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Minnesota high school boys basketball: Meet the top players of the state tournament

These are the players to watch in all classifications during the tournament

2023 Minnesota (MSHSL) Boys Basketball State Tournament Brackets

Minnesota’s top high school girl’s basketball players: Meet the state’s best “glue players”

Minnesota high school boys basketball: Predictions for the Class 4A state tournament

Class 1A

Drew Werkman, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton

A do it all athlete for the Knights, Drew Werkman puts up impressive numbers in all aspects of the game. He averages 17.2 points per game on a staggering .647 field goal percentage, as well as 8.1 rebounds and 2.3 steals to match. Well rounded on both offense and defense, look for Werkman to contribute in any way he can against Nevis.

Clint Determan, Border West

Determan is a second chance opportunist who can rebound and score for his team at will. Averaging 19.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game for the Bucs, Determan utilizes his natural athleticism to pull down rebounds and drive to the rim, and he has a deadly three ball to match that goes in nearly 40 percent of the time.

Erick Reader, New Life Academy

Erick Reader was born to rebound, and considering he averages 12.5 boards a game, it is safe to say he has lived up to that birthright thus far. 

The 6-foot-8 senior forward is a force of nature on the glass, and to top it all off, he scores 14.9 points a game. This double double machine will have his work cut out for him against Sacred Heart, his team’s first round opponent in the tournament.

Elijah Solum, Spring Grove

A two sport athlete that is a problem both on the gridiron or the hardwood, Elijah Solum is a freak athlete that uses his gifts to attack the rim, jumping above and beyond his defenders on the way to securing tough, contested buckets. Solum will lead 29-1 Spring Grove into battle against Mankato Loyola in the first round of state.

Class 2A

Holy Family: Kole Hanson and Boden Kapke

Spearheading an offense that averaged over 80 points per game, Kole Hanson and Boden Kapke both scored 21.9 points per game on their way to a one seed in the state tournament. 

Kapke also added 12.8 rebounds per game to his stat sheet, making him a tough rebounder who can pull down the ball when Hanson is shooting.

Jerome Williams, Minnehaha Academy

The 5-foot-10 junior guard was an asset to the Redhawks this year, scoring 20.4 points per game in part thanks to his acceleration from the top of the key, which allowed him to blow by much slower defenders for easy layups. 

His conference’s player of the year, Williams will look to bring his best against fourth seeded Maple River.

Aeron Stevens, Plainview-Elgin-Millville

Aeron Stevens strung together one strong section tournament, and is one of the many reasons the Bulldogs are going to state this year. The 6-foot-7 senior center can pull up from anywhere on the floor, a rare attribute for someone his size. 

His three ball, paired with his size and shooting ability, have earned him a spot at Southwest Minnesota State, where Stevens is committed to play next winter. However, his primary concern now is Dilworth, Plainview’s first opponent in state.

Class 3A

Matthew Bothun, St. Francis

St. Francis will have a daunting challenge in front of them in the form of one seeded Totino-Grace, but Matthew Bothun appears ready for the challenge. 

The 6-foot-9 North Dakota commit has averaged 25.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game so far this season, impressive numbers that go to show how versatile Bothun is on the floor. This versatility will be necessary for St. Francis to pull off the upset.

Patrick Bath, Totino-Grace

Despite averaging 16.6 points per game this year, Bath had multiple 30 point outings, which goes to show how dangerous he can be. This danger is ever present, and if St. Francis wants to fend off Totino-Grace, it will need to keep Bath away from the ball.

Orono, Isaiah Hagen

The primary scorer for Orono this season, Isaiah Hagen racked up multiple 30 point double doubles this year, a feat that not many athletes can say they have done at any level. 

The 6-foot-3 senior guard has all the tools necessary to pilot his team to a state title, but first Orono will have to top Hermantown, their first opponent of the tourney.

Henry Tschetter, Stewartville

A 6-foot-4 junior point guard whose top speed generates easy fast break points, Henry Tschetter is a lights out shooter that pairs this ability with natural athleticism. Combine all of this with his aforementioned frame, and you have an all around player who can single handedly beat you if you aren’t careful.

Nasir Whitlock, DeLaSalle

The senior Lehigh commit and point guard for DeLaSalle has chained unbelievable game after unbelievable game on his way to a state tournament. 

Whitlock averages 27.3 points per game, but his ceiling is far above that. He has scored 52 points against Hopkins this year, and his spot up shooting combined with driving ability makes his playstyle almost impossible to counter.

Class 4A

Andover: Ben Kopetzki and Sam Musungu

Two scoring machines that have led the Huskies to state, Ben Kopetzki and Sam Musungu have both averaged over 20 points per game for a ferocious Andover offense that has scored over 100 points on multiple occasions. 

This offensive juggernaut of a team will have their work cut out for them, as they face the one seeded Park Center in the first round of state.

Park Center: CJ O’Hara and JJ Ware

The Pirates have a pair of ballers on their hands in the form of CJ O’Hara and JJ Ware, a dynamic duo that are the first and second option on the team in scoring. 

O’Hara, a Mr. Basketball finalist, has averaged 18.3 points per game on his way to the nomination, and his teammate Ware puts up a similar 17.6 per game. 

These two will look to continue their dominance against an Andover team that they beat earlier this season.

Jonathan Mekonnen, Eastview

The 6-foot-8 inch junior guard has racked up 18.5 points per game so far this year as he captained the Lightning to a state berth. He plays so much of his game above the rim, making him incredibly dangerous for smaller sized prep teams. 

Eastview will square off against Minnetonka to open up their state tournament run.

Andy Stefonowicz, Minnetonka

Reaching the state tournament for the first time since 2008, the Skippers can thank their junior point guard for being such a crucial part on this state tourney team. 

Stefonowicz averaged 16.2 points per game this year, and had many matchups where he cracked the 30 point mark. Whether he is racking up points or dishing the ball around to his teammates, Stefonowicz is always doing everything in his power to bring the Skippers wins.

Nate Dahl, Buffalo

The 6-foot-1 senior guard may be a little undersized, but that does not seem to hinder him one bit on the hardwood. So far this season, Dahl has averaged 24.2 points per game off high percentage shots that keep his team in every game they play, and Buffalo will need his shots to fall in their first round game against second seeded Lakeville North.

Lakeville North: Nolan Winter and Hudson Vaith

These two bring a good deal of size to powerhouse Lakeville North, who has secured the second seed in the state tournament this year. 

Nolan Winter, a Gatorade Player of the Year and Wisconsin-Madison commit, is a 6-foot-11 senior who averages 11.7 rebounds and 23.4 points per game on 63 percent shooting from the field. 

Hudson Vaith is a 6-foot-5 senior who contributes primarily through providing consistent points, rebounds, and assists for the Cougars, who plan to utilize their dynamic duo all the way through state.

Jack Janicki, White Bear Lake

Another Wisconsin Madison commit on this list, Jack Janicki has led the Bears to state for the first team in 24 years, mostly through his pure scoring ability. 

White Bear Lake’s all time leading scorer, Janicki has at least one more chance to add to his record, that chance coming in the form of a first round state tournament game against third seeded Wayzata.

Wayzata: Hayden Tibbits and Jackson McAndrew

The two leading scorers on the Trojans’ roster, Hayden Tibbits and Jackson McAndrew are no strangers to feeding off each other’s energy. In a game earlier this season against Minneapolis North, the duo combined for 37… at the half. 

Clearly, these two can score, and they will need to continue to mesh well as Wayzata’s journey through the state tourney begins on Tuesday.