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Tip Off Classic preview: Eden Prairie vs. Rice Lake (WI)

By Ryan James, Breakdown Sports USA, 12/05/12, 9:00AM CST


3:45 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8 at Minnetonka West gym


Rice Lake has become a known name west of its own border because of the Ellenson family.  Wally, Elwood, and Henry have basically become adopted Minnesota sons with all three playing for the Minnesota Pump N Run AAU organization and Wally now at the University of Minnesota playing for Tubby Smith. 

Last year Rice Lake played in the Target Center for the Timberwolves Shootout and this year they are a Breakdown Tip Off Classic headliner.  The Minnesota foe this year is Eden Prairie, a team with three starters back in Grant Shaeffer, Andre Wallace, and Jack Cottrell. 

Key Matchup

Jack Cottrell vs Henry Ellenson: This is football recruit (Cottrell committed to Boston College) against nationally top 25 rated sophomore standout.  Henry will have the skill advantage as well as height plus he’s a strong underclassmen.  However, Cottrell will bring his rugged football mentality to the contest and he won’t back down from the Wisconsin star an inch.


Why Eden Prairie will win:

  • The Eagles will have much more depth.  Ellwood and Henry are sizeable opponents at 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-8 respectively but Cottrell stands 6-foot-4 and goes about 225 pounds.  He will be joined up front by 6-5 junior Zach Hovey, 6-foot-7 junior Aaron Workin, and 6-foot-6 senior Caleb Wragge,  The Eagles will have a lot of fouls to use.
  • EP’s backcourt is made up of the top unsigned prospect in Minnesota Grant Shaeffer and junior Andre Wallace who has earned a scholarship offer from Oregon State.  Add in Anthony Anderson and Alex Ihrke and you have a backcourt of talent far superior to their opponents.

Why Rice Lake will win:

  • Henry Ellenson is that good.  Henry is the type of player who can take games over.  His size, skill, and touch have earned him high major offers all over the country and even though EP is deep up front none of their talent can stay with Henry one on one.
  • Rice Lake is an unknown.  Coach Flom is one of the best in Minnesota at preparing his team but unless the staff is going to take some road trips to sneak into practices in Wisconsin they really aren’t going to be sure what they are dealing with.  Rice Lake is an unknown to them.

Our Prediction:  Eden Prairie


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