2015-16 Independent Metro Athletic Conference Preview

This is the first preview in my 2015-2016 season preview series.  We start the 6 week preview series with a look at the Independent Metro Athletic Conference (IMAC).  For a list of all the season previews and how they are done, click here.

Blake Bears (2014-15 season 2-25, 2-8 Conference, 5th)
The Bears fell off hard from 22 wins to 2-25 last season.  Both wins were league wins over Mounds Park Academy.   Sophomore sniper point guard Jack Moe returns after leading the team with 14.8 PPG.  Most of the rest of the rotation graduated.  Charlie Levitt graduates after being one of the other offensive threats.  Expect another long season on top of the hill. 

Breck Mustangs (2014-15 season 20-9, 8-2 Conference, Tie 1st)
Former star PG Marcus Hill takes over the reins of his alma mater after 1 year as an assistant.  He has a ton to replace.  Guards Will Culliton and Mo Lawal with forward Henry Cousineau combined for over 51 PPG.  Those 3 plus athletic wing Kwaku Bodom all graduated.  6'8" Senior Justin Bergerson returns in the middle.  Senior Miles Olowu provides front court depth.  Junior Garrett Opperman should have a much expanded role.

Minnehaha Academy Redhawks (2014-15 season 19-9, 8-2 Conference, Tie 1st)
Coach Lance Johnson returns his top 3 scorers.  Sophomore forward JaVonni Bickham averaged almost a double-double with 17.5 PPG and 9.7 RPG per game last year.  8th grader Jalen Suggs saw limited time due to injury but was still the 2nd scorer at 11 per night.  Plenty of guard depth returns with 10.9 PPG from Jake Richardson.  Toughness and defense from Benny Larry along with 7.1 PPG also return.  Reserve bigs behind Bickham are a question mark.

Mounds Park Academy Panthers (2014-15 season 6-19, 0-10 Conference, 6th)
Dan Haase returns to the boys head coach seat after spending 3 years leading the Panthers girls program and a year off.  He previously led the program from 1999-2011.  The Panthers have currently lost 79 straight conference games since Feb 1, 2008.  Everybody returns so that means another year of junior Brendan Connolly (11.8 PPG) and senior Cole Montour (7.4 PPG) leading the way.

Providence Academy Lions (2014-15 season 16-12, 4-6 Conference, 4th)
The top 2 scorers, wing Matt Richelsen and PG Dominic Miller return for the Lions.   Bruising football prospect Gavin Blomberg will anchor the front line.  He'll replace Sebastian Brown up front.  Drew Lahr provides experience up front.  The bench will need to be more productive.

St. Paul Academy Spartans (2014-15 season 19-10, 8-2 Conference, Tie 1st)
The Spartans won the obscure points allowed tiebreaker to win the conference title.  Seniors Dalante Peyton and Kent Hanson return as a potent 1-2 punch averaging almost 34 points a game.  Role playing guards Ryan Peacock, Emerson Egly  and Angel Smaller also return.  They will need to find replacements for the size of Abdul Osman (9 and 6 last year) and Sam Suzuki.  The defensive stopper role of Dean Isaacson took some burden off of Peyton last year, but won't be there this year.  Head coach Kevin McKenzie left to take the Roseville head job.  Macalester assistant Isaiah Walfred takes over the program.  He was previously a head coach at North St. Paul.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Minnehaha
  2. St. Paul Academy
  3. Providence
  4. Breck
  5. Blake
  6. Mounds Park Academy
Conference Overview
The league splits into 3 clear tiers.  Minnehaha and SPA should battle for the conference title.  Providence looks to have the inside track for 3rd with Breck maybe jumping in there.  Blake and Mounds Park Academy are a notch below the 2nd tier and will battle each other to stay out of the cellar.

Conference MVP: Dalante Peyton - St. Paul Academy

Underclassmen to watch:  
  • Jack Moe - Blake
  • Riley Burger- Breck
  • JoVanni Bickham, Jalen Suggs - Minnehaha
  • Nick Flottmeier, Braeden Mischke - Providence 
Conference Games to Watch
  • St. Paul Academy at Minnehaha - Jan 19th
  • Minnehaha at St. Paul Academy - Feb 5th
 Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Minnehaha at St. Croix Lutheran - Dec 1st
  • St. Paul Academy at Cristo Rey - Dec 5th
  • St. Croix Lutheran at St. Paul Academy - Dec 10th
  • Minnehaha in Breakdown Tipoff Classic at Minnetonka - Dec 12th
  • St. Paul Academy vs Minneapolis Henry (at Hamline) - Dec 22nd
  • Minnehaha at Minneapolis North - Jan 16th

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