2019-20 Boys Top 25 Rankings

12/12/2019 | Feature | By Staff

F or the second year in a row, Upbeat conducted a preseason player rankings poll to rate the top 25 boys and girls basketball players in the UP.

Four coaches and Bryce Derouin and Eden Laase of Upbeat ranked the boys on a 25-point scale. A first-place vote warranted 25 points, while second-place was worth 24 and so on.

Here is the 2019-20 Top 25:


Noah Gorzinski

The Jets will look to lean on senior guard Noah Gorzinski to carry the offensive load. His ability to score in the lane off a combination of runners and layups is a solid complement to his 3-point stroke.


Nic Edington

Injuries and absences plagued the Pickford Panthers a season ago. Despite the adversity faced last year, Pickford has the luxury of returning an established big in Nick Edington, who gets set for his fourth year at the varsity level. Edington has averaged a double-double the past two seasons and will likely make it three in a row this year.


Zach Gross

The lone returning starter from a Brimely team that went undefeated before losing to Pellston in the regional semifinal, Gross was known for his ability to run he court, tiring out defenses in the fast break. He’s a skilled defender and a calming force on the court.


Davin Hill

Dollar Bay’s junior point guard helped lead the Blue Bolts to the state semifinals last season. He is a capable scorer, particularly from behind the 3-point line. Hill spent the summer getting stronger and working out with Jake Polfus to improve his game. He is a skilled passer with great court vision.


Ty Lotterman

In addition to Kameron Karp, Ty Lotterman will take on a scoring role after Marquette graduated its senior core from last season. Lotterman boasts great athleticism, strength and explosiveness, which he will use to power to the rim. Defensively, he plays a physical style that gives opponents trouble. 


Eli McParlan

After the departure of all-time leading scorer, Matt Ojala, Calumet will rely on the three-year varsity player to pick up the bulk of he scoring. The lengthy forward is capable of stretching defenses and hitting from beyond he arc, as well as scoring in the lane.


Max Baumler

Carney-Nadeau’s 5-9 senior guard was named to the All-UP Division 4 Second Team last season, averaging 18.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and three steals a game. He shines from long-range, and coach Paul Polfus regards him as C-N’s best 3-point shooter.


Rane Castor

The junior took a backseat to Gladstone’s seniors (including his brother, Reece) last season, but worked his way into the starting lineup midway through the schedule. Castor is a versatile player, equip with strength around the rim — both offensively and defensively —3-point range, and the ability to pull up for a midrange jumper.


Ty Alderton

At 6-4, the senior Patriot provides some size and length around the rim for Westwood. Despite being capable of going off for 20-plus points in games last season, one coach called Alderton one of the sneakiest, most unknown players in the division.


Connor LeClaire

As just a sophomore, LeClaire played a key role for Dollar Bay as the Blue Bolts advanced to their second-straight state semifinals appearance. LeClaire was a rising star throughout the season, but his 27-point, seven-rebound performance in the regional title game proved he had arrived. LeClaire, who is known for his toughness, is skilled on the glass and in scoring second-chance points. 


Peyton Fedell

For Escanaba to have success, it will need to complement the inside presence of Carter Hudson. That’s where Peyton Fedell becomes so vital for the Eskymos. Fedell’s ability to stretch defenses with his 3-point shooting gives Escanaba’s offense another dimension.

Westwood received a sneak peak at its future potential during last season’s district semifinal loss to Negaunee. Zach Carlson made his postseason debut and would lead the Patriots with 11 points. Opposing coaches have seen enough of him during the summer to rank him this high after a limited showing a season ago.

He opened the season with 15 points in the loss to Negaunee.


Zach Carlson

Westwood received a sneak peek at its future potential during last season’s district semifinal loss to Negaunee. Zach Carlson made his postseason debut and would lead the Patriots with 11 points. Opposing coaches have seen enough of him during the summer to rank him this high after a limited showing a season ago.


Taylor Dellangelo

Westwood’s senior point guard will help man the backcourt for the Patriots this season. Dellangelo, who also served as Westwood’s quarterback this year, is a tough competitor and a quiet leader. He is a crafty guard who can get to the rim and use his athleticism and body control to score or dish.


Tyler Sundling

A four-year starter, Tyler Sundling guided the Rapid River Rockets to district titles during his first two years at the varsity level. Last season he earned Division 4 All-UP Second Team honors after averaging 15 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists per game.


Brett LaFord

The Carney-Nadeau senior was named to the Division 4 All-UP Second Team last year after averaging a double-double for the Wolves. He finished the season scoring 19.3 points, grabbing 11.5 rebounds and passing for 3.5 assists per game. LaFord is regarded as C-N’s best rebounder and best defender. 


