Is a Missota makeover next?

So its no secret that the suburban schools in the Missota have been growing like weeds (Farmington, Shakopee, Prior Lake) and could be outgrowing that league when compared to New Prague, Northfield etc. With that in mind, we get the news from John Millea that Prior Lake now wants out of the Missota and may look to join the potentially orphaned 5 (4 Classic Lake and Eden Prairie). He even mentions that the Bloomington schools may join the Missota instead of the new Dakota County Conference. That's a very interesting twist and to me somewhat baffling.

Combine that with news from Red Wing that the Wingers want out of the Missota too (competitive disadvantage with metro schools) and are looking at a return to the Big 9 (now 10). So put it all together and we could end up with this. Geographically I can buy this except Prior Lake. But Prior Lake comes in over 2000 in enrollment so moving in with the big west metros makes sense.

Dakota County Conference
Lakeville North
Lakeville South
Apple Valley
(7 defectors from the Lake to the new league)

Missota Conference
New Prague
Farmington *** Move to Dakota County Conference would put both leagues at 8 teams, makes lots of sense for scheduling and competitive balance.
Holy Angels
Bloomington Jefferson
Bloomington Kennedy
(Hutchinson, Red Wing and Prior Lake out. Chaska, Chanhassen and the Bloomingtons in.)

(Classic) Lake Conference

Eden Prairie
Prior Lake
(5 left overs from the Lake + Prior Lake)

Lake Conference, your move

So the MSHSL voted unanimously today (with the Lake Conference in attendance and not speaking) to move the remaining Classic Lake conference members to the Lake Conference in 2010-2011. Now the threat of all the current members leaving and sticking Eden Prairie with the newcomers looms large. As I wrote in July, this would could start the mess all over again.

More from John Millea of the Star Tribune on the reaction here.

Chaska star makes Rivals Top 150

Rivals released their post summer 2009 top 100 for the class of 2011. Chaska's Ross Travis makes the list after a big summer with 43 Hoops Carr. He comes in at #133. Rivals analyst Jerry Meyer was impressed with him in Vegas.

Here are others who have appeared locally.

#7 Bradley Beal
#16 Branden Dawson
#20 Quinn Cook
#24 Myck Kabongo - Committed to Texas
#116 Darell Longstreet

Read the entire rankings here.
Read Jerry Meyer's comments on Ross Travis in Vegas here (scroll to the end)

Fall Exposure Events Coming in Sept

Just in case fall leagues weren't enough, the weekend before fall leagues start features a couple of exposure camps where colleges (except D1) can come out and take another look at kids.

The Minnesota Comets Fall Exposure Camp is Sunday Sept 13th at Sauk Rapids High School. Registration fee is $45 early and $60 at the door. The event will be limited to 80 participants.

Hoops 24/7 and Hoops Minnesota have the 2009 Fall Basketball Showcase at 43 Hoops on the weekend of Sept 12th and 13th. Registration is $80.

Links to more details on these events or more fall basketball can be found on my 2009-2010 Fall Leagues page.

Two MN Players in Bob Gibbons Top 175

Bob Gibbons (one of the nation's longest running recruiting analysts) just released his post summer 2009 top 175 (more like 200) for the class of 2010. Jacob Thomas comes in at 143 and Kevin Noreen comes in at 172. Other players who have appeared locally

#2 Harrison Barnes
#13 Joe Jackson
#14 Josh Selby
#34 Tobi Oyedeji
#65 Evan Anderson
#76 Trevor Releford
#93 Alex Kirk
#100 Brandon Spearman
#101 Vander Blue
#103 Cody Larson
#104 Dwight Powell
#120 Ahmad Starks
#124 Anthony Johnson
#150 Zach McCabe
#175 Jesse Berry

Read the entire rankings here also came out with their post summer 2009 top 150 for the class of 2010 today. No Minnesota players in the list. Here's the list of those who have appeared locally and the comparison to where they were ranked at the start of July.

