Posted On: 11/6/19 6:24 PM
We’re just a few weeks away from the start of the 2019-20 season. Last year, the Division 1 race ran through the Greater Metro Conference. That figures to be the case one again as both Brookfield Central and Sussex Hamilton appear to be on a collision course at the top.
Who are the top 10 teams heading into the 2019-20 campaign? Prep Hoops Wisconsin drops our preseason rankings…
1. BROOKFIELD CENTRAL
2018-19 Record: 23-5
WIAA Playoff Finish: Won the state championship
Key Players: David Joplin (17.0 ppg), Ben Nau (9.3 ppg), Malik Abdul-Wahid (6.9 ppg), Eric Radisevic (1.8 ppg), Andrew Rohde (2.5 ppg)
This team is deeper than people think. Abdul-Wahid was a role player last season and blew up over the spring and summer. The 6-foot-5 combo
forward is a difficult matchup problem who can also defend multiple positions. Radisevic is the biggest secret in the state right now. The senior forward didn’t even average 2.0 ppg last season and has improved to the point where WIAC programs are lining up for him. The sophomore guard Rohde is going to give the Lancers a terrific shooting presence as well. Add all that with Nau and Joplin and this might be the deepest and most talented starting lineup in the state outside of perhaps La Crosse Central.
2. SUSSEX HAMILTON
2018-19 Record: 21-5
WIAA Playoff Finish: Lost to Brookfield Central in the sectional final
Key Players: Patrick Baldwin Jr. (19.0 ppg), Carson Smith (10.4 ppg), Tanner Resch (8.5 ppg), Lucas Finnessy (7.6 ppg), J.T. Hoytink (8.3 ppg).
Just about everything is back from last season’s squad that only lost two games within the state of Wisconsin, one of which just happened to be
the sectional final against Brookfield Central. While we went with the Lancers at No. 1, Baldwin probably has the final say at the end of the day as the five-star talent can do things that simply can’t be defended. The Chargers can also surround Baldwin with a plethora of dangerous shooters, including Smith and Resch, who are good enough to go get you 20 points on any given night.
2018-19 Record: 22-3
WIAA Playoff Finish: Lost to Neenah in the sectional semifinal
Key Players: Jake Buchanan (16.0 ppg), Logan Pearson (3.6 ppg), Grant Asman (1.2 ppg), Jackson Paveletzke
Don’t expect Kimberly to fall off too much despite losing Levi Borchert and Reed Miller. Buchanan, a Rockhurst commit, is as good as it gets
from the point guard position in this state when it comes to running the show and elevating those around him. In for a monster season, Buchanan looks to lead the Papermakers to back-to-back Fox Valley Association titles. Like Brookfield Central, Kimberly is deeper than people think. Asman, Pearson, and Paveletzke are all ready to take major steps forward.
4. SUN PRAIRIE
2018-19 Record: 21-7
WIAA Playoff Finish: Lost to Brookfield Central in the state championship game
Key Players: Colin Schaefer (11.3 ppg), Delaware Hale (12.2 ppg), Dawson Hughes (7.2 ppg)
If we learned anything from last season, it’s that you don’t sleep on Jeff Boos. Despite losing Duke commit Jalen Johnson, the Cardinals rallied
together and made a surprise run to the state championship game. Sun Prairie has to replace some key seniors, but this was a much different team when Schaefer came back from injury over the final nine games last season. Since then, Schaefer has been on a tear and will be one of the most improved players in the state. He and Hale will be arguably the best inside-outside duo in the Big Eight.
2018-19 Record: 19-8
WIAA Playoff Finish: Lost to Brookfield Central in the state semifinals
Key Players: Max Klesmit (24.3 ppg), Chevalier Emery, Cal Klesmit
Klesmit is going to put up monster scoring numbers this season. The Wofford commit went bananas towards the end of last season, leading
Neenah to the state tournament. He’s lost some key pieces to the supporting cast, but is more than capable of carrying Neenah deep into March once again. The Rockets have added Emery, a transfer who can score and facilitate at a high level. Klesmit’s younger brother, Cal, is expected to contribute as a freshman as well.
6. MADISON EAST
2018-19 Record: 22-2
WIAA Playoff Finish: Lost to Racine Horlick in the regional final
Key Players: Anthony Washington (16.9 ppg), Keonte Jones (10.0 ppg), Jevan Boyton (7.8 ppg), Ben Davis (.6 ppg).
The Purgolders rolled through the regular season and won the Big Eight with a 17-1 record, but were stunned in the regional final by Horlick
last season. Washington, a top 10 prospect is back for his senior season. His running mate, Jones, should be one of the bigger breakout players in the conference. Stepping in for Montae Thompson at point guard, Davis could be a big x-factor this season if East is going to repeat as league champs and get to the state tournament.
7. BROOKFIELD EAST
2018-19 Record: 20-5
WIAA Playoff Finish: Lost to Brookfield Central in the sectional semifinal
Key Players: Hayden Doyle (9.4 ppg), Michael Poker (11.8 ppg), Sam McGath (10.1 ppg)
This is one of those teams you hate seeing on the schedule because the Spartans are going to turn the game into a fistfight and they don’t beat
themselves. East does have to replace Riley Letourneau, but have proven over the past couple of seasons that they’re as good as anyone as rebuilding, winning 20 games last season after replacing Patrick Cartier. After a strong summer, Doyle looks like he’ll emerge as the feature player for the Spartans, but this is a group that will once again be balanced and one of the better defensive squads in the state.
8. RACINE CASE
2018-19 Record: 13-10
WIAA Playoff Finish: Lost to Waunakee in the regional final
Key Players: Jakobe Thompson (19.3 ppg), Terryon Brumby (11.4 ppg), Nick Fugiasco (5.9 ppg), Amari Jedkins (5.7 ppg)
This team might be a year away, but the Eagles will surely make a big jump this season. Featuring a very young roster last season, Case took
their lumps in the Southeast Conference but now return most of their core. Thompson is an electrifying, uptempo scorer, capable of putting up huge numbers. Brumby and Jedkins make this a very athletic unit. The Eagles also have some senior leadership as well with Fugiasco and Jonathan Rankins.
2018-19 Record: 19-5
WIAA Playoff Finish: Lost to Homestead in the regional finals
Key Players: Carter Gilmore (19.9 ppg), Sam Hytinen (6.0 ppg)
This team isn’t very deep, but when you have Gilmore, you have a chance. The Wisconsin commit can flirt with a triple-double every time he
steps on the floor. A point forward who averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists per game as a junior, Gilmore is one of two favorites to win Mr. Basketball in 2019-20. Hytinen will take a big step forward as a junior and it helps that the Classic Eight Conference should be down from last season.
10. EAU CLAIRE NORTH
2018-19 Record: 14-9
WIAA Playoff Finish: Lost to Appleton North in the regional finals
Key Players: Dalton Banks (23.3 ppg), Ashton Kallstrom (9.9 ppg), Chad Kron (9.5 ppg)
Banks, a Southern Illinois commit, had a couple of triple-doubles last season. The top point guard in Wisconsin’s senior class, Banks also dished
out better than seven assists last season. North can keep the ball in Banks’ hands and spread the floor with a variety of shooters. In fact, the Huskies had six players who made 10 or more 3-pointers last season, including four who connected on 30 triples or more.
Honorable Mention: Franklin, Eau Claire Memorial, Madison La Follette, Kenosha Indian Trail, West Allis Central, Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln, Milwaukee King, Bay Port, Menomonee Falls