Minnesota Timberwolves Shootout Preview

The Minnesota Timberwolves Shootout features six games as many of the top teams in Minnesota will play at the Target Center Saturday. Last year, the eventual AA state champs Braham and AAAA winner Hopkins played in the event. The Minnesota teams finished 4-2 last year after going 4-1 the previous season. Fourteen future NBA players and over 130 major Division I players have played in the Shootout.

Minnesota Timberwolves Shootout Schedule

10 a.m. Minnetonka vs. Mobile (AL) Leflore

12 p.m. Benilde-St. Margaret's vs. Woodland Hills (CA) Taft

2 p.m. Hopkins vs. North Hollywood (CA) Campbell Hall

4 p.m. Osseo vs. Lake Oswego (OR) High

6 p.m. Cretin-Derham Hall vs. Houston (TX) Westbury Christian

8 p.m. Maranatha Christian vs. Linn-Mar Iowa


Minnetonka is off to a 6-2 start this season and won the recent Hastings Tournament. The Skippers finished 9-17 last year as they have faced what could be the state's most difficult schedule. They are led by Anthony Tucker, who is perhaps one of the top players in the state for the Class of 2008. Tucker is averaging 15.3 points per game as the Skippers have four players averaging double figures. He had four games of more than 30 points and six more contests of more than 20 points last season. He scored a season-high 38 points versus Henry Sibley as former Minnesota head coach Dan Monson was in attendance. Tucker scored in double figures in 21 of 22 games and averaged 20.6 points per game for the Skippers. Tucker was the Skippers' leading returning scorer after averaging 14.1 points per game as a freshman. Tucker shot better than 41% from three-point range and pulled down 3.5 rebounds per game in 2004-05. Tucker was the first freshman to be named unanimous all-conference in the Classic Lake Conference. The Skippers are also led by fellow classmates C.J. Erickson and Andy Burns. The 6-foot-6 Erickson became a starter in the middle of his freshman season, but broke his foot in early February. He had a strong sophomore campaign as he averaged 13 points per game and 111.9 points this season. Burns averaged 12.2 points at the point guard spot last season and is averaging 9.1 points this year. Burns is also a standout defensive back on the Skippers' football team. Former reserves Andrew Latzke and C. J. Schilling have emerged this season. Latzke, a 6-foot-6 junior, has scored in double figures in all eight games and is averaging 12.3 points per game. Schilling, the younger brother of former Minnetonka standout Shane Schilling, is a 6-foot-4 junior and is averaging 10.9 points per game.


Mobile (AL) Leflore has been one of the top teams in Alabama the past three years as they have finished 92-12 during that time. The Rattlers were ranked #11 in the USA Today Poll before losing to Los Angeles (CA) Fairfax 52-42 in the T-Mobile Invitational boys championship at the University of Washington's Hec Edmundson Pavilion last weekend and are off to a 16-1 start. They finished 28-6 last season and advanced to the regional semifinals last year. Their key loss was lost Johnny Mayhane, who averaged 19 points and eight rebounds per game and  signed with Tulane. LeFlore lost to teams from California, Georgia, Texas and Louisiana by one, two, three and four points last season. This year's team is led by 6-foot-3 junior Nick Williams, who averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds per game last year for the Rattlers. Williams is committed to Marquette. They also feature senior guard Joshua Wesley, six-foot-5 senior forward Derrick Young and junior center James Buford. The Rattlers have won the Iolani Classic in Hawaii and MGM Invitational in Semmes, Alabama this year. LeFlore finished with a 35-1 record and No. 2 national ranking before falling in the 6A championship game in 2005.


Benilde St. Margaret finished 20-8 and 11-3 in the North Suburban Conference last season, falling to Class AAA champion DeLaSalle 57-55 in the playoffs and is off to a 4-2 start this year. The Red Knights are led by Jordan Taylor, who averaged 20 points and 6.0 assists per game as a sophomore. He scored in double figures all 28 games and had a season-high 37 points versus Spring Lake Park. Taylor, who has already committed to Wisconsin, is a point guard with a scoring mentality. He is averaging 19.6 points per game and scored 37 points in the season opener versus Edina. Armond Battle, a thin 6-foot-6 junior forward, averaged 15.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game last year. He scored in double figures in 23 of 27 games and had 20 or more points eight times last season and is averaging 20.7 points this year. Battle has received a scholarship offer from Wisconsin Green Bay and has interest from several other Midwest teams. The duo played for the Howard Pulley AAU team and Minnesota Select this summer. Guards Peter Ritchie and Matt Thomas add some scoring balance as they are averaging 10.4 and 10.0 points per game, respectively.


