The Minnesota Spartans 7th Grade AAU boys’ basketball team placed second at the national tournament held in Greensboro, North Carolina last week.
The Spartans, coached by Jerome Williams and Jerry Williams Jr., served notice that the future of basketball in Minnesota is looking bright as ever and only getting better.
The road to the championship game went from easy to competitive as their journey progressed. In tournament pool play, they easily defeated the Charlotte Dragons (82-57) and Virginia’s Boo Williams Footprint (71-31). In bracket play, they scored a victory over Team Charlotte (78-65).
From there it was on to the Elite 8 with a 78-65 win over Team Wall (North Carolina), and a 64-62 overtime semi-final triumph over the Carolina Phenoms (North Carolina), before losing the championship game 52-43 to Indiana Gametime.
The Spartans — led by William Emmett Johnson, Trevon Howard, Demarion Watson, Terrence Roberts, Donovan Smith, Ashton Keomysy, Trejuan Hollman, Elvis Ohagwu, Jackson Loge, Prince Aligbe, Willie Wilson and Kendall Blue — finished with a 6-1 record in tournament play that included a forfeit.
The Spartans’ outstanding play garnered a couple of tweets from one of the nation’s top recruiting sites.
“Trejuan Hollman made his case as an elite PG in the class of 2022. Leader of a powerful Minnesota Spartans (MN) squad,” tweeted Future150 National Recruiting Analyst and Writer Eric Hampford (@F150EricH).
Future150.com further tweeted, “2022 SF Kendall Blue has one of the highest ceilings here at #AAUNatlsGboro. Minnesota 6’4” lefty smooth element to his game.”
Jerome Williams’ Facebook post displayed his feelings about his team’s finish while reaffirming the prediction of a bright future for his players. “I hate 2nd place, but I’m beyond proud of these dudes,” the coach’s post read. “You will be watching these dudes on TV one day!!!”
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Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.