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D3 Preseason Top Ten -- Hunter, McKee back to lead loaded St. Catherine's

11/02/2020, 12:30pm CST
By Mark Miller

Tyrese Hunter

The 2020-21 edition of the 352-page Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook is now available for purchase. Order your WBY by visiting www.wbby.com.

Here is a sneak preview of the top 10 teams in the preseason poll of Division 3 schools included in the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook …

1. Racine St. Catherine's
Coach: Nick Bennett, 5th year
Top Players: Tyrese Hunter (6-1, Sr., 21 ppg, 7 rpg), Kamari McGee (6-0, Sr., 11 ppg, 5 rpg), Jameer Barker (6-2, Sr., 14 ppg, 4 rpg), Marcel Tyler (6-4, Sr., 5 ppg, 5 rpg), Calvin Hunter (5-10, Sr., 5 ppg, 2 rpg), Domonic Pitts (6-4, Soph.), Victavian Thomas (5-9, Sr.), Dion Daniels (6-2, Sr.), Jeff Adams (6-3, Jr.), Evan Moherek (5-10, Soph.), Alijah Matthews (5-11, Jr.), Davion Thomas (6-0, Soph.).  
2019-20 Records: 25-0, 16-0 in Metro Classic Conference
Outlook: Racine St. Catherine's NCAA Division I backcourt will be difficult to contend with as Tyrese Hunter and Kamari McGee are back for their senior seasons. Hunter, who has committed to Iowa State, is the returning Player of the Year in the Metro Classic Conference and a player who can impact the game on every possession. His quickness, athleticism, length and ability to score will be huge assets for coach Nick Bennett and the Angels, who were 25-0 heading into their sectional-final game against Kettle Moraine Lutheran before COVID-19 ended the season. McGee, who has committed to UW-Green Bay, is quick with the ball in his hands, attacks the basket and plays stellar perimeter defense. Both Hunter and McGee are clutch performers and team with wing Jameer Barker to give St. Catherine's the best backcourt trio in the state, regardless of division. The key for the Angels will be to get some production along the frontline after losing both Elijah Lambert and Elijah Sabala to graduation. Look for sophomore Domomic Pitts and senior Marcel Tyler to perform key roles up front for St. Catherine's.
Coach’s Comments: "Guard play, ball handling and quickness are strengths. Size, rebounding, depth, defensive stoppers and shot selection remain question marks."


Armani Jones

2. Brown Deer
Coach: Jose Winston, 2nd year
Top Players: Armani Jones (5-9, Jr., 20.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg), Jeremiah Dotson (6-7, Sr., 14.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg), Mark Wade (6-1, Sr., 12.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg), Adam Anderson (6-8, Sr., 3.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg), Jarton Davis (6-1, Sr., 5.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg), John Lovelace (6-6, Sr.).  
2019-20 Records: 15-10, 8-4 in Woodland East Conference
Outlook: The size, length and athleticism of the Falcons' frontcourt, coupled with the speed and defensive potential of the Brown Deer backcourt, make coach Jose Winston's squad one of the elite teams in the state. Although depth is a concern, the Falcons have the necessary ingredients to make a run at the Woodland East Conference title and a deep playoff run. Up front, Brown Deer boasts a talented trio of seniors in Jeremiah Dotson (6-7), Adam Anderson (6-8) and John Lovelace (6-6). Dotson and Anderson were regulars a year ago while Lovelace joins the Brown Deer program after playing at Wauwatosa East last winter. Lovelace is a versatile performer who possesses tremendous athleticism and the ability to play multiple positions. In the backcourt, the Falcons will rely heavily on talented junior Armani Jones, who led the team in scoring and earned first-team all-league honors as a sophomore. Talented seniors Mark Wade and Jarton Davis join Jones in the Falcons' backcourt. 


