Season's top story lines
New leader at DeLaSalle
Former Islanders guard Travis Bledsoe begins his first season coaching DeLaSalle, replacing the animated Dave Thorson. In 23 years at DeLaSalle, Thorson compiled a career record of 527-136 while winning more state championships (nine) than any other boys' or girls' coach in state history, including the past six from 2012-17 in Class 3A. He left to become an assistant coach at Drake University. Bledsoe has plenty of talent to work with, led by guards senior Gabe Kalscheur and junior Tyrell Terry. They also have added junior Jamison Battle, who transferred from Benilde-St. Margaret's.
Pitino gets three to stay
Kalscheur, Daniel Oturu of Cretin-Derham Hall and Jarvis Thomas Omersa of Orono will stay home and join Gophers coach Richard Pitino next season at Williams Arena. "We feel like we've had back-to-back-to-back really good recruiting classes," Pitino told the Star Tribune's Marcus Fuller. "And that's how you turn a program around." The Gophers are currently 8-1 on the season and ranked No. 14 in the Associated Press poll.
Polars, McKenzie move up
Larry McKenzie has guided teams to the Class 3A championship as well as Class 1A. Now, he gets a chance at Class 2A. Two-time Class 1A defending state champion Minneapolis North was moved up this year due to enrollment. McKenzie won four consecutive crowns (2000-03) with Minneapolis Henry. Don't think for a minute that the Polars and McKenzie won't be in the hunt for another title. Senior Odell Wilson in the paint and senior Tayler Johnson and junior Nasir El-Amin on the perimeter will lead a talented and athletic group.