The Monster Lake Preview

To prepare you for this upcoming basketball season no place will get you more excited and more informed than Minnesota Preps. It's going to be a wide open year in the Lake with Eden Prairie, Chaska, Eastview, Lakeville South, Lakeville North, and Bloomington Jefferson all looking for a shot at the conference championship so Minnesota Preps is the place for the "Monster Preview".
Preseason all-conference team...
Marcus Alipate - Bloomington Jefferson
Vinard Birch- Eastview
Brett Ervin - Eden Prairie
Alex Richter - Lakeville South
Jake White - Chaska
Predicted Order of Finish...
1. Eden Prairie
2. Chaska
3. Lakeville South
4. Eastview
5. Lakeville North
6. Bloomington Jefferson
7. Burnsville
8. Rosemount
9. Bloomington Kennedy
10. Apple Valley
11. Eagan
12. Chanhassen
Top coaching records...
Kurt Virgin of Eagan (448-299)
Doug Boe of Burnsville (406-216)
John Oxton of Lakeville North (351-229)
Jeff Evans of Bloomington Jefferson (230-105)
Mark Gerber of Eastview (136-90)
Top returning scorers...
Alex Richter, Lakeville South (19.0 ppg)
Zach Vraa, Rosemount (18.7 ppg)
Jameson Parsons, Eagan (16.6 ppg)
Devon Knopke, Lakeville North (16.5 ppg)
Vinard Birch, Eastview (14.9 ppg)
Brett Ervin, Eden Prairie (14.9 ppg)
Deron Murphy, Bloomington Kennedy (14.9 ppg)
Marcus Alipate, Bloomington Jefferson (14.2 ppg)
Jake White, Chaska (13.6 ppg)
Thomas Schalk, Apple Valley (11.6 ppg)
Jeff Fallet, Burnsville (10.9 ppg)
Dajon Newell, Lakeville North (10.7 ppg)
Top senior prospect...Brett Ervin of Eden Prairie
Top junior prospect...Ross Travis of Chaska
Top sophomore prospect...Joey King of Eastview
Best individual player battle to see - backcourt...Dajon Newell of Lakeville North vs. Vinard Birch of Eastview
Best individual player battle to see - frontcourt...Brett Ervin of Eden Prairie vs. Jake White of Chaska
The transfer game...Joey King and Eastview take on Eagan and Devon Knopke of Lakeville North face off with Burnsville
Hope he's healthy...Jameson Parsons of Eagan
Don't forget about me!...Jeff Fallet of Burnsville, and Zach Vraa of Rosemount
Top shooter...Jake Wittenborg of Bloomington Jefferson
Rivalry game to see...Lakeville South vs. Lakville North
The best youngsters...Tyus Jones of Apple Valley, yes he's an 8th grader, and Carson Shanks who is a freshman at Eastview
All breakout team...
Cory Booker, Bloomington Kennedy
Joey King, Eastview
Jalen Williams, Bloomington Jefferson
Jack Klukas, Eden Prairie
Max Watts, Chaska
Ross Travis, Chaska
Spencer Pankonin, Lakeville South
Jeff Fallat, Burnsville
Quoteables and Top players...
Apple Valley (16-13, 10-10)
Coach Zach Goring on Tyus Jones:
"Tyus is going to be a special player at Apple Valley. He is in the 8th grade and will be playing varsity basketball this year. The thing that stands out about Tyus is the way he understands the game. Also, for an 8th grader he is a big kid. He's a 6-foot-0 point guard who is really going to be fun to watch. He also plays really well with Tom Schalk. He has been playing with our varsity all summer and fall and has really blended in well. It should be a fun few years with him."
Five to watch on the Eagles:
Gavin Bronson, junior forward
Josh Freeze, senior guard
Tyus Jones, middle school point guard
Thomas Schalk, junior forward
Ryan Woods, senior center
Biggest Loss: David Bauer
Bloomington Jefferson (20-7, 14-6)
Ryan James on the returning Jaguars:
"Last year in preparation for the state tournament I watched a couple game films of Marcus Alipate and was completely impressed with his ability to score in the Lake Conference. He had creative ability and a shooting stroke that I did not expect to see as a sophomore. Then at state the Jaguars were an extremely tough bunch of kids which allowed them to make the state semis. Add in Wittenborg on the wing, Jalen Williams slashing for scores, watch out for Hovila, this group is going to be good again. And while small they will be tough."
Five to watch on the Jags:
Marcus Apilate, junior point guard
Matt Hovila, junior guard
Ian Ward, senior guard
Jack Wittenborg senior shooting guard
Jalen Williams, senior small forward
Biggest Loss: Moses Alipate
Bloomington Kennedy (3-24, 2-18)
Ryan James on the Eagles:
"I fully expect that this team will bounce back to have a better year. Cory Booker is will be one of the toughest posts in the Lake and if coach Jared Nuness can get a full season out of Deron Murphy than this team will win some games that will shake up the league. Murphy is as explosive a scorer as any one player in the Lake but he has to consistently be in the line-up for Kennedy to make a big impact. And watch out for Ryan Vikesland who could have a real strong year giving the Eagles a good third option."
