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D2 Preseason Top Ten -- Nicolet primed for another run at a state championship

11/03/2020, 3:15pm CST
By Mark Miller

James Graham

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 2 schools included in the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook …

1. Nicolet
Coach: Allan Hanson, 5th year
Top Players: Kobe Johnson (6-5, Sr., 20 ppg, 9 rpg), James Graham (6-8, Sr., 20 ppg, 7 rpg), Darrius Bolden (5-11, Sr., 5.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg), Donovan Sparks (6-5, Jr., 11.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg), Jeremy Kobe (6-1, Sr., 4.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg), Martell Wilson (6-1, Soph.), Miles Nation (6-5, Soph.), TreShawn Jones (6-2, Soph., 2.6 ppg), Jadrien Scott (6-1, Sr.), Trenton Grisham (6-5, Jr.), Jamari Julien (6-0, Soph.), Damon Landrum Jr. (6-1, Frosh.), Langston McClure (6-2, Frosh).  
2019-20 Records: 22-3, 16-2 in North Shore Conference
Outlook: With two NCAA Division I high-major recruits leading the way, Nicolet hopes to make another run at the WIAA Division 2 state title after capturing the crown in 2019. USC recruit Kobe Johnson and Maryland recruit James Graham are both potential all-state performers who give coach Allan Hanson plenty of options on the offensive end of the court. In addition to Johnson and Graham, Nicolet returns two additional starters from last year's club that went 22-3 in senior Darrius Bolden and junior Donovan Sparks. Sparks joined Johnson and Graham in averaging double-figure points and is a proven performer in the North Shore Conference. A talented sophomore class, led by Martell Wilson, Miles Nation and TreShawn Jones, figures to provide quality depth. Seniors Jeremy Kobe and Jadrien Scott also figure to battle for substantial playing time. 
Coach’s Comments: "Experience, shooting and hustle will be strong suits. On-ball defense and shot selection are question marks."


Zac Johnson

2. River Falls
Coach: Zac Campbell, 7th year
Top Players: Zac Johnson (6-3, Sr., 20.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg), JT Dougherty (6-9, Sr., 10.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg), Liam Dougherty (6-9, Sr., 6.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg), Michael Schurman (6-1, Jr., 2.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg), Regan Pinnow (6-0, Jr., 2.5 ppg), Isaiah Gray (6-5, Sr.), Joe Reardon (6-3, Sr.), Jacob Landgraf (5-11, Jr.).  
2019-20 Records: 18-6, 9-3 in Big Rivers Conference
Outlook: Led by the return of senior Zac Johnson, a three-year varsity performer who already has scored more than 1,100 career points, River Falls once again figures to contend for the title in the highly competitive Big Rivers Conference. The Wildcats finished one game behind league-winner Chippewa Falls last season and the presence of Johnson, a NCAA Division II recruit for Augustana University in South Dakota and returning first-team all-league selection, gives River Falls a slight edge over its competition in the seven-team circuit. Johnson and senior twins JT Dougherty and Liam Dougherty are returning starters from a club that went 18-6. JT Dougherty picked up second-team all-Big Rivers laurels and committed to NCAA Division I Army over the summer. Other key returning players for the Wildcats include juniors Michael Schurman and Regan Pinnow. Both Schurman and Pinnow were key reserves as a sophomores and figure to contend for starting roles created by the graduation losses of MIke Johnson and Payton Flood. 
Coach’s Comments: "Commitment, work ethic, team cohesion, coachability, character and length are among our strengths. Playing with energy and intensity, on-court communication and responding to adversity are team concerns."


