2016 Preseason Thoughts

Its finally time for the 2016-17 season to get underway with as late of a start as I can remember.  I took the opportunity over the preseason practice period to watch a couple of local jamborees along with a pair of trips in The Old Kingdom to watch real live games.  Here are some of the things that stuck out to me.

I won't go into all of the Wisconsin details but I did manage to see a couple of stars in big performances.  Wisconsin commit Tyler Herro went for 43 on opening night but also had 11 turnovers in a loss to the top Division 4 team in the state.  Cold night from 3 but was still fun to watch.  Then it was 44 points in the nightcap at UW-Milwaukee for Milwaukee Riverside's Terrence Lewis.  Lewis is an Iowa State commit ranked in the Rivals top 150.  Riverside is ranked #1 in Wisconsin's top class.  Woodbury plays them at the Midwest Players Classic in La Crosse in January and then 2 weeks later the Tigers play at Apple Valley in the Border Battle.  Definitely going to miss the Lewis vs Trent matchup.  But don't sleep on the Tre Jones vs Carlos Curtis battle in that game.  Riverside got beat up in a pair of Minnesota matchups last year, we'll see how they fare this year.

As to the local jamborees, I took in the CDH jamboree last week end and the Spring Lake Park jamboree tonight.  Bullet point thoughts on those.

  • De La Salle, Osseo and Mounds View put together some vacuum packed defense but in different fashions.  De La Salle's half court switching took Apple Valley out of their pick and roll game.  Osseo's full court run and jump and scrambling in the half court totally blew up anything St. Francis wanted to do.  Mounds View packed it in and Coon Rapids couldn't throw it in the ocean against that.  If only Forest Lake would have done the same with some 1-3-1 zone I could complete the list of defenses.
  • Apple Valley played without injured Luke Martens in that jamboree.  But even then, the offensive load that Tre Jones is going to have to bear may be bigger than any year that Tyus had to carry them.
  • Brad Davison was back for the 2nd jamboree for Maple Grove.  No shock that he was a huge difference maker.  But the fact that they played small and still seemed to be hugely dependent on Davison was a surprise.  With all of the other guys they have coming back, I thought they'd play better than they did without him.  It reminds me of 2 years ago and last year after Tywhon Pickford got hurt.  High PNR for Brad and get out of the way and nothing else.  We'll see if they can figure out the offensive flow they had early in the year last year.  Forest Lake gave them all they wanted until a late Davison jumper and steal put the game away.
  • It was easy to say on paper that Ryan Larson was a massive addition for CDH.  Seeing it in person definitely showed it was true.  His ballhandling, shooting and ability to really push the pace for an athletic squad makes them an entirely different team.
  • We've already mentioned Coon Rapids rough shooting night vs Mounds View.  However, they got plenty of reasonable looks out of their Swing Offense.  Add in a nice group of athletes and I think things look as good as they ever have for the Cardinals in the Mike Ogorek era.  Don't get me wrong, there's still a ton of work to be done as well.
  • Mounds View loses a ton and just reloads with a bunch of guys no one has heard of.  But they execute, play incredibly hard on defense and don't beat themselves.  Their style is so different and almost refreshing.  Its a win 40-37 type style that you just don't see today.

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