MINNEAPOLIS -- Lately week nights at DeLaSalle high school mean one thing: hoops. From former Gopher legends to pros playing overseas, some of the best talent the state has to offer is on display. That includes, for the first time since 2013, current Gopher basketball players.
“I’m getting calls and meetings from all over the place,” Jamar Diggs said. “People are excited about it, and that’s how I felt going into it.”
When Diggs, a former DeLaSalle star, brought the Twin Cities Pro Am back last year the buzz was undeniable.
“You never know who’s going to show up,” Diggs said.
This year though the hype has reached a fever pitch after Gophers basketball coach Richard Pitino gave his players the okay to play.
“Them being a part of it is a big key,” Diggs said.
Part of the fun is seeing current Gopher stars like Amir Coffey going head-to-head with former Gopher stars like Jamal Abu-Shamala. Then, there are guys like incoming Gopher freshman Isaiah Washington, who is proving that all the hype surrounding his so called “jelly,” just might be for real.
“Sometimes I get perplexed that he’s 18 or 19,” Diggs said. “It’s like, ‘Wow, you’re a special talent.’”
One of the biggest stars though this summer isn’t a current Gopher or even one from the best.
As one of the top high school recruits in the nation, Apple Valley’s Tre Jones has a tough decision coming up, and the Gophers are definitely in the mix.
“A ton of people here are telling me to stay home,” Tre said. “The Gophers got a lot better last year. I feel like they’re going in the right direction.”
Coaching Tre is none other than his older brother Tyus, a current Minnesota Timberwolf, who’s been in Tre’s shoes.
“To this point in his life, it’s the biggest decision he’s ever made,” Tyus said. “He needs to take his time and weigh out all his options.”
Options that include joining the guys he’s playing with and against in the Pro Am.
“It definitely gives an advantage to the Gophers,” Tre said. “I’m able to spend some time with them and play with them or against them and see what their game is like.”