NY2LASPORTS.COM - NY2LA SPORTS EXTRAVAGANZA PREVIEW
Antonio Curro — NATIONAL RECRUITING DIRECTOR - NY2LASPORTS.COM
The 4th annual NY2LA Sports Extravaganza tips off Saturday afternoon as a number of solid prospects from the Badger state take to the hardwood at Nicolet High School in Glendale, Wisconsin. Headlined by a feature matchup that involves undefeated and #2 ranked Appleton East against #13 ranked Milwaukee Marquette, this year’s event will once again feature some quality teams and solid prospects. Here’s a preview of what to expect this weekend…
NY2LA Sports Extravaganza January 15, 2011 @ Nicolet High School – Glendale, Wisconsin
3:15 p.m. – #2 ranked Appleton East (11-0) vs. #13 ranked Milwaukee Marquette (6-3)
Appleton East Preview
Head Coach John Mielke
Expected to challenge for the Division 1 state championship at the end of the season, Appleton East is rolling right now as they are undefeated and currently ranked as the #2 ranked team in the state of Wisconsin and could be the top ranked team by game time pending the results on Friday night. Balance is the key for East as they boast four scorers in double figures and a fifth on the cusp of averaging double figures.
Senior SF Eric Schultz powers the attack for East with a 15.0 PPG average and has been a consistent and dominant force all season long with his ability to make big baskets game in and game out. The top prospect on the team is the long wiry junior F Sam Mader who averages 11.2 PPG. Mader has the ability to score inside and outside and can be a dominant force on the glass as well. The catalyst offensively is senior PG Johnny Coenen who averages 10 PPG and has been excellent in terms of his decision making and playmaking all season long. Two other key weapons for East are senior G Caleb Zeegers (10.0 PPG) and senior G Trent Schmidt (9.9 PPG).
Milwaukee Marquette Preview
Head Coach – David Cooks
Another teams expected to compete for the Division 1 state championship this season, the Hilltoppers started slowly but appear to be playing their best basketball of the season right now with an impressive win over Beloit Memorial on Saturday. They sit at 6-3 on the season and are currently ranked as the #13 team in the state with key victories so far over Memorial, Menomonee Falls and Brookfield Central.
Vermont bound senior PF John Kopriva sets the tone for the Hilltoppers as he’s a skilled talent with an ability to dominant the paint in terms of scoring the basketball and controlling the glass. His ability to have a big game on both ends will be key for Marquette on Saturday and he heads into the contest averaging 14.1 PPG. The catalyst offensively is senior PG Quinten Calloway who takes the court as the leading scorer for Marquette with a 14.9 PPG average. Other key components to the Hilltoppers attack are senior F/C Phil O’Connor (6.6 PPG), senior G Mike Fertl (6.7 PPG), and senior G/F Ryan Grad (6.6 PPG).
1:30 p.m. – Merrill (4-6) vs. #6 ranked Wisconsin Lutheran (9-2)
Head Coach – Kurt Soderberg
Merrill has struggled through a disappointing season so far and has been up and down for the most part. However, they hit the court on Saturday featuring two of the premiere prospects in the state in Virginia bound senior SG Paul Jesperson and sophomore F David Jesperson, both of which are high major talents.
Jesperson is the top 2011 prospects in the state and a Wisconsin Mr. Basketball candidate this season. Equipped with excellent size and length that he pairs with a lethal perimeter stroke, Jesperson has the ability to take over the game on the offensive end of the court at any time, a fact that he put on display year in and year out on his way to an NBA Top 100 camp invite last summer and an ACC scholarship with Virginia. He’s scoring at a 21.6 PPG clip so far this season.
While Paul serves as the current face of the Merrill program, his younger brother sophomore F David Jesperson looks to be the future as the long wiry talent continues to evolve into a solid Division 1 prospect. At 6-8 Jesperson has excellent size and length and his skill package continues to evolve with each passing year. He plays a major role for Merrill as he’s their second leading scorer at 8.9 PPG this season. Another solid component for Merrill is senior G Matt Woller who comes in at an 8.1 PPG pace this season.
Wisconsin Lutheran Preview
Head Coach – Ryan Walz
Lutheran doesn’t have the big name this season but that hasn’t stopped the Vikings from putting together another impressive campaign as they sit at 9-2 on the year and are currently ranked as the #6 team in the state for Division 2 schools. Lutheran has key victories over Wauwatosa East and Milwaukee Washington so far this season, amongst others.
Northern Michigan bound senior PG Terry Nash leads the attack at 13.5 PPG this season. Nash is an ultra quick talent with excellent dribble penetration ability and a knack for creating havoc on both ends with his instincts and athleticism. Senior F Josh Gordon has been a huge factor for Lutheran this season at 11.5 PPG as he brings toughness and an ability to be an interior force to the table for the Vikings. Junior G Chris Golden is a key figure in the Vikings attack as well with his ability to knock down the perimeter jumper and make things happen on the offensive end of the court. Golden is averaging 9.5 PPG. Another name worth mentioning is junior F Emilio Lopez who brings 7.4 PPG to the table for the Vikings.
11:45 – Milwaukee Vincent (1-6) vs. Nicolet (7-4)
Milwaukee Vincent Preview
Head Coach – John Allen
The transfers of two key players during the offseason dealt a blow to Vincent this season and Coach John Allen is on the track of working to rebuild Milwaukee Vincent into a City Conference power with a very young roster this season.
Senior F Martell Collins is the biggest piece to the Vincent puzzle this season as he has shown an ability to score in bunches including a 30+ point effort earlier this season in a loss to Franklin. Collins can score inside and out and he’ll need to have a big game Saturday for Vincent against Nicolet. Senior G Charles Poe also serves as a big part of the offensive attack and he heads into the contest averaging 9.2 PPG. Sophomore G Jabari Hobson is one of the bright pieces on the rise in the future for Vincent and he is scoring at a 9 PPG clip so far this season.
Head Coach – Paul Hepp
Nicolet has been up and down a bit this season but they currently sit at a respectable 7-4 on the year with quality victories over Waukesha South, Whitefish Bay, and Milwaukee Homestead to their resume.
It all starts in the middle with Nicolet as senior C Christian Williams is a huge component to their attack. When he’s active in the paint and attacking the glass Nicolet is very tough to beat as he brings size and potential interior dominance to the court. He’s scoring 14.2 PPG on the season. Another talent who’s really opened some eyes this season is the ultra quick junior PG Corey Smith. He has solid athleticism, can handle the ball, and has shown an ability to make key plays in key situations this season to the tune of 11.6 PPG. Other names to watch include senior F Raheem Lemon who’s at 10.4 PPG and sophomore F Eugene Bonner who chips in 6.8 PPG so far this season.
Stay tuned to NY2LASPORTS.COM and 414HOOPS.COM for more on the 2011 NY2LA Sports Extravaganza this week…
Note: Antonio Curro is the National Recruiting Editor for NY2LASPORTS.COM, GENERATIONNEXBASKETBALL.COM and 414HOOPS.COM. He is also a national consultant for ESPNU and the HOOPSCOOP.