2014 Season in a Nutshell Preview

The 2014-2015 Season Preview Series concludes with an overview of what and who you need to see and when and where you can find it.

10 Events to Watch
  • Nov 28-29 - Hopkins Early Bird Tournament
  • Nov 29- Anoka-Ramsey Showcase
  • Dec 6 - Breakdown Girls Tipoff Classic at Hopkins (4 premier boys games)
  • Dec 13 - Breakdown Boys Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka 
  • Dec 26-27 - Granite City Classic at St. Cloud Apollo
  • Jan 10 - Timberwolves Shootout at Target Center
  • Jan 19 - Super 60 Showcase at Minneapolis Roosevelt and Minneapolis Washburn
  • Jan 19 - MLK Classic at Minneapolis Patrick Henry
  • Feb 7 - Border Battle at Cretin-Derham Hall
  • Feb 21 - Twin Cities Game at Minneapolis champion
10 Other Nights to Watch
  • Hopkins at Shakopee - Dec 4th
  • St. Paul Academy at St. Croix Lutheran - Dec 9th
  • Augsburg Holiday Tournament Championship - Dec 31st
  • Hopkins at Cretin-Derham Hall - Jan 6th
  • Maranatha at Minneapolis North - Jan 17th
  • Cretin-Derham Hall at St. Paul Johnson - Jan 24th 
  • Cretin-Derham Hall at De La Salle - Feb 14th
  • Section 4A and 4AA Championships - Mar 5th at Macalester
  • Section 3AAAA Championship - Mar 5th at Farmington
  • Section 5AAAA Championship - Mar 6th at Rogers
10 Players to Watch
  • Sacar Anim (Sr) - De La Salle
  • Brock Bertram (Jr) - Apple Valley
  • Amir Coffey (Jr) - Hopkins 
  • JT Gibson (Sr) - Champlin Park  (committed to Nebraska-Omaha)
  • Jarvis Johnson (Sr)- De La Salle (committed to Minnesota)
  • Goanar Mar (Soph)- De La Salle
  • Steffon Mitchell (Jr) - Shakopee
  • Reed Nikko (Jr) - Maple Grove
  • Gary Trent (Soph) - Apple Valley
  • Marshawn Wilson (Sr) - Hill-Murray 
10 Teams Looking to Win It All
  • Apple Valley
  • Breck
  • Champlin Park
  • Cretin-Derham Hall
  • De La Salle
  • Hopkins
  • Maranatha
  • Minneapolis North
  • St. Paul Academy
  • St. Paul Johnson
Season Thoughts
In Class AAAA, its a wide open field.  I think here are 4 teams that stick out as the top contenders for the Gold Ball.  Cretin-Derham Hall with all their stars coming back has to be in that list.  Hopkins with Amir Coffey the best overall prospect in the state and coach Ken Novak can't be ignored.  The development of players like Simon Wright and Ishmael El-Amin will be key.  Champlin Park has a loaded backcourt and quality youth coming back from a very good team last year.  Apple Valley is still loaded with top kids in 3 of the 4 high school years

In Class AAA, De La Salle is again a large favorite to win state and make it 4 in a row.  The rich get richer at De La Salle as they have a couple of incoming freshmen to keep the program moving in future years.  Johnson will try to give them a run behind Jalen Mobley.  But they'll have to get past some very solid teams from the Metro East in section 4AAA to get there.  St. Thomas Academy, Simley and Hill-Murray could all knock the Govs off if they don't come to play.

Let's talk a bit about the games above.  Too many great games in the 10 events to mention but you have to like the non-Minnesota teams in those events.  Henry Ellenson from Rice Lake, 3 top Iowa teams, powerhouse Omaha Central (NE) and Morgan Park out of Chicago make for great viewing.  Champlin Park will likely get to play the other 3 contenders I mentioned in AAAA.  They could get Hopkins on Thanksgiving weekend in a dynamite rematch of last year's 106-103 game.  Then they have Cretin-Derham Hall in the Tip Off Classic and Apple Valley in St. Cloud over Christmas.  Cretin-Derham Hall gets their shot too as they'll have Hopkins at home on Jan 6th and likely play Apple Valley in the 3AAAA final in March.  The Tip Off Classic also has the dynamite Apple Valley vs De La Salle rematch from last year.  Minneapolis North and Maranatha could be 1 and 2 in class A.  They meet in January and will likely meet again in the 4A title game in March.

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