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Tip Off Classic preview: boys' games

By Ryan James, Breakdown Sports USA, 12/02/15, 11:45AM CST


Dec. 5: Four of Minnesota's best take on outstate challengers

Boys' game previews


2:15 p.m. on Main Court:

Madison East vs Minnetonka

East is coming off a 20-7 season and plays its first game this Thursday night (Madison Memorial) before facing the Skippers at the Tip Off.  East returns three of its top four guys including 6-foot-3 senior guard Deang Deang, who led them in scoring last year (15.2 per game), senior point guard Tre’vone Irby (9.4 a game), and sophomore wing Keshawn Justice, who is their top threat at the arc and already has an offer from Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The Skippers are a senior guard dominated club with scholarship talents Amar Miller, Seth Coatta, and Cedric Boone leading the way.  The three of them will account for 55-60 points a game on a nightly basis, with Miller being the speedy ball handler, Coatta the NDSU bound sharp shooter, and Boone doing some of both.  Max Cooper and Matt Hass are new to varsity minutes and now stepping into the front court. 

Prediction: Madison East wins by 3.


3:45 p.m. on Main Court:

Milwaukee Washington vs DeLaSalle

Washington is 1-1 so far this year, led by Illinois signed guard Te’Jon Lucas, who has knocked down five treys, dished out 17 assists, and scored 37 points in his team’s first two games. Washington is coming off of an 18-win season and brings back two of its top five players from a year ago (Lucas and senior Shannon Sanford).  Washington has had a breakout start from 6-foot-4 freshman Deontay Long at small forward, as he has scored 35 points total in the first two games.

This will be game one of the DeLaSalle 5-peat season run, as the Islanders work to earn a fifth straight state title — and are the heavy favorite to do just that.  Coach David Thorson returns senior guard Samm Jones (D2 scholarship offers), junior forward Goanar Mar (a nationally ranked top 150 talent), and sophomore Gabe Kalschuer (a top five level sophomore in Minnesota).  They will be surrounded by upperclassmen role players and young high potential but inexperienced talents.

Prediction: Washington wins by 4

Trent, Jr.

5:30 p.m. on Main Court

Iowa City West vs Apple Valley

Iowa City West was 25-1 a year ago and brings back five of its top six guys, which includes: seniors Wali Parks (a top five Iowa talent), Tanner Lohaus (top five ranked Iowa talent headed to UNI), and Alex Henderson (top 30 ranked Iowa talent); the top junior in Iowa Connor McCafferey (committed to Iowa, where his father Fran is the head coach), and the third-ranked junior in Iowa, Devontae Lane.  ICW was loaded with talent a year ago and brings everybody back but David DiLeo, who is now at a prep school in New Hampshire.

Apple Valley is 3-0, led by the 35.7 points per game from five-star junior talent Gary Trent Jr., who has offers from the best of the best.  Trent is surrounded by four starters who joined him in hoisting last year’s state title and all return.  Minnesota’s top sophomore, Tre Jones, runs the point, Buffalo signed center Brock Bertram mans the middle, D1/D2 border talent Cameron Kirksey is the hard working forward, and Jordan Bolton is the off-guard coming off of a 21-point night.  The Eagles are a favorite to win their third state title in four seasons.

Prediction: Apple Valley by 1


8:30 p.m. on Main Court

Des Moines Hoover vs Hopkins

Hoover was 21-1 one a year ago although it will have to adjust to the loss of Chris King, who was by far its main scoring option a year ago.  Three of the top five Hoover players graduated but junior Douglas Wilson and senior Nate Lee are back to lead.  Wilson and Lee were the second and third leading scorers a year ago, each putting up between 9-10 points per game and both are low block players that are big on the glass and high percentage finishers.  They have inexperienced guards stepping into key roles.

Hopkins won its first three games of the season, led by the deepest bench in the state of Minnesota.  The Royals are loaded at guard with four-star Minnesota signed Amir Coffey, D2 offered Vinnie Shahid, D1 offered Ishmael El-Amin, and leading scorer Xavier Johnson.  Add in sophomore standout Anthony Davis, returning frontcourt starters Simon Wright and Erik Davis, and 6-foot-10 NDSU offered sophomore center Joe Hedstrom and you have a loaded group.

Prediction: Hopkins by 22.

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