Boys Basketball '22-'23: Rochester teams should all be improved from a year ago
The Big Nine Conference race could be wide open this season, but are Century, John Marshall or Mayo going to be able to creep into title contention?
Head coach: Jake Vetter (5th year). Assistant coaches: Joe Ohm, James Bolin, Cedric Harrell, James Robertson, Adam Girtman, Ethan Hugstad.
Last season: The Panthers finished 14-12 overall, 12-10 in the Big Nine Conference and lost in the first round of Section 1AAAA play to Lakeville North.
Key returners: Ryan Ohm (6-3, Sr., PG, 7.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, All-Conference honorable mention), Shaun Wysocki (6-7, Jr., G/F), Tait Deedrick (6-2, Sr., G).
Outlook: Century coach Jake Vetter believes the Big Nine Conference is going to be very competitive and the race could be wide open this season. "It's always hard to project how you think your team will fair but I like the makeup of our team and based on what I have seen throughout the summer, I think we can be right there in the conference," he said. The Panthers return a trio of strong players in Ryan Ohm, 6-foot-7 Shaun Wysocki and Tait Deedrick. Others expected to fill big roles are Shawn Jacobson (6-3, Sr., G), Jack Eustice (5-10, Jr., PG), Eli Thompson (6-3, Jr., F) and Jacob Wills (6-4, Jr., F). The Metro schools — Lakeville North, Farmington and Lakeville South — are the teams to beat in Section 1AAAA play. "We play both Farmington and Lakeville North this season, those will be good games to see where we are at regarding the section," Vetter said.
Coach Vetter says: "There is chemistry, work ethic, willingness to fill a role, and competitive fire that the players have displayed throughout the summer and the first week of the season that I have been very impressed with. We have a lot of skilled basketball players on our squad so the key for us this year is going to be to continue to grow and learn through the ups and downs the season presents us."
Seniors: Ryan Ohm (6-3, PG), Tait Deedrick (6-2, G), Shawn Jacobson (6-3, G), Moses Norwood (6-3, F). Juniors: Shaun Wysocki (6-7, G/F), Jack Eustice (5-10, PG), Jacob Wills (6-4, F), Eli Thompson (6-3, F), Reid Weckwerth (6-2, G), Carson Skime (G), Simon Moore (F), Mitchel Poncelet (G), Ian Vasquez (G). Sophomores: Sabir Ahmed (F), Denard Simpson (F), Ricky Wengert (5-10, PG).
JOHN MARSHALL ROCKETS
Head coach: Jim Daly (19th season). Assistants: Richard Hurt, Cameron Holland, Gregg Guidinger, Paul Schad.
Last season: The Rockets finished 7-19 overall, 5-17 in the Big Nine Conference and lost in the first round of Section 1AAAA play.
Key returners: Logan Tuckner (6-4, Sr., G/F, 11.2 ppg), Tiare Young (6-1, Sr., PG, 8.1 ppg), Zechariah Ladu (6-4, Jr., G), Johnny Tong (6-2, Sr., G).
Outlook: The Rockets have a trio of starters returning from last season in seniors Logan Tucker, point guard Tiare Young and junior Zechariah Ladu. Senior Johnny Tong also saw extended playing time when Young missed the second half with an injury. Junior guards Traevon Koch and Chan Malith are primed to make an impact and the Rockets have a number of younger tall and athletic players. A rebound season should take place and JM, which features eight seniors, could double its win total from a year ago. As the season goes on, the Rockets could get a boost from their sophomore class. "We're going to surprise a lot of people," assistant coach Richard Hurt said.
Coach Daly says: "We're a program led by our oldest players. If our oldest players do a good job of leading, we'll be just fine. We are a little more athletic than we have been in years past. We hope that can lead to some easier baskets in transition."
Seniors: Logan Tuckner (6-4, G/F), Tiare Young (6-1, PG), Johnny Tong (6-2, Sr., G), Geu Aguek (6-7, F), Zakaria Hashi (6-5, C), Caleb Johnson (5-11, G), Cham Obang (6-5, G/F), Mateo Wilkins (6-0, G). Juniors: Zechariah Ladu (6-4, G), Traevon Koch (6-2, G), Chan Malith (6-3, G/F), Caleb Cooper (5-9, G). Sophomores: Jordan Bell (6-0, F), Angok Kucha (6-6, C), Eliah Ladu (6-0, G), Brayson Sawyer (6-2, F).
Head coach: Braden Markham (2nd season, 13-14 record). Assistant coaches: Tom Brown, Pat Franko, Chris Jackson, Kyle Richard, Spencer Ellerbusch.
Last season: The Spartans were 13-14 overall, 10-12 in Big Nine Conference and lost in the first round of Section 1AAAA play.
Key returners: Isaiah Hanson (6-4, Sr., G/F, 10.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg,1.8 apg), Alex Gyarmaty (6-6, Sr., F, 5.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg), Sawyer Markham (6-0, Jr., G, 6.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg).
