There were plenty of hoops at Ganglehoff Center on the campus of Concordia University last Sunday afternoon.
Brian Sandifer, a former football and basketball star at St. Agnes during the mid-1980s (he went on to play football at Normandale Community College, Northern Iowa and Southwest State), presented the 3rd annual Grassroots Nation Alumni All Stars Hoops Classic.
Grassroots Hoops, created by Sandifer, is a basketball program dedicated to providing academic and athletic opportunities to athletes after they’ve completed their high-school careers. The game featured some of the state’s top former pre-stars who made their marks when playing at the prep level.
Player participants, most of whom played for Grassroots Hoops on the AAU circuit, included Brian Sandifer Jr. (St. Bernard’s), Deonte Roberts (St. Bernard’s), Dion Suggs (St. Paul Johnson), Renard Suggs (Woodbury), Jamar Diggs (DeSalle), Cameron Rundles (DeLasSalle), DeAnthony Taylor (Minneapolis Washburn), Arsenio Richardson (St. Louis Park), John Bright (St. Bernard’s), Dave Hicks (St. Thomas Academy), Troy Bell (Holy Angels), Stavon Williams (Minneapolis Roosevelt), Tyrell Sledge (Minneapolis Henry), Dearron Hearn (Minneapolis Washburn), Meechy Williams, Prentice Cobbins (St. Paul Highland Park), Lamar Anderson (St. Paul Johnson), Donnell Gibson (St. Paul Johnson), Demitri Conwell (St. Paul Johnson), and Kharri Carter (Minnehaha Academy) among others.
It was a community event complete with music from the legendary DJ Dan Speak and concessions provided by former Minneapolis Washburn basketball standout Robert Finney and former Gophers star Randy Carter.
As for the basketball games, there were plenty of crossovers, no-look passes, and dunks to go around.
“It was nice to see the community come out,” said Sandifer. “It was good to see the players come back.”
Mitchell Palmer McDonald welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.