Photo: Joseph Hedstrom makes our list of Top 3 prospects for University of Denver men’s basketball. Denver has three scholarship openings for 2018-2019.
It may seem early to be discussing the 2018-19 men’s basketball season when the 2017-18 season hasn’t yet started, but much of DU’s future hoops success will depend on recruiting over the next twelve months. The coaching staff has identified a number of players that will fit in Rodney Billups play-fast style. Denver will have three scholarship openings next season and five after that to transform the Pioneers into the squad that Coach Billups envisioned when he took the job in May of 2016.
Simply put, Denver’s number one priority in 2018-2019 is size.
As such, Minneapolis prep basketball star center Joseph Hedstrom lands on LetsGoDU’s ‘Top Three’ prospect list. At 6’10”, he will be able to fill the shoes of current senior Daniel Amigo. Following 2017-18, Denver is going to need a big man who can play immediately and Hedstrom fits the bill. With Christian Mackey also graduating, there will be little bench time available for an incoming ‘big’ – so the prospect must be ready to play major minutes.
Hedstrom currently plays for Hopkins High School and the Minnesota Comets Elite (AAU) in Minneapolis, an area that the current DU coaching staff has recruited heavily. And he is a winner with a Class 4A state championship last season (31-1). Hedstrom is ranked #7 Minnesota/#131 US.
See the attached video: Joseph Hedstrom.
He has size, bulk, and mobility which are all very important, especially for a developing prep player. With his length, his highlight tapes show that he has a nice jump hook and a solid intermediate shot. He also can use his size on the defensive end to scour the boards and take up space. He would be an excellent replacement for the rapidly improving Daniel Amigo and seems to posses some of the same skills as Daniel and South Dakota State University standout Mike Daum. He can get up and down the floor – a requirement of the Rodney Billups system. He still needs some seasoning, as do most big-men, on the defensive end as well as footwork around the bucket.
But why would Hedstrom choose DU? He is being recruited by several Summit League programs (NDSU, SD) along with schools such as Western Michigan, Hofstra, Loyola (MD), UNC – Wilmington and Cleveland State. And some larger programs such as Minnesota and Wisconsin are starting to show some interest – largely as a walk-on player. Playing time, coaching, and culture may well give the Pioneers the advantage. Denver offers the appeal of an excellent coaching staff, the opportunity to play immediately and Denver provides all the advantages of a major metro area similar to the Twin Cities – with the addition of the Rocky Mountains. And big men, more than any other players, need solid coaching and time on the court to develop their skills.
Just look at the development of Daniel Amigo under the tutelage of coaches Rodney Billups, Dan Ficke, Ricardo Patton, and Steve Snell. Incredible progress in only one year (Amigo is currently playing with the Argentinian National Team this summer). Plus, DU is developing a solid recruiting pipeline in Minneapolis with Joe Rosga and Ade Murkey prospering in Billups’ up-tempo DU system. Add Denver’s mild winters, beautiful campus and arena, high academic standing (#86 US News), and easy access from Minneapolis – this is an ideal landing spot for Hedstrom.
While he is being courted by a number of other programs, Denver offers a number of benefits that just might give the Pioneers the edge in the chase for his services.
We will report on our next “Big Shot” top prospect this week as high school recruiting and campus visits heat up. Of course, we will be following Hedstrom closely as he makes his final college selection.