When Hopkins played Osseo at the U of M Sports Pavilion, I (along with a few thousand other people) jumped at the chance to see two of the state's top teams in action. I was especially looking forward to seeing Hopkins, since they feature two elite sophomores in Kris Humphries and Darren Clarke. I wasn't disappointed.
Many consider Humphries to be the best prospect among the sophomores, and I saw nothing to make me disagree. He's 6'7" and already has a very solid frame. With another two years to mature, there's no doubt he'll be physically ready for the Big 10 as a freshman. He could very well grow a few more inches before then too, which would be a bonus.
Humphries has everything you look for in a big man. He has very long arms, has a nice shooting touch, and moves extremely well for someone his age and size. He scored 9 points in the game, and many of these came when he beat his man off the dribble or outran the defense for a fast break. Combine good ball-handling, a decent 3-point shot, and good low-post moves and Humphries could be nearly unstoppable the next two years.
Clarke is a 6'2" guard who really knows how to score. He's pretty thin, but that's nothing unusual at that age. His big feet and long frame make me think he still has some growing to do, too. Darren is a very quick and athletic player. He's also an excellent ball-handler and a pretty good shooter. He scored 15 points and hit some key baskets. He did take several shots that I thought were forced, but for a sophomore in a championship game I thought he showed pretty good poise overall.
These two will ensure Hopkins' status as an elite team the next two years. The Gopher coaching staff is already well aware of these guys, having seen them play on several occasions and given them tickets to quite a few Gopher games. While it's difficult to judge players this young and nothing is a given, Humphries is the one guy I've seen that I would feel comfortable offering a scholarship to right now. I think he's as close to a can't miss prospect as you're going to find. With Clarke I'd be a little more patient. If he keeps developing at his current pace, and especially if he grows a couple more inches, he has all the tools to become a very good Big 10 guard.
These are definitely two guys that Gopher fans will want to keep an eye on the next two years.