Five to watch on the Eagles:
Cory Booker, senior post
Tim Brown, senior guard
Deron Murphy, senior scoring guard
Deonte Peppers, senior guard
Ryan Vikesland, senior forward
Biggest Loss: Josh Nance
Burnsville (17-10, 11-9)
Ryan James on Jeff Fallat:
"If there was ever a guy who fits into the Blazing fun and gun style of it Fallat because he can stroke from all over. And if Jeff gets hot points can come in bunches. He's listed as a breakout player because he's going to be a name amongst the scoring leaders that could catch people off guard."
Five to watch on the Blaze:
Jeff Fallet, senior wing
Jack Ghizone, senior forward
Ryan Grove, senior guard
Garrett Walters, senior guard
Robbie Woodard, senior center
Biggest Loss: Patrick Rogers
Chanhassen Storm (0-0, 0-0)
Brand new school with a quality guy in Nate Pelowski running the show.
Chaska (18-10, 12-8)
Ross Travis on the Hawks:
"We are really excited about what we have coming back," Ross said. "With Goetz, Martinson, Derek Jerde, and all of them gone we have a lot to replace but I think we will be okay this year. We have myself, Jake White, and Anthony Webber coming back all at the same height up front and we can all move around a little bit. Adam Happ and Nate Auer can fill in for the shooters along with Jacob Meyer so we should be pretty tough this year."
Five to watch on the Hawks:
Jacob Meyer, senior wing
Ross Travis, junior forward
Max Watts, junior guard
Anthony Webber, senior center
JakeWhite, junior forward
Biggest Loss: Tyler Goetz
Eagan Wildcats (7-20, 4-16)
Ryan James on Eagan:
"The Wildcats lose three senior scorers as well as a player in Joey King who could have given them a bright future. But, Eagan also used three sophomores in their line-up last season who are now upperclassmen ready to lead the program."
Five to watch on the Eagles:
Tom Bloomquist, senior forward
Adam Carl, senior forward
Matt Hentges, junior forward
Jameson Parsons, junior guard
Ben Sicoli, junior guard
Biggest Loss: Charley Baker
Eastview Lightning (17-11, 11-9)
Coach Merk Gerber keeps it simple:
"Competing against the tough Lake Conference opponents is an honor each night. We look to peak again at the end of the season and challenge for the section championship."
Five to watch on the Lightning:
Vinard Birch, senior guard
Joey King, sophomore forward
Karl Otto, senior shooting guard
Carson Shanks, freshman center
Frank Veldman, junior forward
Biggest Loss: Drew Bjordal
Eden Prairie (22-7, 16-4)
Brett Ervin on the Eagles:
"This year is looking very good for EP. We have a lot of kids committed to basketball, so those kids are in the weight room or in the gym all the time. With some of us playing football, it helps our basketball team because it makes us a lot more powerful and stronger then most teams. We are just looking for another conference title and maybe a trip to state!"
Five to watch on the Eagles:
Brett Ervin, senior post
Brendan Gay, senior guard
Taylor Grant, senior post
Mitch Hallstrom, senior forward
Jack Klukas, junior wing
Biggest Loss: Ethan Wragge
Lakeville North (20-7, 14-6)
Ryan James on the Panthers:
"The backcourt combo of Dajon Newell and Devon Knopke will be one of the best in the state. Expect to hear a lot of Newell pushing to Knopke for full court buckets. As long as the chemistry is there this duo should light up the Lake."
Five to watch on the Panthers:
Al Erickson, junior guard
Erik Hanson, senior forward
Chase Heichel, senior wing
Devon Knopke, senior wing
Dajon Newell, senior point guard
Biggest Loss: Tyler Swanson
Lakeville South Cougars (12-15, 8-12)
Ryan James on the Cougars:
"Lakeville South should be a much better team than last year's 12-15 record showed. With experience and scoring at a number of positions, led by 6-5 junior forward Alex Richter, the Cougars might be a top contender. And don't sleep on the depth of South's backcourt of senior J.D. Melhorn and junior Riley West and frontcourt of 6-6 senior Jake Wensmann and 6-7 junior Spencer Pankonin. There is a lot of talent there."
Five to watch on the Cougars:
JD Melhorn, senior guard
Spencer Pankonin, junior post
Alex Richter, junior wing
Jake Wensmann, senior forward
Riley West, junior point guard
Biggest Loss: Blake Shay
Rosemount (10-16, 8-12)
Brian Schnettler on the Irish:
"We could be anywhere from average to very good. It will all depend on how hard we work."
Five to watch on the Irish:
Ben Danielson, senior guard
Justin Larson, senior post
Matt Larson, sophomore guard
Toriano Tatum, junior guard
Zach Vraa, senior wing
Biggest Loss: Chase Vogler