Charlie Bender

3. Lake Mills
Coach: Steve Hicklin, 9th year
Top Players: Charlie Bender (6-3, Sr., 15.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg), Adam Moen (6-4, Sr., 10.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg), Drew Stoddard (6-0, Sr., 11.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg), Jaxson Retrum (6-5, Sr., 6.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg), Grant Horkan (6-1, Sr.), John Wilke (5-7, Sr.), .  
2019-20 Records: 21-4, 9-1 in Capitol North Conference
Outlook: Few teams play as mentally tough or as fundamentally sound as the L-Cats, who won 21 games last winter but lost two key performers to graduation in Matt Johnson and Mike Herrington. Coach Steve Hicklin, who owns a 154-43 record during his eight seasons in Lake Mills, nonetheless returns four tested and proven performers in seniors Charlie Bender, Adam Moen, Drew Stoddard and Jaxson Retrum. The size, physicality and defensive mindset of those four players figures to set the tone for the L-Cats. Bender, Moen and Stoddard each averaged in double figures as juniors while Retrum was one of the top bench players in the Capitol North Conference. Seniors Grant Horkan and John Wilke figure to get the opportunity to replace the minutes lost by the graduation of Johnson and Herrington. 
Coach’s Comments: "Our biggest concerns heading into the season is our depth and the affect of the pandemic. I believe our experience, basketball IQ and shooting will be strengths."


Brennan Timm

4. St. John's Northwestern Academies
Coach: Duane Mlachnik, 5th year
Top Players: Brandin Podziemski (6-6, Sr., 27.6 ppg, 9.2 rpg), Brennan Timm (6-5, Sr., 15.7 ppg, 11.9 rpg), Haydn Bensch (6-2, Sr., 7.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg), Jonah Gordon (6-6, Jr.), Ben Mbengue (6-3, Sr.), Dominic Reisner (6-0, Jr.), Joe Schinner (6-1, Jr.), Daltin Popandrea (5-10, Soph.), Abhiram Vallabhaneni (6-7, Sr.).  
2019-20 Records: 19-6, 14-1 in Midwest Classic Conference
Outlook: The one-two punch of seniors Brandin Podziemski and Brennan Timm figures to carry the Lancers a long way in 2020-21 as both are coming off highly productive seasons. Podziemski, one of the state's top uncommitted class of 2021 prospects, is an athletic wing player who can score, rebounding, defend, pass and generally create havoc for opponents with his constant aggressiveness on both ends of the court. Timm is a double-double performer who ranks among the elite rebounders in the state and can score from mid range and around the basket. The third returning starter, senior Haydn Bensch, is also a capable performer who figures to score a bit more this winter to help offset the graduation losses of regulars Gerald Gittens and DC Jensen. Three newcomers and a pair of top performers from the JV1 program could potentially play key roles as well. They include junior Jonah Gordon of Australia, senior Ben Mbengue, who was ineligible last season, and junior Joe Shinner, a transfer into the school. Junior Dominic Reisner and sophomore Daltin Popandrea were top performers on the JV1 team.
Coach’s Comments: "Size and length throughout our lineup will enable us to cause problems defensively with a few different looks. We have an athletic group that will attack the glass on both ends. We will be a strong perimeter shooting team.Point-guard position may be a concern along with depth. We will need guys to step up off the bench."

5. East Troy
Coach: Darryl Rayfield, 10th year
Top Players: Ryan Nixon (6-3, Sr., 13.0 ppg), Chase Cummings (6-4, Jr., 11.0 ppg), Colin Terpstra (6-4, Jr., 6.0 ppg), Michael Schaefer (5-10, Sr.), Dayne Lindow (5-10, Jr.), Jax Zader (6-0, Frosh.), Ben Aleckson (6-5, Jr.), Ben Kurth (6-3, Jr.), Christian Fierst (5-10, Jr.), Brady Dessart (6-2, Sr.), Austin DePuydt (6-0, Sr.), Jack Lehocky (6-0, Sr.).  
2019-20 Records: 21-3, 17-1 in Rock Valley Conference
Outlook: The winning culture surrounding the East Troy programs figures to continue as coach Darryl Rayfield welcomes back three proven performers in senior Ryan Nixon along with juniors Chase Cummings and Colin Terpstra. Nixon and Cummings are returning second-team all-Rock Valley Conference performers who give the Trojans good overall size and the ability to score from the perimeter and off the dribble. Terpstra also possesses good size for a wing prospect and could emerge as one of the better scorers in the league this winter. Look for freshman Jax Zader, a transfer from IMG Academy, to play a prominent role for East Troy, which lost four-year starter AJ Vukovich to graduation. Vukovich, a top baseball prospect, averaged 27.8 points and 13.0 rebounds as a senior. 
Coach’s Comments: "Guard play and shooting will be our biggest strengths. Rebounding is our No. 1 concern."


