Minnesota hoops on upswing

Todd Zolecki

The talent pool of Minnesota basketball players seems to become deeper each year, narrowing the gap among states like Michigan, Texas and Florida. The Minnesota STREETS’ performance last Sunday in Chapel Hill, N.C., seemed to prove that.
At the Reebok Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, the STREETS, a group of the state’s top AAU high school talent, beat a team of Boston all-stars 72-52 to win the tournament championship at the Dean Smith Center.
Two of the STREETS’ players are expected to be heavily recruited by the Gophers men’s basketball team for the 1998-99 incoming class.
Totino Grace forward Darius Lane won tournament MVP honors after averaging 24 points per game. Gibbons, a renowned recruiting expert, said Lane is ranked as one of the nation’s top 50 players in next year’s senior class.
The 6-foot-4 Lane averaged 24.7 points and grabbed an average of 10.3 rebounds last year for the Eagles.
Lane’s teammate, Jeff Boschee from Valley City, N.D., is also a hot prospect. Gibbons said the point guard is ranked among the top 100 recruits nationally.
“I know the Gophers will be looking at (Boschee) next year,” Gibbons said. “Minnesota is very interested, particularly in Lane.”
The STREETS were coached by former Gophers assistant coach Dave Thorson, who now coaches at De La Salle High School.
“They were pretty thrilled,” Gibbons said of the players. “They looked up, and they could see Michael Jordan’s jersey hanging there in the rafters (at the Dean Smith Center). They said maybe now Minnesota high school basketball will get some respect. So that was a neat thing.”
Monticello center Joe Pryzbilla also performed well, but he played for a different team. Gibbons said the seven-foot center is the No. 1 prospect in the state of Minnesota for next year. The Gophers are quite interested in Pryzbilla.