Season Countdown

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This Blog is dead

I've moved to http://mnbuckets.wordpress.com/  Hopefully you'll come follow me there.  I have big plans for the year.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Kenyon Wanamingo GBB Preseason Primer

Head Coach:  Brent Lurken

Record last season:  20-9 overall 9-3 conference

Athletes to Watch:
Maddie Anfinson SR
Kailee Berquam SR
Audra Clark SR
Meg Clark SR
Siri Sviggum SR
Emily Ashland JR
Brittney Flom JR
Megan Quam JR
Savannah Bleess FR
Mara Quam FR

Team Strengths:  Experience, Shooting, Work Ethic

Games to Look forward to:  NRHEG, Pine Island & Goodhue

Comments/Notes:  The top 8 players return for the Knights including all-conference players Sviggum & Clark.  The team & coach are very excited for the season in which they'll play at a very high pace.

Mound-Westonka Boys Preview

Season Preview: Mound Westonka White Hawks

HEAD COACH: Tyler Biwan

RECORD LAST SEASON (OVERALL/CONFERENCE): 11-16 (6-10)

ATHLETES TO WATCH: 
Tynan O'Hara (Sr)
Gabe Wear (Jr)
Ryan Rahn (Sr)

KEY PERSONNEL LOSSES:
Colin Host
Trevor Blackstone
Joe Herder
Jesse Orenge

TEAM STRENGTHS:
Defense, Basketball IQ, Chemistry

TEAM WEAKNESSES:
Size, Rebounding, Inexperience

GAMES TO LOOK FORWARD TO: 
Holy Angels, Big Lake, at Wayzata, at Chanhassen, Waconia, Holy Family, Delano, Orono

COACHES COMMENTS:
The White Hawks return 14 ppg from last season and a lot of unknowns.  Seniors Tynan O'Hara and Ryan Rahn developed throughout last season along with junior Gabe Wear.  While on paper it looks to be a down season, a senior class of 8 looks to leave a mark on the program.  Coach Biwan begins his first year as head coach coming from Blake as an assistant, who will now be a familiar section opponent as the White Hawks join Section 6AAA.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Goodhue Boys & Forest Lake Girls preseason primer


Goodhue Boys (12-15 overall 4-8 conference)

Head Coach:  Matt Halverson

Players to Watch:
Riley Bollum SR
Tyler Schumacher JR
Alex Thomforde SR
Austin Buck SR
Riley Augustine JR
Ethan Dressen JR

Key Personnel Losses:
Tyson Dicke 

Team Strengths:  Speed & size

Team Weaknesses:  Inexperience at some positions

Games to Look forward to:   Bethlehem Academy, Hayfield, Blooming Prairie, Cannon Falls

Comments/Notes:   This is Coach Halverson's first season as the head man at GHS.  Bollum & Schumacher return as the 2 leading scorers, so that is a good start.  The key to a successful season may lie in how the sophomore class adapts to the varsity level & performs.


Forest Lake Girls   (21-7 overall, 12-6 conference)

Head Coach: Jen Wagner

Athletes to Watch:
Bailey Norby
Emily Peters
Anna Eckert
Hanna Vidludn

Key Personnel Losses:  
Angie Frericks
KP Palo

Team Strengths:  Leadership & experience

Team Weaknesses: Being consistent

Games to look forward to: Roseville, Park of Cottage Grove, White Bear Lake, Breakdown & Dick's Sporting Goods holiday tourneys

Comments/Notes:  The team returns a lot of good talent returning.  The offense will be very balanced, while defense will be filled with pressure all season.  Losing in the section final game last season served as quite the motivator to get ready for this season.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Litchfield & Woodbury Girls Preseason Preview

Litchfield Girls (15-13 overall 4-10 conference)

Head Coach:  Bill Huhner

Players to Watch:
Tabitha Stubeda SR
Kelsey Wattenhofer SR
Mariah Hoff JR
Hannah Norlin JR
Bre Sittig JR
Macy Huhner FR
Kyndra Beavers FR

Key Personnel Losses:
Bailey Koch
Greta Walsh

Team Strengths:  Defense, Rebounding, unselfishness

Team Weaknesses:  Inexperience

Games to Look forward to:   Eden Valley-Watkins, New London-Spicer, Sauk Centre, Upsala  Dassel-Cokato, Foley

Comments/Notes:   The Dragons will be tested every night in the Wright County Conference which will likely sport several state ranked teams.   Most of last seasons scoring is now gone, so the tight knit group of returners will be looked upon to pick up that slack.   Along with the tough conference schedule, the non-conference one is tough as well and will prepare the Dragons for tournament time in March.

Woodbury Girls   (19-10 overall, 12-6 conference)

Head Coach: Nathan McGuire

Athletes to Watch:
Kallie Hakes SR
Kayla Bilski JR
Cici Kieger FR
Brooke Bowlin FR

Key Personnel Losses:  
Kristina White (Vermont)

Team Strengths:  Team Speed

Team Weaknesses: Inexperienced

Games to look forward toPark of Cottage Grove, St Paul Central, Wonderland tourney w.Washburn, North St Paul & Shakopee.