Woodland Hills (CA) Taft lost Justin Hayes, who signed with Oregon State, but will spend a season at prep school from a 24-7 team that lost to Clovis West in the opening round of the Southern California Regionals in the Div. I state tournament. However, the Toreadors are still loaded with talent and are off to a 9-2 start. Their lone losses were to perennial California power Westchester in the Westchester Tip-Off Classic and to Newark (NJ) St. Benedict's in the Glaxosmithklnie Invitational in Raleigh, North Carolina.  They are led by 6-foot junior guard Larry Drew. His father played in the NBA for ten years and averaged 11.4 points and 5.2 assists in 714 career games for four NBA teams and is currently an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks. The younger Drew shined as a member of the Pump and Run Elite, leading the team to title in the adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas and the Best of the Summer title. Drew is being recruited by schools such as UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, California, Washington, Stanford, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, and Miami. He is averaging 10.4 points per game this season. Bryce Smith, a 6-foot-1 junior guard is averaging a team-best 15.6 points and Justin Hawkins, a 6-foot-3 junior, who is contributing 10.4 points. Garrett Green, a 6-foot-10 forward who committed to LSU over USC, Texas A&M, Arizona State and Oregon, is averaging 7.0 points per game


Hopkins, the two-time state champions, is off to an 8-0 start this season. The Royals finished 29-2 last season and won their second straight Class AAAA title. The Royals are led by 6-foot-3 senior guard Blake Hoffarber, who is averaged 19.6 points per game this season, up from 17.9 points as a junior. Hoffarber was named first-team All-Metro by the Star Tribune and received scholarship offers from schools such as Louisville, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech before signing with the hometown Gophers. Hoffarber showed more of a scoring streak last season with the loss of Arden Skoglund, who signed with Valparaiso, and Andrew Henke, who is at the Air Force. He scored a career-best 42 points in their 91-77 win over Classic Lake Conference rival Minnetonka earlier last season and also finished with 11 rebounds and 10 assists as Hoffarber scored 26 points in the second half. He received plenty of national attention after leading the Royals to a 73-60 double-overtime win over Eastview in the Minnesota Class AAAA championship game and winning an ESPY for Play of the Year as a sophomore. He led Hopkins to a 31-1 mark and scored 53 points in the three state playoff games last season as a sophomore. Hoffarber will be asked once again to carry more of the scoring load this season with the loss of Dan Vandervieren, who is at Purdue and Steve Duncan, who is playing for Division II Minnesota-Duluth. The Royals' only two losses in the past year and half were suffered when Purdue signee Vandervieren was forced to sit out two weeks for violating a Minnesota State High School League rule. The Royals are a strong favorite to win their third straight Class AAAA title after winning the Pacesetter Sweet 16 title in St. Joseph's, MN in August. Hoffarber is helped by the play of senior point guard Tyler Nicolai, who is an outstanding floor general and outside threat. He is averaging 15.6 per game, up from 9.1 points last season. Raymond Cowles, a 6-foot-4 forward, is averaging 10.5 per game, up from 7.1 points last season.  He is one of several talented sophomores on the Royals' roster. Mike Broghammer, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, has already received a scholarship offer from North Dakota State and is averaging 5.3 points Chris Pfeifer, a 6-foot-6 senior who is averaging 5.1 points per game, signed with Division II Concordia St. Paul in the fall. Anthony Di Loreto, a 6-foot-10 junior, is averaging 6.6 points per game. He needs to add bulk, but is the latest in a line of talented Hopkins big men that has included former Gophers Jeff Hagen, Kris Humphries and Dan Coleman.   


North Hollywood (CA) Campbell Hall finished 26-6 last season, a year after going 32-0 and winning CIF Division IV state championship. The Vikings are off to a 10-1 start this season, falling for the first time last week to St. Andrew's Prep 79-77 in the Bay Ball Classic in Delaware. Jrue Holiday, a 6-foot-4 junior shooting guard, averaged 21.0 points, 9.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game last season and is averaging 26 points this season. He is being recruited by most of the Pac-10 powers and national teams like North Carolina, Texas, Gonzaga and Florida State. Older brother, Justin Holiday, a 6-foot- senior, averaged 20 points and 11.7 rebounds per game last year and is headed to Washington. He is averaging 13.7 points this season. Robert Ford, a 6-foot-3 senior, who averaged 14.8 points per game last year, is averaging 12.0 points this season.

