Posted On: 10/31/18 12:22 PM
Looking ahead to the 2018-19 season, Prep Hoops Wisconsin breaks down the race in the North Shore Conference…
3. Whitefish Bay
5. West Bend East
6. Port Washington
10. West Bend West
Nicolet has four Division 1 players on its roster, including maybe the best prospect to come out of Wisconsin in the recruiting rankings era in Jalen Johnson. This team was already going to be good with Jamari Sibley, Sonny Phinesee, and Jarrett Henderson — a group that was one game away from the state tournament last season. Now they’ve also added Kobe Johnson and James Graham to the mix.
Homestead finished second in the North Shore last season and are returning their 1-2 punch of Ryan Waddell and Declan Ciurlik. After surviving a very deep conference last season, this team is very battle tested. The Highlanders also took Brookfield East and Arrowhead down to the wire in non-conference play a year ago.
Whitefish Bay should give some teams problems as well. Although leading scorer Cade Garcia is gone, the Blue Dukes have an excellent 1-2 punch of their own in Harry Grams and Jayden Jackson, who each averaged better than 12 points per game as underclassmen in 2017-18.
Grafton won just four games in the North Shore last season, but were young and plagued by injuries. The Black Hawks were without maybe their best player in J.P. Benzschawel. Alex Huibregtse is back after posting 15.6 ppg as a sophomore. Senior Jaden Polack was also in double figures last season and sophomore Bryson Clague got very valuable experience on varsity. Talent-wise, you could argue Grafton has the most of anyone in the conference with the exception of Nicolet.
PRESEASON FIRST-TEAM ALL CONFERENCE
G Ryan Waddell – Homestead
G T.J. Simpson – West Bend East
G Alex Huibregtse – Grafton
F Jalen Johnson – Nicolet
F Jamari Sibley – Nicolet
G Harry Grams – Whitefish Bay
G Jayden Jackson – Whitefish Bay
F J.P. Benzschawel – Grafton
F James Graham – Nicolet
F Declan Ciurlik – Homestead
F Jadon Melvin – Hartford
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Nobody in the state means more to a team than Jalen Johnson. The five-star G/F essentially is the system. A do-it-all point forward prospect, Johnson averaged 18.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, and nearly five assists per game while leading Sun Prairie to a Big Eight Conference title and a trip to the Division 1 state tournament.
Sophomore Jadon Melvin showed over the summer that he could be ready for a big year with Hartford. A strong, versatile forward, Melvin plays bigger than his size and brings a different level of physicality to the floor. As a freshman, Melvin posted around 14 points and five rebounds per game for the Orioles.
The North Shore didn’t get to see how good J.P. Benzschawel was last year. In his first varsity game, Benzschawel tallied 18 points and 10 rebounds as a freshman against South Milwaukee, but suffered a season-ending injury in the process.