Posted On: 06/26/18 7:58 AM

Prior Lake guard Sam Nissen looks to be that backcourt piece for Prior Lake, a team that has the talent to expand on 2017-18’s 22-6 season.  Sam has played well with the Minnesota Fury and has big goals for the next 12 months.

Last winter the Lakers of Prior Lake went 22-6 and became a top ten team in Class AAAA, playing about 3-4 games higher than expectations.  With the talent in their line-up and the wide open opportunity that there is in Class AAAA, Sam Nissen believes Prior Lake can accomplish big things and we agree.

“Expectations for next year are sky-high: we are bringing back most of our starters and 75 percent of our scoring from last year’s 22-win team,” Sam told Prep Hoops.  “Robert Jones is 6-foot-10 and a great player to have in the middle of the court – one of the best in the state.

“Dawson Garcia is 6-foot-10 and practically unguardable when he needs to be. Carson Schoeller is 6-foot-10 and has flown under the radar because he’s played behind two division one players. Carson will be a valuable piece for us this year.

“Joining me in the backcourt is Jackyse Jacox a great ball handler and defender who returns as a starter along with several other athletic players who are ready to step up to the Varsity level. Our goal is to make a run in the state tournament – Prior Lake hasn’t been to state since 1978 and our team is going to change that.”

That is a long drought but Nissen gave readers four good reasons – in addition to himself – why a big storm is headed to cure that drought, in the form of a veteran backcourt and a huge frontline. Sam is a skilled guard that can shoot with the best of them, so this off-season he’s working to become more of a physically impressive player.

“Physically I’m working on getting bigger, stronger and faster,” Sam explained.  “Also working on my endurance so I can guard full court aggressively for longer periods of time. As a team Captain I want to improve on being more vocal and directing both offense and defense.”

The Prior Lake players are playing for winners this off-season.  Jones is on one of the top five teams in the 17u nation, Garcia is on a top 15 16u team, and Nissen plays for the Minnesota Fury Wilde team that is 28-5 and ranked third in the state.

“We’ve had some really great moments – when our team plays well and moves the ball we can beat any team in the country,” Nissen explained.  “I would say winning the SPTS League and Championship game has been (a big moment) and beating a top 25 nationally ranked OSA team have been the highlights so far.

“We only have four tournaments left so we are gonna leave it all out on the floor and try to bring home some championship trophies. This years team is capable of winning 40 – 45 plus games and we hope to accomplish that.”

Nissen is a top 40 level player in the state of Minnesota and when you are that good it usually means scholarship opportunities.  Nissen has a nice group of teams that he is regularly in touch with.

“I’ve been talking with American University for a few months and other schools in the Patriot League have also reached out and invited me to their camps,” Sam explained.  “From the NSIC I’ve been talking with Minnesota State Mankato, Augustana and Sioux Falls. I’ve also heard from most of the top D3’s around and talk the most with St. John’s and Bethany Lutheran. Valley City State also has been in contact.

“I recently went to the Minnesota State Mankato camp and really enjoyed meeting the coaching staff and seeing the campus. I visited American University on June 21 and attended their Elite camp. I will be scheduling visits and planning to attend some other camps this summer.”

Sam is also playing this weekend in the Great Plains Alliance event in St. Cloud.