By Bob San
Osseo-Maple Grove Sports
Osseo High boys’ basketball coach Tim Theisen can’t hide his excitement about his 2013-14 squad. The Orioles have size, talent, depth, toughness and veteran leadership and a very successful season seems certain.
“On paper it looks good,” said Theisen. “This team is going to get a lot of pre-season accolades. We are ranked two or three in most polls but they have to prove it on the court though.”
The Orioles return three starters from last year’s team that won the conference and fell just short of returning to the state tournament when they lost to Park Center in a hard-fought section championship game. Senior 6-9 center Ian Theisen, a five-year letterman and four-time all-conference performer, anchors the team. Also back are 6-2 senior all-conference guard Wheeler Baker and 6-5 senior forward Matt Miedtke.
Joining the three veterans in the starting lineup are senior point guard Jordan Dembley, a transfer from Holy Angels, and 6-4 senior forward Connor Kittelson.
“Ian and Wheeler are definitely our go-to guys but Jordan will add so much running the point guard for us,” said Theisen. “He will create so many opportunities for these players. Matt is one of the top athletes in the state. He can elevate above the rim, he can hit the outside shot or he can post up. So we have four guys who can easily score in double figures for us. And we a good group of power forwards and centers that will add size and athleticism to our program.”
Adding depth and toughness to Osseo are 6-4 senior forward Jamar Roberson, 6-3 senior forward Giovanni Pastrano, 6-4 center Josh Phillips, senior guard Caleb Campbell, junior wing Elliot Kane and sophomore point guard Allen Anderson.
Theisen likes the makeup of this year’s team.
“We have a good mix of 10 or 11 guys that we could throw out on the court and really not lose too much as far as intensity, scoring and defense,” he said. “I do feel this is one of our deepest teams at Osseo for quite sometime. This is a team that has experience, guard play, the depth at the forward position. Now we have to go out and prove it.”
The Orioles have the same goals any Osseo boys’ basketball team has: compete for the conference and section championships, then go to state and win the state tournament. Last year, the Orioles were the defending state champs and trying to defend their state championship but were derailed by a talented Park Center squad. That loss provides extra incentive for the Orioles.
“We all remember that loss well and it still stings in our body a little bit,” said Ian Theisen. “So I think that will help us this year, making sure that everybody is hungry every single game, come out strong and not have any letdown as we had last year. That’s a good thing to have. Everybody is on the same page and has the same goal and that is to go back to the state tournament and try to win that state championship.”
“Last year we lost to a very good team in Park Center, I don’t want to take anything away from them,” coach Theisen said. “But we feel we need to prove to, not only ourselves, but to everybody around that that was just a one-year situation and that we will be back at the state tournament this year. Our kids are excited. There is a lot of pride and enthusiasm. This a senior-dominated team that really wants to leave their legacy this season.”
Judging by their 81-37 win at Anoka in last Friday’s season opener, the Orioles are indeed ready to take care of business. After a relatively close first half, Osseo outscored Anoka 40-8 in the second half. Baker led the way with 21 points and Theisen had 13.
Osseo will have its home opener Tuesday, Dec. 3 against Blaine.