Edison Tommies (2012-13 season 9-18, 3-9 Conference, 6th)
Four of 5 starters return for Edison. Leading scorer Brian Givens and his double figure average (12+) departed. Forward Joe Anderson and center Jonah Togbah return. Anderson gives them a wing scoring option. This roster isn't big and they won't have the athletes like top teams in the league.
North Polars (2012-13 season 6-15, 0-11 Conference, 7th)
Larry McKenzie returns to north Minneapolis after his epic run of titles at archrival Henry and a stop at Holy Angels. The rebuilding program begins with youth as the incoming freshman class is highly touted. Add in returning sophomore Tyler Johnson at a guard spot plus junior center Randy Mathews. Mathews is a unknown mystery man who picked up an offer from Hampton over the summer. Lefty wing Jamil Jackson comes over from Metro Tech. Athletic forward Lee Gaines led the team in scoring last season and will need to be replaced.
Patrick Henry Patriots (2012-13 season 9-14, 6-5 Conference, 4th)
Jeremy Miller takes over the Patriots after they made a complete mess of hiring him the 1st time. This too is a rebuilding project. The contrast of seeing how an AAU guy (Miller) builds the program vs a high school guy (McKenzie) is going to very interesting to watch in North Minneapolis. Star wing Darius Hill and his 19+ a night will be greatly missed along with Jamar Boone. There are pieces to work with. Junior Jacarius Ford can run the point, soph Max Hals gives a body inside. There's Jovahn Jefferson on the wing to provide scoring punch.
Roosevelt Teddies (2012-13 season 12-15, 5-7 Conference, 5th)
The Teddies return 2 significant pieces from last season. Demetrius Durant runs the show and is the leading scorer at 18+ per night. Junior Terry Thomas returns as a scoring threat on the wing. This is another city team without much size.
South Tigers (2012-13 season 15-12, 9-3 Conference, Tied 1st)
South returns their top 2 scorers in versatile sophomore Payton Bowdry and guard Kenley Farrow. Taron Myers and Oscar Campbell should also see rotation time. The Tigers will need to find size.
Southwest Lakers (2012-13 season 15-13, 9-3 Conference, Tied 1st)
A landmark year for the Lakers program Tom Weko has seen the team go from 6 league wins 2 years ago (that matched their previous 3 years combined) to a 9 win title season last year. Their freshmen also won the city title last season so the future isn't bleak. They return 2 double figure scorers in Cam Ross and Akeem Smith. AJ Ray was very productive off the bench and returns. The sparkplug energy that 5'6" Cam Knuckles brought will be missed.
Washburn Millers (2012-13 season 14-11, 9-3 Conference, Tied 1st)
The Millers had plenty of talent returning but arguably had a disappointing season for new coach Jamin Cook. Point guard Nick Anderson and post Noah Scarver are 2 big losses. But the rest of the roster is as talented as any in the league. Leading scorer Evan Shepherd and football star Jeff Jones man the wings. Kevin Gleason will take over the point. Quinton Garvis and JoBreil Powell provide offensive punch. George Clark will claim duties in the middle.
Predicted Order of Finish
Last year the league was turned on its head with traditional power North going winless in the the league and Southwest turning it around to win their 1st city title in 30 years. Their buzzer beater against South to put them in the Twin Cities games was one of the top highlights of last season (read about it here). This season is a year of transition with 2nd year guys at Roosevelt and Washburn and the new guys on the north side. Washburn has the talent to be the favorite. Roosevelt behind the others but ahead of Edison. North and Henry with Southwest will battle for the 2nd spot. I'll take Southwest with the north side teams being young and fairly inexperienced.
Conference MVP: Payton Bowdry - South
Underclassmen to watch:
Payton Bowdry - Minneapolis South
Max Hals, Julian Jackson, Cory Dixon - Minneapolis Henry
Jamil Jackson and freshman class - Minneapolis North
Brennan Hawkins, Osiris Washington - Southwest
Charlie Irmiger - Washburn
Conference Games to Watch
- Southwest at Washburn - Jan 10th
- Washburn at North - Jan 16th
- Washburn at Southwest- Feb 13th
- Southwest at Mounds View - Dec 3rd
- Southwest at East Ridge - Dec 6th
- Washburn vs Minnetonka - Jan 20th (MLK Classic at Henry)