2018-19 Lake Conference Preview

This is the 10th preview in my 2018-2019 season preview series.  In this preview, let's stay in the west metro for a look at the Lake Conference.  For a list of all the season previews and how they are done, click here.

Eden Prairie Eagles (2017-18 season 23-9, 4-4 Conference, Tie 2nd)
The Eagles are loaded with their top 4 scorers returning and all are juniors. Austin Andrews leads the way with 18.6 PPG as a crafty forward.  PG Drake Dobbs averaged 18.4 and can light up the scoreboard in a hurry from deep (see his 39 point outburst at Hopkins last last season).  Connor Christensen and John Henry also averaged double figures as sophomores.  They'll miss the defense and leadership of Kyler Kluge and DJ Johnson.  But there's even more depth in the junior class with players like Brenden Donohue and Lukas Dunford.  Transfer Ariel Bland provides a big athletic wing option.

Edina Hornets (2017-18 season 19-10, 3-5 Conference, 4th)
The Hornets have to replace a pair of quality guards in Anders Nelson (20.7 PPG) and defender Luke Glenna (11.2 PPG).  They'll build around knock-down shooter Jack Middleton (13.3 PPG) and fast-rising junior C Jacob Hutson (9 PPG).  Zach Kloos and Charles Haff also return to the rotation.  They both averaged just under 5 PPG off the bench.  Miles Harrell should step into a guard slot.

Hopkins Royals (2017-18 season 26-2, 8-0 Conference, 1st)
The beat goes on for Hopkins as they reload.  They add Minnetonka transfers PG Jalen Dearring and W Andy Stafford who both have previous Hopkins ties.  That will give the Royals the most talented starting 5 in the state.  That's despite losing 3 quality starters including PG Blaise Beauchamp who left for prep school and Wisconsin recruit Joe Hedstrom.  Top 35 nationally ranked F Zeke Nnaji  (19.9 PPG) leads the way along with SG Kerwin Walton who's recruitment has also skyrocketed.  Dane Zimmer is the other factor in that top 5.  The depth will be young and inexperienced.

Minnetonka Skippers (2017-18 season 14-13, 1-7 Conference, 5th)
Minnetonka has to replace 3 of their 4 top scorers.  That includes the 2 transfers to Hopkins.  Forward Cam Steele  (15.9 PPG) is the main piece to build around.  He can physical inside or step away from the paint.  Gavin Patton (7.6 PPG)  provides another scoring option from last year's rotation.  Aaron Syverson should be a top guard option.  Ike Fuecker, Riley O'Connor and AJ Tolliver are also options at the guard spots.

Wayzata Trojans (2017-18 season 18-13, 4-4 Conference, Tie 2nd)
Sharpshooter Drew Galinson graduated with 13.6 PPG.  But the Trojans still have plenty of firepower.  Leading scorer Jacob Beeninga (19.7 PPG) is tough as nails at the point.  Luke Paulson (13.3 PPG) is another one of the many shooters available.  Youngsters Camden Heide and Kody Williams return after solid rotation minutes last year.   They fill the middle with role players like Keaton Heide.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. Hopkins
  2. Eden Prairie
  3. Wayzata
  4. Edina
  5. Minnetonka
Conference Overview
The top of the league is absolutely stacked.  Hopkins starting 5 is ridiculous and their size gives them the nod here.  Eden Prairie's group of juniors is also state title contender worthy.  Don't discount a very good Wayzata team in a deep year in AAAA either.  Edina is a very solid team but not at the same level.  Minnetonka's losses have to put them at the bottom.

Conference MVP: Zeke Nnaji - Hopkins

Underclassmen to watch:  
  • Cole Tiran, Will Foster - Eden Prairie
  • Andre Gray, Jaelen Treml, Elvis Ohagwu - Hopkins
  • Cohen Kellogg - Minnetonka
  • Camden Heide, Kody Williams, Eddie Beeninga - Wayzata
Conference Games to Watch
  • Eden Prairie at Wayzata - Jan 11th
  • Wayzata at Hopkins - Feb 1st
  • Eden Prairie at Hopkins - Feb 8th
  • Wayzata at Eden Prairie - Feb 12th
  • Hopkins at Wayzata - Feb 22nd
  • Hopkins at Eden Prairie - Mar 1st
 Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • Hopkins vs East Ridge- Dec 1st (Big 12 at Cretin-Derham Hall)
  • Wayzata at Cretin-Derham Hall - Dec 1st (Big 12)
  • Eden Prairie vs De La Salle - Dec 1st (Big 12 at Cretin-Derham Hall)
  • Lakeville North at Hopkins - Dec 8th (Tipoff Classic)
  • Eden Prairie vs Park Center - Dec 8th (Tipoff Classic at Hopkins)
  • Wayzata vs De La Salle - Dec 8th (Tipoff Classic at Hopkins)
  • Hopkins at Minnehaha - Dec 11th
  • Wayzata at Champlin Park - Dec 13th
  • East Ridge at Eden Prairie - Dec 18th
  • Wayzata at Chaska - Dec 21st
  • Chaska at Eden Prairie - Dec 27th (Eden Prairie Holiday Tourney)
  • Wayzata vs St Thomas Academy - Dec 27th (UST Holiday Tourney)
  • Hopkins vs Minnehaha - Dec 29th (Projected Augsburg Tournament final)
  • Champlin Park at Hopkins -Jan 3rd
  • Wayzata at Lakeville North - Jan 5th
  • Minnehaha at Eden Prairie - Jan 8th
  • Hopkins vs St. Paul Central - Jan 12th (Super Showcase at Columbia Heights)
  • Wayzata at Park Center - Jan 16th
  • Minneapolis North at Hopkins - Jan 25th
  • Hopkins at De La Salle - Jan 29th
  • Wayzata at East Ridge - Feb 6th
  • Eden Prairie at Cretin-Derham Hall - Feb 14th
  • Minneapolis North at Eden Prairie - Feb 26th

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