Putting together the Shooting Guard rankings for the 2011 class it was pretty simple to pick the top player. Hopkins shooting guard Joe Coleman is the established number one in state and it's as easy as that. But going to the opinions of some of our local experts, the biggest eye-opener was the growing support of St. Paul Johnson's Roosevelt Scott as one of the state's elite. Minnesota Preps certainly agrees.
In doing these rankings Minnesota Preps is checking with local scouts (including Preps contributor Kevin Alsteens), local AAU coaches, and Minnesota high school and college coaches. Their names are withheld in order for the experts to keep a true open mind and again, they did a great job with their opinions on Minnesota shooting guards.
"Number One, Joe Coleman is the most athletic and the strongest wing. Not sure I would call him a guard though. Number two, Bretson McNeal is the most skilled. He could be like Jamar Diggs at the next level. Number Three, Roosevelt Scott. Real athletic, plays hard but needs to improve skill. I think those are the only legit division one players. Division twos include Michael Emge, Jameson Parsons, Jordan Smith, and Dylan Stewart. They are all scholarship guys."
"One is Joe Coleman. Great defender, who rebounds, and gets to the bucket at will. He's stupid explosive and his jumper will only get better. Two is Scott who is the best on ball shooting guard defender in Minnesota. Length and athleticism only matched by Coleman. Scott can also run the one which raises his stock big time. Also has a jumper that has progressed immensely over the last 12 months."
"It's Scott and Coleman, and then everybody else."
"I think Joe Coleman has to be number one on the list. His combination of athleticism and strength gives other guards fits. Watching him at Tonka's open gym, his jumpshot makes him unguardable. I have a 2A and a 2B. Ro Scott is a freak defender. Shoots it okay but gets to the bucket at will. He is the kid you don't want to play against because he will never stop working hard. 2B is Marquel Curtis. His skill level is very high. He is an all purpose guy. He boards, shoots it, defends it, and doesn't mind making the extra pass. Is very strong and has good body control."
"Hands down Joe Coleman and Roosevelt Scott. Coleman is the most explosive slasher in the state and his jumpshot is now respected enough to keep defenses honest. Scott improved as much anyone this summer. His lockdown defense is a nightmare for most opponents."
"McNeal's performance at state and qualifier won me over. Phenomenal both weekends. Scott's length and bounce makes him so tough."
"The best two shooting guards in Minnesota are one Joe Coleman, best skill, IQ, and he's a proven guard at state. Number two, but very close, is Roosevelt Scott. The kid is a freak and nothing rattles him as he continues to develop skill and IQ to match his passion and will to win. He might be a kid we see in a future NBA draft! I would also throw Marquel Curtis in there. This kid is amazing the way he played against top competition last year and over the summer he is definitely a top five."
"Kyle Noreen is 6-foot-5 and versatile. Can bring the ball up, post up, shoot the three, and can defend any wing 1-3 in the state. Roosevelt Scott is the best on ball defender in the state. Some consider him one of the premier defenders in the country. He can handle the rock and he can get his teammates easy looks. He has a killer instinct and can impact a game on both ends of the floor. My votes are for Kyle and Roosevelt even though I consider Coleman the best shooting guard prospect. But Roosevelt is closer than you think. Roosevelt is a top five player in the state. No doubt in my mind. Pump N Run played man 90 percent of the time this past year and Roosevelt guarded and handled some of the best. Coleman is a highlight reel but Roosevelt is a better defender and playmaker. Coleman gets his but Roosevelt gets his and makes everybody better."
"Has to be Coleman and Scott. Coleman just scores on anyone and Scott affects the game in so many ways. Some of these other guys need the ball but Roosevelt does it on both ends"
"The best two are easily Coleman and Scott."
Minnesota Preps Weighs In
What more needs to be said? Preps certainly agrees that Joe Coleman's explosiveness sets him apart from the pack because he's a high major athlete no question. And the thing that stood out the most at the recent Pacesetter Sweet 16 is Joe's strength. Not only can he blow past people and jump over them, but when Joe gets hit it doesn't even bother him. Add in the growth of his jumper and his ability to create space with the dribble to complete that jumper and you have a player three star top 150 player in the nation. Plus he knows how to defend as that's one of the things coach Novak has demanded of his athletic teams the last several years.
Preps agrees that Roosevelt Scott is number two. This long and athletic competitor is just starting to realize his massive potential. Scott has passion for the game that is rarely matched. He will do whatever it takes to win and as many saw this summer, he can single handedly take over a game with his on-ball defensive efforts. Plus his skill level is coming around and to make things even better, Scott has great character. He's definitely a potential high major kid if his skill continues to grow.
In Kyle Noreen, Bretson McNeal, and Marquel Curtis we have three guys with talent and stories all to their own. Curtis is often thought of as a combo forward because he's so strong that his high school and AAU coaches can play him at forward and not have to worry about his guard like size banging with big men. Marquel is also quite skilled and he played like a man all summer.
As a prospect we will include Noreen as a small forward. There's no question that Kyle has skills to be a two but when you look at college coaches, they will want to pair Kyle's size and skill level next to an athlete on the wing and it's much easier to find an athlete with the size of a two than it is to find an athlete with the size for the three. So therefore Noreen will be included in the rankings of the small forward bunch next week.
McNeal's progression this off-season was worthy of headlines. His performances at the state qualifier and state tournament were near the stuff of legend. He was creating space out of nowhere with his dribble drive in the halfcourt set and then draining six threes, then nine threes, back to six threes, and then eight threes in games. Minnesota Preps listed him at 58th in the state after the school year, but he's definitely flying up the rankings with his off-season.
The guys that weren't mentioned by the panel were Zach Lofton and Lucas Brown but both belong in the discussion. Some likely consider Lucas Brown as more of a three which they may be right to believe but at 6-foot-4 we are keeping the Roseville standout with the two guards. Brown's improvement on the glass and defensively have brought him D1 offers as that comes in addition to being an athletic scorer who can get shots off whenever. When Brown improves his dribble attack to create space for those shots the sky may be the limit. Lucas is more of a true wing than a shooting guard though meaning he's likely a better overall prospect than some of the guys who are higher ranked shooting guard prospects. And Lofton is what you call "a pure scorer". Zach stepped up big for Howard Pulley in the spring helping the team to a strong record in the EBYL.
Minnesota also has talent like dead eye shooter Jordan Smith, Jameson Parsons who was injured this summer resulting in some to forget how good his skill level is, and then there is Raijon Kelly and Joe Carpenter. Kelly's smooth game and Carpenter's athletic ability have made them NSIC prospects. Also, Marquealis Edwards likely plays like more of a three man but has the size of a two so he belongs here and Lamonte Hall's summer deserves mention too. He's not that big and the question is does he play the one or two in college but whatever the case the kid can hit and defend. Preps will consider Hall more of a point guard though in terms of rankings.
Senior Shooting Guard Prospect Rankings
1. Joe Coleman, Hopkins
2. Roosevelt Scott, St. Paul Johnson
3. Marquel Curtis, Armstrong
4. Bretson McNeal, DeLaSalle
5. Lucas Brown, Roseville
6. Zach Lofton, Columbia Heights
7. Jameson Parsons, Eagan
8. Jordan Smith, Orono
9. Raijon Kelly, Cretin-Derham Hall
10. Dylan Stewart, Eden Prairie
11. Marquealis Edwards, St. Louis Park
12. Joe Carpenter, STMA
13. Ethan Petrill, Shakopee
14. KJ Bluford, Armstrong
15. Calvin Jenkins, Minneapolis Roosevelt