Boys basketball VS MSHSL rules

Posted: March 5, 2020

Minnehaha Academy’s boys’ basketball is arguably the best high school basketball team the state of Minnesota has ever seen.
The roster is made up of eight-division one recruits, with three of them nationally ranked: Jalen Suggs, who’s ranked 5th in the class of 2020; Chet Holmgren ranked 2nd in the class of 2021; and Prince Aligbe, who’s ranked 55th in the class of 2020.
It’s a star-studded line up that has proven that they can compete with anybody in the country after throttling California powerhouse Sierra Canyon by 20 points. Sierra Canyon plays a national schedule and has traveled to nine different states to compete, including Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Arizona, Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, and Texas.
The stardom and quality of play from the Redhawks have brought national attention to the Minnehaha basketball program and has rewarded them with invites to national tournaments around the US.
The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL), however, has mandates that require them to decline the invitations.
According to MSHSL rules, Minnesota high school teams can compete only in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, the Dakotas and part of Illinois (Chicago not included).
If a Minnesota high school basketball team decides to participate in an event that’s not in the accepted region, then they will be kicked out of the MSHSL and will not be able to participate in state or section play.
If Minnehaha was removed from the MSHSL it would basically make the Redhawks a prep school for basketball and would require a lot of travel and funding to play teams around the country.
“We would be in violation of an MSHSL rule and don’t exactly know what the consequences would be, but we are still supportive of the MSHSL and we’re going to follow their guidelines,” said head coach Lance Johnson says.
“If we were going to make a switch to playing a national schedule or attending invite tournaments,” Johnson continued, “then we would be out of the MSHSL and we would have to find an independent schedule, which would not be able to include anybody in the MSHSL. This means we would have to travel, we would have to hunt down games, and it would be really hard to find a schedule.”
Another interesting factor that comes into play is the geography and placement of where Minnehaha Academy is on the map.
“On the East Coast especially there’s a ton of prep schools that don’t play in a state high school league, and they’re all close to each other, which makes it easy for them to find games,” said Johnson.
If Minnehaha were to play a national schedule it would require a lot of time, money and effort to find teams to play and to travel to those games.
In a region of the country where most schools play in a high school league, Minnehaha Academy would be required to travel from coast to coast in order to find games.
It’s clear that the players would love the opportunity to play against the best of the best, but they also realize that they have the opportunity to win a fourth consecutive state championship.
“Of course we want to play a national schedule,” said Suggs, a senior guard who has announced his plans to attend Gonzaga University next year. “We feel like we are talented enough and would love the opportunity to showcase our talents against the best of the best, but at the same time, we understand the rule and how it would affect the program in the future. We are also focused on finishing this season out strong and winning another state championship.”
Senior forward Kaden Johnson has a similar feeling as the rest of his teammates.
“We have been playing with each other for a long time now, and it would be an awesome opportunity to have a chance at a national championship,” he said. “The rule is what it is, and we wish that it could have been changed, but it’s not going to change, and now we are ready to win the rest of our games and get another state championship.”
Another interesting point regarding the recruiting process was brought up by Suggs.
“It’s also disappointing that we can’t travel to play the best talent,” he said, “because it takes away an opportunity from some of our guys who could possibly get recruited at a tournament or showcase event.”

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