2018-19 TCAC Division 1 and Independents Preview

This is the first preview in the 2018-2019 season preview series.  This year is the 12th annual edition of this preview series.  Over the next 6 weeks, I'll post 28 previews covering the metro area conferences and sections leading up to the start of practice on November 21st .  The previews will be done starting with small schools and working up to the big schools.  That means the Twin Cities Athletic Conference (TCAC) goes first.

This year the TCAC breaks into an 8 team top division and then everybody else.  With that in mind, I'll start with a look at the top division of the TCAC plus the local teams that play an independent schedule.  Then in tomorrow's preview, the rest of the TCAC will be covered.  For a list of all the season previews and how they are done, click here.

Independents

Bethany Academy Eagles (N/A, JV schedule only)
Bethany lost a bunch of kids to New Life Academy last season.  That turned into an overall lack of numbers and youth so they played only a JV schedule.  In a bit of irony, new head coach and AD Nate Schroeder was an assistant at New Life last year.  He was previously a head coach at Math and Science Academy.  This year the Eagles will play an independent schedule (largely TCAC D2 schools) rather than an MCAA schedule.

CHOF Lions (2017-18 season 18-8)
CHOF loses leading scorer Jackson Rohlf but returns most of the rest of the lineup.  McCaleb Alleman is the top returning scorer at 16.2 PPG.  That included a 40 point blowup in a 20 point 2nd half comeback vs Maranatha last December. The rest of the lineup is very balanced with 3 others averaging between 7 and 8 PPG.  Size is a concern.

Kaleidoscope Comets (N/A, new school)
Kaleidoscope is a new charter school located outside of St. Michael.  The Comets will play their 1st year as an independent.  With the flux going on in the TCAC, I wouldn't be shocked to see them join that league or the very logical geographical fit in the MCAA in the near future.  Chris Buerman leads the program after spending recent years as the head girls coach at Maranatha.

Lincoln International Eagles (2017-18 season 3-13)
This south Minneapolis charter school is another candidate to potentially move to the TCAC or MCAA next year. They played in the round-robin section of the MCAA tourney last year due to Bethany's absence.  No roster or stats available for last year's team.

Minnesota Transitions Wolves (2017-18 season 10-6)
The Wolves played a young and inexperienced roster last year.  This year they return everybody.  G Kyriaun Christian and F Michael Emery-Minor are the notable seniors.  Junior Lashone Patterson should also be a factor.  Always nice to see their battle with CHOF back on the schedule. 

St. Paul Prep/High School for Recording Arts Falcons (2017-18 season 10-12, 4-4 TCAC D1, 4th)
HSRA drops out of the TCAC and into the independent ranks.  Expecting a rebuilding kind of year.  They'll play a frenetic style with their athletes.

Venture Academy
No information available

TCAC Division 1

Christian Life Academy Hawks (2017-18 season 17-10, 10-2 Conference, 2nd TCAC D2)
The Hawks move up to the top division at a great time.  They return 4 starters and 5 top reserves with 7 of those players being seniors.  Their leading scorer and rebounder Kyle Ringley will need to be replaced.  But a very balanced lineup should be more than able to fill in.  Junior shooter Jacob Kyllo leads the returners with 12.1 PPG. Look for Kyle Hovey to take over Ringley's double-double numbers on the front line.

Community of Peace Academy Tigers (2017-18 season 5-22, 2-10 Conference, Tie 6th)
Leading scorer Stefan Milton and 11.8 PPG needs to be replaced.  Soph PG Tyrell Green joined the rotation later in the year and was very effective.  The lefty is quick and has range to boot.  I expect a very productive year from him.  The leading returning scorer is GeanCarlos Pujols at 11.6 PPG.  Juan'Yea Young and Matthew Smith also return to the starting lineup.
 

Cristo Rey Jesuit Pumas (2017-18 season 19-7, 8-2 Conference, 3rd)
The Pumas lose only 1 player and will once again feature a top backcourt in the league.  Junior PG James Sommer and soph W Erick Burgess both return to the starting lineup.  They should expand on their combined 31 PPG this season.  Big man John Williams returns in the middle with Victory George also returning on the wing.  The 17 PPG from wing Franklin Doyle will be missed.

