Mentor Cardinals 2019-20

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
While the football team continues their memorable season, basketball is right around the corner. Mentor is coming off a 20-2 regular season, their most regular season wins (and best regular season winning percentage) in program history. Their tournament run saw them run into Solon for a 4th straight season. The semifinal win gave Mentor a 2-2 split with the Comets from 2016-2019 at Euclid. The two teams met in the semifinals once and the district final three times. Mentor's 77-73 district final win over a very talented Brush team was one of the best victories in Krizancic's time at Mentor. The magical season ended unexpectedly against Green in a regional semifinal at CSU.

Key losses to graduation include starters Mason Trubisky and Alex Edwards. Three starters do return, and they happen to be the team's three leading scorers from a season ago. Here are the four returning starters/rotation players:

- Senior guard Luke Floriea, 2nd team All-Ohio that averaged 19 points and 7 assists, will eventually return from the football field. Floriea's future is in football (Kent State wide receiver commit), but he is on track to be one of the best guards in the Krizancic-era. His speed is unmatched and his ability to score inside/outside while being a key distributor makes him very dangerous on the court.

- Senior forward Chad Rogers, a 6'4 Penn State baseball recruit, was 2nd team All-District after averaging 15.9 ppg a season ago. Rogers is one of the strongest players on the team and the leading rebounder (7.7 rebounds per game) from last season. Rogers has a nice inside/outside offensive game.

- Junior guard Luke Chicone had a breakout sophomore season and earned 3rd team All-District honors with his 15.6 points and 6 assists per game. During the summer, Chicone committed to Youngstown State. If Chicone improves from sophomore to junior as much as he did from freshman to sophomore year, the sky is the limit for him this season.

- Senior Caleb Piks is a 6'5 wing that committed to play DII basketball at Lake Erie College. Piks was a 6th man for last year's team and is a great complimentary player to Mentor's top three scorers with his ability to shoot, defend, and rebound.

A couple of junior rotation players from last year don't appear to be returning: football players Ian Kipp and Nyzier Fourquean. At least I didn't see them on the roster for the Cleveland.com preview. The 5th starter and the bench will be comprised of guys that were JV players last season.

Greater Cleveland Conference Outlook: The league schedule will be tough, but maybe not as deep as last season. Medina and Shaker are the teams to beat in the league. The league will be decided by the six games between those two teams and Mentor. Medina has a few returning starters back including junior DI recruit Corey Tripp. I think it will come down to the Cardinals and Raiders. Like Mentor, Shaker brings back their top three scorers from last season. Euclid, district champions in 2019, will take a bit of a nose dive after projected 4th year starting guard Garvin Clarke transferred to Cleveland Heights. That was on top of graduating their other four starters and their coach stepping down. Solon was hit hard by graduation, but they did have a couple youngsters to watch out for. They have a great coach too, so I don't expect them to be down. I really don't know much about Brunswick or Elyria. The Blue Devils graduated district POY Kyle Goesler. The coach's son (Tre Massey) does return. Elyria probably will finish closer toward the bottom of the GCC. Strongsville has been at/near the very bottom of the league every season.

Non-conference schedule: Mentor returns to the very popular Arby's Classic in Tennesse this December. It is a tournament where Mentor can play up to four games depending on how well they do. Mentor has finished in 3rd once and 2nd twice. Will this be the year they win the Arby's? There are some talented individuals and players that will be in their way. Lake Catholic and VASJ are two of their last three regular season games. Those will be great atmospheres and competitive games against some talented teams with good coaching all around. The other two non-conference games are against teams with Mentor connections: Eastlake North (coached by former Krizancic guard Rob Koelling) and Lakota East (Lakota's superintendent is Mentor's former super).

