Nuness, the former Gopher basketball player, will travel with 13-year-old Tyus
Jones and his 10-year-old brother Trey Jones to the Final
Four next month in Indianapolis to provide them with a special
basketball and life experience. The youngsters are cousins of Nuness
and he’s close to both boys. Tyus has dazzled prep basketball fans with
his performance as an eighth grade point guard playing for Apple Valley
High School. Nuness said the 6-foot youngster wears size 13 shoes and will probably
grow to 6-5. Gophers coach Tubby Smith has watched Jones play
multiple times and the youngster has been to Minnesota’s games at
Williams Arena and seen the Wisconsin Badgers play in Madison.
Nuness said Tyus excels in academics and
basketball. He’s been impressed with the unselfish play of the middle
schooler who shows a senior’s understanding of what’s happening on the
floor and helps make other players better. Trey is a fourth grader
whose sixth grade travelling team recently won a state championship.
At the request of Sports Headliners, Mr. Basketball chair Ken
Lien provided his late season rankings of the best
prep boys teams in 4A,
3A, 2A and 1A. His top five in big school 4A are: Hopkins, Cooper,
Henry Sibley, Champlin Park and Eden Prairie. St. Paul Johnson is No. 1
in 3A followed by DeLaSalle, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, St. Paul Central
and Columbia Heights.
The top five in 2A are Minnehaha Academy, Crosby-Ironton,
Mayer-Lutheran, Morris Area and New London-Spicer. Minnesota
Transitions Charter is No. 1 in 1A followed by MACCRAY, Sebeka,
Ada-Borup and Maranatha Christian.
The Mr. Basketball winner will be announced soon and
the finalists are Marshall Bjorklund, Sibley East; Trevor
Gruis, Ellsworth; Kevin Noreen, Minnesota Transitions
Charter; Dyami Starks, Duluth East; Jake Thomas, Columbia
Seantrel Henderson has yet to make his college commitment but there are those who wonder
if the Cretin-Derham Hall All-American offensive tackle will be at a
junior college next fall and not a four-year school.
There’s speculation Texas might be
interested in becoming the 12th member of the Big Ten
Conference. More likely, though, is Missouri, another Big 12 school.
Big East school Rutgers, because of the New York TV market, remains a
good guess, too.
It will be interesting to watch the
development of 22-year-old forward Guillaume Latendresse.
Acquired from Montreal before Thanksgiving by the Wild, he leads the
team with 21 goals, and has 23 total goals for the season, exceeding his
career high by seven.
Nanne is providing color commentary during the boys’ hockey tournament for a
46th time. Nanne, whose analysis can be heard on KSTC, Ch.
45, first became a hockey name here as an All-American for the Gophers.
He and his college coach, John Mariucci, were close but their
relationship could be volatile. “He was like my second father,” Nanne
said. “We had a great relationship but during games sometimes it can
get tumultuous. Years ago in the World Championships I took too many
penalties in a row and I went to the bench. He got mad at me and he
wasn’t going to let me on the bench. ... He wanted me just to go right to the dressing room.
“So I am sitting on the bench and he swung
at me and hit me in the head. …We had a little wrestling match on the
bench. In the locker room we were going to go at it again but the team
finally told John either Louie goes on the ice or we’re not going. So
that settled the thing.”
The Swarm is working hard to promote
lacrosse in the local marketplace and capitalizing on the growing
popularity of the sport in the suburbs. Owner
is marketing oriented and excited about his franchise which has two more
years remaining on its Xcel Energy Center lease after this season. The
Swarm, 4-4, is halfway through the 16 game regular season schedule and
has won three straight games.