Kameron Karp

Despite not seeing varsity time last season behind a core of seniors at Marquette, the shifty junior guard will be a driving force for the Redmen this season. Coach Brad Nelson describes him as a dynamic point guard who can get to the rim and pull up for a jump shot. Karp is also a capable defender whose speed and athleticism help him stay in front of opponents. 


Carter Hudson

The 6-7 post player spent his summer playing AAU basketball in Wisconsin to hone his skills. The junior averaged 10 points a game last season and led Escanaba with two blocks a game. His 6-9 wingspan made him a skilled rim protector. Hudson’s height alone makes him a threat in the paint, but he is also capable of knocking down 3-pointers and extending defenses.


Ashton Janke

Dollar Bay’s senior guard was key in the Blue Bolts’ state semifinal run last season, averaging 16.4 points and 8.4 rebounds a game. Janke’s length and footwork, as well as quick handle make him difficult to defend. He was named to the Division 4 All-UP First Team last season and could contend for Dream Team this year.


Drew Lindberg

The Negaunee senior is heading into the 2019-20 season with improved skills and improved confidence. Last year Lindberg emerged as a long-distance threat that complemented Negaunee’s other shooter (Waterman) and point guard (Sager). Lindberg knows how to slide into space for open shots, and can shoot from a few feet behind the line. His range is virtually unmatched in the UP.


Jaden Borseth

As a sophomore, the E-TC guard already has two years of starting varsity experience under his belt. He was named to the Division 4 All-UP First Team last season, averaging 19.9 points and 6.7 rebounds a game. Borseth is a gifted slasher, who can score in a variety of ways. 


Jakson Sager

The shifty point guard was all over the court for Negaunee last season, scoring 12.7 points, dishing out 6.7. assists (second in the UP to Calumet’s Dream Team guard, Matt Ojala) and grabbing 4.9 rebounds a game. Sager has the ability to get past anyone with the best handle in the UP. The senior is capable of finishing at the rim or finding an open shooter.


Jason Waterman

Negaunee’s senior guard was named to the All-UP Division 1-3 First Team after averaging 16 points and six rebounds a game last season. He is regarded as the UP’s best 3-point shooter, hitting 52 percent of his attempts last season. Negaunee’s hard-nosed leader brings an element of toughness to the court every game.


Brad Simonsen

The Michigan Tech signee averaged a double-double for Houghton last season with 21.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Simonsen boasts a complete offensive game. Not only can he shoot from 3, pull up in the midrange and drive the rim, the 6-5 senior can also post up, using his strength and footwork to score in the paint.


Marcus Johnson

Iron Mountain’s junior point guard was named to the All-UP Dream Team last year after averaging 23.1 points, 4.7 assists and 2.2 steals a game. Johnson is cable of getting to the rim and finishing with contact, or shooting from distance. In Iron Mountain’s run to the state title game, Johnson proved he could score on Michigan’s best. 


Foster Wonders

No surprise here. The Iron Mountain junior is the reigning Mr. UP Basketball, and the UP’s only current Division I prospect, featuring 1o scholarship offers already.

Last season he averaged 23.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists, while shooting 57 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from beyond the arc. As just a sophomore, he reached the 1,000th point mark during the state championship game, even after missing nine games during his freshman year. Wonders spent the offseason getting stronger and playing on the country’s best AAU circuit.

He’ll go down as one of the UP’s best players of all-time. If he’s playing within an hour’s drive, he’s worth the trip to watch.


Jesse Kentala resigns as Dollar Bay head coach

11/24/2020 | Feature | By Bryce Derouin

Similar to every other coach in the state of Michigan, Jesse Kentala was preparing to navigate whatever high school basketball season there is during the current pandemic. The Blue Bolts are coming off two trips to the state semifinals and are projected to be one of the top teams in the UP once again. A three-peat trip to Michigan State...

Waterman's Michigan Tech dreams fulfilled

8/28/2020 | Feature | By Eden Laase

Jason Waterman was fine with not playing basketball. He had an incredible career at Negaunee, reaching the 1,000-point mark as a senior, and being coached by his father for four seasons.  He was OK hanging it up after high school — at least, that’s what he told himself.

My decision: Foster Wonders on why he chose Southern Illinois

7/13/2020 | Feature | By Foster Wonders

As a kid, I always looked up to the top players in the UP. Jason Whitens and Dawson Bilski from North Central, my brother, Carson, and Negaunee’s Trent Bell and Tyler Jandron. Those were the guys I looked up to, and I wanted to continue their tradition of top basketball talent in the UP and raise the bar if I...