The Breakdown Tip-Off Classic is now two days away and today's preview brings us to the games in the east gym of Minnetonka High School. As you can see each match-up brings a theme like talented bigs going at one another, top teams from a certain classes facing off, an instate versus outstate themed match-up, and more.
11:00 Sibley East vs. Waconia
The wild western frontcourt battle between North Dakota State commit Marshall Bjorklund of Sibley East and Waconia's Shelby Moats highlights this game. Two of the stronger players in Minnesota will collide in one of the top individual battles of the Tip-Off Classic.
Moats is one of the top two or three juniors in the state of Minnesota already drawing a handful of division one scholarship offers including one from Utah. He'll be an inch or two bigger than Bjorklund in height but Marshall has Shelby by a year of physical maturation. The battles on the glass and for position inside will be something to see as long as the refs let them play.
Sibley East must replace four senior contributors including three starters but point guard Ian Berg is back after scoring 11 a game as a junior. Justin Rettmann and Lucas Herd are six foot guards who will play. Returning for Waconia are senior Danny Fischbach, junior Ben Kortuem, junior Bronson Scheff, and Moats plus they have some nice underclassmen.
Recruiting Note: Shelby Moats' latest offer was from Williams & Mary.
12:45 Columbia Heights vs. Staples-Motley
Columbia Heights is a more athletic team with Markus Shaw, Jacob Thomas, and Zach Lofton. And Staples-Motley has had two of their players on varsity since 8th grade, another pair since 9th grade, and the rest of the line-up since 10th grade. They have had a lot of time to gel as a varsity group. Meanwhile, Columbia Heights had two very good players (Drew Hansen from Apple Valley and Lofton from St. Bernards) move within their school district and enroll. These players make them a state contender but they are still new to the squad and chemistry has to form. Hylander coach Will Braziel may be the perfect guy for the job as he will bring them along with precision.
The stars competing are Jordan Riewer (signed with Jamestown College) and Jacob Thomas (signed with Long Beach State). Both are off-guards who can handle in times of need and both are going to be atop their school's record books when they play their last game in March.
Six-foot-3 Derek Wolhowe is also a longtime varsity contributor for coach Lynn Peterson who moved up Wolhowe to varsity as an 8th grader (along with Riewer). At forward Wolhowe is relentless in his quest to produce points for the Cards.
Recruiting Note: Jordan Riewer had a lot of division two interest but he signed with Jamestown College because they had more scholarship money to offer plus they are a growing program.
2:30 DeLaSalle vs Osseo
This will be a good old match-up of athletic ability against an experienced basketball team long gelled together. That's not to say that Staples-Motley doesn't have some good athletes or that Columbia Heights won't become a cohesive unit. In fact both teams have good athletes, good coaches, and play good team ball, that's why this is such a fun match-up.
The overview at point guard sees scorer turned pure point Aaron Anderson of Osseo against the gritty tough Walter Franklin. Another battle should put the athletic Chris McMorris against Islander Jalen Jaspers out on the wing. Then you have tough and athletic juniors facing off when Jonah Travis of DeLaSalle meets multi-sport talented Joey Sonnonfeld who will be one of the top Osseo scorers this year. There is also the athletic ability and length of Oriole Jared Bervin against the strength of Marcus Dorsey inside. If John Rowland goes near the post Dorsey will get after him and if John plays on the wing using his shooting stroke Thorson can use defensive specialist John Hertle. Bretson McNeal will be a big scoring ace for DeLaSalle that Osseo has to locate
Recruiting Note: Jonah Travis has scholarship offers from UW-Milwaukee, UW-Green Bay, Northern Illinois, and Wofford.
4:15 Minnehaha Academy vs. Braham
Braham returns four players from last year's rotation including all conference players Ben Thiry and Tyler Vaughan who received the honors as underclassmen. But depth has to be developed and 6-foot-3 is as about as big as they will go.
That could be a big problem when Braham has to slow down 6-foot-6 bruiser Taylor Hanson. The biggest (on the scale) and baddest Redhawk is not one of these posts who needs the basketball to be spoon fed to him to be affective because he will go get it. Taylor is an active big who should dominate the glass plus he's an outstanding linebacker on the gridiron so you know he moves his feet well.