Euclid District Outlook: Solon left and Benedictine returns. That is about the only major movement in the Euclid district. Solon probably wasn't going to be a huge threat at districts, but they are a solid team. Benedictine lost their top player somewhat unexpectedly when senior Andy Barbara (Miami, OH recruit) transferred to ISA. Even with that, Benedictine might end up being the 4th best team in a district that is really about three teams: Mentor, Brush, and Cleveland Heights. Brush brings back big John Hugley (Pitt commit) along with some big and talented freshman/sophomores. Brush will miss the senior guard leadership of a season ago, but they might be just as talented overall this season. Cleveland Heights inherited a few transfers this "recruiting" season - including Garvin Clarke from Euclid and junior EJ Farmer from Lutheran East. Clarke, a starter since a freshman at Euclid, averaged 17 and 6 for the Panthers. Farmer, a smooth 6'4 lefty guard, averaged 22 points for last year's state runners-up in DIII. Mentor will have their hands full with one/both of these teams if they aim to win their third district title in four seasons.

Mentor 2019-20 Schedule
Dec. 13 vs. Brunswick
Dec. 20 at Medina
Dec. 26 vs TBD at Arby's Classic in Tennessee
Dec. 27 vs. TBD at Arby's Classic in Tennessee
Dec. 28 vs. TBD at Arby's Classic in Tennessee
Dec. 30 vs. TBD at Arby's Classic in Tennessee
Jan. 3 vs. Elyria
Jan. 7 at Solon
Jan. 10 vs. Shaker Heights
Jan. 17 at Strongsville
Jan. 21 at Eastlake North
Jan. 24 at Brunswick
Jan. 28 vs. Euclid
Jan. 31 vs. Medina
Feb. 1 at Lakota East
Feb. 4 at Euclid
Feb. 7 at Elyria
Feb. 11 vs. Strongsville
Feb. 14 at Shaker Heights
Feb. 17 vs. Villa Angela-St. Joseph
Feb. 21 vs. Solon
Feb. 22 vs. Lake Catholic
 
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SVillegrad

Active member
Maybe this will turn into the pseudo GCC thread since basketball talk isn't as prevelant as football. Good breakdown on Mentor and the GCC.

We'll see, but Medina IMO will be Mentor's biggest competition. Once the Bees got it going last year in winning 10 of 11 before losing to Eds in the District semifinals, Medina blew out Brunwick, beat Mentor on the road and blew out Shaker on the road (one loss was close at Solon). They have pretty much everybody coming back, and that is not just Corey Tripp but also Kyle Szumski. Both of them are capable of going off for 25-plus on any given night. They will be undersized (just like last year) but it's the same core, plus they are adding a couple young underclassmen to it who, IMO, are more talented than the couple of role seniors they lost.

Shaker will be good and Brunswick also will be tough. The Blue Devils underachieved last year with Goessler, but I wouldn't sleep on them. They have some talent.

With that, yeah, it's probably Mentor/Medina/Shaker/Brunswick as the top 4 in the league.

BTW, for Euclid, things can change, but Heights isn't bad, but they didn't look like anything special. Medina got them and Green (which looks real good, IMO) absolutley destroyed them in a recent scrimmage.
 
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tribefan23

Active member
Your analysis is unmatched, cardzfan. Awesome read. Here is the cleveland.com write up for Mentor, who Goul has Number 3 preseason behind SVSM and Ed's

Also find it interesting that Mentor didnt schedule their first game until December 6th, while everyone else is starting at the end of this month. Smart scheduling by the AD/Coach/Whoever does it.

3. Mentor

Coach:
Bob Krizancic (27th season)

2018-19 record: 23-3, 12-2 Greater Cleveland Conference (Division I Cleveland State regional semifinalist)

Returning starters: Luke Floriea (5-11, Sr., PG, 19.3 points, 7.0 assists), Luke Chicone (5-10, Jr., PG, 14.5 points, 6.0 assists), Chad Rogers (6-5, Sr., F, 16.0 points, 8.0 rebounds)

In the rotation: Caleb Piks (6-5, Sr., G/F, 7.0 points, 5.0 rebounds), Kyle Culler (6-2, Jr., G), Sean Collins (6-5, So., G/F), Andrew Witte (6-0, Sr., G), Andrew Smith (6-5, Jr., G/F), Noah Corwin (6-4, Sr., F), John Sirpitowski (6-2, Jr., G/F)

Why No. 3? The backcourt of Luke Floriea and Luke Chicone is unmatched in Northeast Ohio. Granted, it will take some time for them to come together with Floriea and the football team still in pursuit of a state championship in that sport. Krizancic sees it as a positive, allowing him to develop more depth as additional players gain time on the court without the roster at full strength.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
News-Herald preview on Mentor: https://www.news-herald.com/sports/mentor-basketball-cardinals-embrace-heightened-expectations/article_e9da01e2-10b0-11ea-8b2c-831f1136c458.html

They confirm that Kipp has "retired" from basketball. The last time a Mentor QB gave up basketball was Mitch Trubisky - right before Mentor won a state title. Wouldn't that be something to see that happen again. Trubisky was a better basketball player than Kipp, but I still think Kipp's size, strength, athleticism, and mental toughness would've been an asset to the depth of this team.

