2018-19 Suburban East Conference Preview

This is the 13th preview in my 2018-2019 season preview series.  In this preview, we reach the mid-point of this 6 week series.  The conference previews end here with a look at the Suburban East Conference.  Next week, we start looking at the metro area sections.  For a list of all the season previews and how they were generated, click here.

Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders (2017-18 season 30-2, 16-0 Conference, 1st)
The defending champions lose most of their lineup.  That includes 3 division 1 stars in Daniel Oturu (Minnesota), Ryan Larson (Wofford) and Sy Chatman (UMass).  They combined for 47 PPG.  SG Jaeden King returns with 14 PPG.  They reload with transfers G Curtis Jones (Minneapolis South), F Karsten Broadley (Fosston) and frosh star PG Trejuan Holloman (Minneapolis North).  Amari Carter, Lucas Ammons, Tristan Lee and Zion Guerra are others looking for rotation time.

East Ridge Raptors (2017-18 season 23-3, 13-3 Conference, 2nd)
The Raptors look to be a state title contender with their top 4 scorers returning. That includes mismatch combo-forward Courtney Brown (21.5 PPG) and F Ben Carlson (18.8 PPG) on a terrific front line.  The backcourt is solid with soph Kendall Brown (11.1 PPG) and senior Zach Zebrowski (8.4 PPG) both returning.  They'll need to replace the toughness of guards TJ Kelly and Joey Arndt.

Forest Lake Rangers (2017-18 season 20-12, 8-8 Conference, Tie 5th)
Forest Lake needs to replace their top 4 scorers and most of the rotation including SG Manny Jingco (17.4 PPG).  Face up 4 man Cooper Berg and Zach Hailey also graduated costing the Rangers their main size.  Guard Hunter Damon (8.6 PPG) and F John Schrader (8.5 PPG) will be the top offensive options.  Dorell Young also returns as a defensive minded guard.
   
Mounds View Mustangs (2017-18 season 5-22, 3-13 Conference, 7th)
After a down year, Mounds does have a couple of pieces to work with as their top 2 scorers return. G Josh Albers was the only double figure scorer at 11.5 PPG.  Expect him to get the ball in set play situations.  P Brendan Kauls more than doubled his scoring average to 8.4 PPG.  Juniors Thomas Gebhardt and Jake Radabaugh should also see significant role increases.

Park Wolfpack (2017-18 season 6-21, 0-16 Conference, 9th)
Things looking up this year for the Pack with 5 of their top 6 scorers coming back.  That includes UMD recruit Charlie Gorres (20.6 PPG) on the front line and guard Domenik Block (17.5 PPG).  Marshaun Campbell provides another option.  Joey Toth provides returning length inside.  Soph guards Norman Smith and Kaiah Brady will benefit from the time they saw last season.

Roseville Raiders (2017-18 season 16-11, 9-7 Conference, 4th)
The Raiders return a very experienced perimeter group.  That includes Jovan Hunter, Camryn Walker, Mario Dukes, Yohanes Gebeyehu, John Briggs and Camryn Walker.  I can see Walker or Dukes having a breakout season.  Spencer Nath will man the inside.  Forward Daevonte Monson's 10.2 PPG will be missed.

Stillwater Ponies (2017-18 season 4-23, 3-13 Conference, Tie 7th)
The Ponies have to replace a large chunk of their rotation.  Leading scorer Evan Parker (12.3 PPG) is the main loss.  PG Nate Shikenjanski (11.6 PPG) is the main piece to build around.  Forward Benjamin Recksiedler (6.6 PPG) is another top offensive option.  Trenton Attwood (5.8 PPG) returns to the front line.  Junior Matt Moore should see an expanded role at a guard spot.

White Bear Lake Bears (2017-18 season 15-12, 8-8 Conference, Tie 5th)
Coach Keith Lockwood has been building towards this season.  He has a quality 1-2 punch in PF Jeremy Beckler (19.4 PPG) and G Sam Schwartz (16.7 PPG).  They are part of the 4 returning starters.  Only major rotation loss is F Blake Charles and 10.8 PPG.

Woodbury Royals (2017-18 season 16-12, 12-4 Conference, 3rd)
Woodbury has to replace all everything forward Michael Jones (25.7 PPG) and almost their entire rotation.  Adam Mazur, McK Robertson and Shaheed Muhammed are options at the guard spots.  Junior Drew Bramlett (3.6 PPG) should be the top scoring threat as he's the top returning scorer.  Parker McMorrow is a front line option for a small and inexperienced lineup.

Predicted Order of Finish
  1. East Ridge   
  2. Cretin-Derham Hall   
  3. Roseville
  4. White Bear Lake  
  5. Forest Lake 
  6. Woodbury
  7. Park
  8. Mounds View
  9. Stillwater
Conference Overview:
Once again CDH and East Ridge should battle it out as 2 of the teams at the top of a very deep class AAAA this season.  Roseville and White Bear Lake have a bunch coming back and should battle in the 2nd tier.  After that a significant dropoff as Forest Lake and Woodbury have entire rotations to replace.  Park could be a sleeper here if Gorres and Block stay healthy.  Mounds View will be better but will have to grind it out every night.  Stillwater continues to rebuild.

Conference MVP: Courtney Brown - East Ridge

Underclassmen to watch:  
  • Trejuan Holloman, Tristan Lee - Cretin-Derham Hall
  • Kendall Brown, Kendall Blue, Zac Thomas, Drew Adams - East Ridge
  • Kaiah Brady, Norman Smith - Park
Conference Games to Watch
  • Cretin-Derham Hall at East Ridge - Dec 14th
  • East Ridge at Cretin-Derham Hall - Jan 29th
Non-Conference Games to Watch
  • East Ridge vs Hopkins - Dec 1st (Big 12 at Cretin-Derham Hall) 
  • Wayzata at Cretin-Derham Hall - Dec 1st (Big 12) 
  • East Ridge vs Prior Lake - Dec 8th (Tipoff Classic at Hopkins) 
  • Rochester John Marshall vs Cretin-Derham Hall - Dec 8th (Tipoff Classic at Hopkins)
  • East Ridge at Eden Prairie - Dec 18th
  • Brookfield Central (WI) at East Ridge - Jan 26th (Border Battle)
  • Wayzata at East Ridge - Feb 6th
  • Eden Prairie at Cretin-Derham Hall - Feb 14th
  • Cretin-Derham Hall at De La Salle - Feb 16th

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