Hopkins will be led by three outstanding seniors as they return four of their starters. Kris Humphries played for the U.S. team in the recent COPBA Tournament in Venezuela and was one of the top players at the recent Nike All-American camp. He committed to Duke. He is joined in the frontcourt by 6-8 Dan Coleman, nephew of former Minnesota and Maryland big man, Ben Coleman, who played five seasons in the NBA. Coleman committed to Boston College. Darren Clarke, who scored 41 points for the Howard Pulley Panthers at the Super Showcase, committed to St. Louis earlier. Junior Mitch Henke is among the top Minnesotans in the Class of 2004.
Hopkins will also play in the Slam Dunk to the Beach in December and at Duke university in January.
Patrick Henry has won three straight Class AAA titles. Head coach Larry McKenzie must replace 6-2 Terry Pettis, who signed with Fresno State and 6-3 Zerek Knight, who inked with Centenary. Lawrence McKenzie Jr. committed to Oklahoma and is perhaps the state’s second best player behind Humphries. Center Calvin Walls, who played for Class AAAA champion Osseo in 2001-02, is hoping to win his third straight state title. He is an athletic leaper and shotblocker, who will be asked to show more offense this season. Steve Neal might potentially be the state’s top junior. He played in the Nike all-American Camp this summer.
Litchfield (MN) High won the 2000 and 2002 Minnesota Class AA state titles and return four starters. The Dragons, who finished 27-3, are led by 6-6 senior John Carlson, who was named second team Minnesota Associated Press All-State as a sophomore. He is one of three three-year starters for Litchfield. Carlson, who is also a standout football player, was Litchfield leading scorer and rebounder at 15.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Carlson shot 58% from the field and finished second on the team in blocks (26), steals (62) and assists (118). Carlson, the son of the Dragons’ head coach, and teammate Joe Patten along with Long Prairie-Grey Eagle's Matt Siegle shared West Central Conference-North Most Valuable Player honors for the 2001-2002 season. Patten led the Dragons in assists (161) and 3-pointers (68). The 5-11 guard shot 43% from beyond the arc (68 of 158) and 75% from the foul line. Patten led the team with 69 steals and averaged 3.1 rebounds per game. 6-2 Hans Hoeg, who is also the quarterback on the football team, shot 43% from 3-point range and 50% from the field. His 81 percent clip at the foul line led the team. Hoeg averaged 10.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. 6-5 Terry Euerle shot 45% from the field and averaged 10.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals per outing.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are still working on the opponents for the three Minnesota teams. Lakeland (FL) Kathleen led by Florida commitment 6-8 power forward, Chris Richard, Compton (CA) Dominguez, who is paced by 6-6 Travon Free, who recently verballed to Long Beach State, Atlanta (GA) Southwest Christian, who is led by top junior 6-10 forward Dwight Howard and Worcester (MA) Academy are among the school considered to face the Minnesota squads. Worcester has three players who have made verbal commitments. 6-6 forward Sam Kaplan committed to Yale, 6-5 guard Dwight Brewington to Providence and 6-0 point guard Steve Hailey to Boston College.