Remembering some of the great starting fives in MN boys basketball history

Minnesota has seen some incredible starting fives over the years.
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
Litchfield Dragons 2000

John Carlson, #41 in the photo, was a 9th grade starter. He went on to play in the NFL. 

This isn't a look at the best players in the history of Minnesota boys high school basketball, it's a list of opinions from coaches and announcers about the best starting fives they've seen over the years.

It's impossible to mention all of the great teams (Braham with the Dahlman brothers, the '03 Hopkins team with Kris Humphries and Dan Coleman), so we've settled on six for now. 

2009-10 Hopkins Royals

  1. Marcus Williams
  2. Raymond Cowles
  3. Trent Lockett
  4. Royce White
  5. Mike Broghammer

This team went 30-2 and won the AAAA state title by 20 points over a St. Cloud Tech team that had future NBA player Nate Wolters on it. 

Their starting five was amazing. I can't think of another team – ever – that produced a future NFL player (Williams) and a future NBA player (White). Cowles played D1 at Santa Clara, Lockett was a star at Arizona State and Marquette, and Broghammer received a scholarship to Notre Dame. 

That's the starting five, not to mention a bench that featured future Gopher Joe Coleman and a youngest by the name of Siyani Chamber, who went on to become a household name for Harvard in the NCAA Tournament, was extremely good. 

1999-00, 2001-02, 2002-03 Litchfield Dragons

Located about 70 miles west of Minneapolis, the Dragons won three 2A state titles in four years and regularly knocked around top teams in 3A and 4A. 

Hall of Fame head coach John Carlson told BMTN that all three teams were equally talented, and he was lucky to have good players who were good kids. 

The 2000 championship team's starting five featured Alex Carlson, Mike Patten, Chris Patten, Brandon VanLier and John Carlson, Jr. – and yes, that's the same Carlson who played at Notre Dame and in the NFL for six seasons, including a pair with the Vikings.   

These guys were dominant, and they proved it when they stomped No. 1-ranked Tartan 74-49 during the regular season. Tartan went on to win the 4A state title behind future Iowa State star, Jake Sullivan. 

Carlson's older brother, Alex, went on to play four years at St. Cloud State and was the 2004 North Central Conference Defensive Player of the Year. 

The 2002 title team featured Joe Patten, Hans Hoeg, Terry Euerle, John Carlson and 6'10'' center Scott Peters. 

The '03 title team included Patten, Hoeg, Dan Devine, Euerle and Carlson, as well as a 6'8'' big off the bench, Robert Bruesewitz, who went on to play football at Princeton. 

The '03 championship team proved they were the best regardless of class with a 20-point win over eventual 3A champion Minneapolis Patrick Henry. 

1996-97 Wabasso Rabbits

  1. Bob Moore
  2. Brady Brau
  3. Joe Louwagie
  4. Rod Guetter
  5. Derrick Jenniges

The sixth man from that team is now the play-by-play voice of Southwest Minnesota State University athletics, Ryan Rohlik. 

"Moore averaged 21 [points], Brau 20-ish, Louwagie 14-15, Jenniges 12-13, Guetter 11," Rohlik explained to BMTN. "The top six didn't play all but half of the third and fourth quarters because we were wrecking people." 

Wabasso defeated Red Lake 117-113 in overtime in the Class A semifinals before losing to Hancock on a last-second shot in the title game. The semifinal game, though, is one of the most iconic games in Minnesota history. 

They lost on a last-second shot to Hancock in the Class A state championship game, but this team could run and gun with the best of them. 

2000-01 Minneapolis Patrick Henry Patriots

  1. Tony Travis
  2. Zerek Knight
  3. Terry Pettis
  4. Greg Patten
  5. Johnny Gilbert

As the head coach of that team, Larry McKenzie, told BMTN, all five starters from that championship team went on to play in college: Travis (Arkansas-Little Rock), Knight (Middle Tennessee), Pettis (Fresno State), Patten (Utah State), Gilbert (Oklahoma). 

"Probably one of the most talented groups I've had," said McKenzie, who now coaches at Minneapolis North. "All of those kids went on to start and have major impacts at the schools they played at. Definitely a talented team."

This team was part of four straight Class 3A state championship wins. 

1994-95 Minneapolis North Polars

  1. Khalid El-Amin
  2. Ozzie Lockhart Jr. 
  3. Chris Rainey
  4. Jabbar Washington 
  5. Kerek Taylor

This is arguably the best team in Minnesota high school history. 

El-Amin is a legend in Minnesota and at UConn, where he led the Huskies to a college basketball national championship. Washington went on to play at Portland State and Rainey, who was an All-State football player on both offense and defense, won a national championship in college football with Nebraska. 

2004-05 Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Knights

Give the small schools some love, they said. Well, this Class 1A is in the state tourney again this season, but you'll be hard pressed to find a team as dominating as the back-to-back champs from 2004-05. 

  1. Brett Newton
  2. Kyle Minett
  3. Ramsey Gravely
  4. Spencer Kor
  5. Travis Schultz

Heath Radke, the play-by-play radio voice of the Knights, told BMTN that Newton, Minett and Schultz were all sophomores when they won their first title in '04. 

"Newton rained 3s and got to the basket, Minet rebounded and went to the hole and Schultz outsized most players in the post," Radke said. 

Newton played in college at Northern State and Minett went on to be a star running back at South Dakota State. 

They won the title again in '05 and were favored to three-peat in '06, before Cody Schilling and Ellsworth knocked them off en route to four straight appearances in the championship game (2 titles). 

Where's the rest?

If you have a starting five you think deserves to be on the list, send me an email (joe@bringmethenews.com).

Next Up

Related