The Race for Mr. Basketball

High School
Minnesota

Posted On: 12/27/17 2:45 PM

The Minnesota high school basketball season is nearly a month in so it’s about time we get the weekly “Race for Mr. Basketball” article going to update you on the top contenders and how they are doing.

The Favorite

Based on my many years of experience being a part of Minnesota high school basketball as a player, media member, high school coach, and fan, I feel strongly that Apple Valley point guard Tre Jones is the favorite for this award.  To most of you that is stating the obvious but to others it may not be, but rest assured, based on who has won awards in the past and based on what they have done I feel strongly in saying Jones is the heavy favorite to win the award.

Tre’s resume includes a pair of state titles plus a four final finish as a sophomore.  He’s widely considered to be the best high school point guard in the nation meaning he’s ranked nationally as a top ten prospect and that’s not just on potential, that is also in terms of productivity.  Add in that he’s a certain McDonald’s All American and you have a heavy favorite. Jones is averaging 26 points, a dozen rebounds, 4.4 steals, and 6.4 assists a game shooting 47 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the foul line.

If you were to put a percentage coming into the season on how certain I was that Tre would win Mr. Basketball I would put it at about 97 percent.  Tre has opened the door a tiny bit as his team has lost games to Edina and Minnehaha Academy and that has shown how important Luke Martens is to the team (Luke is out with a broken wrist that he played one of those losses with). In the next two weeks Jones and Apple Valley have games with Park Center, Cretin-Derham Hall, and Lakeville North so they will be on the big stage once again.

The Final Five

At this point I would say the shoe-ins for the final five are Daniel Oturu of Cretin-Derham Hall and Gabe Kalscheur of DeLaSalle.  Oturu is a nationally ranked top 40 player who led the state in rebounds and blocks as a junior and has his team ranked number one in the state currently as a senior.  The Gopher committed Oturu is averaging 18.6 points, 13.3 rebounds, and seven blocks a game shooting 65 percent from the floor and 77 percent from the foul line.  If there was a guy who has a chance to upset Jones I think Daniel is the one that could.  As we said before the chances are not great but Daniel does have a chance to go at Tre this Saturday in St. Cloud and then of course being the top ranked team in state, CDH has a chance to win state.

Kalscheur has to be considered a near certainty considering he’s going for his fourth state title on a team that is going for their sixth straight state title.  Gabe has been a 20 point per game scorer on each of the last two state title teams and is now averaging 17.8 points per game after six games for the 4-2 Islanders shooting 48 percent from the floor, 81 percent from the foul line, and 34.5 percent from the arc.  The Islanders are in South Dakota this week as a part of the Mark Miller Classic.

The other names?  There is lots of competition for those two spots.  Jarvis Omersa of Orono is the other top 150 ranked player nationally in this senior class and his Orono team is one of the Class AAA state favorites.  Jarvis had a solid game going head to head with Oturu as that Orono loss didn’t impact Orono’s stature as much as the loss at Marshall did when Omersa fouled out. Omesa is currently averaged 20 points and 12.2 rebounds a game so I would say he’d be in very strong consideration for a Final Five spot.

Two others in strong contention for those final two spots are Davidson bound Michael Jones from Woodbury and Georgia State bound Calvin Wishart of Delano.  Jones and the Royals started slow out missing a pair of starters for their first two games but Jones has been nearly unstoppable all year.  Michael is averaging 33 points a game for the top ten Royals and is coming off 39 point games in beating Lakeville South, Forest Lake, and North St. Paul, all key wins.

Wishart is scoring explosively like Jones, and then some.  Cal is at 33.6 points per game for his 6-1 team plus is just a few boards short of AVERAGING a triple double.  This isn’t middle of the nowhere teams that Wishart is playing either.  He’s faced quality Class AAA and Class AAAA squads and is still getting those points plus 10.1 assists and 9.7 boards a contest.  Wishart is averaging 3.3 steals a game too and just had 46 points against Big Lake.

