The Race for Mr. Basketball


Posted On: 01/11/18 4:16 PM

The Minnesota high school season is getting close to it’s half way point (less than two weeks away) which means very soon the Mr. Basketball team is going to come forward with their finalists list of 10 and eventually a Final Five.  Where does that race sit right now?  NHR breaks it down.

The Favorite.  With Apple Valley slipping to 7-4 on the season and falling in the Class AAAA rankings (or at least they will fall when they are updated next Tuesday) the Race for Mr. Basketball door has been opened some for contenders.  At 25.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 3.9 steals, and a block a game, Tre Jones still holds the favorite tag right now.  Jones is shooting 49 percent from the floor on his 18-19 shots a game and 77 percent on his 7-8 foul shots a contest.  That said, Jones has struggled at the arc (29 percent) and he hasn’t been able to get many wins for a Luke Martensless team in the big games (AV has won two of their six big games).

Jones is surely still the favorite but leading his team to number one in state and a win over Jones and the Eagles was Daniel Oturu of Cretin-Derham Hall.  Oturu is trying to battle his way to the trophy as well and if the Raiders keep winning he will have his chance.  In their head to head match-up Oturu had 15 points on eight shots, 12 rebounds, and five blocks against the 20 points on 20 shots, ten rebounds, and eight assists of Jones.

The Raiders have dominated their January opponents to the point that Oturu has been able to relax most of the second halves (Mounds View and Forest Lake).  Oturu is scoring his 17.8 points per game on 11 shots a contest shooting 68 percent from the field and 68 percent from the foul line.  Oturu is a top ten rebounder in state with 11.7 a contest and he’s the state’s leading shot blocker with 70 in ten games.

The Final Five. I would say the only other for sure spot in the final five I would have right now is Gabe Kalscheur of DeLaSalle (along with Oturu and Jones).  The Islanders are 7-2 right now with wins over teams from six states and the only losses being to schools that are #1 or #2 in the state at the big school level.  Gabe is averaging 18.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.6 assists a game.  Plus he’s won a state title every year of his career and has been a top scorer on this team for three years.

Next Two.  Who is leading the fight for the last two spots in that final five?  Right now I would say it’s a three man group of Jarvis Omersa of Orono, Calvin Wishart of Delano, and Michael Jones of Woodbury.  At 19.2 points and 12.4 rebounds a game Omersa has a strong case with his numbers but Orono has fell to 6-5 on the season against a very tough schedule.  With wins comes more Mr. Basketball love and when the schedule events out some I would expect Jarvis to climb with the Spartans.  But things don’t get any easier against top five ranked Chaska this evening. Omersa had a rough start against Hopkins earlier in the week but bounced back to put together a really nice game showing maturity as he responded to a temporary seat from Coach Wohler.

Mr. Triple Double Calvin Wishart has done everything he could to get the Tigers to 8-3 averaging 33 points, over nine boards, over nine assists a game, and four steals a game.  Wishart is coming off a 43 point, ten rebound, ten assist game against Chaska earlier in the week in which his team lost by a point.  Wishart has led his team to good wins over Lakeville South, Waseca, Fergus Falls, and Big Lake and has some major showcase games against Orono and EP coming up.

Michael Jones, the sharp shooter from Woodbury.  Woodbury relies on Jones for production like AV does on Jones and Delano does on Wishart, but Jones isn’t a PG like the other two.  He still has his team at 7-4 against a very tough schedule averaging just under 30 points a game despite guys hanging on him and denying him so much.   Michael is a sneaky player in the post too.  Michael had 33 in a win over East Ridge last night which was huge for his team.  Now the CDH game coming up is his chance to play in front of the state.

Top Ten Finalists. Take the six above and I think you can add Owen King from Caledonia and Sy Chatman from Cretin-Derham Hall.  Chatman is leading CDH in scoring at 18-19 a game and is actually taking more shots than any of the talented Raiders but that’s only 12-13 shots a game because the team is so balanced.  Owen King’s case was hurt recently by a loss to Lake City but the future SDSU guard has his team as a top Class AA contender and he’s scoring 25.7 points a game with seven boards.

If I had to pick two others?  Tough call but at 24.8 points and 12.7 rebounds a game playing for St. Cloud Cathedral, I would say Michael Schaefer is a good candidate.  His team has lost a couple game but I see him fighting for  spot in this top ten group all season.

Fighting for Top Ten. This is a massive group and I really don’t have the space to go through all the contenders but I feel like it’s a good spot to highlight about ten of the 15-20 that have a shot at the top ten.  If St. Cloud Tech gets on a winning steak and especially if they win state, Brevyn Spann-Ford will have as good of a chance as anyone.  He just does so much for his team and has the unique ability to play four spots on the floor (I just can’t see a scenario in life where he would play shooting guard.  PF or C in high school of course, PG he does a lot, and SF because he can play with size because of his skill, but SG is not a place in 17u or high school I would ever expect he would be although he can shoot so he pry could do it).

Damani Hayes has Mankato East as a top five team so he is making people look his way.  Duoth Gach and Austin are undefeated and they just beat Hayes and the Cougars so if you say Damani, you have to say Duoth.  Anders Nelson has led Edina over CDH and Apple Valley this year having a great year and Anthony Davis was fantastic leading Hopkins over Orono on Tuesday.  Davis is his team’s second leading scorer and top defender.  Don’t forget Tayler Johnson at Minneapolis North with his two rings to his name.  The Polars haven’t played that many games yet though. Guys like Matt Todd of Monticello, Jarius Cook of Park Center, and Eric Tiedman of Jordan are also contenders plus there are certainly about 5-6 others that could make that top ten as well.