Sam Kick

3. Onalaska
Coach: Craig Kowal, 13th year
Top Players: Sam Kick (6-2, Sr., 9.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg), Gavin McGrath (6-10, Sr., 6.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg), Victor Desmond (6-7, Sr., 6.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg), Evan Gamoke (5-9, Sr., 4.0 ppg), Michael Skemp (6-2, Jr., 2.0 ppg), Nick Odom (5-8, Soph.), Quentin Mack (5-10, Sr.), Ben Fass (6-2, Jr.), Jon Knickrehm (6-0, Soph.), Simon Desmond (6-3, Soph.).  
2019-20 Records: 23-2, 12-0 in Mississippi Valley Conference
Outlook: One of the state's most consistent programs, Onalaska is favored to repeat as champion in the Mississippi Valley Conference behind the return of four key performers from last year's squad that went 23-2. Seniors Sam Kick, Gavin McGrath, Victor Desmond and Evan Gamoke form a rock-solid core for the Hilltoppers. Kick is a pass-first point guard with good size and an excellent feel for the game. McGrath, who committed to NCAA Division I North Dakota over the summer, can score around the basket and from the perimeter while also providing an inside shot-blocking presence. Desmond has grown since the end of the last season and can guard multiple positions while Gamoke teams with Kick to form an experienced and proven backcourt. Craig Kowal has won 232 games in 12 seasons as head coach at Onalaska and welcomes some talented newcomers off JV1 and JV2 teams that finished a combined 36-3. 
Coach’s Comments: "We have a solid nucleus returning despite the loss of three seniors who will be playing college basketball in Carson Arenz (Winona State), Dakota Mannel (Viterbo) and Tyrell Stuttley (Minnesota State Mankato). Sam Kick and Gavin McGrath both are four-year varsity players with Victor Desmond and Evan Gamoke entering their third varsity seasons. Therefore, experience should be a strength. This team should be balanced as all four of those returnees scored in double figures at some point last season. Three-point shooter, size and athleticism could potentially be strengths, also. Our primary concern will be depth and solidifying our rotation. Our leadership will need to continue to evolve as well."

4. Milwaukee Bay View
Coach: Darryl Longley, 6th year
Top Players: James Horton (5-11, Sr., 11 ppg, 2 rpg), Jaelin Brown (6-4, Jr., 5 ppg, 3 rpg), Simeon Murchinson (6-9, Soph., 5 ppg, 4 rpg), Kaden Monroe (6-8, Jr., 5 ppg, 7 rpg), Montral Tillman (6-4, Soph., 2 ppg, 2 rpg), Latral Tillman (6-3, Soph., 2 ppg), Avery Weddle (6-0, Soph.), Davin Fields-Johnson (6-6, Sr.), Kolten Monroe (6-9, Soph.).  
2019-20 Records: 14-9, 10-2 in Milwaukee City Conference
Outlook: The Redcats of Bay View should contend for the title in the Milwaukee City Conference as coach Darryl Longley's program possesses plenty of size, quickness and depth. Senior James Horton, junior Jaelin Brown and sophomore Simeon Murchinson are returning starters from a club that went 14-9. Horton earned second-team all-City Conference recognition while Brown picked up honorable mention honors. In addition, junior Kaden Monroe and sophomores Montral Tillman, Latral Tillman and Avery Weddle all saw extensive playing time in reserve roles. Murchinson (6-9), Kaden Monroe (6-8) and sophomore Kolten Monroe (6-9) give the Redcats the best size in the City Conference and all three showed plenty of promise a year ago.  
Coach’s Comments: "Our biggest strengths will be our depth, versatility and unity. We can play 10 guys and not see much of a drop off in any position. This group works well together and pushes each other constantly, which should transfer positively on the court. I'm concerned mostly about our lack of experience and youth. Our seniors carried heavy loads last year. This year, we will be counting on mainly underclassmen to share that load."


Cade Meyer

5. Monroe
Coach: Brian Bassett, 5th year
Top Players: Cade Meyer (6-8, Sr., 18 ppg, 8.7 rpg), Max Golembiewski (6-4, Sr., 8 ppg, 3.1 rpg), Carson Leuzinger (6-0, Jr., 14.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg), JT Seagreaves (6-6, Jr., 11.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg), Caleb Bunker (6-1, Sr., 2.2 ppg), Tyler Matley (5-11, Sr., 5.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg), Colin Foley (6-0, Sr.), Caleb Lincicum (6-1, Sr.), Brennan Boyce (6-2, Sr.).  
2019-20 Records: 18-6, 11-3 in Badger South Conference
Outlook: Competing in the challenging Southern Division of the Badger Conference, Monroe figures to be tested throughout the season, even though there will not be a traditional league schedule due to COVID-19. Coach Brian Bassett has a club capable of making a deep run in the tournament behind the leadership of four returning starters -- seniors Cade Meyer and Max Golembiewski along with juniors Carson Leuzinger and JT Seagreaves. Meyer has committed to NCAA Division I Green Bay and brings athleticism, mobility, scoring and rebunding to the Cheesemakers' lineup. Leuzinger is an outstanding playmaker who earned first-team all-league honors as a sophomore while Golembiewski and Seagreaves are more than capable of scoring in double figures on any given night. Seniors Caleb Bunker and Tyler Matley also figure to play key roles for Monroe.
Coach’s Comments: "Offensively, we return 98 percent of our scoring. This will be our second year running our new system and we have four guys who started the past two seasons. We have long, athletic and have guys who are playmakers at all three levels. Defensively, this group needs to improve. We need to focus for 36 minutes and develop a killer instinct."


