The first week of Minnesota high school basketball opened up with excitement, great games, excited fans and players performing at a high level.  Minnesota basketball is at an all-time high with many nationally ranked players and a youth movement littered with College prospects. This weekend Dec. 7th, the Breakdown is back and will take over High School basketball, hosting its main event called the Tip Off Classic which started in 2004 and is now the largest single day classic held in Minnesota.   This weekend will give the nation a look into the talented players the state has from every grade level and basketball class from 1A - 4A under one roof.    

GAME PREVIEW:
Game 1: Totino-Grace vs. Lakeville North 

Totino - Grace is a very young team with a great incoming 2023 class of names you will hear for many years to come.  Many consider this a rebuilding year for the Eagles. TG will face a Lakeville North team who since the mid 2000’s has built into one of Minnesota's top high school programs.  They have had an unprecedented successful run for Lakeville basketball. The Panthers have gone on to win eight consecutive section championships, which means they have made it to the state tournament 8 years in a row and appeared in three more state championship games, including 2014's state title team led by all-time leading scorer J.P. Macura.

Game 2:  Champlin Park vs. Waseca 
In this game you will see a 4A vs. 3A match up in Champlin Park (4A) vs. Waseca (3A).  Both teams come into this game 1 - 1 and hungry for a win. Over Thanksgiving weekend Champlin park is coming off a 30+ loss to Eastview.  Eastview has Steven Crowl – 6’9” – 2020 – C that will attend Wisconsin University next season.  Waseca has D1 prospect Andrew Morgan – 6’9” – C – 2021 who is a game changer.  Waseca is a 3A state contender that plays great team basketball.  Champlin Park center big man Francis Nwaokorie - 6’7” is a college prospect manning the middle and avg. 19ppg which should be enough to make this a highly competitive game.  

Game 3: DeLaSalle vs. Mankato East 
Mankato East comes into this game currently with a 2-0 record and a team that finished last season with a 21-4 record. A program that has produced some good talent over the years.  In this top 3A match up, Mankato East will take on DeLaSalle who came into the season ranked #2 behind Minnehaha Academy the state’s top 3A team.   Mankato East player Joich Gong avg. 14.8 ppg last season. DeLaSalle is ready for battle with a monster inside presence with 6’7” Jalen Travis who committed to play football at Princeton University and sharp shooter Cade Haskins – 6’6” – Small Forward – 2021 – who scored 26 pts last weekend to lead DeLaSalle to a victory over Waseca. He also made the HoopStars Breakdown Big 12 outstanding performers list.    

Game 4: Eastview vs. Wayzata 
Eastview comes into this game with good momentum as a team.  Steven Crowl 6’9” - Center has been on a tier scoring buckets in bunches, from the inside to the outside hitting threes.  Steven is showing why he will be a great fit in the Wisconsin system as stretch 4 and not just a player at that size that plays with his back to the basket.  In his last game he had 34 points against Chaska High School. The player matchup Steven Crowl vs. Camden Heide will be a good one to watch. High flying Camden Heide is a 6’6” forward and is coming off a huge summer. He was one of the 18 finalists for the 2019 USA 16U National team and he took part in junior national team mini camps. It will be interesting to see if Wayzata can slow down Eastview.  
 
Game 5: Shakopee vs. Hopkins 
Hopkins will have a full roster this weekend against Shakopee. Last weekend during the Hopkins vs. Park Center they were without a couple of key transfers.  PG Cornell Richardson who played for Osseo HS avg. 13ppg and in his first game back for Hopkins he contributed 10 points for the Royals and Tristan Lee who played at Maranatha Christian Academy will add much needed depth in the backcourt for the royals.  Kerwin Walton is coming off a 32 point performance on opening weekend. Now at full staff, the Royals will look like a completely different team this weekend against Shakopee. Charlie Katona is Shakopee’s key player, at 6’4” He is a shooting guard who signed to play for the University of Minnesota - Duluth. He is a battle tested guard who can shoot it from both levels.         

Game 6: Eden Prairie vs. Prior Lake
This match you will see two of the most highly skilled and fundamentally sound teams at every position in the state.  Both teams are senior lead. Prior Lake leads the way with Dawson Garcia who stands at 6’10” and is a Power Forward who brings a toughness and skill to the court that is rare.  Garcia is currently avg. 39ppg and he will play at Marquette University next season. On the other side, Eden Prairie brings a well-balanced team with three players averaging double figures.  Austin Andrews who will play at the University of Minnesota - Duluth is currently avg. 16 ppg and is an all-around key player for Eden Prairie. Eden Prairie starts the season off ranked as the top team in the state behind Park Center in many pre-season polls.   

