2014-15 Lake Conference Preview

This is the second preview in my 2014-2015 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 (2013-14 season 22-7, 5-3 Lake Conference, Tie 2nd)
The Eagles will have to replace their do everything guy Andre Wallace.  They do return Grantham Gillard who is streaky but can score in big bunches and can hit from 25 feet in.  He was the team leader in scoring last year at over 19 a night.  The question becomes the rest of the offense.  Lefty Blake Cashman returns along with juniors Carter Coughlin, Brady Rudrud and Ryan Jacobus.  Junior Jake Ruppert should contribute as well.  Josh Lanasa will be their traditional inside banger.  The Eagles lose a bunch of guys who provided toughness.

Edina Hornets (2013-14 season 14-12, 2-6 Lake Conference, 4th)
Walt McGrory returns after leading the team in scoring last year as a freshman.  Wing Ben Boone and post Max Lynch also return to the starting lineup.  Lefty wing Will Moreton will see a much bigger role and can fill it up from 3 in a hurry.  Left handed and long make him a tough matchup.  John Swanke will also see plenty of time. A strong freshman class will restock the shelves for the future.

Hopkins Royals (2013-14 season 30-2, 8-0 Lake Conference, 1st, State Runner-Up)
This may be the youngest Hopkins squad in recent memory.  Of the 2 members of the 7 man rotation return.  As a highly regarded junior nationally, Amir Coffey will be expected to take over both on the court and in the leadership role.  Expect him to be a do everything guy for the Royals.  Fellow lefty John Warren also returns and should have a big season as the 2nd option.  Vinny Shahid was the emergency 8th guy last year so I expect him to see time at a guard spot.  After that, plenty of questions.  Chuck Hartman provides size.  Graham Hutson will likely see time as well.  Junior LaMicheal Wade and Ishmael El Amin figure to see time as well.  Juniors Xavier Johnson and Cedric Boone may also compete for spots.  Soph Simon Wright (brother of sharpshooter Jake Wright who graduated) picked up a Providence offer out of nowhere over the summer.  He's a wildcard.  The freshman class is one to watch down the road.

Minnetonka Skippers (2013-14 season 19-9, 5-3 Lake Conference, Tie 2nd)
Minnetonka loses athletic wing and leading scorer Delshon Strickland to Indian Hills CC but that may be a case of addition by subtraction.  The toughness and front court scoring of Careino Gurley will be sorely missed.  There's no clear replacement for his role on the roster.  The Skippers still have a dynamic guard trio of jitterbug Amar Miller at the point and sharpshooters Justin Moes and Seth Coatta on the wings.  Evan Altenburg returns as a banger inside.

Wayzata Trojans (2013-14 season 8-18, 0-8 Lake Conference, 5th)
Wayzata went to the youth movement last year starting 4 sophomores.  Anoka transfer Austin Slater joins that group of juniors after sitting out last year.  He was a varsity player as a freshman.  So that gives new coach Bryan Schnettler plenty to work with.  Schnettler comes over after running the Rosemount program and a brief stint in the off-season at Hill-Murray.  Point guard Johnny Beeninga leads the way after scoring 15.5 PPG last year.  Troy Louwagie and Brendan Broady man the interior.  Slater will be a 3/4 and Ty Gelinske will fill a role on the perimeter.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Hopkins
  2. Minnetonka
  3. Eden Prairie
  4. Edina
  5. Wayzata
Conference Overview
There's great balance throughout the league.  Hopkins will go as far as Amir Coffey takes them but they have lots of youth.  Minnetonka can shoot down anybody on a given night.  I think those are the clear top 2.  Eden Prairie may struggle to score at times but they play tough defense and will be in most games.  Edina should be able to score plenty but they have depth questions.  Great contrast when those 2 play each other.  Wayzata has enough talent and experience to compete with most teams.

Conference MVP: Amir Coffey -  Hopkins

Underclassmen to watch:  
  • Owen Chose, Kyler Kluge - Eden Prairie
  • Walt McGrory, Anders Nelson, Joe Dunn- Edina
  • Anthony Davis, Joe Hedstrom, DeLawrence Aaron, Simon Wright, Ishmael El Amin - Hopkins
Conference Games to Watch
  • Hopkins at Minnetonka - Jan 23rd
  • Minnetonka at Hopkins  - Feb 17th
 Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Champlin Park at Hopkins - Nov 29th (projected Hopkins Tourney Final)
  • Apple Valley at Minnetonka - Nov 29th
  • Iowa City West (IA) at Hopkins - Dec 6th (Breakdown Girls Tip Off)
  • Minnetonka vs Rice Lake (WI) - Dec 6th (Breakdown Girls Tip Off at Hopkins)
  • Hopkins vs Maple Grove - Dec 13th (Breakdown Tip Off at Minnetonka)
  • Eden Prairie vs Stillwater - Dec 13th (Breakdown Tip Off at Minnetonka)
  • Chanhassen at Minnetonka - Dec 13th (Breakdown Tip Off)
  • St. Paul Johnson at Eden Prairie - Dec 16th
  • Hopkins at Waconia - Dec 19th
  • Holy Family at Minnetonka - Jan 3rd
  • Eden Prairie at Chanhassen - Jan 3rd
  • Eden Prairie at Waconia - Jan 6th
  • Hopkins at Cretin-Derham Hall - Jan 6th
  • Eden Prairie at De La Salle - Jan 13th
  • Holy Family vs Hopkins - Jan 19th (Super 60 Showcase at Washburn)
  • Robbinsdale Armstrong at Minnetonka - Feb 3rd
  • Hopkins vs Milwaukee Vincent - Feb 7th (Border Battle at Cretin-Derham Hall)
  • Eden Prairie at Maple Grove - Feb 9th

2 comments:

  1. Hey Czar, Joe Dunn is attending BSM.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I heard that, included him in the Metro West preview as well

    ReplyDelete

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