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

Well-known 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.
 
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.
 

brusharc1986

Moderated User
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.
Why would Mentor postpone the game versus Euclid last weekend? You would think they would have thought through the scenarios far enough in advance and have been able to play that game.
 

bbfan29

Member
What’s the point? This happens all the time with schools whose football teams go a long way in the playoffs. Football/Basketball players need at least a couple of weeks to transition into basketball condition.
 

krs1

Well-known member
What’s the point? This happens all the time with schools whose football teams go a long way in the playoffs. Football/Basketball players need at least a couple of weeks to transition into basketball condition.
He’s from Brush he wouldn’t understand those long football playoff runs. They’re always ready when basketball season starts
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
I don't think the basketball coaches love the idea of starting the season two weeks after most. It compacts the season in January/February. But with the success of the football program, this is their reality. Can you imagine how tough it would be to coach at Kirtland where roughly half of your basketball team each year (sometimes more than half) can't even start practicing until a month or so after the season starts? Out of their 15 or so guys who may see some varsity action this year, looks like four played football. Only one (Floriea) is a basketball starter. The others were JV guys last year, not sure how many will be in the rotation this season.
 
District teams for Euclid have been released:

Looks like a 3 team race; Mentor and Brush could play again for the District or Cleveland Hts could be in there too.

Mentor
Brush
Cleveland Hts.
Benedictine
Harvey
Lakeside
Madison
Mayfield
Eastlake N
Willoughby S
Riverside
University School
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
I agree that it is a three team race in the district. Benedictine, Harvey, South, and Mayfield are the second-tier teams with some talent and one of them will make a district semifinal. It will be a sizable advantage to whichever team out of the three (Mentor, Heights, and Brush) can separate themselves and be on the opposite side of the bracket from the other two. I would think that the top seed will get that privilege, but not necessarily. #1 and #2 seeds will be on opposite sides of the bracket. The 3 seed will then pick which side they want. At least that is how I think they are doing it now.
 

Myboyblue

Member
I agree that it is a three team race in the district. Benedictine, Harvey, South, and Mayfield are the second-tier teams with some talent and one of them will make a district semifinal. It will be a sizable advantage to whichever team out of the three (Mentor, Heights, and Brush) can separate themselves and be on the opposite side of the bracket from the other two. I would think that the top seed will get that privilege, but not necessarily. #1 and #2 seeds will be on opposite sides of the bracket. The 3 seed will then pick which side they want. At least that is how I think they are doing it now.
I think if you are a 3 seed you have to go to the bracket with the 2, that is how it has been for the last couple of years
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Ok thanks, I couldn't remember. That makes it all the more critical to get the #1 seed.

The season begins at home tonight against Brunswick. The Blue Devils have historically given Mentor some trouble. It should be a pretty good test. Mentor will be shaking off some rust while Brunswick has already played a few games.
 

SVillegrad

Well-known member
Looking at the score and doesn't seem like a lot of rust against what I think will be a good Brunswick team.

Next up @Medina, while early, could go a long way in the GCC race. Medina should be 5-0 heading into it (plays Firestone tomorrow) but the Bees haven't really played up to their potential at this point (though the 4th quarter against Solon is hopefully a start).

After Mentor is at Moeller for Medina. Those should be barometer type games.
 

bbfan29

Member
Looking at the score and doesn't seem like a lot of rust against what I think will be a good Brunswick team.

Next up @Medina, while early, could go a long way in the GCC race. Medina should be 5-0 heading into it (plays Firestone tomorrow) but the Bees haven't really played up to their potential at this point (though the 4th quarter against Solon is hopefully a start).

After Mentor is at Moeller for Medina. Those should be barometer type games.
Mentor looked a little rusty offensively, but looked solid & very intense on defense, causing numerous backcourt TO’s & steals & made Brunswick work very hard for their shots.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Rusty for sure on Friday, but that is somewhat expected. The team will continue to improve as they shake off that rust and better identify their roles and rotations. Brunswick is a well coached team. They have a couple nice players, Mackey and Massey. But I don't think the Blue Devils will finish any higher than 4th in the league.

The game at Medina this week is a big one. It is their final tune-up before heading south in between Christmas and New Year's. The game will be the first major game in helping determine who will win the GCC this season. As I stated before the season, I believe the league will come down to Mentor, Shaker, and Medina.
 

SVillegrad

Well-known member
Rusty for sure on Friday, but that is somewhat expected. The team will continue to improve as they shake off that rust and better identify their roles and rotations. Brunswick is a well coached team. They have a couple nice players, Mackey and Massey. But I don't think the Blue Devils will finish any higher than 4th in the league.

The game at Medina this week is a big one. It is their final tune-up before heading south in between Christmas and New Year's. The game will be the first major game in helping determine who will win the GCC this season. As I stated before the season, I believe the league will come down to Mentor, Shaker, and Medina.
Rust or not, that was a good win. Yeah, Brunswick is probably fighting with Solon for the 4 spot, but they are still a solid team. So winning by 20-plus in the opener was a nice start.