Outlook: Isaiah Hanson was an All-Conference player a year ago and he gives the Spartans a nice building piece along with 6-6 senior Alex Gyarmaty and 6-0 junior guard Sawyer Markham. They should be joined in the starting lineup by seniors Sam Hruska (6-6, C) and Brig Poppe (6-4, F). Mayo has solid overall size and Hruska and Poppe will provide toughness on the inside. The Spartans hope to be among the top teams in the Big Nine. “I’m excited, it should be a good year,” Hanson said. “I think our conference is down so we should have a good shot at winning the conference.” Coach Braden Markham lists Austin and both Mankato East and West as the conference favorites and believes Lakeville North is the team to beat in Section 1AAAA.
Coach Markham says: "We need to share the ball, rebound, and defend like dogs to have a successful season."
Seniors: Isaiah Hanson (6-4, G/F), Alex Gyarmaty (6-6, Sr., F), Sam Hruska (6-6, C), Brig Poppe (6-4, F), Mas'ud Ghedi (6-4, F). Juniors: Will Kipp (5-11, G), Sawyer Markham (6-0, G), Quentin Sharp (5-11, G), Ben Heywood (6-2, G), Carter Holcomb (5-11, G), Rees Grimsrud (6-1, G), Lebron See-Stadstad (5-10, G), Jack Laughlin (6-3, F), William Marial (6-4, F), Kook Mabor (6-5, F), James Prunty (5-11, G), Remington Gau (6-2, F). Sophomore: Jaden Fernandez (5-8, G), Brandon Shah (5-11, G).
Head coach: Eric Larson (7th season, 4th at Lourdes, 66-86 record). Assistant coaches: Will Swiggum, Jimmy Brooks, Trace Fishbaugher.
Last season: The Eagles were 9-18 overall, 4-12 in the Hiawatha Valley League and lost in the first round of Section 1AA play to Triton.
Key returners: Parker Dunham (6-2, Sr., G/F, 12.7 ppg 6.3 rpg), Aidan Jahns (6-3, Sr., G/F, 11.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg), Adam Sellner (6-3, Jr., G/F, 7.4 ppg), Dillung Kullang (6-1, Sr., G, 6.8 ppg), Sam Theobald (6-3, So., G, 4.1 ppg).
Outlook: With a veteran rotation, the Eagles should be able to learn from their experiences a season ago and have a better overall season. The Eagles have a lot of players in the 6-foot-2 to 6-3 range, led by seniors Parker Dunham and Aidan Jahns, who both averaged in double figures for scoring, and junior Adam Sellner. David Scully (6-5, Jr., C) and Kin Berry (5-10, Sr., G) are two newcomers who could make an impact. Coach Eric Larson said the Eagles must play well as a unit to be successful. He lists Stewartville, Lake City, Byron and Goodhue as the teams to beat in the Hiawatha Valley League and says Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Lake City and La Crescent-Hokah should head up a strong Section 1AA field.
Coach Larson says: "We have the potential to be a deep team that is capable of having different players step up on any given night. With a number of players that can guard multiple positions and play well in different areas offensively we have a fair amount of lineup versatility. If we continue to learn and improve throughout the season we have the potential to compete with the best in our section."
Seniors: Parker Dunham (6-2 G/F), Aidan Jahns (6-3, G/F), Dillung Kullang (6-1, G), Kin Berry (5-10, G), Kevin Adeng-Ker (6-1, G), Nick McCarthy (6-3, F), Jada Jubek (6-2, F). Juniors: David Scully (6-5, C), Adam Sellner (6-3, G/F), Eric Nelson (6-3, G/F), Ethan Turja-Hubbard (6-2, G/F), Mardoche Pierson (5-10, G/F), Nahom Assefa (5-8, G), Colin Weinschenk (6-4, C), Yafet Geda (6-3, F). Sophomore: Sam Theobald (6-3, G).
SCHAEFFER ACADEMY LIONS
Head coach: Tom Bance (259-281 career record).
Last year: The Lions finished 11-17 overall and 6-8 in the Southeast Conference.
Key returning: Ethan VanSchepen (6-3, So, F, 16.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg), Graham Visser (6-1, Sr.), Levi Ouren (6-1, Jr.).
Outlook: The Lions have just one returning starter back in sophomore Ethan VanSchepen, but he is coming off a stellar freshman season in which he was selected to the All-Southeast Conference team. Coach Tom Bance has high hopes that Schaeffer can be very competitive in the Southeast Conference, although not strong enough to contend for a division title. Evan Miller (6-3, Fr., F) and Joe Grenz (6-5, So., F) will provide size on the inside. Bance lists Spring Grove and Lyle/Pacelli as the Southeast Conference favorites. “In the section, I think Hayfield will again be the team to beat, with Spring Grove, Rushford-Peterson and Goodhue in the mix,” Bance said.
Coach Bance says: “I think we should be competitive in every game. Even though we don't have a lot of varsity experience, these guys put a lot of time in the offseason playing and working on their game.”
Seniors: Graham Visser (6-1), Minsoo Choung (5-4, G), Toby Kluth (5-11, G). Juniors: Levi Ouren (6-1), Owen Larson (6-0, G). Sophomores: Ethan VanSchepen (6-3, F), Joe Grenz (6-5, So., F), Noah Monson (5-10, G). Freshmen: Evan Miller (6-3, F), Luke Friese (5-8, G).