Coming back in their backcourt is one of the state's best point guards in Parker Hines who is flanked by another strong guard in Austin Brown. These two will have the task of trying to stop the crafty sharp shooting ability of Tyler Vaughan. Much like the Bombers, the Redhawks will also be looking for new players to fill out a lot of the depth of their line-up.
Recruiting Note: Parker Hines is one of the top point guards on the list to watch for some area division two schools in Minnesota.
6:00 Minneapolis Patrick Henry vs. Minnesota Transitions
When thinking of this contest the first thoughts of Twin Cities basketball fans centers around pairs. The pair for Henry would be their dynamite backcourt of seniors Louis Cox and Jordan Hughes while the pair for Minnesota Transitions is the brother combo of senior Kevin Noreen (committed to Boston College and on pace to break the state's scoring record held by Cody Schilling) and junior Kyle Noreen.
Cox and Hughes are quite similar to one another with Jordan being the stronger physique wise. Both can fill it up from beyond the arc and both players can sit down and harass opposing ball-handlers with the best of em. They averaged a combined 37.7 points a game last year and it's possible that both get 20 plus a game this season. But wait, Henry has more. Senior Dennis Joiner averaged double figures as a junior last year from the wing plus Romeal Taylor also saw big minutes. And talented depth is added in sophomores Ben Glover and Latrell Love who will both have very good careers at Patriots. Glover is a high flyer whose explosion will open the eyes of the numerous college coaches at the Tip-Off while Love will be as energetic as anybody around he basket.
For the Wolves Kevin Noreen will be able to get up and down the floor pretty well with the rest of these guards because at 6-foot-10 he has no problem getting his legs moving. I'm not saying he's going to be running stride for stride with Cox and Hughes but Kevin isn't one of these bigs that has to have the game slowed down to contribute at a high level. And his brother Kyle will play a huge part in stopping these guards from flying all over. He's one of the best position defenders in state but will be pushed by the Patriot athletes.
MTS has others to work with as well. The Wolves received three impact transfers who will allow the team to move with Henry. They have a transfer from Kansas City who many consider to be the team's third best player. His name is Rodney Owens and he's capable of big things in his first year in the Twin Cities. And if they are eligible to play right away after their transfers Marnell Davis and Deangelo Potter will help a lot as well.
Recruiting Fact: Kevin Noreen is Minnesota's number one ranked prospect and is the only 2010 Minnesotan to sign with a major conference team this year.
7:45 Champlin Park vs. Cretin-Derham Hall
With Seantrel Henderson banging in the middle, Clay Horne producing with athleticism from the four, Elliot Owusu much improved at small forward, Gus Gehlen stroking from the wing, and Raijon Kelly creating offense in the backcourt this team has the pieces. Especially considering the depth is quality senior players and sophomores with vast potential.
So considering all that can Champlin Park take it to them in week one? You better believe it. The Rebels are deep, agile, skilled, and tough. The biggest problem they will have is dealing with Seantrel and Clay's size. But if you are going to go into a game with a smaller power forward who has to defend bigs Kyle Zimmerman would be a nice guy to take with you. The lefty is as active as they come, he won't quit on any play, and he can take defenders away from the cup to hit shots. Plus he has adequate help in senior D'Andre Williamson and junior T.J. Okafor.
While the Rebels have to stop the Raider frontcourt size the Raiders have to control the Champlin Park guards and wings. Jasper Duberry runs the point and if Kelly isn't quite set to play exclusive point guard (he's a dynamic scoring guard who plays good point as well) he will have quite a challenge in Jasper. Plus the Rebels have a quality shooter in Jordan Reibling plus the energetic Josh Pella. Pella, a wing, led the team in field goal percentage, rebounding, assists, and steals last year and was second in blocks, third in scoring, and started every game.
Recruiting Note: Teams interested in Duberry include Carroll University, Carroll College, Oberlin, and Viterbo.