All five starters from the Hopkins High boys basketball team have been named to the All-Lake Conference squad for 2017-18.
The starting five led coach Kenny Novak Jr.’s Royals to a 27-2 record that included a 27-game winning streak. Hopkins’ season ended with a 63-61 loss to Wayzata in the Section 6 finals.
Three of Hopkins’ all-conference players will return to the line-up next season. They are 6-9 junior forward Zeke Nnaji, 6-1 sophomore guard Blaise Beauchamp and 6-3 sophomore guard Kerwin Walton. The two seniors representing Hopkins on the All-Lake squad are 7-foot center Joe Hedstrom and 6-3 guard Anthony Davis.
Novak said it was a team effort this season with all five starters and sixth man Dane Zimmer, a 6-7 forward, making big contributions.
“Zeke had a great year, other than being hurt near the end of the season,” said Novak. “He improved a ton and has a great future.”
As for the sophomore guards, Beauchamp and Walton, Novak said, “They are very good shooters. Blaise hit a lot of three-pointers and Kerwin shot a good percentage. Blaise is a scoring point guard more than anything else.”
Hedstrom’s play in the middle was a key factor, especially on defense. The University of Wisconsin recruit has big potential.
“Joe made good strides all the way through his career with us,” said Novak. “He was always a force.”
Anthony Davis is another player who made good strides as a senior, Novak noted.
“Anthony exceeded by expectations,” the coach commented. “He was one of our best offensive players this year and also a very solid defender.”
Novak felt that Zimmer, a sure starter for next year, was among the most valuable players on the team.
“Dane’s the kind of player who does a little bit of everything,” said Novak. “He’s a very good rebounder and a good defensive player.”
Minnetonka’s lone representative on the All-Lake team is junior guard Jalen Dearring, who averaged 16 points per game this season.
Hopkins won the Lake Conference championship with an 8-0 record. Eden Prairie took second place and Wayzata was third in the final standings.
Hopkins: 7 foot senior center Joe Hedstrom, 6-3 senior guard Anthony Davis, 6-9 junior forward Zeke Nnaji, 6-3 sophomore guard Kerwin Walton, 6-1 sophomore guard Blaise Beauchamp.
Eden Prairie: 6-1 senior guard Kyler Kluge, 6-5 sophomore center Austin Andrews, 6-5 sophomore forward Connor Christensen and 6-2 sophomore guard Drake Dobbs.
Edina: 6-foot senior guards Luke Glenna and Anders Nelson.
Wayzata: 6-3 senior guard Drew Galinson, 6-foot junior guard Luke Paulson and 5-11 junior guard Jacob Beeninga.
Minnetonka: 6-1 junior guard Jalen Dearring.
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