Posted On: 01/4/18 11:42 AM

A month into the North Dakota High School basketball season a small group of seniors have separated themselves from the rest of the state as Mr. Basketball candidates.  PHD breaks down the favorites and the other top contenders now.

Favorite. Wyatt Hanson of Stanley. Right now Stanley is the number one ranked team in the state at 6-0 and Wyatt, a Minnesota State-Moorhead signed talent, is considered by many to be the best player in the state and arguably the best prospect.  He’s certainly in the top two among prospects.  Wyatt kicked off the season with 23 against their top opponent so far (Des Lacs Burlington) and then had 22 points and a dozen assists beating Tioga (the second game) recently.  Wherever Stanley plays there is certain to be cameras out as exciting finishes are the regular and when it comes to victories and the top spot in state Stanley has that on lock.  With Wyatt leading the way.

Final Five. Josh Sipes of Bismarck Century, Joe Pistorious of West Fargo, Trae Steckler of Mandan, Kyler McGillis of St. John.  If the season were to end today many believe that Sipes, Pistorious, Steckler, and McGillis would join Hanson in the top five.  All five of these players are on winning teams with Joe and Trae playing for undefeated top ranking teams while McGillis is a part of a St. John squad that has lone once in two years (to Four Winds in last year’s playoffs).  Despite constant attention Pistorious is scoring 21 points a game shooting 48 percent from the floor with five boards and nearly five assists a contest.  Sipes is leading 6-2 Century with 15 points and 7.5 rebounds a contest while Steckler has many thinking Mandan is the best team in the state after wins over Minot and Century plus winning the St. Cloud holiday event against good teams in Minnesota.  Trae is scoring 18 points a game with nearly eight rebounds a contest while leading his team in steals. Kyler is scoring just under 30 points a contest for St. John (leading the state) with five boards, four assists, and four steals a night.

Top Contenders. Jordan Polynice of GFRR, Jayce Archambault of Solen, Andrew Christianson of Oak Grove, Jacob Kava of Fargo Shanley. Polynice and Kava are right there with others, their teams just haven’t had the same success which often pushes up the notoriety of a player.  If GFRR can win some more games, and they are up to 4-5 now, I can easily see Jordan pushing up into that top five and knocking somebody out.  He’s scoring 26.2 points per game shooting 45 percent from the field while grabbing nine boards a contest, dishing out three assists, and putting up almost three steals a game.  If GFRR goes on a winning streak I could see him vaulting into a top two or three conversation as his numbers and production has been fantastic.  Polynice is the state’s top unsigned senior and maybe the top prospect (certainly with Hanson in the top two).

Kava, a future NDSU football player, is scoring over 23 points a contest for Shanley plus shooting foul shots at a rate of 90 percent and is grabbing 6.5 rebounds a game.  Oak Grove is 4-1 with Andrew Christianson averaging over 25 points per game and grabbing nearly seven boards a contest.  Jayce Archambault has Solen undefeated at 6-0 with his array of playmaking ability.  Another player having a great year is Cole Gendreau but his St. Mary’s team is having trouble winning so it’s tough to mention him as a current contender.