2016-17 St. Paul City Conference Preview

This is the 6th preview in my 2016-2017 season preview series.  We've looked at suburban schools and private schools.  Now we move to the city schools.  That means Week 2 of the 6 week preview series starts with 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 (2015-16 season 18-8, 10-2 Conference, Tie 1st)
The Minutemen lose their entire starting 5.  That includes 21+ PPG from wing Sam Gubbrud.  Top shooter Jack Beckman and top forward Abdi Muse also graduated.  Those 3 were worth 45 PPG.  Shawn Blanchard and Re'Twan Balenger are the top returnees.  Kelson Valentine looks to see time in the middle.  Ja'Quantay Winston and Erving Stewart will see backcourt minutes.

Como Park Cougars (2015-16 season 11-16, 5-7 Conference, Tie 4th)
The league's scorer Demetrice Mitchell graduated after 23.8 PPG (25.8 in league games).  The Cougars do have 1 double figure scorer returning in Jason Jett (10.1 PPG).  Donald Ventelli will see more inside minutes.  Kyrin Woodward and Cornell Chandler also return to the lineup.

Harding Knights (2015-16 season 8-17, 4-8 Conference, 6th)
Top scorer Essa Adam and Jamarcus Johnson are 2 departed double figure scorers.  Soph Jovan Christian returns after averaging 11 PPG.  Chris English returns to the starting lineup as a forward.  They will have some bench guys returning as well.

Highland Park Scots (2015-16 season 16-12, 8-4 Conference, 3rd)
Coach Jon DePerry has to replace 2 double-figure scoring guards including 19+ per night from Mike Cornelious.  Amitri Collins-Westlund returns with 16.7 PPG.  Returnees Dream Kelly-Jabbar and Josh Aune also saw major rotation minutes last year.

Humboldt Hawks (2015-16 season 8-17, 0-12 Conference, 7th)
The Hawks also have to replace 2 of their double figure scorers.  La'Vonta Bryant returns after averaging 11.1 PPG.  Soph Michael King and guard Patrico Webster also return to the rotation.

Johnson Governors (2015-16 season 15-13, 10-2 Conference, Tie 1st)
The Govs just barely held on to their 13 year reign at the top of the league.  That was the 1st time since the 2007-08 season. that they hadn't won the title outright.  Coach Vern Simmons has to replace most of the rotation.  That includes Lorenzo Smith who would have been the top returnee but is now at Minnehaha.  Dan Foster and Keylan Jackson will be bangers inside.  Xavier Roberts is one of the top returnees.  Their JV team did win the St. Paul City so those pieces will have to step up.

Washington Eagles (2015-16 season 13-13, 5-7 Conference, Tie 4th)
3 of the Eagles 4 double-figure scorers from last season are back.  That includes Curtis Bell and 17.3 PPG.  James Boua-Taylor and Maurice Carter also averaged about 11 PPG last year.  Soph Da'Quan Grimes will take over duties inside.

Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Johnson
  2. Central
  3. Highland Park
  4. Washington
  5. Como Park
  6. Harding  
  7. Humboldt 
Conference Overview:
The league lays out very much the same as last year.  That means its as down as its been in a long time.  Johnson and Central battle it out for the top spot.  My gut says Central but I can't pick against Johnson until beaten despite Central taking them to the limit last year.  Highland Park and Washington split last year and I think they have a good battle for 3rd.  Como Park finishes above Harding and Humboldt who battle for the last spot.

Conference MVP: Amitri Collins-Westlund - Highland Park

Underclassmen to watch: 
  • Daveonte Davis - Central
  • Jovan Christian - Harding
  • Michael King - Humboldt
  • Da'Quan Grimes - Washington
Conference Games to Watch
  • Central at Johnson - Jan 17th
  • Johnson at Central - Feb 9th
  • Twin Cities Game - Mar 4th (at Minneapolis champion)
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Columbia Heights at Central - Dec 2nd
  • Cretin-Derham Hall at Central - Dec 3rd
  • Johnson at Woodbury - Dec 6th
  • Central at Delano - Dec 13th
  • Central at Orono - Dec 17th
  • Johnson at Augsburg Holiday Tournament - Dec 28-30
  • Minnehaha at Central - Feb 16th

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