At the end of each basketball season, the Tribune publishes its All-Area basketball teams to recognize the top players in the area, with five players from that group selected to the first team. Here are 10 players to keep an eye on to earn a spot on the All-Area first team in the 2017-18 season.
A two-time All-Area first-teamer, Kannegiesser enters his senior season, like Slagter, with his eyes locked on setting records. As for the school scoring record, though, Kannegiesser already has that one in his grasp. Entering the season 14th all-time in the area boys basketball scoring list with 1,716 points, the senior is one remarkable season away from topping the record books.
While Kannegiesser is likely to jump into the top 10 early in the season, record-watch could get very interesting later on in the campaign.
To open the year, he is 734 points behind the all-time boys leader, Mike Felt of Redwood Falls. If the Owls play 25 games as they did one year ago, that would require an average of 29.4 points per game. While a figure daunting in appearance, Kannegiesser averaged 25.6 points per game to lead the area last year.
If there's anyone that could put up those kinds of numbers, Kannegiesser has proven it's him.
Boerema for the 2017-18 season. As a sophomore, Boerema averaged 18 points per game while shooting at an efficient clip, hitting 62 percent of his two-point shots and 39 percent on three-pointers.
With plenty of change around the Dragons program, Boerema is the key returning piece. Litchfield lost two All-Area performers from last season to graduation and Hall of Fame coach John Carlson to retirement, meaning Boerema will have to step into a larger role this winter.
After leading the Blackjacks to success on the football field as the quarterback, Swenson will now look to make that carry over into the basketball season. Swenson scored 17.2 points per game as a junior last season, the most on a Dawson-Boyd team that went 16-10. He also showed a proclivity for rebounding at a high clip with over six boards per game.
Alongside junior Bentley Boike, the team's second-leading scorer from a season ago and fellow returning All-Area honorable mention, the Blackjacks are showing some promise heading into the year.
Henry was last seen as a reserve for Central Minnesota Christian in its run a third consecutive state tournament appearance a year ago.
But Henry transferred to BOLD for his junior season in a move that could make the Warriors one of the area teams to watch this season.
At six-foot-seven, Henry is a load of potential with athleticism, length and explosiveness that is rare at the high school level. He averaged 6.6 points per game one year ago as a sophomore, gradually becoming more comfortable with a veteran group and getting more playing time.
For this season, though, the sky could be the limit for a player that already stands head-and-shoulder above the rest.
Arndt entered his junior season as one of the area's all-around athletes prepared to explode onto the scene in 2017. He did just that in football, finishing second among all rushers with 1,400 yards on the ground. Now, basketball is the next step for Arndt.
With incredible athleticism and a deft guard's skillset in a 6-foot-3 frame, Arndt is set to take over for the Tigers. He averaged 12.1 points and seven rebounds per game as a sophomore, earning an All-Area honorable mention nod. In the meantime, Arndt has taken off on the AAU scene and has shown signs of a promising year ahead.
The featured cover athlete on the basketball tab included in Thursday's edition of the Tribune, Slagter can do it all. The senior set the school boys scoring record in Willmar's season-opening game with 31 points. Last year, he was an All-Area first-teamer and finished second in the area in scoring per game. Slagter can also rebound with the bigs despite also being the team's point guard, stating that he hopes to average a double-double this season.
New London-Spicer Wildcats
Another exciting junior to keep an eye on, Adelman returns after averaging 18.2 points, five assists and 3.4 rebounds per game for the Wildcats en route to a Section 3AA semifinal appearance.
As colleges from Division 1 and up continue to take a look at the 6-foot-4 guard, so should you. Adelman effectively runs the NLS offense, distributes well and can score it when he needs to. Don't be surprised if his campaign winds up with a bump from honorable mention one year ago to first team this year.
Oh, would you look at that? Another football standout makes the list. As only a freshman one season ago, Vosika was the general for the BOLD offense and earned honorable mention All-Area in the process. An all-around stuffer of stat sheets, he averaged 9.1 points, 5.1 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. Add in an experience boost in his sophomore season and it could make for a big year for Vosika.
Renville County West
A high-scoring guard for the Jaguars, Schrupp is certainly a player to keep an eye on this season. As a sophomore in 2016-17, Schrupp led Renville County West with 17.4 points per game. He is certainly one of the key pieces as the Jaguars look to take a step forward in the standings this season. Along with senior and double-double machine Nathan Serbus, Schrupp will be a part of a major dynamic duo for RCW.
As the Lakers bring a mix of returning talent and incoming potential to the season, Johnsrud is at the center of the mix. One of just two players on the watch list that were not named to either honorable mention or first team a year ago, Johnsrud still led Minnewaska with 13 points per game. The senior guard doesn't need high volumes to get his points, either, shooting over 50 percent from the field while finishing second on the team in three-pointers made.