Harrison Barnes #2 (no change)
Josh Selby #4 (up from #7)
Joe Jackson #12 (up from #18)
Vander Blue #22 (up from #31)
Dwight Powell #23 (up from around #50 if I recall correctly)
Tobi Oyedeji #81 (up from #108)
Trevor Releford #97 (up from #150)
Anthony Johnson #99 (down from #88)
Alex Kirk #108 (down from #106)
Brandon Spearman #115 (down from #100)
Brandon Peters #118 (new)
Ahmad Starks #131 (new)

Read the new Rivals rankings here

Summer Hoops Food for Thought

So recently I came across another hoops blog called The Crossover Movement. While the author appears to have a definite lean to player development, the articles below raise some of the issues that we face in the summer (how teams are built, how kids are recruited, is the schedule too much, how are kids developed). Agree or disagree, these articles did provoke some thought.

Links to the articles

Welcome to Czar v3.0

Welcome to the 2009-2010 season. No major changes to the site this year unlike last year. Here's a quick overview of the updates.
  • Most of the links that used to be on the left and right sides have been moved up into the new orange menu bar at the top of the page. I took the opportunity to regroup the summer links and recruiting links into a more logical setup. A link to Eric Musselman's outstanding twitter updates is included under the More Hoops menu.
  • On the MN Player Rankings page, I've added links to the Minnesota Preps rankings of the top players in Minnesota.
  • The Kevin Noreen Scoring tracker has been moved into its own page so that I can list every game. I'll be keeping that up to date with each game and the updated projection of when Kevin will break the record. You can find that under "MN Scoring Record" in the 09-10 season menu.
  • I'm tracking who has open gyms and when this fall so if you're aware of any open gyms that are scheduled, please let me know and I'll get them added to the Fall Basketball page.
  • This season I'll be tracking more than the regular season in The Czar's Season Totals. I'm also going to count the games etc during fall leagues and the AAU season.
  • I've added the Holiday Tournaments page as many teams know their holiday schedule. I'll be keeping that up to date as we approach the new year.
  • I've also added a page to archive previous seasons. All the menu links from my coverage of the 07-08 and 08-09 seasons can be found on that page.

Thomas drops in latest ESPN top 100

The cycle of updated rankings begins. ESPN just released their updated rankings for the class of 2010. Jacob Thomas remains the only MN player in the rankings. In this round he drops from #75 to #89. Other players who've appeared locally include

Harrison Barnes #1
Josh Selby #8
Joe Jackson #21
Vander Blue #34
Dwight Powell #37
Trevor Releford #49
Tobi Oyedeji #80
Alex Kirk #97
Evan Anderson #100

U of M target Cory Joseph comes in at #30

Read the entire top 100 here.

09-10 NFHS Points of Emphasis

Here are this year's national points of emphasis for officials (read the entire document here). Simply put I'm a big fan.

1) Traveling. I especially hate the bunny hop that shooters use to get their feet set and the Robert Parish (CHIEF!) spin move in the post. The first is a blatant travel that rarely got called and the other is physically impossible to do without walking. Those and the 95 foot jump stop are included in the emphasis.

2) Closely guarded. DLS coach Dave Thorsen is going to be a huge fan of this one. Count me in that group too. Remember its exactly 6 feet from the FT line to the top of the key. That's a long way and 6 feet is the rule. Too often it was enforced as just outside arm's length (so 4 ft max).

Also if there's a switch (say on a screen/roll), the count continues as long as a defender is within 6 feet. Almost always, officials stop the count which wasn't the rule. Worth noting too that the official is suppossed to start a visual count and then if the count switches (say holding the ball to dribble), then the count switches arms. That should eliminate any misunderstandings. All in all its good for the game as its frustrating to see point guards or stars just stand out high and beat the ball to death.

3) Block/Charge. Some clarifications. An interesting one though that I don't quite get. On a pass ahead, if you catch and turn and the guy doesn't give you any room, that's a charge. Yes the guy often walks before he charges but sometimes the walk is called as a bailout. That to me is inconsistent with the case where a screener has to give a blind defender a step.

Replay similar to what we've used in Minnesota is now allowed nation wide which I'm a big fan of. The games are played in college or pro arenas with the technology, why not take advantage of it. But I hated the argument that officials are held to an impossible standard on it.

Now if we get the MSHSL to add in emphasis on slapping the backboard, we should be set.

