StaTuesday: Evaluating the ranks of Minnesota high school basketball

The class of 2017 is drawing comparisons to the star-studded class of 2014 that featured Timberwolves rookie Tyus Jones.

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The 2016 boys state basketball tournament featured more than a dozen potential Division I players, including several who have offers from top college basketball programs.

In addition, there were multiple Division I prospects who did not make the tournament, such as Champlin Park juniors Theo John and McKinley Wright and Rochester John Marshall brothers Michael and Matthew Hurt.

Michael Hurt, a 3-star senior according to Rivals.com, has committed to the Gophers. Ninth-grader Matthew has offers from Iowa and Iowa state, according to the site.

So is this the best group of basketball players in state history?

That’s harder to say. According to Rivals, there are five Minnesota seniors who have committed to playing Division I basketball next year and six more weighing Division I offers. Three of them are from Power 5 conference teams, including Michael Hurt and fellow Gophers’ recruit Amir Coffey, for whom many have high hopes next season.

Player HS Stars College choice or best offer
Amir Coffey Hopkins 4 Minnesota
Reed Nikko Maple Grove 3 Missouri
Brock Bertram Apple Valley 3 Buffalo
Michael Hurt Rochester John Marshall 3 Minnesota
Cameron Kirksey Apple Valley N/A Bryant, Furman
Steffon Mitchell Shakopee N/A Wichita State (10+ offers)
Luke Harris Northfield N/A Lehigh
Seth Coatta Minnetonka N/A North Dakota State
Amar Miller Minnetonka N/A Bryant, North Dakota
Tyler Peterson Centennial N/A North Dakota, South Dakota
Jamil Jackson Minneapolis North N/A North Dakota, Hampton

It might not be the best individual class, but couple it with the Class of 2017 and you have a whole team of Division I players. That class has 13 players with Division I offers, including multiple with offers to top programs. Apple Valley guard Gary Trent may be among the best players his age in the country and has offers from just about every big-time program. He plays along side Tre Jones, younger brother of Tyus Jones. Tre, a class of 2018 recruit, already has an offer from Duke.

Player HS Stars Best offer
Gary Trent Jr.  Apple Valley 5 Duke, Kentucky, UCLA
Ishmael El-Amin Hopkins 3 Texas Tech
Theo John Champlin Park 3 Minnesota, Marquette, Iowa
McKinley Wright Champlin Park 3 Kansas State, Iowa State
Goanar Mar DeLaSalle 3 Xavier, Iowa State
Nathan Reuvers Lakeville North N/A Wisconsin, Minnesota
Brad Davison Maple Grove N/A Nebraska, Northern Iowa
Simon Wright Hopkins N/A Providence
Jack Sorenson Lakeville South N/A Mississippi
Trae Berhow Watertown Mayer N/A Drake, South Dakota State
Myles Hanson Chaska N/A Northern Iowa
Jack Hutchinson Maple Grove N/A Montana State
Jordan Horn Tartan N/A South Dakota

As a class, 2017 is arguably the best since the star-studded 2014 class that featured the ‘big three’ of Tyus Jones, Rashad Vaughn and Reid Travis plus J.P. Macura. Jones and Vaughn were NBA Draft picks this past year, while Travis and Macura have been key players for Stanford and Xavier.

Player HS Stars College
Tyus Jones Apple Valley 5 Duke
Rashad Vaughn Cooper 5 UNLV
J.P. Macura Lakeville North 4 Xavier
Reid Travis DeLaSalle 4 Stanford
Paul Friendshuh New Prague 3 Richmond
Stephon Sharp Hopkins N/A Minnesota (Walk-on)
Geno Crandall DeLaSalle N/A North Dakota
Wheeler Baker Osseo N/A North Dakota
Ryan Keenan East Ridge N/A Pepperdine

Still, that class may not be as strong as the Class of 2008, which featured more than a dozen players with Division I offers, according to Rivals (Four of those players were from Hopkins alone). That class featured three NBA Draft picks in Royce White, Mike Miscala and Nate Wolters.

Player HS Stars College
Royce White Hopkins 5 Minnesota
Rodney Williams Cooper 4 Minnesota
Trent Lockett Hopkins 4 Arizona State
Sam Dower Osseo 3 Gonzaga
Mike Bruesewitz Henry Sibley 3 Wisconsin
Marc Sonnen Tartan 3 Northern Iowa
Raymond Cowels Hopkins 3 Santa Clara
Mike Broghammer Hopkins 3 Notre Dame
Ethan Wraggle Eden Prairie 2 Creighton
Mike Muscala Roseville N/A Bucknell
Nate Wolters St. Cloud Tech N/A South Dakota State
Mike Felt Redwood Valley  N/A North Dakota State
Jordan Aaberg Rothsay N/A North Dakota State
Caleb Palker Southwest Christian N/A South Carolina Upstate
Dylan Hale Minneapolis Washburn N/A Texas State
Josh Figini Chisago Lakes N/A Cornell
Emmanuel Addo Northfield N/A Northern Colorado

It’s hard to say what will happen with this year’s group of Division I prospects, since so many things can change in the next five years. But it does appear that this year’s group of players is as strong as any the state has ever seen, or at least since about the 2007-08-09 range. Don’t forget, Minnesota produced standouts those years, too, in Jordan Taylor, Cole Aldrich and Jon Leuer.

Information courtesy Rivals.com

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