Prentice Young Jr.

6. Wisconsin Lutheran
Coach: Ryan Walz, 13th year
Top Players: Jonah Rindfleisch (6-7, Sr., 9.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg), Isaiah Hopf (6-3, Sr., 8.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg), Jordan Glenn (5-11, Jr., 10.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg), Prentice Young Jr. (6-3, Soph., 10.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg), Joshua Knueppel (6-0, Soph., 5.5 ppg), Landon Key (6-3, Soph., 4.9 ppg), London Ashford (6-2, Jr., 2.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg), Brendan Lane (6-0, Jr., 2.8 ppg), Ouray Harper (6-1, Sr.), Marlon Townsend Jr. (5-10, Jr.), Alex Hernandez (6-4, Jr.).
2019-20 Records: 16-8, 9-3 in Woodland West Conference
Outlook: Wisconsin Lutheran will contend for the Woodland West Conference title along with West Allis Central, Pewaukee and New Berlin Eisenhower. The loaded league features plenty of individual talent, including several at Wisconsin Lutheran. Senior Jonah Rindfleisch is a long, athletic and skilled wing who started last season along with senior Isaiah Hopf, junior Jordan Glenn and sophomore Prentice Young Jr. Rindfleisch, Hopf, Glenn and Young are all very talented and each possesses a nose for the basket and mental toughness, traits that will make it difficult to guard the Vikings. Sophomores Landon Key and Joshua Knueppel showed plenty of promise for the varsity as freshmen and will contend for substantial playing time along with senior Ouray Harper and juniors Brendan Lane and London Ashford. 
Coach’s Comments: "Our biggest strength will be our depth. The ability to score in a variety of different ways will be a strength as well. Quickness is going to be a strength. The key for our team will be Jonah Rindfleisch, he is the one player we have that is irreplaceable. Individual and team defense is a big concern. With so much depth, adapting to new roles could take some time to develop. Even though we have a majority of the team back, we are still super young." 


Ashton Janowski

7. Pewaukee
Coach: David Burkemper, 3rd year
Top Players: Josh Terrian (6-4, Jr., 12.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg), Milan Momcilovic (6-8, Soph., 15.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg), Kollen Osterman (6-0, Jr., 5.7 ppg), Emmett Loew (5-11, Jr., 3.9 ppg), Ashton Janowski (6-2, Jr., 12.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg), Logan Dobberstein (6-7, Jr., 4.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg), A.J. Hintz (5-11, Sr., 4.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg), Tanner Moroder (6-3, Sr.), Nathan Schroeder (5-10, Jr.), Gabe Robinson (6-3, Sr.), Nick Janowski (6-2, Frosh.), Logan Schill (5-11, Soph.), Max  Sheridan (6-3, Jr.).
2019-20 Records: 15-9, 9-3 in Woodland West Conference
Outlook: Five players who started at times last season along with talented reserves and newcomers figure to mesh together to form another quality squad at Pewaukee. Juniors Josh Terrian, Ashton Janowski, Kollen Osterman and Emmet Loew, along with gifted sophomore Milan Momcilovic, are returning regulars for the Pirates. Terrian, Momcilovic and Janowski each averaged in double-scoring figures and each is a solid prospect at the collegiate level. Momcilovic is ranked as the state's top prospect in the class of 2023 due to his size, skill and mobility. Junior Logan Dobberstein and senior A.J. Hintz, along with promising freshman Nick Janowski, also figure to be key performers.
Coach’s Comments: "Experience, skill and basketball IQ are among our strengths. Size, athleticism and a difficult schedule are concerns."