A 6'5 sophomore (Sean Collins) that should be in the rotation. Kyle Culler is a junior transfer from Gilmour. He went through Mentor schools up through 8th grade, then spent the last two years at Gilmour. He was 2nd team all-league last year a sophomore. I would expect Culler to be the 5th starter behind Mentor's top four returning players.
 

mustang fan

Active member
Holy smokes is this squad loaded! Talented with a deep bench. The returning starters are just "sick"! Should shape up to be a stellar year for the Cards on the court. A deep tourney run should be expected. Kipp was a nice addition to a very good team last year. His departure will be missed, but, it looks like the void will be filled with other good looking ball players.
 
News-Herald preview on Mentor: https://www.news-herald.com/sports/mentor-basketball-cardinals-embrace-heightened-expectations/article_e9da01e2-10b0-11ea-8b2c-831f1136c458.html

They confirm that Kipp has "retired" from basketball. The last time a Mentor QB gave up basketball was Mitch Trubisky - right before Mentor won a state title. Wouldn't that be something to see that happen again. Trubisky was a better basketball player than Kipp, but I still think Kipp's size, strength, athleticism, and mental toughness would've been an asset to the depth of this team.

A 6'5 sophomore (Sean Collins) that should be in the rotation. Kyle Culler is a junior transfer from Gilmour. He went through Mentor schools up through 8th grade, then spent the last two years at Gilmour. He was 2nd team all-league last year a sophomore. I would expect Culler to be the 5th starter behind Mentor's top four returning players.
Wow automatic starting spot for Culler. (Hmmm is he related to one of the assistant coaches)
 
Wow automatic starting spot for Culler. (Hmmm is he related to one of the assistant coaches)
Dave ~ I find your comment as ignorant as you!! Once again you should be embarrassed at your lack of knowledge of the game of basketball, your constant belligerent comments against young men is disgusting. Your attacks on Babe, O’toole, Culler, and many other distinguished Coaches have made you look like a fool. The fact that Krizancic has won a state title that you even question his ability to pick Deserving hard working kids is mind blowing. I hope you don’t handle your patients in your practice with such malice! Oh wait you do, go back and Read Your Reviews!!!
 
He is not related to anyone on the staff. The staff has changed very little since Krizancic has been there (1993-1994). Most of the coaches have been there over 15 years except for Kryz the JV coach. He come in 2014 I believe, and was the head coach at Wickliffe prior to that. He replaced someone who had been the JV coach since the late 90's. The staff has not changed grades 9 through varsity since 2014. The 9th grade coaches were there before Krizancic came to Mentor in 1993-94. Stow must not follow Mentor very much if he thinks there is an automatic start for anyone. Following Mentor for a long time, my guess is that he will start if he deserves to start and if he doesn't then he won't.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Mentor's originally scheduled opener at Euclid has been postponed until February. This means that Mentor will play only two games in Ohio before January. Only a couple of games under their belt before the competitive Arby's Classic tournament in TN will present a challenge. A lot of those schools have 5-10 games played by the time that starts. This means the team has nine games in 23 days to end the season. Then the tournament. A busy way to end the season.
 

bbfan29

Member
After following Mentor basketball closely over the Krizancic years, I can assure you that his philosophy is , “to be a starter you have to earn it”. I’ve been to some of their practices & seen how competitive they are, fighting for starting positions.
 

Ohiohshoops3

New member
bbfan - you are 100% correct, anyone who has watched Mentor since Coach Krizancic has been there knows the program he has created and that there wont be hand outs. I look forward to seeing this group of kids continue to develop, the potential for a fun/successful season is there.
 
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