Top Ten Finalist

At some point later in the winter a list of ten finalists will be named.  This is a great thing for Minnesota as I believe it’s a chance for top players to put something special on their resumes.  Here are likely the next five up for the list based on what they have done so far.

Owen King of Caledonia.  The future SDSU point guard is scoring 27 points a contest for the undefeated Caledonia team that is a top Class AA contender having picked up wins over Lake City, Cathedral, and rival Rushford-Peterson.

Anders Nelson of Edina.  Anders has put up 25-26 a game this year for Edina leading the team to mega wins over CDH and Apple Valley early in the year.  They’ve lost three since but are still a top ten level squad with Nelson being a top scorer.

Michael Schaefer of Augustana.  You want to discuss big number stat stuffers? I got one for you, that is Michael Schaefer.  He’s put up 27.3 points and 12.3 rebounds a game for 5-1 Cathedral.

Brevyn Spann-Ford of St. Cloud Tech.  Football commitments are no longer in Brevyn’s schedule so he has been dominating on the hardwood.  The future Gopher football player has his St. Cloud Tech team at 6-2 averaging 21 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks a game.  He leads his team in all five categories.

Matt Todd of Monticello.  The Magic are a better team this year and Todd is giving them a team high in scoring (29 per game), rebounding (5.3), assists (5.3), and steals (4.4).  Off to a great start plus Matt has reached some big milestones for the Magic.

Others that are right there with them are:

Sy Chatman of CDH.  Shooting 55 percent from the floor, scoring 20 a game with nine rebounds next to Oturu, that is very impressive.  Sy put everyone on notice with that 33 against Hopkins.

Jarius Cook of Park Center.  Cook is the best player both ways for a balanced Park Center squad that is a top ten team in the state.  Cook is scoring 18 a game so far.

Adam Trapp of Esko.  The 7-foot-2 or 7-foot-3 center from Esko has his team at 6-1 on the year and he’s always a triple double threat.  No stats have been reported statewide so we have nothing to inform you of there but as long as Trapp is leading Esko he is a constant producer in several ways.

Other Contenders

Jordan Belka of Rogers.  Belka is Northern State bound and this Rogers talent has put up 24-25 a game scoring 30 plus multiple times.

JaVonni Bickham of Minnehaha Academy.  Bickham has misses a few games already but is scoring 16.4 points per game against a very tough schedule.

Anthony Davis of Hopkins.  I don’t Davis will get the notoriety some others do but he should, he’s scoring 18 a game and defending the other team’s best player every night for the second ranked team in the state.

Noah Kannegiesser of Hancock.  Noah is scoring a state high 41 points per game last we checked which recently earned him a walk-on offer from U of Mary (plus academic scholarship money).   Big number producer leading his team to wins.

Tayler Johnson of Mpls North.  Not much to say yet here as North has only played two games but Tayler has 53 points combined in those two games.

Goodnews Kpeogel of North St. Paul.  The Polars are off to a better than expected start earning a spot in the top ten recently led by the near 20 a game from Goodnews.

Ryan Larson of CDH.  Have to put Ryan on here, he’s shooting the ball really well and has the number one ranked squad playing very well.  Larson isn’t shooting as much as he doesn’t have to.  Dishing out 11 assists a game with 12.3 points per contest.

Shae Mitchell of Lakeville South.  Mitchell has scored 19 a game against a difficult schedule so far. He’s had some recent struggles though scoring 20 total in the past two games.

Beijan Newbern of Maranatha Christian Academy.  Scoring 26-27 a night for the improved Mustangs have more people looking Beijan’s way as a top senior.

Noah Ross of Wadena-Deer Creek.  I’m using this chance to tell everyone who Noah is.  He’s a six foot guard for Wadena-Deer Creek that scored 19.3 a game as a junior and is now a top ten scorer in the state so far as a senior.  Not likely a finalist for these lists but a guy who has earned a mention.

That is the first group of names to throw out there.  Did I likely miss some? Sure.  But I think this is the vast majority of the top group.  We listed many today but in the coming weeks only the best will be talked about in The Race For Mr. Basketball!