Osseo is off to a 4-3 start after finishing in third place in the Rochester Rotary Tournament. The Orioles finished 17-10 last season, losing to Maple Grove in the first round of the section playoff after having beat the Crimson twice during the regular season. The Orioles are led by Xavier Reed, who averaged 16.2 points per game last season. Reed scored in double figures in 24 of 27 games and had eight games of 20 or more points. He signed with Cal State-Northridge in the early signing period and is averaging 17.0 points this season Carrington Tankson, a 6-foot-4 forward, averaged 8.3 points per game as a sophomore and had a strong summer, playing to the Howard Pulley 16-and-under AAU team. Tankson has boosted his scoring to 10.6 points this season. Zach Peterson, a 6-foot-11 junior center, transferred from Park Center to Osseo this year. He averaged 13 points per game last season and is contributing 7.2 points this year.


Lake Oswego (OR) High won the Oregon Class AAAA Tournament last year defeating South Medford 59-57 in the title game. The Lakers finished 26-3 and their three losses were to teams from Pennsylvania, California and New Jersey and won their last 21 games of the season. The Lakers are off to a 7-1 start with their lone loss to South Medford 71-63 in the Les Schwab Invitational. South Medford is led by Duke signee Kyle Singler. Lake Oswego is led by Kevin Love, who is Hoopmasters.com #1 player in the country. The 6-foot-9 Love is an outstanding rebounder and is considered perhaps the top passing big man in recent memory. The UCLA commit led the Reebok ABCD camp in scoring and rebounding. His father, Stan played in the NBA for four years for Baltimore and the Los Angeles Lakers. Lake Oswego also returns starters Taylor Marr and Ernie Spada.


Cretin Derham Hall finished 26-3 last season, losing to Woodbury 84-70 in the section finals. The Raiders return most of their team, which are also standouts on the football field and is off to a 6-3 start. Their top scorer for the past two years is Broderick Binns, a highly-sought defensive end who had offers from Minnesota and Arizona State before committing to Iowa. Binns averaged 17.9 points per game and scored in double figures 26 of 29 games last season. He scored 20 or more points 12 times, including a season-high 31 points versus Stillwater. Binns has been slowed by a thigh bruise, which caused him to miss the first six games of the season. He is averaging 12.7 points per game this year. Michael Floyd, a standout junior wide receiver who has already received scholarship offers Notre Dame, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, averaged 10.9 points per game as a sophomore. He was named Gatorade's Minnesota football Player of the Year and was named second team All-USA Today He scored more than 20 points three times last year and is averaging 13.3 points this season. John Nance, a junior wide receiver/quarterback, averaged 10.5 points per game last year and has boosted his scoring to 15.1 points, best on the team. Nance and Floyd played on the Minnesota Magic AAU 16-and-under team this summer. Joe Springer, a senior quarterback who was the St. Paul Pioneer Press Player of the Year, averaged 7.9 points per game last year. He has missed the past four games with a hairline fracture on his left hand and is averaging 9.8 points per game.  

Houston (TX) Westbury Christian is making its second appearance in the Timberwolves Shootout. The Wildcats played in the event when former standout and ex-Timberwolves first rounder Nbudi Ebi led the team versus Kris Humphries and Hopkins. The Wildcats are off to a 9-12 start and return plenty of size in 6-foot-6 senior Jeff Francis, 6-foot-6 Kevin Perry and 6-foot-8 junior Dwight Miller. Six-foot-two guard Rye Olson is leading the team with 13.5 points per game


Maranatha finished 31-2 last season, finishing in fourth place in the Class A State tournament. The Mustangs were undefeated before losing their last two games of the season. They lost Stephen Hanson, who averaged a team-high 21.7 points per game and is playing at Northwestern College along with older brother Daniel. Younger brother, 6-foot-6 junior David Hanson, averaged 16.5 points per game as he scored in double figures in 29 of 33 games last season. He is averaging 22.7 points per game this year. Alex Thomas, a 6-foot-5 senior, averaged 15.3 points and reached double figures 28 of 33 contests. He is averaging 20.3 points per game and scored 45 in their last game against Pine City. Jonathan Pearson, a 6-foot-2 senior, is averaging 13.6 points per game this year.


Marion (IA) Lin-Marr returns to the Timberwolves Shootout for the second straight season. The Lions must replace standout guard Jason Bohannon, who will play at Wisconsin this season. Bohannon helped lead the Lions to a fourth place finish in the Class AAAA Tournament, scoring 43 points in the consolation game as the team finished 23-4. Linn-Mar has been one of the top teams in Iowa the past few years. They finished 24-2 in 2005 and were Class AAAA runner-up and were 24-3 in 2004, winning the Class AAAA title and are off to a 6-0 start this season. They return starters Jordan Printy, a 6-foot-5 senior and 6-foot-4 center Joe Elgin. Printy, who signed with Indiana State, averaged 16.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game last year.



Gopher Illustrated Top Stories