The Redhawks come back on the court with high expectaions, consider this headline by the StarTribune, “Is star-studded Minnehaha Academy the state’s all time best boys basketball team?” The Redhawks have become a basketball powerhouse in not only Minnesota but the country. With star players Jalen Suggs, Chet Holmgren, Prince Aligbe and many more, Minnehaha has been ranked 15th in the country, and has more hype than ever.
With 6’ 5” combination guard Jalen Suggs returning for his sixth season on the boys’ varsity team, and coming off a great year of averaging 24 points a game, he is ready to strive as a senior.
“Obviously I’ve been here for a very long time, but there is something special about being back for my senior season,” said Suggs. “Going undefeated is the goal for us, because we believe, with the talent we have, we can beat anyone in our path.”
Chet Holmgren, a 7-foot center, returns after averaging 17.7 points a game, 12.3 rebounds a game, and 7 blocks a game in the state tournament, showing he is a key piece in the Redhawks’ success.
“The most important thing for me and this team is growth,” said Holmgren. “Personally I would like to grow as a leader and as a player, and as a team I just hope we can play the best we can when it matters.”
After many seasons in Minnesota’s Class AA, the boys’ basketball team moves up to Class AAA in a four-tier system, where it was the number one team in preseason rankings.
Senior Terry Lockett said he is excited to return to Minnehaha for his final season after a year at SPIRE Academy in Geneva, Ohio, near Cleveland.
“I just wanted to come back to the team and contribute in any way that I can to help us beat whatever team is in front of us, and it feels really good to be back home,” said Lockett.
Head coach Lance Johnson is also excited to have Lockett back.
“It was a thrill finding out Terry was coming back,” said Johnson, “I think the world of him outside of sports, and obviously his football and basketball skills are the icing on the cake.”
Everyone is ecstatic to have Lockett back within the team, including senior Sam Gonzalez.
“Having Terry back is something special that none of us really thought was going to happen, but once we got the news we were extremely excited to have him back,” said Gonzalez.
Minnehaha’s younger players deserves respect, too. Sophomore forward, Prince Aligbe has 10 division one basketball offers including, Florida, Tennessee, and Iowa. Sophomore guard, Donovan Smith, returns after being Minnehaha’s fourth leading scorer last year.
Minnehaha also adds a few new pieces into the lineup, including sophomore forward, Chase Carter, who has division one offers from Florida, Vanderbilt, Minnesota, and West Virginia, and junior guard Isaiah Davis who has an offer from Hampton.
In January, Minnehaha will be a part of one of the biggest high school basketball games in state history when Minnehaha plays Sierra Canyon School, the second ranked team in the country. Sierra Canyon, from Chatsworth, Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles, will feature their own stars, including guard Bronny James, son of NBA superstar LeBron James, and guard Zaire Wade, son of NBA legend Dwayne Wade. This game will be played at Minnehaha Academy on Sat., Jan. 4. There is more hype around this game than any in Minnehaha history and the players are excited.
“The most important thing to me was playing it front of our home crowd in our home gym,” said Gonzalez. “I’m just looking to put on a show.”
Lockett is no stranger to playing in big games, coming from one of the best teams in the country, Spire Academy.
“Obviously I’ve played in many huge games after being at Spire Academy, so when we play a team like Sierra Canyon, it feels more normal to me,” said Lockett.
Coach Johnson sees the event as a fun occasion for the whole school.
“It’s a whole week of celebration,” said Johnson about the Sierra Canyon game. “We are going to do a lot of fun stuff during the week leading up to the game, but the key is keeping [the team] focused.”
With Minnehaha having all of the talent in the world, and expectations higher than ever, the question isn’t, “Are they good enough?” The question is, “Will they make it happen again?”