Practice report: After near miss, Elkhorn Mt. Michael aims to break through to state tournament

Elkhorn Mount Michael's Joe Chouinard, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, was third on the team in scoring (10.4 ppg) and is a versatile player that can play multiple positions.

Elkhorn Mt. Michael finished 17-8 and one win shy of making the Class B state tournament last season. A young corps — and a year of varsity experience — should help the Knights break through in 2018-19.

The Knights want to play with tempo and pace in 2018-19.

The known

Four of the five projected starters return and all five are sophomores. The fifth projected starter is Omaha Gross transfer point guard Airan Lopez.

The addition of Lopez to the backcourt moves sophomore Brad Bennett to his more natural shooting guard position. Bennett was the team's leading scorer (13.9 points per game) and was second on the team in rebounding (3.5 rpg) last season.

Joining Bennett and Lopez in the backcourt is 6-foot-3 sophomore Joe Chouinard. Chouinard was third on the team in scoring (10.4 ppg) and is a versatile player that can play multiple positions.

In the frontcourt, Parker Hottovy returns and should improve significantly on his 2.2 rebounds per game. Hottovy is a 6-3 sophomore that plays with tremendous energy and can be a physical player.

Kaleb Brink, a 6-4 sophomore, led the team in rebounding (7.3 rpg) last season. Brink was one of three players to average double figures (10.4 ppg) a season ago. Brink showed he is more than just a strong post player. A no-step, two-handed dunk in practice showed the athleticism that Brink brings in the post.

The unknown

Replacing the graduated Jacob Idra's leadership and finding depth behind the five projected starters will be key for the Knights. One of the five projected starters is going to have to fill that leadership void.

A candidate to provide some leadership is junior Drew Thornton. Thornton is a multi-sport athlete that will provide depth on the wing and see his minutes increase from 10.4 of a season ago.

Another player that should will help in the backcourt is sophomore sharp-shooting guard Joe Bruggeman.

Sophomore Kyle Pelan is an intriguing player that shows some athleticism. He will be looked to provide depth in the frontcourt and on the wing.

Mike is a prep recruiting specialist for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @MikeSautterOWH. Phone: 402-444-1335.

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