2013-14 Lake Conference Preview

This is the second preview in my 2013-2014 season preview series.  In this preview, a look at the Lake Conference.  For a list of all the season previews and how they are done, click here.

Eden Prairie Eagles (2012-13 season 22-10, 3-5 Lake Conference, 4th)
The Eagles were banged up all season and still made the state semis last year before losing to state champion Apple Valley.  The leadership of Jack Cottrell (Boston College FB) and Grant Shaeffer will be sorely missed.  Star guard Andre Wallace was the top scorer and returns.  Inside outside player Anthony Anderson returns.  Alex Ihrke was a solid shooter for the Eagles last season.  Aaron Workin is the next in line of come up through the program solid bigs.

Edina Hornets (2012-13 season 24-8, 7-1 Lake Conference, 1st)
Last year was a fairy tale season for the Edina program.  But they lose the major pieces from that roster.  All everything point guard Graham Woodward is off to Penn State and shot blocker deluxe Reggie Lynch is off to Illinois State.  They accounted for 40 points a night.  5 of the 7 members of the short rotation are gone.  Junior Ben Boone leads the returners along with freshman reserve Walt McGrory who play a primary role this season.  John Swanke and Max Lynch are 2 players the Hornets will look to for inside depth.

Hopkins Royals (2012-13 season 22-7, 4-4 Lake Conference, 3rd)
22-7 would be a very good season for most teams, but this is powerhouse Hopkins where they had won not just 20 but 30 or more games for 4 straight years and were 149-7 in the previous 5 years.  It was a young roster last season and that youth will make the Royals one of the state's top teams this season.  4 of the top 5 scorers return.  That includes defensive pest Kamali Chambers at the point, one of the state's best shooters in Jake Wright and his 16+ points a night returns on the wing.  Then you have stud sophomore Amir Coffey on the other wing (ranked #5 in the nation by Scout.com) and Stephon Sharp as an athletic front court player.  Guys like Treyvon Edwards, John Warren and former Robbinsdale Armstrong transfer Noble Fahnbulleh will provide plenty of depth. 

Minnetonka Skippers (2011-13 season 21-7, 5-3 Lake Conference, 2nd)
Minnetonka loses all 5 starters from a group that had a tough double OT loss in the section semis to archrival Hopkins.  That includes 19 points a night from Wisconsin recruit Riley Dearring.  But don't feel too sorry for coach Tom Dasovich's Skippers.  There is plenty of firepower at the guard spots with Justin Moes and Luke Petterson and possibly Andrew Grosz.  Soph PG Amar Miller comes over from Metro Tech and may earn time.  They also add Holy Angels star wing Delshon Strickland to that group.   His high level athleticism adds another dimension but keep an eye on the chemistry as you would with any other high profile transfer.  A few guard spots to fill and one 1 ball for a bunch of guys.  Grant Steele and Evan Altenburg are the post bangers.  Careino Gurley is a physical defensive wing that fits perfectly in their style of play.

Wayzata Trojans (2012-13 season 12-14, 1-7 Lake Conference, 5th)
Wayzata is coming off a disappointing season under 500 where they had lots of talent coming back.  Phil Ward retired and top assistant Mike Anderson took the Breck job.  Former Wayzata assistant Nick Tibesar takes over the job after spending a couple of rough years as the head coach at Andover.  A shame that coach Ward goes out the way he did on an awful late game call (read about it here).

The top 4 of the top 5 scorers have graduated including 39 a night from Zach Robertson and Brad Carlson.  I believe Robertson graduated as the school's all time scoring leader.  Kyle Kalivoda returns at a guard spot.  Soph Johnny Beeninga will also see lots of time handling the ball.  Grant Long is another solid guard.  They'll have to find some size.  That may begin with sophomore transfer Austin Slater who saw varsity time last season for Anoka.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Hopkins
  2. Minnetonka
  3. Eden Prairie
  4. Edina
  5. Wayzata
Conference Overview
The league will be tough as always but it won't be like last year.  Wayzata and Edina are down significantly.  Hopkins is my favorite but Minnetonka did win both regular season meetings and had every chance in the section semis.  They'll battle for the top spot with Eden Prairie in the middle.

Conference MVP: Andre Wallace - Eden Prairie

Underclassmen to watch:  
  • Carter Coughlin, Brady Rudrud - Eden Prairie
  • Walt McGrory, Nolan LeVoir - Edina
  • Amir Coffey - Hopkins
  • Seth Coatta, Amar Miller- Minnetonka
  • Austin Slater, Johnny Beeninga, Ty Gelinske - Wayzata
Conference Games to Watch
  • Hopkins at Eden Prairie- Jan 21st
  • Hopkins at Minnetonka - Jan 28th
  • Minnetonka at Eden Prairie - Feb 3rd
  • Minnetonka at Hopkins  - Feb 14th
 Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Champlin Park at Hopkins - Nov 30th (projected Hopkins Tourney Final)
  • Minnetonka at Apple Valley - Nov 30th
  • Lakeville North at Eden Prairie - Dec 5th
  • Apple Valley at Hopkins - Dec 10th
  • Cretin-Derham Hall at Minnetonka - Dec 14th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic)
  • Hopkins vs Lakeville North- Dec 14th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka)
  • Eden Prairie vs Champlin Park - Dec 14th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka)
  • Minnetonka at Holy Family - Jan 4th
  • Hopkins at Osseo - Feb 11th

2 comments:

  1. Thought De was playing at EP this year? EP should finish a head of Tonka IMO. EP adds Gilliard from Marantha.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah they are, Jan 14th it looks like DLS at EP. Should have included that too. EP wouldn't surprise me with a good finish as they get it done year in and year out. Thanks for the reminder on Gillard, I had forgotten he left MCA.

    ReplyDelete

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