2016-17 Lake Conference Preview

This is the 10th preview in my 2016-2017 season preview series.  In this preview, week 3 rolls on with a look at the Lake Conference.  For a list of all the season previews and how they are done, click here.

Eden Prairie Eagles (2015-16 season 16-14, 2-6 Lake Conference, Tie 4th)
The Eagles lost a bunch of close games early and then 4 out of 5 to end the regular season.  But they rebounded from all those losses to great competition to make a run to state.  They lose a very good perimeter trio of Brady Rudrud, Nick Geolat and Ryan Jacobus.  But they should reload there.  Junior Kyler Kluge and freshman Drake Dobbs should step right into the lineup as replacements.  Owen Chose returns there as well after putting 18 PPG.  Freshman Austin Andrews will fill in on the front line.  He was Maranatha's top scorer last season.

Edina Hornets (2015-16 season 18-11, 3-5 Lake Conference, 3rd)
Senior PG Walt McGrory (17.8 PPG) returns to the lineup for another season. Junior Anders Nelson averaged 13.2 PPG.  Soph Jack Middleton will look to fill in some of the 20 PPG left behind by the graduation of Will Moreton.  Jimmy Connell is another experienced returnee.

Hopkins Royals (2015-16 season 31-1, 7-1 Lake Conference, 1st, AAAA State Champs)
The defending state champs have to replace 3 double figure scorers including Minnesota recruit and Mr. Basketball winner Amir Coffey.  Elon commit Simon Wright and Ball State commit Ishmael El-Amin return to the lineup and combined for more than 26 PPG last year.  Juniors Anthony Davis and Joe Hedstrom will more time.  Freshman Blaise Beauchamp and soph transfer Zeke Nnaji are 2 of the most talented players in their classes.

Minnetonka Skippers (2015-16 season 14-11, 2-6 Lake Conference, Tie 4th)
Ryan Freeberg takes over after a tumultuous season.  He has to start over after losing 4 double figure scorers who combined for well over 60 PPG.  Lefty Burt Hedstrom is the top offensive option.  Matt Haas returns as an interior banger.  Isaiah Carver-Bagley is another returning perimeter option.  Soph Jalen Dearring looks to have an expanded role.

Wayzata Trojans (2015-16 season 21-7, 6-2 Lake Conference, 2nd)
Coach Bryan Schnettler has to replace his top 2 scorers and most of his size.  The biggest loss is the team's leader Johnny Beeninga who averaged 15.4 PPG.  Austin Slater, Parker Hlavacek and Troy Louwagie were the main options inside and all graduated.  But there is still plenty coming back.  Sniper Ryan Lindberg and fellow wing Gavin Baumgartner both were double digit scorers last year.  Alex Jensen is a top returning option inside.  Soph Jacob Beeninga and junior Drew Galinson figure to see time as guards.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Hopkins
  2. Wayzata
  3. Eden Prairie
  4. Edina
  5. Minnetonka
Conference Overview
Hopkins is once again a state title contender and the clear pick here.  Wayzata won't be as deep as last season but they're still going to be very good and a clear 2nd for me.  Eden Prairie and Edina battle for 3rd with their guard play.  Minnetonka will have a down year as they look to build going forward.

Conference MVP: Simon Wright - Hopkins

Underclassmen to watch:  
  • Drake Dobbs, Austin Andrews - Eden Prairie
  • Jack Middleton - Edina
  • Zeke Nnaji, Blaise Beauchamp - Hopkins
  • Jalen Dearring - Minnetonka
  • Jacob Beeninga - Wayzata
Conference Games to Watch
  • Hopkins at Wayzata - Jan 13th
  • Wayzata at Hopkins - Feb 17th
 Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Cedar Falls (IA) at Hopkins - Dec 3rd (Breakdown Girls Tipoff Classic)
  • Rochester John Marshall at Hopkins - Dec 10th (Breakdown Tipoff Classic)
  • Minneapolis North at Hopkins - Dec 17th
  • Wayzata vs North St. Paul - Dec 21 (at Hamline)
  • Wayzata vs Cretin-Derham Hall - Dec 29th (at U of St. Thomas)
  • Bloomington Jefferson at Wayzata - Jan 3rd
  • Cristo Rey at Hopkins - Jan 6th
  • Maple Grove at Hopkins - Jan 14th (Super 60 Showcase)
  • Hopkins at Minneapolis Henry - Jan 16th (MLK Classic)
  • Champlin Park at Hopkins - Jan 26th 
  • Sioux Falls Washington (SD) at Hopkins - Feb 3rd
  • Sioux Falls Lincoln (SD) at Wayzata - Feb 3rd
  • Woodbury at Hopkins - Feb 18th (Breakdown Community Clash)

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