Game 7: East Ridge vs. Park Center 
Park Center is hands down the best team in the state that can play many styles based on the opponent they play. They are a fast paced team that plays both ends of the floor with defense being at the forefront of their team identity.  A rematch from a year ago state tournament 3rd place game where Park Center beat East Ridge by two - 61 - 59. Park Center is eager to show East Ridge that this year's team is different and more polished for a state run.  Dain Dainja 6’10” 2020 is currently ranked 56 in the latest ESPN ranking. The Baylor University commit will bring an inside presence that currently dominates the state. East Ridge brings a 6’10” Power Forward who is the second player from Minnesota that will play for Coach Gard at Wisconsin University.  Will Ben Carlson be enough to slow down the Pirates? Ben can explode for 20+ and double figures in rebounds on any given night. 

Game 8: Cretin - Derham Hall vs. Minnehaha Academy
The marquee matchup of the night will be Cretin - Derham Hall vs. Minnehaha Academy.  This is one of the most anticipated matchups of the year. The rosters on both sides reads like a who’s who of elite players.  Is Minnehaha Academy unstoppable? Minnehaha has been arguably the best team in Minnesota state history. Led by Jalen Suggs who is a 5 star Point Guard who is currently ranked # 6 by ESPN and is one of the most decorated student athletes this state has witnessed.  Jalen has won three straight high school championships and has been a fixture in USA Basketball bringing home gold each time. He has offers from Gonzaga, Baylor, Marquette, Minnesota, Iowa State, Kansas to name a few and is currently contemplating which path to take; the Pro route that many prospects have taken recently or the collegiate route.  Minnehaha roster also includes Chet Holmgren 7’0” foot center who is ESPN ranked #2. Holmgren is a 7 footer that can do it all, put the ball on the deck to create space and shoot the deadly outside three point shot or to explode to the rim for a dunk. Chet has taken a leap that is rarely seen over a year span to becoming a household name. Minnehaha is a roster that could have two future pros on it and is on pace to win a 4th straight championship.  Minnehaha has stepped up a class from dominating 2A to now leading the way at 3A. Cretin - Derham will have its hands full this weekend due to the talent on the RedHawks roster as they are deep at every position. Cretin has always been a traditional power producing many Division one players. The roster is led by sophomore Tre Holloman, a 6’2” athletic true floor general who currently has offers from Minnesota and 6’7” Forward J’Vonne Hadly who scores at will against opponents.         
 
2020 TOP PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jalen Suggs - 6’5” - 2020 - Minnehaha Academy 
Dawson Garcia – 6’10” – 2020 – PF – Prior Lake 
Dain Dainja – 6’10” – PF – 2020 – Park Center  
Kerwin Walton – 6’5” – SG – 2020 – Hopkins 
Ben Carlson – 6’10” – PF – 2020 – PF – East Ridge 
Steven Crowl – 6’9” – 2020 – C – Eastview 
J’Vonne Hadley – 6’7″ – CG – 2020 – Cretin Derham Hall 
Charlie Katona - 6’4” - 2020 - SG - Shakopee
Drake Dobbs – 6’1” – PG – 2020 – Eden Prairie 
Austin Andrews – 6’6” – PF – 2020 – Eden Prairie
John Grigsby – 6’9” – PF – 2020 – Park Center  

2021 TOP PLAYERS TO WATCH
Chet Holmgren - 7’0” - F - 2021 - Minnehaha Academy
Cade Haskins – 6’6” – SF – 2021 – DeLaSalle 
Camden Heide - 6’6” - F - 2021 - Wayzata 
Andrew Morgan – 6’9” – C – 2021 – Waseca 
Kyreese Willingham – 6’5″ -SF – 2021 – Waseca 
Keijuan White – 6’1″ – G – 2021- DeLaSalle 
Xaiver White – 6’5″ – SF – 2021 – Hopkins 
Andre Gray – 6’4″ – CG – 2021 – Hopkins
Kendall Blue - 6’5” - CG - 2021 - East Ridge 

2022 TOP PLAYERS TO WATCH
Prince Aligbe - 6’6” - SF - 2022 - Minnehaha Academy 
Tre Holloman – 6’2” – G – 2022 – Cretin Derham Hall 
Malcolm Jones – 6’8” – PF – 2022 – Prior Lake  
Donovan Smith - 5’9” - PG - 2022 - Minnehaha Academy
Chase Carter - 6’6” - PF - 2022 - Minnehaha Academy 
Braeden Carrington - 6’3” - 2022 - Park Center 
Willie Wilson - 6’2” - 2022 - Mpls. North 

2023 TOP PLAYERS TO WATCH
Taison Chatman - 6’3” - G - 2023 - Totino-Grace
CJ O’Hara - 6’4” - F - 2023 - Totino-Grace High School
Jalen Cain – 6’0″ – PG – 2023 – Minnetonka High School