The first official practice of the 2020-21 high school basketball season tipped off last week.
Millard North, one of the favorites in Class A opened the season with high expectations after finishing runner-up last season.
Here are notes and observations from the Mustangs practice last week.
Senior five-star Hunter Sallis recently trimmed his list of schools to eight. Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Gonzaga, Creighton, Iowa State, UCLA and Oregon. The 6-foot-5 wing will likely wait to make a decision on his future until the spring, keeping his focus on winning a state championship in March. Sallis led the Mustangs in scoring (22.2 ppg) and steals (1.8) last season. Ideally, Sallis will have an even more prominent role in the offense particularly scoring in his senior campaign.
Saint Thomas led the Mustangs in rebounding (6.6) and was second on the team in assist (4.2) as a junior. If the Mustangs are going to reach their goals in 2020-21, the senior forward will certainly improve on his 15.8 per game average from last season. Thomas’ skillset is rare for a 6-7 forward. He is an excellent passer and sees the floor extremely well. He clearly has a knack as a rebounder as well.
Senior point guard Jadin Johnson and junior Jasen Green round out the Mustangs with power conference scholarship offers. Johnson, an Old Dominion signee, runs the show and led the Mustangs with 4.6 assists per game. Johnson and Sallis are a dynamic duo on the defensive end of the floor creating turnovers which lead to easy run outs for highlight dunks on the offensive end. Green holds offers from Nebraska, Stanford, Iowa State, Wake Forest, and Kansas State. At 6–7, Green has the ability to face up in the post, knock down 3-pointers and finish at the rim. He should improve on his 11 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.
The fifth starter is going to be 6-8 senior Tyler Sandoval. Max Murrell, now a freshman at Stanford averaged 9.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.8 blocks last season. Sandoval’s playing time will improve from 11 minutes a game and so should his production. As a junior he averaged 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds. If Sandoval can duplicate or get close to the 24.9 minutes, scoring, rebounding and shot blocking production of Murrell the Mustangs will be even tougher to stop.
The starting five is about as good as it gets in High School basketball in Nebraska. No team in the state’s history has had four players with Division I scholarship offers on the same team. Finding players to give the starting five a breather and provide solid production will be key. Junior guard David Harmon (6-3), senior forward Colin Monie, junior forward Nick Dolezal (6-4) are the likely candidates.
The cupboard isn’t bare behind the upperclassman. Just how much will the Mustangs trust a strong freshman group of Neal Mosser, Eli Gaeth and Isaiah McMorris is yet to be determined. The trio are likely to see some varsity minutes and could provide even more depth as the season wears on.