New WI High School Tourney Proposal

This is generated by a Wisconsin proposal, but I throw it out for possible ideas of how to modify the Minnesota state tournament. First some background info you need to know before I mention the proposal.
  • In Wisconsin, 8 teams from Division 1 (MN AAAA) make state and 4 each from the bottom 3 classes make state for a total of 20 teams. There are 118 teams that make up D1, 116 in D2, 127 in D3, 128 in D4.
  • In Division 3 (MN AA), a private school team has won the title the last 6 seasons. Private schools comprise 15% of the Wisconsin membership but in the 9 years that they've been in the WIAA, they've made up 31% of the state tournament qualifiers during that time. That disparity has made many public schools unhappy.
  • In Division 1, the gap between the top and bottom enrollment is about 1400 students and there's concern that the smallest D1 schools can't compete with the biggest D1 schools.
Those are the issues. Now the proposal

1) Take the top division and split it in half so that the schools in the enrollment range of 1000 are competing against schools that are similar size at state. Educated guess is that the top division would be the top 64 teams with larger classes underneath. Whether the 2nd class would also be 64 is open for debate. Not unheard of for the top class to be very small for competitive balance reasons. South Dakota's top class is only 16 teams and North Dakota's is 18 I believe.

2) So based on #1, that means we have 5 classes instead of 4. So we'll keep 20 teams at state, but every division gets 4 teams now. That will actually cut out 1 session during the 1st 2 days of state but add an extra championship game on Saturday. But with 5 games, will they still be able to charge for 2 sessions. If they do, now the WIAA is without an entire session worth of money which could be an issue here. I'd eliminate that brutal 9 AM session on Thursday if it were me.

3) The other major change deals with reclassifying the private schools that would be in the bottom 3 classes.
  • If you are a private school located in a city that has more than 1 public high school, you get bumped up a class.
  • If you are a private located in a city with only 1 public high school AND that public school is in the top 30 in the state in enrollment, you get bumped up a class.
  • BUT a private school is exempted from being bumped up a class IF they are in the bottom 30 in enrollment in their current class.
Got all that? Good. What's the impact? In the current 4 class model, you'd have 9 teams move up to the top class, 13 small schools move up to AA and 16 schools from D3 would move up to AAA. That would include D3 powerhouses Racine St. Catherine's and La Crosse Aquinas (both cities have multiple public high schools so they move up). Big winner? Whitefish Bay Dominican. Dominican is a D3 powerhouse in a lakefront suburb of Milwaukee with only 1 public high school and that public school isn't in the top division so they'd stay if I read these rules correctly. The comparison here in the metro would be De La Salle having to move up to 4A due to multiple public high schools in Minneapolis but Benilde-St. Margaret's and St. Thomas Academy would stay 3A because of only 1 public high school in city limits and that school is not within the top 30 in enrollment. Somehow I think there'd be some uproar over that.

Useless sidenote, Minneapolis North's enrollment is calculated at 370 yet they're playing the 4A tournament. That doesn't add up even with opt up. Minnehaha is bigger (522) and playing AA.

The new proposal will be floated to the WIAA membership this fall.

The 2010 Prospects Poll

Unfortunately it appears that a small set of the readership decided to ruin the poll of the top MN prospect in 2010 so I had to stop the poll early. The votes for Cole Stefan the last 2 days appear to be done just to stuff the ballot box as he was trailing Kevin Noreen by a couple of votes before the vote totals exploded. Before I get ripped, let the record show that I picked Cole last spring as the top prospect.

I was really surprised at the number of Other votes (especially early). If not the set of 6 given, then who got left out of the list? But there is a grain of truth there with those other votes in showing the depth of the 2010 class.

The 3 big man prospects got no love in the poll which was a minor surprise. All 3 of these guys are ahead of where Patrick O'Bryant was and look how he turned out.

Here are the final results of the poll (mostly worthless thanks to the ballot box stuffing)

Alec Brown
8 (3%)
Chad Calcaterra
6 (2%)
Jake Kreuser
11 (5%)
Kevin Noreen
25 (12%)
Cole Stefan
68 (32%)
Jacob Thomas
40 (19%)
49 (23%)