Drew Biber

8. Cedarburg
Coach: Nick Mueller, 3rd year
Top Players: Drew Biber (6-5, Sr., 20.3 ppg, 9.1 rpg), Logan Landers (6-10, Sr., 18.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg), Matthew Pilch (6-2, Sr., 8.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg), Trenton Rietbrock (6-4, Sr., 3.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg), Will Girsch (6-0, Sr.), Sam Spaude (6-2, Sr.), Zack Person (6-6, Jr.), Matt Doman (6-0, Jr.), Andrew Meuler (5-10, Jr.), Wesley Stroebel (6-0, Jr.), Ian Beilfuss (6-2, Jr.), Garret Bastar (5-10, Jr.).  
2019-20 Records: 14-10, 10-8 in North Shore Conference
Outlook: Depth, size and athleticism will be definite strengths for the Bulldogs, who lost four starters to graduation but nonetheless rank as one of the elite teams in the tough North Shore Conference. Senior forward Drew Biber, a Purdue University football recruit, is a returning first-team all-league performer who competes with tremendous energy and athleticism on the glass. Senior Matthew Pilch started half the games for Cedarburg last winter and proved to be a good scorer and rebounder. Senior Logan Landers arrived last spring as a transfer from Brookfield Academy. The 6-foot-10 forward averaged 18.8 points and 9.4 rebounds at Brookfield Academy as a junior and recently committed to NCAA Division I Kansas State. Some talented newcomers from an 18-4 JV1 squad -- led by 6-foot-6 forward Zackk Person -- also join the mix at Cedarburg.
Coach’s Comments: "Depth, athleticism and offensive versatility are strong points. Defensive quickness is a question mark."


Reece Sproul

9. Stoughton
Coach: Nolan Weber, 5th year
Top Players: Cael McGee (6-2, Sr., 15.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg), Reece Sproul (6-6, Sr., 7.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg), Luke Fernholz (6-2, Jr., 4.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg), Teddy Baldukas (6-0, Sr.), Jared McGuire (6-0, Sr.), Steven Benoy (6-1, Sr.), Eagan Olson (6-1, Sr.).  
2019-20 Records: 21-4, 12-2 in Badger South Conference
Outlook: Replacing Badger South Conference Player of the Year Adam Hobson, now playing at NCAA Division II Michigan Tech, figured to be a challenge for the Vikings. But now coach Nolan Weber has to replace another starter unexpectedly lost via transfer as junior Barrett Nelson (6-6) now is attending Fall River after averaging 4.5 ppg and 3.3 rpg as a starter for Stoughton last winter. Still, the Vikings boast plenty of promise and talent with the return of senior starters Cael McGee and Reece Sproul along with junior starter Luke Fernholz. McGee is an explosive offensive player who earned first-team all-league honors as a junior while Sproul provides plenty of versatility and length. Fernholz could emerge as a defensive stopper for the Vikings.
Coach’s Comments: "We return some experience with McGee, Sproul and Fernholz all having multiple years of varsity basketball experience. McGee gives us some scoring pop at all three levels and Sproul gives us a taller slasher that does a little bit of everything. Team rebounding should be a strength. The biggest concern is replacing the leadership and toughness of (Adam) Hobson, (Nathan) Hutcherson and (Owen) Chase. There will be a large leadership void, and how we fill that void will got a long way in deciding the success of our season. We have plenty of talent to make up for the players we lose to graduation, but this group will need to mature together in order to reach their potential."


Max Weisbrod

10. DeForest
Coach: Craig Weisbrod, 21st year
Top Players: Max Weisbrod (6-3, Jr., 13.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.0 apg), Deven Magli (6-2, Jr., 7.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg), Nolan Hawk (6-5, Jr., 7.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg), Trace Grundahl (6-3, Sr.), Alex Winters (6-4, Jr., 2.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg), Brody Hartig (6-2, Soph.), Justin Hausser (6-3, Sr.), Keagon Kaufmann (6-0, Sr.), Oliver Vandehay (6-2, Sr.).  
2019-20 Records: 19-6, 11-3 in Badger North Conference
Outlook: Even though many of DeForest's top performers are juniors, the Norskies nonetheless figure to be an extremely difficult opponent for all teams on their schedule. Those juniors saw plenty of playing time as sophomores competing in a highly competitive conference in the Badger North. Leading the way for coach Craig Weisbrod is his son, talented 6-foot-3 junior guard Max Weisbrod, a returning second-team all-league performer who can score, handle the ball, pass and rebound. Juniors Deven Magli and Nolan Hawk joined Weisbrod in the starting rotation and helped DeForest to a 19-6 record. Senior Trace Grundahl, junior Alex Winters and sophomore Brody Hartig also could work their way into signficant roles in 2020-21.
Coach’s Comments: "Athleticism, experience, chemistry and returning scoring are strengths. Depth is a concern."

OTHERS TO WATCH: Ashwaubenon, Burlington, Elkhorn, Grafton, Kaukauna, La Crosse Central, Luxemburg-Casco, McFarland, Medford, Milwaukee Lutheran, Milwaukee Vincent, Mosinee, New Richmond, Plymouth, Rhinelander, Seymour, Tomah, West De Pere, Westosha Central, Whitefish Bay, Whitnall, Wilmot.

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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