Comments/Notes:  Woodbury lost 6 seniors from last seasons team, so there will be a quite a few varsity newcomers who will be asked to step up to the higher level of play and contribute.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Just looking for an edge

WARNING:  There will be a lot of incoherent rambling here so please forgive me with the poor writing skills & for being hard on myself.  Those are a couple of my biggest faults.

It seems every time I get basketball on the brain, which is always several times daily, I'll sit there and try and figure out what is the best thing to do or what can I do to offer people basketball information that is different or OK, I'll admit, sometimes better than anyone else's.  Actually I've been thinking this for the past 3 years and I continue to struggle with what that answer is.  So, what I decided to do was to hopefully share with the few that really read my blog I have some of the things that have crossed my mind and would consider doing.

This past year especially, I feel I have been rather annoying sometimes in my requests to several across the MN Basketball nation practically begging for people to use me as someone to pass off information to about teams or players you follow.  I'm not going to do that anymore, this blog will be the last time it will look like I am doing that if you felt that way.  If you catch me doing that in the future, I want you to call me out on it.

 One thing, I'm not planning on doing this season is worry about chasing down every last score on game nights.  We have several people who do that already, no reason for me to duplicate anymore.  Please be sure to keep me in the loop though with all the results, no one will likely want to see them worse than I will.  If I sense slacking in reporting by the others, I reserve the right to change my mind on this one!  

You will see me continue doing the daily Numbers to Know that I did last season.  The template for that will be a little different and include both boys & girls notes.  Same type of concept, possibly will track a couple MN college players each time as well.  I can handle that with no issue.  It seemed to go over pretty well with fans last year.

Let's talk about ranking the teams in the state, last year I did this one on my own & got it out early in the week far ahead of what anyone else did.  Rankings don't mean anything and are for run, but coming out on Wednesday or Thursday the week following is ridiculous, you need to see those Monday before any games are held that current week.  That's when you'll see the MN Buckets Top 13.  For this season I recently reached out via Twitter looking for non-biased people who might be interested in being part of a voting panel for boys and/or girls.  I received 7 willing people to partake in one or both and I thank those folks for letting me know they want in.  That dream is still very much alive, but we need more to assist to make it of worth for everyone.  I'm trying to form these panels early, so that the rules are in place and by the time the season comes everyone will know what to do and I can work on my other things & enjoy the games as well.

 I'd certainly like to do more Preseason Primers, but I need some people to fill out the form for them.  At this point, I don't care who fills it out as long as it is legit and in good taste  Shoot me an email, I will send you the attachment if interested.  mnbuckets@gmail.com

For one last time, I'd like to offer myself up as someone who is willing to report basketball information.  I do not know everything about basketball in the state, but I want to learn as much as I can about it.  This is where I depend on each and every one of you who follow this blog or whatever else that I do.  I'd like to say my education of the players and teams in the state has grown immensely over past seasons  Let's help each other continue to track & learn about the greatest game ever invented.  

Please leave a comment or thoughts on this via email or right on this blog.  I'd really appreciate some feedback so I can be of value rather than of annoyance.

Thanks!











Friday, October 11, 2013

Preseason Primer Fergus Falls Girls & Eden Valley Watkins Boys

Fergus Falls Girls (29-1 overall)

Head Coach:  Brad Strand

Players to Watch:
Anna Monke
Bailey Strand
Brianna Rasmusson
Dev Smith
Kristin Traiser

Key Personnel Losses:
Hanna Swenson

Team Strengths:  Experience, team cohesion, smart, play a lot of hoops 

Games to Look forward to:   Alexandria, Thief River Falls, STMA

Comments/Notes:   Five very polished and experienced players return from last seasons 29-1 squad who fell in a 79-78 heart breaker in the opening round at state to Monticello.   Something like that would be very motivating, so the Otters have every intention of getting back to the tournament this year.  Bailey Strand & Taylor Rasmusson already have made college commitments for next year.  Fergus Falls will be a top tier Class AAA team with the highest expectations.

Eden Valley Watkins Boys  (12-14 overall, 4-10 conference)

Head Coach: Adam Langer

Athletes to Watch:
Brett Mattice JR 15 ppg 4.5 rpg
Jared Striet JF 13.2 ppg 11.3 rpg

Key Personnel Losses:  
Lost 5 seniors (3 starters)

Team Strengths:  shooting, rebounding

Team Weaknesses: youth,  depth

Games to look forward to: HLWW, Rockford, Pierz

Comments/Notes:  Youth at EVW will still be present this season, but a nice set of returning juniors in Mattice & Striet do cover some of the statistical necessities for a successful team.  The remainder of the younger guys returning did put in a number of hours over the summer so steps in the right direction have been made.  Getting the experience & building confidence, will be early season goals.