Trent Twombly

6. Xavier
Coach: Matt Klarner, 10th year
Top Players: Charlie Pfefferle (6-0, Jr., 14.5 ppg, 7.4 apg), Trent Twombly (6-2, Sr., 10.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg), Cal Mares (5-11, Sr., 7.4 ppg), Ray Zuleger (5-11, Sr., 11.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg), Nate Clemons (6-0, Sr., 5.1 ppg), Alex Sherwood (6-5, Soph., 4.7 ppg), Isaac Shimek (6-0, Sr.), Charlie Schubbe (5-11, Sr.), Max Oberbrunner (6-0, Sr.), Ethan Severin (5-8, Jr.).  
2019-20 Records: 19-6, 11-3 in Bay Conference
Outlook: No coach has guided his team to more victories in the state over the past six seasons than Matt Klarner, who owns 139 triumphs during that time span. He figures to direct another very talented team at Xavier as four regulars return from a club that won 19 contests. Charlie Pfefferle, Cal Mares and Ray Zuleger comprise a quick, skilled, aggressive and experienced backcourt with each player capable of scoring in double figures and handing out multiple assists. Seniors Trent Twombly and Nate Clemons, along with promising sophomore Alex Sherwood, will play at the forward positions, but each also can step outside and make shots. Xavier's up-tempo style will be difficult to slow as the Hawks' depth and skill level are impressive.
Coach’s Comments: "We have an experienced group of players returning. We should be an unselfish and tough-minded team. Lack of size will be a concern. We pride ourselves on being a great rebounding team so that will certainly be an early season focus."


Sam Haese

7. Wrightstown
Coach: Cory Haese, 23rd year
Top Players: Sam Haese (6-3, Sr., 14.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg), Jack Van Zeeland (5-10, Sr., 5.2 ppg), Matthew Hansen (6-2, Sr., 6.7 ppg), Joe Hella (6-4, Sr., 2.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg), Justin Lamers (6-2, Sr.), Riley Leick (5-10, Sr.), Jared Pelishek (6-1, Sr.), Sam Cousineau (6-3, Sr.), Jake Van Zeeland (6-0, Jr.), Eli Stenzel (6-1, Jr.).  
2019-20 Records: 24-1, 17-1 in North Eastern Conference
Outlook: The Tigers have won the North Eastern Conference title in each of the past three seasons and could make it four in a row behind the return of first-team all-league performer Sam Haese, the son of head coach Cory Haese. A good perimeter shooter, Sam Haese led the team in scoring and ranked among its top rebounders in 2019-20. Wrightstown, which was one victory away from its first appearance in the WIAA State Tournament when COVID-19 ended the season, also welcomes back three additional seniors who played key roles a year ago in Jack Van Zeeland, Matthew Hansen and Joe Hella.  
Coach’s Comments: "Shooting, ball handling and tradition are assets. Overall size is a question mark along with experience, depth and rebounding."


Keshan Harris

8. Altoona
Coach: Paul Henrichs, 2nd year
Top Players: Keshawn Harris (6-0, Sr., 16.8 ppg, 9.0 rpg), Brayden Turk (6-1, Sr., 14.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg), Evan Moss (6-4, Sr., 11.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg), Anthony Giani (6-1, Sr., 3.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg), Blend Sabani (6-1, Jr., 5.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg), Marsten Salsbury Parks (6-0, Jr., 2.3 ppg), Reece Bergh (6-0, Sr.), Evan Peterson (6-0, Jr.), Dyllan Bauer (6-4, Jr.).  
2019-20 Records: 17-7, 13-1 in Western Cloverbelt Conference
Outlook: Altoona is the lone program ranked among the Top 10 in Sectional 1, although certainly there are other very good teams in the sectional field. Still, the Rails' path to Madison is much easier than say, the many talented teams in Sectional 4. Six of the top 10 and four of the top five teams in Wisconsin's Division 3 field reside in Sectional 4. Altoona welcomes back Western Cloverbelt Conference Player of the Year Keshawn Harris, one of three double-figure scorers back for coach Paul Henrichs. Harris, an outstanding scorer and rebounder, was joined in Altoona's starting rotation last year by seniors Brayden Turk, Evan Moss and Anthony Giani. Depth figures to be an asset for Altoona with juniors Blend Sabani and Marsten Salsbury Parks expected to play key roles along with the returning starters. 
Coach’s Comments: "Scoring will be a strength as will three-point shooting. We hope to build upon winning from 2019-20 by winning back-to-back league titles and, hopefully, earning a trip to the WIAA State Tournament. Team defense and not playing all summer as a team are concerns."


