to Apple Valley last season.  They are 7-2 with their only losses to #5 D1 Milwaukee Hamilton with national star Kevon Looney and conference rival La Crosse Aquinas with Wisconsin signee Bronson Koenig (see more about that battle here).  Their star Matt Thomas is ranked #58 in the nation by Rivals.com in the class of 2013.  The sweet shooting guard is averaging 27.8 points per game for the Hilltoppers.  But they aren't a 1 man band.  With a supporting cast of players like Clint Rihn, the Hilltoppers are a serious threat to repeat as Division 2 state champions.  

Lakeview Christian features the Broman brothers, Anders and Bjorn.  Anders is 6'2 wing who just set the all time career scoring record in Minnesota.  Bjorn runs the show but can fill it up as well.  He had 10 3s against Blake in the tipoff classic.  The rest of the roster is thin but they will knock down 3s, specifically lefty Josh Plys.  They had 21 bombs in that Blake game.

Expect Onalaska to use the same tactics as they did last year against Tyus Jones, a 1-3 zone with 1 man face guarding Anders Broman.  Gaps in the middle of the zone could be exploited.  Onalaska doesn't have a serious inside threat so that helps Lakeview Christian out.  But Onalaska is too talented and Lakeview Christian is not a good defensive team.  I'll take the Hilltoppers to cruise in this one.

11:00 AM Game 2 - #1AAA De La Salle vs #1 6A Blue Valley Northwest (KS)
De La Salle returns from The Corn Palace after 2 impressive wins against ranked teams from New York and South Dakota.  Junior forward Reid Travis is ranked #41 nationally by Rivals.com (#29 by ESPN) and just picked up an offer from Michigan State to add to his many offers.  The forward is having a huge year putting up over 30 a night for the Islanders.  Point guard Jarvis Johnson also has high major interest.  Shooting guard Luke Scott is one of the top shooters in Minnesota.  Wing Sacar Amin is one of the top sophomores in Minnesota.  So in other words, the Islanders are loaded and a major favorite to repeat as state champs in class AAA.

The Huskies from Blue Valley NW (Overland Park, KS) are currently ranked #1 in Kansas class 6A, the largest schools.  They have a sweet shooting guard in junior Clayton Custer.  He's ranked #97 by Rivals.com and has committed to Iowa State.  Keep an eye on fellow 2014 guards Ben Richardson, Vince Fritz and Kyle Harrison as well.  All 4 played with Nike program Mokan Elite during the summer.  Blue Valley NW is ranked #4 in the current PrepNation.com Midlands region poll and they've already beaten #5 Nixa, MO.  De La Salle is #6 in that same poll.  These 2 teams saw each other play in Des Moines in December.  Blue Valley NW knocked off fellow TWolves Shootout team West Des Moines Valley 55-51 in that event.  I expect this to be the best game of the event.

1:00 PM Game 3 - #3AAAA Roseville vs #8AAAA West Des Moines Valley (IA)
Roseville enters the game 8-0 and just put up 113 points against formerly ranked Moorhead on their home court.  The Raiders are loaded at the guard spots with Mack Johnson, another sweet shooter, Logan Brown, Kobe Critchley and Ben Farmer.   Jordan Burich controls the inside as 1 of 4 players averaging double figures for the Raiders.  Johnson leading the way at 21 a game.  They are as deep as any team in the state with at least 10 guys who give them quality minutes.

Valley comes in to the game with a record of 6-2 with losses to Blue Valley Northwest in Des Moines and Ankeny.  De La Salle beat Ankeny at the event in Des Moines.  Their 6'6 star wing Peter Jok will play at Iowa next season.  He's averaging almost 25 a night as one of the top scorers in Iowa.  He adds almost 8 rebounds a night.  When he played here in the Best Buy Summer Classic after his freshman year he was one of the top 20 players in the country.  Then he injured a knee right after that.  That injury cost him the next 2 seasons.  He finally came back for last July's open period.  Its a fascinating story.  It will be very interesting to see him now after seeing him the 1st week of July right after he came back.  6'5 Senior Clint Boffeli gives them a 13.1 a night.  Both him and Jok are making over 2 3s per game with over 40% from deep.

3:00 PM Game 4 - #2AAAA Apple Valley vs Robbinsdale Cooper.
The local matchup of the 2 best players in the class of 2014 will be the biggest circus we've seen in a while at the shootout. Tyus Jones is #1 overall in the ESPN 2014 rankings while Rashad Vaughn is #10.  Of course the big question is will Tyus play or not.  He aggravated his back in the game against Hopkins on December 18th and hasn't played since.  My info is that its questionable but if I had to guess, I would guess he sits out.  But Apple Valley has proven they can win without him all fall and this season.  They just knocked off #5 Osseo in St. Cloud without Jones playing.  They also came from behind to knock off #4 Hopkins after Jones left that game with only 5 minutes of playing time.  Shooter Dustin Fronk has played very well in Jones absence with over 25 a night in those 4 games.  Freshman center Brock Bertram seeing more time for the Eagles as well as one of the state's top 2016 prospects.  Dennis Austin is a difficult matchup with strength and quickness.  They have shooters in players like Chris Laymon and Robert Tobroxen.

On the Cooper side, Vaughn is one of the most dynamic 1 on 1 players we've seen in the state in a long time.  Lavar McCollough is an athletic wing who may really surprise some people in this event.  He's averaging over 15 a night and was dynamite in the tipoff classic against Minnetonka.  With or without Tyus, this will be a classic example of team over individual.  Vaughn will likely put on a show to keep it close, but Apple Valley is that good.  If Tyus plays it could get ugly as Cooper is not good defensively giving up over 68 a night.

1 comment:

  1. Max Preps ranks De 29th... BVNW on a 3 week layoff ,could be rusty plus other intangibles favor DE, travel, in state game and more familiar with venue. Huge free throw advantage for BVNW vs West Dem. and Nixa not likely vs DE. Agree should be closest game but De should get W here.


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