Rochester basketball better than advertised
There's been much said and much hand-wringing over Rochester teams — boys and girls, varsity and B-squad combined — going 0-for-16 in the first day of the recently completed Rotary tournament.
And yes, it was a bad showing, there is no getting around it. But to derive from it that Rochester basketball is among the worst around is far from the truth.
Yes, there are some seriously struggling teams in town this season. The Rochester Lourdes girls — which forever had owned among the strongest girls programs in the state — is having (for them) a historically bad season. The John Marshall girls have mostly had a tough time, too, and are 4-7. But Mayo and Century go into January with solid records, at 7-3 and 7-4, respectively. That's far from lousy.
It's much the same situation with the Rochester boys teams. There is one really struggling team among them, John Marshall, at 1-7. The Rockets, however, have some young talent that has a decent chance of flourishing in a year or two.
Mayo, which is undersized, has still been respectable. The Spartans are 4-4 and play an entertaining brand of basketball that emphasizes ball movement and a quick pace.
Then you have 8-1 Century and 6-4 Lourdes. The first thing to note about them is that in the latest high school poll, both were ranked in the top-10 in their respective classes. And let's also remember that just one year ago Lourdes made it all the way to the state Class AA championship game, graduated virtually all of those players, and is still formidable
And one final note: The Rotary tournament generally brings in good to very good teams, most from the Twin Cities, to play in this event. Losing to any of them in the first round is almost never a shocker and there's little shame in it.
So, while Rochester basketball may have some flaws in it — there have been complaints about the lack of practice time and facilities at the youth level — it can't be considered an abject failure. It's not great, but it's far better than many are making it out to be.
— Pat Ruff