I'm looking forward to this, especially the backcourt matchup. I know cleveland.com has touted Mentor as having one of the best (if not the best) backcourts in Greater Cleveland. I think Medina has something to say about that. You have Junior Luke Chicone (Youngstown State commit) and senior Luke Floriea (Kent State football) against junior Corey Tripp (who also holds a Youngstown State offer, among others) and senior Kyle Szumski (who will play college ball, probably at the D2 level). The Mentor guys are 6-feet and shorter while the Medina guys are 6-2/6-3.

Mentor, though, will have the size advantage at the wing/front court. Just knowing the programs, both teams will be able to shoot the 3 and both are well coached.

For me, the key is can Medina's bigger, and IMO, as talented backcourt take advantage of the size mismatch and outplay Mentor there. If so, they have a good shot. If Mentor's backcourt outplays Medina there, then it'll probably be an easy Mentor win.

And Cardz, since you know I'm big on Medina's future. It'll be interesting to see how the JV and freshmen games turn out. Like football, this Medina group has a ton of talent in the freshmen/sophomore classes. Medina split in football. Think they get both in basketball (though that's even more of a tossup than football)... and I'll be surprised if varsity isn't close.
 
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bbfan29

Member
Rust or not, that was a good win. Yeah, Brunswick is probably fighting with Solon for the 4 spot, but they are still a solid team. So winning by 20-plus in the opener was a nice start.

I'm looking forward to this, especially the backcourt matchup. I know cleveland.com has touted Mentor as having one of the best (if not the best) backcourts in Greater Cleveland. I think Medina has something to say about that. You have Junior Luke Chicone (Youngstown State commit) and senior Luke Floriea (Kent State football) against junior Corey Tripp (who also holds a Youngstown State offer, among others) and senior Kyle Szumski (who will play college ball, probably at the D2 level). The Mentor guys are 6-feet and shorter while the Medina guys are 6-2/6-3.

Mentor, though, will have the size advantage at the wing/front court. Just knowing the programs, both teams will be able to shoot the 3 and both are well coached.

For me, the key is can Medina's bigger, and IMO, as talented backcourt take advantage of the size mismatch and outplay Mentor there. If so, they have a good shot. If Mentor's backcourt outplays Medina there, then it'll probably be an easy Mentor win.

And Cardz, since you know I'm big on Medina's future. It'll be interesting to see how the JV and freshmen games turn out. Like football, this Medina group has a ton of talent in the freshmen/sophomore classes. Medina split in football. Think they get both in basketball (though that's even more of a tossup than football)... and I'll be surprised if varsity isn't close.
Anyone know if Medina//Mentor game is on radio?
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Sounds like a rough night for Mentor. Only four players scored. Chicone and Rogers went off with big nights. Floriea was held to 10. Despite the game being played at a fast pace, Mentor only scored 24 points in the 1st half. Defensively, gave up too much. It began by allowing a 26-point 1st quarter. Clearly they couldn’t recover. Great win for Medina. A wake up call for Mentor.
 

SVillegrad

Well-known member
Sounds like a rough night for Mentor. Only four players scored. Chicone and Rogers went off with big nights. Floriea was held to 10. Despite the game being played at a fast pace, Mentor only scored 24 points in the 1st half. Defensively, gave up too much. It began by allowing a 26-point 1st quarter. Clearly they couldn’t recover. Great win for Medina. A wake up call for Mentor.
Chicone showed why he was a D1 player and Rogers indeed was just as good. I don't think this game (while it was a wake up call) wasn't that Mentor is overrated, just that Medina is very good ... and yes, it was just Mentor's second game.

Medina got a huge night from Szumski (not surprisingly because he is capable of going for 30 plus on any given night) and Corey Tripp was Corey Tripp and showed why he, like Chicone had a YSU offer and some from upper tier MAC programs. He was in charge from the beginning and finished with 18 and 6 assists.

Since Mentor is the measuring stick also in basketball in the GCC, a great weekend for Medina. Varsity got a convincing win on a night they honored former Mr. Basketball Tony Stockman. The freshmen followed it up with a 20-something point win, capped with a thunderous dunk (which drew a tech) from their 6-4 big man.

I didn't stay for all the JV but see a very talented Medina squad won 66-61. Mentor keeping it close shows they, just like Medina, have more on the way.

My biggest takeaway is I hope Medina doesn't run from the GCC. Mentor is the top dog in the two major sports and after football and the first go in hoops, Medina is 4-2 against them at the HS level this year. ... gonna be some good battles to come in the next couple years.

My other takeaway is the Mentor freshmen were scrappy on the court and class off it. The freshman who threw down the dunk was getting doubled and tripled all game long and it got a bit chippy. But after the game, 3-4 of the Mentor kids came over and they dapped and told him great game and talked for a minute. It was respect on both sides once the game was over.

The two schools are so similar, and now with Medina starting to live up to the potential, this is going to be a great rivalry.
 
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