2014-15 St. Paul City Conference Preview

This is the 9th preview in my 2014-2015 season preview series.  In this preview, a look at the St. Paul City Conference.  For a list of all the season previews and how they are generated, click here.

Central Minutemen (2013-14 season 20-7, 10-2 Conference, 2nd)
High scoring wing Rayeon Williams and 18.8 PPG depart.  Soph Kelson Valentime will likely replace one of the league's top posts, Kalu Abosi (11.4 PPG), inside.  Junior lefty Sam Gubbrud put up over 13 PPG last year and will be a top option this season.  Abdi Muse, Garrett Gardner and Jakobi Jackson will all see expanded roles.

Como Park Cougars (2013-14 season 11-16, 6-6 Conference, 4th)
Leading scorer Demetrice Mitchell was good for 13+ a night and will lead the way this year. 3 double figure scorers and all but 1 other member of the rotation need to be replaced.  There is a bit of help on the way as the JV squad represented St. Paul in the Twin Cities Game.

Harding Knights (2013-14 season 5-20, 3-9 Conference, 5th)
Leading scorer Dalontray Nins was the only double figure scorer for the Knights and he departs.  But the next 4 scorers return to the lineup.  That includes guards Malik Samuel and Donovan Adesoro and forwards Michael Williams Jr and Layvontae Allen Jr.   While there is experience, the talent level will keep them in the lower half.

Highland Park Scots (2013-14 season 11-16, 8-4 Conference, 3rd)
Leading scorer Isaiah Brower and 12.1 PPG depart from a group of 4 of the top 6 scorers.  Small perimeter players Kwashon Collins-Westlund, Emanuel Murphy and D'Anthony McAdory-Beckman return to the rotation.  Collins-Westlund averaged almost 11 PPG.  Once again there's no returning size of note.

Humboldt Hawks (2013-14 season 4-19, 2-10 Conference, 6th)
Demond Dawson returns after leading the league in scoring last year at 19.3 PPG.  He's one of only 2 seniors returning from last year's 16 member all-conference 1st team.  A pair of double figure scorers join him on the perimeter.  Terel Haughton-Lyons and Marion Moore combined for 25 PPG a night.  Its another city roster lacking size.

Johnson Governors (2013-14 season 27-3, 12-0 Conference, 1st)
The balanced Govs lose 3 double figure scorers including interior option Peirre Conwell.  But Johnson ability to reload is why they've shared or outright won the league title for the last 11 seasons (93-2 in last 95 league games).  They haven't lost a conference game at home in almost 10 years (Jan 28, 2005).  PG Jalen Mobley is the most explosive scorer in the league.  He returns with 16.7 PPG.  Lanky Justus Murphy will enforce the law inside.  Eric Elliot is the other double figure scorer coming back.  Andre Smith, Sedrick Clark and Malik Jones all saw plenty of minutes last season.  Expect the usual waves of defense and Mobley to make clutch plays when necessary.

Washington Eagles (2013-14 season 8-16, 1-11 Conference, 7th)
The Eagles jumped out to a 7-1 mark through Christmas thanks to a very soft schedule.  Then the new year and conference play came and Washington lost 13 straight and 15 of 16 to end the season.  Lefty senior Robby Sanders returns after scoring 13.2 PPG.  Sophomore Curtis Bell should reach double figures this season after 8.4 PPG last year.  Leading scorer Da'Vonte Adams and his 13.3 PPG are the biggest loss.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Johnson
  2. Central
  3. Highland Park
  4. Humboldt 
  5. Como Park 
  6. Harding
  7. Washington
Conference Overview:
The more things change the more they stay in the same.  Johnson will reload and be a heavy favorite.  Central and Highland Park logically slot in behind them.  The bottom 4 will be very weak.  Humboldt suffered 2 close losses to Como Park last year (111-104 in one) but they overcome them this year.  Como Park blasted Harding twice so I can't flip them.  Washington and Harding will battle to stay out of the cellar.

Conference MVP: Jalen Mobley - Johnson

Underclassmen to watch: 
  • Kelson Valentine - Central
  • Curtis Bell- Washington
Conference Games to Watch
  • Johnson at Central - Jan 6th
  • Central at Johnson - Jan 30th
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Central at Minneapolis North - Dec 12th
  • Johnson at Eden Prairie - Dec 16th
  • Central at Roseville - Feb 6th
  • Twin Cities Game - Feb 21st (Minneapolis Champion)

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