We’ve been watching this class of seniors for a long time. From Matthew Mors who broke onto the scene in 2015 to Tyler Feldkamp and Jackson Hilton who’ve started for years, these guys are ready to hit the hardwood for one last season. Who’s got what it takes to make it all the way?
Last Season: 16-6
Returning Starters: 5 with starting experience
- Tyler Feldkamp Sr. 6’0, 13.6 PPG, 6 RPG
- Tucker Large Sr. 5’11, 6.6 PPG, 3.3 APG
- Koor Kuol Sr. 3.5 PPG
- Michael Paulson Sr. 8.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG
- Jack McCormick Sr. 9.5 PPG
Plenty of experience and athleticism for the Riders this year. If they mesh well (they will), they will be the favorites in AA. Taylen Ashely didn’t start last year but might be the most talented player on the squad. Tyler Feldkamp is an all-state player with playmaking ability on both sides, Koor Kuol may be the most improved player in the class and Tucker Large is looking for a big year after an injury-plagued junior campaign. Michael Paulson and Jackson McCormick could both be stars on lesser teams and the depth is there for coach Mitch Begeman too, “We have high expectations for this season, we are coming off one of our best seasons. Senior-led class with a lot of talent sprinkled in with some juniors and a sophomore. Our team is athletic and deep and looks to get rolling!”
Last Season: 17-4
Returning Starters: 3
- Matthew Mors Sr. 19.4 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 3.1 APG
- Trevor Fitzgerald Sr. 4.0 PPG, 2.4 RPG
- Aidan Feser Sr. 3.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG
The Bucks earned the number one seed at the AA tournament last season and they graduated just three seniors from that team. Matthew Mors, the all-time leading scorer in AA history is back for his final season. Last year he played with minor injury and illness throughout the season and still put up almost 20 points per game. The next two pieces from last year’s team were Hunter Kotrous and Cooper Cornemann who are both gone. Yankton was able to give some young players some big minutes last year including Rugby Ryken, Jaden Kral and Michael Mors. They will need those three as well as some newcomers to step up to get Yankton back to the top.
3. Brandon Valley
Last Season: 14-7
Returning Starters: 2
- Jackson Hilton Sr. 13.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.6 APG
- Joe Kolbeck Sr. 6.7 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.2 APG
The senior class at Brandon Valley is stocked with talent. Jackson Hilton and Joe Kolbeck lead the way in experience but there’s a lot more talent on the roster. Head Coach Brent Deckert likes his senior-laden group, “It will be very difficult for underclassmen to find time on the varsity floor this year. We have a very competitive senior class.” Look for big years from seniors Jacksen Deckert, Aydin Lloyd, Payton Tietjen, Jay Jurgens, Nate Lear, Dawson Johnson, Wes DeWitt and Carter VanHeel. The Lynx lost a great post player in Gavin Terhark, but they have two 6’8 seniors in Jay Jurgens and Payton Tietjen to help replace him.
Last Season: 14-7
Returning Starters: 1
- Eli Williams 6’1 Jr. 9.3 PPG, 4 RPG
The Warriors have one of the better teams in recent years. It starts with Eli Williams who does everything well. Washington has a lot of potential from players who didn’t see a lot of varsity time last year. Mikele Kambolo is one of the quickest in the state and will surprise a lot of teams. Akok Aguer and Tahj Two Bulls are very athletic, and both proved themselves as JV players and are ready for a bigger role on varsity this year. Joe Uttecht, Tommy Peterson, Kael Miedema and Angok Akot all have tremendous upside and could be key for the Washington rotation.
Last Season: 9-12
Returning Starters: 6 with starting experience
Conner Geddes Sr. 14 PPG
- Blaze Lubbers Sr. 10 PPG, 5 RPG
- Brayden Phipps Sr. 7 PPG, 4 RPG
- Andrew Walter Jr. 8 PPG, 3 APG
- Hayden Muirhead Sr.
- Nate Hoyt Sr.
The Tigers should be in a position to compete under Head Coach Scott Langerock, “We bring back a great group of players that have plenty of experience. We hope to have a solid season that will put us in a position to host a SoDak16 game.” They add Hayden Muirhead who transferred from O’Gorman to an already deep and capable lineup.
Derek Robey doesn’t have an x on his back this year and he’s ok with that, “The Knights are certainly optimistic about our up and coming season. I think there will be a lot of people that will look past us, thinking this is a rebuilding year for OG.” The reason for the overlook might be their lack of a returning scorer. They lose their top three scorers from last year but Kade Moffitt could be a key to filling that role this season. Ben Renshaw, Eddie Meylor and Reece Arbogast will increase their offensive roles as well.
Head Coach TJ Hay and the Cobblers could be the team that shows the most improvement from last year. They return three key starters in Kohl Meisman, Julian Swallow and Micah Swallow. All three were double-digit scorers and all three have improved. If they can get enough play on the inside to d-up with big teams they’ll be tough to beat.
The Kernels are one of the most talented teams, especially in the frontcourt. Coach Todd Neuendorf expects to surprise some people, “I feel that in my four years at Mitchell, we have turned the corner. We are going to try to get up and down the floor quickly and play more up-tempo than in years past. We have size and perimeter play and should be able to play a variety of personnel groupings.” Caden Hinker 6’6 (17.1 PPG) and Zane Alm 6’10 (10.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG) will be tough to match up with.
The Golden Eagles have a big and talented junior class complimented by senior point guard Sam Rohlfs. Head Coach Brent Norberg is excited to get started, “They are a bunch of young guys with the hunger to be a good team. If we keep improving every day we could be a competitive team by the end of the season.”
Huron lost most of their scoring from last season with three all-state caliber players and all their starters gone. But Derick Siemonsma will lead a new rotation that is hungry to get back to the top. “This year's squad will be inexperienced when it comes to varsity playing time, but they are good guys who will work hard to continue the successful tradition of Huron Tiger Basketball. The group will have a very positive upside. If we can get better each day, we can be a team in the mix to make the state tournament at the end of the season,” said Head Coach Jon Schouten.
Last season Watertown was up and down but put out a competitive team. This year they have just one starter back but a lot of potentials, “We will be coming off a year we graduated six seniors, 4 of those being starters for us. We hope to see a steady improvement throughout the season as we gain more experience, and to be playing our best basketball at the end of the year,” said Head Coach Zach Wevik. Dawson Schmidt, Kale Stevenson and Drew Norberg will be leaders for a young Arrow team.
Last season Pierre had a lot of moving parts and it took a while to see any success. This year Head Coach Terry Becker says he’s ready to re-focus, “We’re looking to rebuild after breaking in several young players at key positions. We have a good mixture of kids that like to play and are willing to improve.” Lincoln Kienholz had a promising freshman season last year with 13PPG, 4 RPG and 2 APG. Bennett Dean, James Mikkonen and Jackson Edman hope to make an impact this season.
Top AA Stars
Other AA Players to Watch
- Taylen Ashley, Roosevelt
- Eli Williams, Washington
- Zane Alm, Mitchell
- Connor Geddes, Harrisburg
- Julian Swallow, RC Central