State tournament season is always one of the most fun times of the year in high school sports.
For some programs, getting there is just one step towards winning a state championship. For others, it was a goal set when the season started but actually getting there was a dream realized.
This week’s Boys State Basketball Tournament is at Target Center and Williams Arena, and both will likely be attended by several current Division I coaches. Some will be watching players they’ve already signed and spent years getting to know. Others might be trying to get one last look at a player before trying to get a commitment.
Regardless, plenty of talent will be on display as teams chase state championships. Here’s a look at the top players who will be at the state tournament. Of the 10 Mr. Basketball finalists, seven have reached the state playoffs.
Champlin Park – McKinley Wright and Theo John
Champlin Park is the No. 1 seed and at 29-0, is the heavy favorite to win the Class 4A state title The Rebels had a similar run two years ago, being undefeated before losing to Apple Valley in the state championship. But this year is different as Champlin Park features two Mr. Basketball finalists in center Theo John and guard McKinley Wright. Both were highly-recruited by Richard Pitino and the Gophers, but both decided on other schools. John is headed to Marquette next year, and Wright signed with Dayton in Ohio. In the regular season, Wright scored more than 22 points per game and added eight rebounds. John added 13.9 points and 8.7 rebounds. The Rebels face Chaska on Wednesday.
Lakeville North – Nathan Reuvers
One of the top scoring big men in Minnesota is back at the state tournament as Nathan Reuvers leads No. 4 seed Lakeville North against No. 5 Wayzata on Wednesday. Reuvers is headed to Wisconsin next year to play for the Badgers, and scores nearly 26 points per game on the season for the Panthers. He’s also Lakeville North’s top rebounder at 12.1 per game. He’s a tough match-up for defenses with his size to score inside and ability to shoot from the perimeter. He’s also a finalist for Mr. Basketball.
Maple Grove – Brad Davison and Tywhon Pickford
Maple Grove is the No. 2 seed for the state playoffs and has a pair of Division I recruits, and maybe one of the favorites for Mr. Basketball. The Crimson will face Andover in Wednesday’s quarterfinals. Maple Grove is led by all-everything point guard Brad Davison, who is joining Reuvers next year at Wisconsin. Davison scores nearly 25 points per game and is the unanimous leader of the team. He also averages more than seven rebounds per game. But not to be overlooked is athletic guard Tywhon Pickford. He’s also a scoring machine for Maple Grove with more than 21 points per game. Pickford is getting several looks from smaller Division I schools.
Cretin-Derham Hall – Daniel Oturu
Gophers basketball fans should be in attendance at Target Center Wednesday afternoon when unseeded Cretin-Derham Hall takes on No. 3 Apple Valley. The Raiders will be looking to pull the upset of the Eagles, and they’ll need their stars to do it. One of them is junior post player Daniel Oturu. He announced his verbal commitment to play for Minnesota and Richard Pitino back in January. Oturu’s hope is that other locals follow him. For the season, Oturu is averaging nearly 20 points per game, more than 16 rebounds per game and more than six blocks per game. He had scholarship offers from all over the country, including Kansas, but opted instead to stick with the Gophers.
Apple Valley – Tre Jones
Cretin-Derham Hall’s opponent, Apple Valley, is seeking its second state title in three years. The Eagles have one of the most highly-sought after point guards in the country, and he’s only a junior. Tre Jones does a little bit of everything for Apple Valley. He’s their leading scorer at more than 23 points per game and one of their top rebounders at about 10 per game. He’s also averaging more than seven assists per game. Every major program in the country is after him, including the Gophers.
DeLaSalle – Goanar Mar, Gabe Kalscheur
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: DeLaSalle is a favorite to win the Class AAA state title. The Islanders have won five straight championships, and are likely headed for their sixth this year. Their roster is filled with talent that will play in college. DeLaSalle is led by post player Goanar Mar, who is averaging more than 21 points per game and about nine rebounds. He is committed to play in college at George Mason. Guard Gabe Kalscheur is a junior averaging more than 17 points per game and has several scholarship offers, including the Gophers.
Minnehaha Academy – Jalen Suggs
Minnehaha Academy is the No. 1 seed for the Class AA State Tournament, and they have a roster that’s loaded with talent. Their top player, a freshman point guard, might be one of the most highly-touted in the country by the time he’s a junior. Jalen Suggs scores more than 21 points per game, eight rebounds and five assists. That’s right, a freshman. You can bet the Gophers have him on their recruiting radar.
It’s a good time to go out and see some of the top players in the state. You’ll get your money’s worth.