Gopher Basketball Signees Square Off Tuesday

Rodney Williams leads Cooper against Hopkins

Minnesota Gopher basketball signees Royce White of Minnetonka (MN) Hopkins and Rodney Williams of Robbinsdale Cooper will square off Tuesday night in a highly anticipated non-conference contest at Cooper. The game will not only feature two of the state's top players, but two of the top teams in the Midwest.

Both teams have been dominant this season as they are both off to a 15-0 start. Hopkins is outscoring their opponents by 32.2 points per game, as they are averaging 86.7 points. Cooper is outscoring their opposition by 21.3 points, as they are scoring 81.5 points per game.

Hopkins, which was ranked #22 in the USA Today preseason rankings, is the odds-on-favorite to win the Class AAAA state title. The Royals, who finished 27-2, losing to eventual state champions and crosstown rival Minnetonka in the section finals. The two split games in the regular season. Hopkins, who won the 2005 and 2006 title, has seven Division I caliber players and added transfer Royce White, who signed with Minnesota. They also have Division players Trent Lockett, who is headed to Arizona State, Mike Broghammer, who inked with Notre Dame and Raymond Cowels, who is signed to Santa Clara. Point guard Marcus Williams is getting looks for both football and basketball, while junior D.J. Peterson has offers from North Dakota State, Baylor and Wisconsin Green Bay and Marvin Singleton, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, is one of the top players in the Class of 2011.

The Royals have shown great balance with nine players averaging seven or more points per game. White is leading the team with 13.4 points per game, followed by Cowels (13.1), Lockett (12.6), Broghammer (10.6), Singleton (8.5), Williams (8.3), sophomore Joe Coleman (7.3), senior outside threat Moses Sundufu (7.1) and Peterson (7.0). The Royals are currently ranked #16 by USA Today, #21 in the ESPN RISE FAB 50 boys' basketball rankings and #6 by MaxxAthlete High School Top 25.

Robbinsdale Cooper returns all five starters from a team that finished 23-9 and had a fourth-place finish in the Class AAAA State Tournament. They upset Osseo in the section finals, giving the Orioles their only loss of the season. The Hawks are paced by Rodney Williams Jr., a 6-foot-6, 185-pound forward who is one of the top players in the state as well as one of the country's top athletes. Williams Jr., who signed with hometown Minnesota, averaged 21.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.1 blocked shots and 2.4 assists per game last year. They also return inside scorer Joe Bright (14.8 points per game), Kenquane Brown (7.1) and backcourt players Freddie Burton (4.9) and Quincy Bethea (10.3).

The Hawks have had excellent balance with four double-figure scorers, led by Williams with 16.5 points per game. Brown averages 16.4, Bright is adding 13.2 points and outside shooter Bethea is contributing 12.1 points.

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