Amare Posey

9. Carmen Northwest
Coach: Branden Joseph, 2nd year
Top Players: Shavaree Moore (5-5, Sr., 19.5 ppg, 3.6 apg), Ta'Quioron Tribune (5-7, Soph., 11.7 ppg, 4.3 apg), Brennon Wells (6-6, Sr., 4.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg), Amare Posey (6-3, Soph., 10.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg), Kyjuan Roberts (6-0, Sr.), Kyshaun Roberts (6-0, Sr.), Mohamed Kann (6-6, Sr.), Mustafa Abdullah (6-2, Sr.), Dupree Fletcher Jr. (5-10, Frosh.).  
2019-20 Records: 18-6, 11-1 in Milwaukee City Blue Conference
Outlook: Coach Branden Joseph, who guided Destiny to the WIAA Division 4 state championship in 2017, has a loaded lineup at Carmen Northwest. Regulars back from last year's 18-6 squad include seniors Shavaree Moore and Brennon Wells along with sophomores Amare Posey and Ta'Quioron Tribune. All four are capable scorers and unselfish performers. Other returning players with extensive experience include seniors Kyjuan Roberts, Kyshaun Roberts, Mohamed Kann and Mustafa Abdullah. Freshman Dupree Fletcher Jr., the son of former Milwaukee King star Dupree Fletcher Sr., is one of the state's top class of 2024 prospects.  
Coach’s Comments: "Defensive intensity should be at an all-time high along with the ability to put the ball in the hole. Overall basketball IQ is our top question mark."


Luke Haertle

10. Lake Country Lutheran
Coach: Mark Newman, 14th year
Top Players: Luke Haertle (6-3, Jr., 20 ppg, 10 rpg), Noah Howard (6-0, Jr., 10 ppg, 3 rpg), Ben Lubbers (6-5, Jr., 6 ppg, 3 rpg), Sam Heicher (6-0, Jr.), Gavin Theis (6-3, Sr., 7 ppg, 4 rpg), Ethan Anderson (6-1, Sr.), Johnny Nehls (6-3, Jr.), Josh Zimbal (6-1, Jr.).  
2019-20 Records: 20-4, 13-2 in Midwest Classic Conference
Outlook: The Lightning lost two all-league players and double-figure scorers to graduation in Joey Bratz and Zech Hans, but coach Mark Newman's squad remains a title contender in the Midwest Classic Conference thanks to the return of an exceptional junior class led by all-around standout Luke Haertle. A returning first-team all-league player and one of Wisconsin's top class of 2022 prospects, Haertle averaged a double-double last winter and impacts a game with his defense, quick hands, decision making and mental toughness in addition to his scoring and rebounding ability. Juniors Noah Howard and Ben Lubbers joined Haertle in the starting rotation a year ago while juniors Sam Heicher and Johnny Nels missed last year with injuries, but are potential impact players this time around. Seniors Gavin Theis and Ethan Anderson also figure to play key roles.  
Coach’s Comments: "Team defense, multiple scoring options that will create post and perimeter match-up problems for opponents, shooting and competitiveness are strengths. Lack of size and post defense could be issues."

OTHERS TO WATCH: Black River Falls, Dominican, Edgerton, Elk Mound, Freedom, Kettle Moraine Lutheran, Kewaunee, Laconia, Lodi, Madison Edgewood, Martin Luther, Mauston, Northwestern, Oostburg, Prescott, Ripon, River Valley, Sheboygan Falls, West Salem, Wisconsin Dells.

For the latest and most up to date boys' basketball news and recruiting information, follow Mark on Twitter @wisbbyearbook. Email story ideas, recruiting info, etc. to Mark by clicking here.

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