March 20, 2007

Minnesota State Tournament Preview

The Minnesota State Basketball Tournament opens up tomorrow with games at the Target Center and Williams Arena. Even though both 2007 Gopher recruits came up short in their quest for State this year, five of the top nine seniors in Minnesota did make the event as did three of the top five juniors including Cody Schilling of Ellsworth.

Gopher fans were disappointed last Tuesday when both Blake Hoffarber and Al Nolen Jr. came up short in their quest for the state tournament. Blake's Hopkins team lost to Minnetonka while Minneapolis Henry and Nolen lost in a huge upset at the hands of Minneapolis Washburn.

Nolen and Hoffarber are two of the top players in the class of 2007 as is Jon Leuer whose Orono team fell at the hands of DeLaSalle in the first round. But five of the top nine seniors in state still made it to the elite event of Minnesota basketball including the top two ranked players Cole Aldrich of Bloomington Jefferson and Trevor Mbakwe of St. Bernards.

Noah Dahlman of Braham is back to state for the fourth year in a row and Justin Stommes is making a return trip with Rocori. And leading Armstrong is point guard Alex Rubin, an Illinois State recruit whose team is one of the favorites this week.

Looking at the juniors, three of the top five ranked players in Minnesota are playing this week as well. Two of them are from Benilde-St. Margaret's who enters the tournament as a favorite led by Armond Battle and Jordan Taylor. In class A, Cody Schilling has led Ellsworth back to state for the second year in a row.



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