Posted On: 09/25/18 10:53 AM
What can’t be taught? Size. The game has changed to the point that it’s now called a “guard’s game” but size is still a luxury that not everyone has. And skilled/active size? That’s a luxury that coaches will take over anything. Here are the ten best frontcourts in Minnesota.
East Ridge. We start with Ben Carlson, a nationally ranked top 50 player in the 2020 class. Carlson has built his frame to be thicker in the shoulders and more physical in going at the rim, but is still as agile as he’s ever been. He’s coming off of a 19 point per game sophomore year. Then you have the Brown brothers. Now, Kendall Brown is definitely a guard, but he is also 6-foot-7 so the Raptors can play him pretty much any place. Courtney Brown Jr is committed to Milwaukee as an agile, aggressive forward who scored 21.5 points per game as a junior. Courtney can be used at either forward spot because he moves his feet so well. From there we need to talk about 6-foot-6/6-foot-7 Alex Larson, a senior who had a very strong 17u season and will likely work his way into quality Raptor playing time. There is also very good sophomores in Drew Adams and Zac Thomas that would likely get a lot of time many places but as you can tell this is a very big team already.
Prior Lake. The Lakers have the biggest frontline out there with Nationally ranked top 25-30 level 2020 Dawson Garcia (who just had Kentucky, Ohio State, Minnesota, Texas, Iowa, and so many others in to see him) at about 6-foot-10/6-foot-11, Denver committed 2019 Robert Jones at 6-foot-10, and 6-foot-10 Carson Schoeller all up front. With Dawson being skilled enough to play some on the perimeter, Jones having a face-up game, and Schoeller coming off a great summer, don’t be surprised if all three play together at some point. .
Hopkins. Zeke Nnaji and Dane Zimmer have both improved massively from last season. And both were very good last year while playing with Wisconsin signed Joseph Hedstrom. Zeke has grown at least two inches in the past dozen months and since scoring 20 a game for Hopkins, Zeke has become more skilled, way more aggressive scoring off the ball, and put himself into strong consideration for McDonald’s All American status. Then you have Dane who I believe has the intelligence, size, and ability to play division one basketball. NSIC schools pray Dane stays at their level (and by the way, about half of the NSIC is at the same level as many low major teams).
Eden Prairie. The Eagles will be sending size at people in numbers. First off, know that several of these guys will be playing small forward AND power forward, and sometimes shooting guard as well. But it’s a very deep group of forwards (and a center) that can be used in many spots. First off, all of these guys are juniors. The player you start with is Austin Andrews, a 6-foot-5 frontcourt player with more post moves than there are brands of bread. The true center of the group is 6-foot-7 center Lukas Dunford who played off the bench some last year and showed a nice low post game with the Fury Kline team. At 6-foot-6 Connor Christensen is one of the elite defenders in the state and he can play both forward spots and John Henry is likely a stretch forward at 6-foot-5 with a touch. Add in Ariel Bland as an explosive wing/forward and it’s a heck of a group to try and defend.
Rochester John Marshall. If you have Matthew Hurt you have one of the best frontcourts in the state of Minnesota. It’s that simple. At 34.1 points, 14.3 rebounds, 4.3 blocks, four assists, and 2.3 steals a game there really isn’t anybody better. Hurt is the best forward in the nation (yes I would take him over Vernon Carey). Simon Weven and Lincoln Meister are pretty good for the Rockets too.
Lakeville North. Tyler Wahl is so versatile I likely should of paired him with Tommy Jensen and put them in the backcourt list. Tyler plays point guard, he’s played the wing, he’s played with his back to the basket, and then defended all spots on the floor. Let’s just call him a forward for now and understand that at 6-foot-7 he will be joined by North Dakota State football commits Eli Mostaert and Will Mostaert as well as Tate Staloch up front. Eli Mostaert had an outstanding summer with WOTN and is very likely to be in the starting post. Does Oxton get more guards on the floor and put Tyler at the four? Or will he put Wahl among the backcourt three, and then use a combo of Eli and Will or Tate? Whatever Coach Oxton decides to do the senior big man talent is quality.
Champlin Park. The Rebels likely won’t have any big scoring number bigs, but they will have guys that will consistently produce, and guys that are very tough to score on. Alex John is committed to the D2 level as a 6-foot-7 big and he is long and moves his feet well so scoring over him will be very tough. John scored about seven a game last year and should add at least two buckets more a game to that. Six-foot-6 power forward Cooper Olson is a junior that had a great summer with Fury Kline and has the talent to start at the power forward (pending on what the Rebels want to do with their line-up). Sophomore Francis Nwaokorie is 6-foot-6 and certainly has the size and touch to play back-up center as long as he can handle the ball screens. Then you have the surplus of guys on the wing with either the height, strength, or intelligence to slide down and play the four in a smaller line-up: like shooter Bennett Otto, Kato Seley, and Jared Walter. \
Eastview. Steven Crowl stands 6-foot-10 and moves his feet well enough to defend ball screens, has the size to block/contest anything in the paint, and the agility to score above the rim as well as a nice touch around the basket and away. Fellow junior Tate Machacek is what you think of when you talk high school power forwards because he is active, agile, tough, strong, and finishes consistently. Dan Swedin is about forward for the Lightning in the 2020 class.
Breck. David Roddy is one of the most physically gifted 6-foot-5, 245 pound/250 pound basketball players I’ve ever seen. David averaged 25.4 points and 12.9 rebounds a game last season. David gets you the instant consideration for the list (he’s deciding between Minnesota, Colorado State, and Northwestern for basketball) but he has help too. Second leading scorer Joey Ganley is also a forward coming off a dozen point per game season. Ganley works extremely well with Roddy in the high post. Watch for Julian Bergeson to start to emerge as well, he is a 6-foot-4 junior.
Minnehaha Academy. The Redhawks always have some good young talent and we expect some young players to back up their ultra talented underclassmen returning bigs. Chet Holmgren is a top 25 level player nationally in his class as the sophomore already has three high major offers, he’s got state championship experience, and he played at the 17u level this summer on the AAU circuit. A big year looks in store for him and the same can be said about Prince Aligbe, a freshman who somehow looks like a Michigan State big already with his thick frame and agile body. One of the nation’s top 2022s.
DeLaSalle. Yesterday we went through a boatload of guards that put the Islanders on that list, but don’t forget that they aren’t too bad up front either. Jamison Battle has committed to George Washington and he is one of the state’s best shooters as a 6-foot-8 face-up forward. Battle can stretch a defense and then inside Jalen Travis is about 6-foot-5/6-foot-6 as a scholarship offensive lineman prospect in the 2020. Inside Travis has a nice touch and is tough to move.