2013-14 Suburban East Preview

This is the 9th preview in my 2013-2014 season preview series.  In this preview, a look at the Suburban East Conference.  For a list of all the season previews and how they were generated, click here.

Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders (2012-13 season 14-14, 9-9 Conference, 6th)
The Raiders had a very down year by their standards last year but lose only 1 senior from that extremely young squad.  The junior class leads the way with double digit scorers Sam Neumann and Joe Rosga.  Rosga is a great glue guy, Neumann has deep range.  Donnell Gresham will run the point after sitting out last year.  Top football recruit Jashon Cornell provides much needed toughness in the frontcourt.  Soph Brian Lankford-Johnson saw time last year.  This group is very talented but underachieved last year.  Keep an eye on how they mesh this season.

East Ridge Raptors (2012-13 season 18-9, 11-7 Conference, 5th)
East Ridge returns a loaded roster with fast rising Ryan Keenan in the middle, athletic wing Brian Ishola and shooter Jake Knupp.  All are experienced seniors.  Junior point guard Sid Tomes is a 3 year veteran as well.  Center Conrad Sexe gets replaced by Keenan and everybody else from the rotation returns.   Forward Ryan Mathis adds toughness.  Expect the Raptors to contend for top 5 status in the polls this season.

Forest Lake Rangers (2012-13 season 12-17, 6-12 Conference, 8th)
Coach Dan Cremisino will have to replace forward Noah Davis and 20 points per night.  The next 2 scorers are back.  That's guard Matt Degendorfer and lefty forward Connor Knutson.  Soph Noah Alm should step up into a bigger role as well.  Junior Brent Kinder should provide size.
  
Hastings Raiders (2012-13 season 2-24, 1-17 Conference, Tied 9th)
Hastings rebuilding behind their junior class (see also Park).  All 5 starters return and the top 5 scorers are back.  Juniors Sam Skoyen, Craig Nielsen and Joe Dittrich lead the way.  Seniors Zach Wiese and Drew Pottinger provide experience.  Junior forward Jay Sorg gives them size.

Mounds View Mustangs (2012-13 season 12-15, 7-11 Conference, 7th)
Mounds View returns their top 4 scorers and is full of seniors.  Lefty forward Tim Hanson, forward Ryan Kaczynski, Ben Spencer and James Van Eps all return.  They aren't that athletic but they play hard and smart.  A team that you better be prepared to show up against come play off time.

Park Wolfpack (2012-13 season 3-23, 1-17 Conference, Tied 9th)
Park did break a 68 game conference losing streak last season.  Besides a split with Hastings (who beat them by 17 in the other meeting), they were largely overmatched in league play.  The lineup was very young with a large complement of sophomores.  Hopefully that leads to improvement over these next 2 seasons.  No double figure scorers return.

Roseville Raiders (2012-13 season 22-6, 15-3 Conference, Tied 1st)
Roseville will have to replace 5 very productive seniors including their outstanding guard duo of Mack Johnson (Sioux Falls) and Logan Brown along with front court star Jordan Burich.  Those were the 3 double figure scorers.  Plenty of talent remains however.  Junior Kobe Critchley returns to run the point.  Fellow junior Kyler Briggity is now eligible after transferring in from CDH and provides a guard spark.  Jacques Perra and Lance Gardner are very good options on the wings.  Jake Geyen and Derek Magnuson give the Raiders big bodies.

Stillwater Ponies (2012-13 season 22-7, 13-5 Conference, 3rd)
The Ponies have to replace 7 members of their rotation.  The fastest riser of the summer, center Kyle McKinley will take over in the middle.  Junior forward Matt Anderson is the top returning scorer at 8.5 per game.  Juniors Jack Fahey and Connor Gamble should step into the guard spots.  The versatility of forward Andrew Duxbury (last year's leading scorer) will be missed.

White Bear Lake Bears (2012-13 season 17-10, 12-6 Conference, 4th)
White Bear did a nice job reloading last season after big losses.  This year, they'll have the same challenge.  They'll have to replace 4 starters and most of the rotation.  Guard Stevie Hjelmberg transferred to Fridley.  Tanner Hinck is the main returnee at 13 points a night.  Andy Lockwood and Connor Koll should step into guard spots.  Brett Pulczinski provides their 1 option for size.

Woodbury Royals (2012-13 season 25-5, 15-3 Conference, Tied 1st)
Woodbury needs to replace 4 of their top 5 scorers.  That includes explosive guards Renard Suggs and Diallo Powell who provided 32 points a night.   Sniper Matt Ambriz returns with 12+ per game as the only double figure scorer left.  Guard Nick Yan, wing Isaiah Coddon return along with middle men Ben Meyer and Ben Rizzardi.  I look for Coddon to have a breakout year.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. East Ridge
  2. Roseville
  3. Cretin-Derham Hall 
  4. Woodbury 
  5. Stillwater
  6. Mounds View
  7. Forest Lake
  8. White Bear Lake
  9. Hastings
  10. Park
Conference Overview:
East Ridge is deep and talented and has everyone back.  Roseville and CDH are very talented as well.  Flip a coin for those 2.  The next 3 all go together.  Mounds View did struggle the 2nd half of last season.  Stillwater has pieces but lacks experience.  Woodbury's tradition and returnees will keep them in the top half.  White Bear Lake and Forest Lake are a tossup.  Hastings and Park will be better but have lots of work to do to catch the rest.

Conference MVP: Brian Ishola- East Ridge

Underclassmen to watch:  
  • Brian Lankford-Johnson, Chris Perry - Cretin-Derham Hall
  • Adam Bruggers - Stillwater
  • Seth Green - East Ridge (football star)
  • Noah Alm - Forest Lake
  • Henry Benson - Roseville
Conference Games to Watch
  • East Ridge at Roseville - Jan 7th
  • East Ridge at Cretin-Derham Hall - Jan 14th
  • Roseville at Cretin-Derham Hall - Jan 17th
  • Roseville at East Ridge - Feb 11th
  • Cretin-Derham Hall at East Ridge - Feb 18th
  • Cretin-Derham Hall at Roseville - Feb 21st
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • East Ridge vs Shakopee - Nov 30th (at Anoka Ramsey CC Tournament)
  • St. Paul Johnson at Roseville - Dec 6th
  • Cretin-Derham Hall at Minnetonka - Dec 14th (Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka)
  • East Ridge vs Eagan - Dec 27th (at Bethel Tournament)
  • Roseville vs Apple Valley - Dec 27th (at St. Cloud Apollo, Granite City Classic)
  • Roseville vs Champlin Park - Dec 28th (at St. Cloud Apollo, Granite City Classic)
  • Cretin-Derham Hall vs Bettendorf (IA) - Jan 4th (Timberwolves Shootout)
  • Cretin-Derham Hall vs Grand Rapids - Jan 20th (MLK Classic at UMD)
  • Washburn at Roseville - Feb 1st
  • De La Salle at Cretin-Derham Hall  - Feb 8th

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