Hope Academy Lions (2017-18 season 8-19, 2-8 Conference, 5th)
Hope returns 4 starters from last year's team.  Junior shooting guard Caleb Hoilien leads the way.  He averaged 21 PPG including a 39 point outburst in the TCAC tourney opener.  Only 1 senior graduates.  That's 58 3s and just over 10 PPG from guard Roger Martinez.  They'll once again be very small with Hoilien, a natural SG, having to play center on defense.  They will run and shoot a ton of 3s and be fun to watch.

International School of Minnesota Huskies (2017-18 season 4-16, 2-10 Conference, Tie 6th)
Leading scorer Preston Dahlen returns to the Huskies lineup.  Hunter Rouse also returns to the starting lineup.  Wills Larson gives them length up front.  Depth and scoring punch will be a concern.

Nova Classical Academy Knights (2017-18 season 18-9, 12-0 Conference, 1st TCAC D2)
Nova needs to replace their 2 top scorers and rebounders in forward Noah Olson and do everything guard Isaiah Boudreaux.  That's a loss of 33 points and 16 rebounds a night.  A couple of solid starters do return to the lineup.  Shae Nelson leads the returning scorers with 12.4 PPG.  PG Mathieu LaFrombois also returns and will take on a bigger scoring role.  Behind the 2 returning starters, nobody else averaged more than 2.8 PPG.  Adam Solon will move into the starting lineup and Finnegan Miller should man the front line.

Prairie Seeds Academy Lycans (2017-18 season 19-8, 10-2 Conference, Tie 1st)
The Lycans lose 3 starters including big time scorers Jamar Robinson and Emmanuel Jones.  The cupboard is never bare though.  AiMonti Booth and Peter Anderson return in the backcourt.  Booth is jet quick and does a great job of pushing the pace.  Isaiah Jones returns as athletic forward.  Coach Quincy Caldwell plays a 40 minutes of hell style that really suits his players and is very effective in this league.

Twin Cities Academy/Great River Tigers (2017-18 season 19-8, 10-2 Conference, Tie 1st)
This is the program formerly known as the Charter Stars.  Its the same schools just rebranding the co-op.  Easily my worst prediction of last season, coach Darrell Moffitt turned the program around in a big way with an experienced group of 7 seniors.  Now he'll have to replace guard Brett McNeal and arguably the best big man in the league, Taye Carter.  They were both able to get 20 points a night.  Junior F Akpevwe Avwunuma takes over primary duties inside after starting last year.  Expect freshmen Carmello and Carrington McNeal to man the backcourt.  Junior F D'Allo Smith also returns to the lineup.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Cristo Rey
  2. Prairie Seeds Academy
  3. Christian Life
  4. Hope Academy
  5. Nova Classical
  6. Twin Cities Academy/Great River
  7. Community of Peace
  8. International School  
Conference Overview
Nova Classical and Christian Life move up from the 2nd division.  HSRA/St. Paul Prep drops out of the league and appear to be independent now.  More change is coming to this division next year when Nova and Cristo Rey depart for the new Skyline Conference.  I expect Cristo Rey and Prairie Seeds to battle it out for the top spot.  Cristo Rey with less turnover than Prairie Seeds gets the nod.  Christian Life with all they have coming back has to go 3rd.  The middle should be a real mix up between Hope, Nova and TCA/GR.  Hope gets the nod with their experience and the firepower of Caleb Hoilien.  Community of Peace and ISM will battle to stay out of the cellar with Community of Peace having the edge.

Conference MVP: James Sommer - Cristo Rey


Underclassmen to watch: 
  • Tyrell Green - Community of Peace 
  • Eric Burgess, Derek Burgess - Cristo Rey Jesuit 
  • Sam Erickson, Elijah Wade, Caleb Irving - Hope Academy
  • Carmello McNeal, Carrington McNeal - Charter Stars 
Conference Games to Watch
  • Cristo Rey at Prairie Seeds - Jan 25th
  • Prairie Seeds at Cristo Rey - Feb 19th
  • TCAC Tournament Championships - Mar 2nd
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Breck at Cristo Rey - Dec 4th
  • Maranatha at Cristo Rey - Dec 18th

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