Minnesota has a deep group of big men that seem to be dominating the recruiting scene. Most of these players are higher on potential then production so far meaning that high majors are hesitant to offer scholarships but the rest of division one basketball plus division twos are hot on the trails of most of this talent.
Division two schools are licking their chops at the chance of going after bigs like Ben Bucholz of Perham and Dan Kornbaum of Little Falls. There is no doubt that this pair of players has division one qualities. Bucholz has good size for a power forward at 6-foot-7 with a strong body, a good touch, and decent mobility. Kornbaum runs well at 6-foot-8, blocks a ton of shots, has good footwork, and a nice touch. With his high school team Dan shoots three pointers on a regular basis and has hit over 40 percent of them. These players are in the mid-teens of the Minnesota prospect rankings.
The deal is several of the players ranked ahead of Ben and Dan are also power forward and center prospects with more size and more college interest. After July Chad Calcaterra should have a shot at choosing from a handful of high majors as well as some good schools at the level right behind the high major conferences (i.e. the Mountain West, Atlantic 10, etc). Should Chad choose to go to one of those conferences then that will open the door for other locals to get local D1 offers. But Chad does hold offers from Northern Iowa and NDSU and local D2s would love for him to take one of those offers so some guys would fall to their level (if those players are planning to stay local).
Marshall Bjorklund recently accepted an offer from NDSU and the Bison also have offers out to Chad, Jake Kreuser, and Mike Rostampour. NDSU obviously has some openings in the frontcourt and this is a great year in Minnesota for them to grab some talent. So far they are off to a hot start.
Chad, Jake, and Mike all have offers from schools around the country and will pick up more. If Jake takes an offer (like say Santa Clara where he is visiting soon) that will have the same domino affect we have mentioned as schools would have to look for another big and Minnesota has several.
Another school Bucholz and Kornbaum would seem to be good fits at would be South Dakota State and both went down to the Jacks' camp. But SDSU has an offer extended to another higher ranking Minnesota big in Trevor Gruis. The Jacks are also in hot pursuit of recent Iowa State decommit Jordan Dykstra from Rock Valley, Iowa who is a top 150 player in the Rivals rankings. Word is that SDSU would take Kornbaum in a four for five deal where Dan pays the first year and receives a scholarship for the next four seasons. I believe SDSU has one frontcourt scholarship to give for 2010.
Gruis is an interesting player who should collect more offers this July. At 6-foot-9 Trevor moves very well with a decent skill set. Expect some of the mid-majors throughout the Midwest to be watching him with the Dakota Schoolers.
Area D1 schools North Dakota and South Dakota could also be options for some Minnesota bigs but I believe they are somewhat limited in scholarship numbers. Bucholz went to the camps of both of these schools recently and was named the top big man at both camps but did not receive an offer. North Dakota has offered Wisconsin product Ben Mills, a seven footer, who may be at the top of their wish list although Mills has over a dozen offers to choose from. Mills also has offers from locals UW-Milwaukee and Loyola-Chicago. North Dakota has recently brought in some bigs who are all young in their program while South Dakota only has the one tender to give to a big. USD is going hard after Bryan Kielpinski who is one of the better kept secrets out there. Kielpinski plays for ECI West and is from Mandan in North Dakota.
Alec Brown is another Minnesota guy affecting this situation. Because he's such a late bloomer Brown has not received the offers quite yet but he is getting national interest. Plus you have to think that the presence of Calcaterra, Dykstra, Gruis, Bjorklund, Kreuser, and Rostampour has hurt Brown's chances of getting offers from some of the locals. What can be said about Alec is that he may have more potential than most of these players because of his young age, agility, shooting touch, and length.
Alec is another player that schools could go after before Bucholz or Kornbaum because he is nearly seven feet tall. I completely expect Brown to receive several offers by the end of July as he is getting strong interest from schools on the west coast.
Because of all this talent and only so many scholarships being available there is the chance that talented players like Kornbaum, Bucholz, and maybe another could get snatched up by quality schools in the NSIC (if these players want to stay local). One school crossing their fingers that one of these guys is available is St. Cloud State who has a scholarship to give to a big. The Huskies are recruiting both Bucholz and Kornbaum aggressively.
There is another factor with Bucholz as he is a very good three sport athlete. As a 6-foot-7 quarterback at Perham, Ben threw a ton of touchdown passes and he's leaving the Dakota Showcase this weekend to attend an elite football camp. And let's not forget that Ben is a nice pitcher on the diamond.
When talking about recruiting transfers have to be mentioned. Dan Vandervieren, the 6-foot-10 banger from Hopkins, is expected to leave Colorado State. Dan would most certainly eat up a full scholarship at the D2 level in Minnesota.
And let's not forget about Ryan Duxbury from Stillwater. Ryan is a kid with a 31 score on his ACT and you could see him either go to a big time academic school someplace as a banger or he could go to the NSIC and get full scholarship money from a combo of academics/basketball. He already has an offer from UM-Crookston.