Five players from southeastern Minnesota on watch list for 2023 Mr. Basketball Award
The top 10 for the award will be announced Feb. 20, the top five on March 19 and winner will be named following the state basketball tournaments.
ROCHESTER — The Mr. Basketball Committee announced the watch list for the 2023 award and five area players are contenders.
A total of 36 players made the watch list. The Mr. Basketball Award goes annually to the top senior male basketball player in the state.
The Top 10 will be announced on Feb. 20 and the Final Five will be announced on March 19. The winner of the 2023 Mr. Basketball award will be named following the state basketball tournaments.
Area seniors on the list include, in alphabetical order, Ryan Heise of Lake City, Buay Koak of Lyle/Austin Pacelli, Isaac Matti of Hayfield, Will Opsahl of Goodhue and Aeron Stevens of Plainview-Elgin-Millville.
Koak, Matti and Opsahl are all Class A players and are on state-ranked teams. They should help make the Section 1A tournament a strong and exciting event during the postseason.
Heise and Stevens are both Class AA players and are on standout Section 1AA teams that are ranked in the state.
• Heise is a 6-foot-9 guard/forward who has helped Lake City get out to a 13-0 start and a No. 1 ranking in Class AA. He has committed to Division II Upper Iowa University.
• Koak is a high-scoring 6-4 guard who just scored his 2,000th career point on Tuesday. He has helped L/P get off to a 11-2 start. The Athletics are ranked No. 11 in Class A. He is undecided about his college commitment.
• Matti, a 6-2 guard, has helped Hayfield win back-to-back Class A state championships the past two seasons. The Vikings are having another strong season with an 11-3 record and they are ranked No. 7 in the state in Class A. He has yet to commit to a college.
• Opsahl, a 6-7 point guard, has helped Goodhue a No. 4 ranking in the Class A state polls. The Wildcats are 12-2. He has committed to Division II Minnesota State University, Mankato.
• Stevens is a 6-7 forward/center for P-E-M. He helped the Bulldogs reach the Section 1AA title game a year ago before falling to Caledonia in triple overtime. He has helped P-E-M get off to a 9-3 start and the Bulldogs are currently ranked No. 14 in Class AA. He has committed to play college ball at Division II Southwest State University in Marshall.
Braeden Carrington from Park Center was Mr. Basketball in 2022. Matthew Hurt of Rochester John Marshall won the award in 2019.