The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports Columns

January 31, 2014

Courrier: Mankato, MSU should host top prep hoops

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“We always try to get the best AA teams we can,” he said. “Some teams run into scheduling problems with their conference, but it’s a fun event.”

There have been a few teams that have ended up in the state tournament after playing at the Hardwood Classic. Last year, Hayfield and Litchfield both played at Mapleton and ended up playing in the final eight of AA. This year, defending state champion Minnehaha Academy played in the Hardwood Classic, as did Mayer Lutheran and Jackson County Central, two teams that have good records this season.

Ostermann said he already has a commitment from Jordan, a team with some good younger players, for next year.

The bottom line is that both of these schools hosted events that were outside of the comfort zone, scheduling quality teams that showcase the best of high-school basketball. Mankato or Minnesota State could do the same thing.

It might take the cooperation from the three Mankato high-schools, but you’d think a facility such as Bresnan Arena, and the chance for a high-quality game against an unfamiliar opponent might be enough to lure a metro school — or maybe one from Iowa, Wisconsin or South Dakota — down to Mankato, where maybe a kid gets seen by a college coach. Or maybe you can bring in teams who have players that have already committed to Minnesota State so the locals can get a look at the future Mavericks. Not sure how this can get started, but surely there are basketball fans in Mankato who would be interested in watching top-level high school basketball at Bresnan Arena.

Certainly, it can happen. It works in other towns.

Why not Mankato?

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