Quiet as its kept, the Twin Cities are becoming a serious basketball hotbed. Tyus Jones, Rashad Vaughn, and Reid Travis were all named McDonald’s All-Americans last year. In fact, the “Mini Apple” can make a case for having just as many guys considered in the top-150 as most major cities in the country. In between the Minnesota/Wisconsin Border Battle and various T’Wolves games, we hit up an mad high school games within the TC and the ‘burbs.
Added travel time had to be accounted for based on the rough roads throughout the city for an out of towner like myself, but that didn’t stop the TC natives from showing out and packing the gyms. The state’s most hyped prospect, 6’8 junior wing Amir Coffey, was on the shelf with a torn ACL for Hopkins. Inclimate weather conditions derailed us from checking out powerhouses Apple Valley (with Tyus Jones little bro and Gary Trent’s son) and Champlain Park (with handful of D1 players), but we still managed to see some of the state’s very best.
Here are a few of the top ballers that we saw in the Twin Cities outside of the MN/WI Border Battle:
Michael Hurt, 6’7, PF, Rochester John Marshall, 2016 (above)
One of the best pure scorers in the Twin Cities, Michel Hurt showed off the inside/outside game that made Minnesota coach Richard Pitino lock him up so early in the process. He is an absolute lights out shooter, plays the game with a high IQ, and uses his size to take smaller defenders to the post. While he certainly needs to add strength to his 185 pound frame, he still manages to rebound the rock at a high level. Be on the lookout for Michael’s baby bro Matthew too, a 6’8 eighth grader who is the team’s second leading scorer on varsity.
Shae Mitchell, 6’6, SF, Lakeville South, 2018
The best freshman in the state of Minnesota, Shae Mitchell lived up to his rep in what ultimately proved to be the final game of his debut campaign. He was automatic shooting the rock from mid-range, consistently made the extra pass to get teammates open looks, and was an explosive straight line driver. A super dirty flagrant foul on a dunk attempt sent Shae crashing to the ground, leaving him with a broken wrist. Mitchell will have plenty of college coaches impatiently waiting for his return to the hardwood this May on the AAU circuit with We All Can Go All-Stars and Minnesota Future Stars.
Jarvis Johnson, 6’0, PG, DeLaSalle, 2015
Having overcome more than most high school players can even imagine, Jarvis Johnson has proven that he’s one of the city’s elite for a minute now. The shifty lead guard is more athletic than you’d think, is a solid leader, and creates plenty of scoring opportunities for his teammates. Extremely driven to succeed, Jarvis should be able to develop into a real nice piece for “The U.”
Jamil Jackson, 6’6, SF, Minneapolis North, 2016
A wing with outstanding size, we were able to see Jackson crack 1,000 points throughout his career during a win over city league rival Roosevelt. He shot the ball well from deep, defended virtually every position on the hardwood, and showed the type of potential that you hope to see out of an intriguing wing. Jackson will be a wing that catches the eye of college coaches this summer on the AAU circuit when he’s running with Howard Pulley.
Isaac Johnson, 6’4, SG, Minneapolis North, 2017 (above)
The best defender that we saw in the Twin Cities, Isaac Johnson straight up put the clamps on very single player that he was matched up against. He uses his length and athleticism to put serious pressure on the rock, got a ton of deflections, and threw it down every time that he got it in transition. Johnson is yet another Howard Pulley product who will be doing his thing in the EYBL this summer.
Odell Wilson, 6’6, PF/C, Minneapolis North, 2018
Starting for the city’s best public school squad, Wilson showed that he could hold it down in the paint despite being three years younger than most of the guys he went up against. He used his wide frame to control the paint, showed off nimble footwork, and had no problem putting points on the board with either hand. Odell is going to have to get a bit more explosive, but has a lot the tools to be a legit big man down the road.