The high school boy’s basketball season is in full swing and yesterday we took a look at the Midwest and some of the standout performers and teams so far.  Today we focus solely on Wisconsin where Oshkosh North stands front and center right now as the team to beat at the highest level.  Here’s a look at that and more from across the badger state in today’s news and notes…

TOP 5
(1)    OSHKOSH NORTH

Sitting undefeated at 4-0, Oshkosh North is the team to beat right now on paper and for a variety of reasons.  First they’re extremely well coached with one of the most experienced and highly respected minds at the high school level in the state.  Second they are playing as team and they’re versatility and depth is unmatched.  Third they have a lot of individual talent that is collectively very difficult to match in seniors Philip Flory and Shane Wissink along with juniors Tyrese Haliburton and Quincy Anderson.  Three games will tell us a lot about this team as they matchup with Kaukauna twice this season and they have a holiday showdown with Milwaukee Riverside.  

(2)    STEVENS POINT
The undermanned defending state champions are still without standout junior Joey Hauser and it finally bit them earlier this month as they dropped a home game to the always gritty Bay Port squad.  They are well coached and talented but they will need a completely healthy Hauser to make a serious run at a third consecutive state championship.

(3)    KAUKAUNA
While everyone is off and running, Kaukauna has a different pace to their schedule having only played 2 games so far.  This past weekend’s cancelled game with Madison East would’ve been a solid early season test but they have a bunch lined up in the coming weeks and junior guard Jordan McCabe is usually up for those big matchups.  Right now they’re the best in the Division 2 realm until someone can knock them off and it’s going to take a great effort to do that.

(4)    LA CROSSE CENTRAL
The best players should always step up in big situations and this year Wisconsin bound senior Kobe King has done just that.  Averaging over 22 points a contest King has brought consistent dominance to the hardwood and Central is benefitting to the tune of a 4-0 record to start the season.  Fellow senior Bailey Kale has also been stellar averaging close to 17 points a contest.  They have a loaded schedule ahead with dates against Kaukauna, Waunakee, Stevens Point, and Lakeville North (MN) on the docket.  By season’s end they will be both talented and battle tested, which sets them up for a deep end of year run.

(5)    MILWAUKEE RIVERSIDE
One of the favorites for the City Conference title, Riverside didn’t play last week which was probably good for them as they had just gotten a healthy Carlos Curtis back the week before.  They have the best 1-2 punch in the state in Carlos Curtis and Terrence Lewis as both fill the box score and could drop a triple double on any given night.  If this team can really come together with one sole focus they will be very dangerous and tough to beat come season’s end.

TEAM TO WATCH
HOMESTEAD

The job first year Head Coach Sean Crider has done at Homestead has been outstanding so far as the Highlanders sit at 3-1 on the season with a victory on the road at Germantown who they hadn’t beaten in years.  They have a balanced attack that can have a different person lead them in scoring on any given night.  Senior Jack Quinlevan and junior Greg Foster Jr. lead the attack but senior Garrett Mitman is also averaging in double figures and some of the role players are still filling out their roles while the team comes together.  They have a number of quality contests on the docket but the early returns on Coach Crider and his staff are excellent this season.

FIVE NAMES TO KNOW
(Note – Listed in Alphabetical Order)

QUINCY ANDERSON – 2018 – G – OSHKOSH NORTH
Playing on a team that features a couple highly regarded prospects in Flory and Haliburton it can be hard to generate that burn with solid play but Anderson is deserving.  He’s a great young man on a variety of levels and he has worked hard to make himself a player like the others herein.  He’s improved his quickness and athleticism and he’s paired that with nice skill and an ability to score the basketball, rebound, and create when needed.  Still raw in some areas, Anderson is averaging 11 points a game and he’s been a consistently impactful contributor for the top team in the state early this season.  A quality young man, I really like the direction Anderson is trending and if can continue to develop both physically and skill wise he will open some eyes over the next 8-12 months.  An excellent start so far this season.

GRANT BASILE – 2018 – PF – PEWAUKEE
We keep on singing his praises and he keeps on producing.  A humble developing young man with high character, grades, excellent raw physical tools, and an improving skill set, Basile has delivered game in and game out this season for Pewaukee who sits at 6-1 on the season.  Averaging close to 18 points a contest, Basile has built his resume fresh off a stellar fall campaign and he continues to be the breakout story in the state the past few months.  Really like everything about this young man on and off the court, he can play and he’s only going to get better.

JAMES BUTLER – 2018 – G/F – THE PRAIRIE SCHOOL
Few players have developed so quietly and impressively over the past few years as this young wing.  Referred to mostly as “J.C.”, this young junior has once again delivered some quality efforts this season and is averaging close to 23 points a contest.  He has range, can finish at the mid-range level, and he scores off the bounce at the basket.  One of the true sleepers in the state, Butler has worked hard and made himself a quality basketball player and he continues to trend upwards.  He’s off to a great start so far this season.

HUNTER PLAMANN – 2018 – PG – APPLETON XAVIER
The talented junior is having a stellar campaign so far.  Averaging close to 20 points a contest and almost 9 assists per game, Plamann has been a model of consistent dominance game in and game out.  He’s got decent size that he pairs with skill, instincts, etc. to make for an intriguing prospect over the next 8-12 months.  Xavier is undefeated on the season and Plamann has been the catalyst game in and game out.

MARLON RUFFIN – 2018 – G/F – SUN PRAIRIE
An alpha type on the hardwood, Ruffin gives a max effort and he gets max production from his skills and tools virtually every game.  He’s that guy you hate to play against but love to have on your team because he constantly brings effort, intensity, and competitiveness to every situation.  He’s athletic, can score at each level, he can defend, and he’s a tough physical wing who attacks the glass and fills the box score.  He’s been sensational so far this season and is averaging close to 23 points a game in the process.  

GAME OF THE WEEK
MILWAUKEE VINCENT AT WAUWATOSA WEST (WEDNESDAY)

Really like this early season test for both teams as Milwaukee Vincent has shown balance and been impressive behind the strong play of senior guard Andrew Lewis.  On the flip side Wauwatosa West has received much of the same from senior forward Alou Dillon after coming back from an injury this past summer.  Vincent has City Conference title aspirations and beyond again this season but Tosa West will counter with one of the best seniors in the state in Dillon.  Both teams are off to fast starts with Vincent at 3-1 and Tosa West at 4-1 and both teams are balanced with each having four players averaging in double figures this season.  The stellar guard play of Vincent will have to offset the expected interior dominance of Tosa West.  This could be an excellent game to check out this week.