PH Next Circuit Midwest Preview: Minnesota Splash
As we get started on the Prep Hoops Next circuit in 2021, I wanted to dive into learning about some of the grassroots programs that have put their faith in us to grow the game across the country of youth basketball. We will first take a look at the Minnesota Splash; a program just launched in 2019 to show folks even more what the state of Minnesota has in store for the upcoming season.
I caught up with Anthony Jackson, the director of Minnesota Splash, to learn what his program is all about and what they are looking to bring on the Prep Hoops Next Circuit.
A Background Born in Basketball
Jackson got started in basketball growing up in Minneapolis, where he attended Minneapolis Roosevelt High School. Jackson shined in his junior high days in basketball, being able to dunk a basketball by his 8th-grade year and was on a path to success at a young age. After opting out to play basketball with a private high school opportunity at Minneapolis DeLaSalle, Jackson stayed close to his roots and joined the Teddies as a freshman. Jackson started his high school career as a freshman averaging around 25 points per game, but unfortunately, due to injuries afterward, he was unable to continue playing the game he loves to this day.
Getting Involved in Youth Basketball
2019 was the year Jackson put it all together and formed Minnesota Splash, which is based out of Maple Grove but features plenty of kids from all over Minnesota. “I was sitting at an AAU tournament watching a game and saw that the coaches had nothing to say,” Jackson said as the reason that got him from having just a love of the game to forming the Splash just over a year ago. Jackson has the mindset that it is nothing but giving back to the kids. ” I wanted to give back all the knowledge I’ve ever had and hope the kids can love the process we are trying to build here,” Jackson said to Prep Hoops Next about his give.
Building the Splash
In 2019, Jackson hit the youth tournaments extremely hard to find the kids he wanted. “I dribbled around to get ten best kids that fit the program in Minnesota,” Jackson said about building his roster. After plenty of long chats with parents, Jackson got the kids he wanted. Year 1 was all about building chemistry for Minnesota Splash and getting everyone to play together as one whole unit. To end year 1, Jackson’s bunch were champions in six junior high tournaments here locally and regionally. In year #2, Jackson told the kids he wanted to play on a circuit, and what a better place to do than the inaugural Prep Hoops Next circuit right here in Minnesota. The Splash has just one team thus far in their short time as an grassroots program.
The Splash are firm believers in spreading the love, gifting the ten starters mentality to each tournament. “One group of five will start the first game, and the second five will start the second game,” said Jackson about his philosophy for playing each of his ten players.
The Minnesota Splash has a roster full of probable next-level kids, up and comers, players that will make a splash (no pun intended) on the PH Next Circuit in 2021. There is also one name who know high school boys and girls hoops will know very well. Take a look at the list and some fun facts about the Splash:
Greg Amundson, Forward, Rogers, MN (2026)
Coach’s Take on Greg:
A very athletic kid that you should see dunking a basketball a year from now. A big kid that has a ton of tools at his disposal, standing at 6’0 tall. Some of those tools consist of using his size and strength defensively to take bigs off the basketball. He has already developed an effective 12-foot turnaround jumper—big effort player on defense that grabs every rebound that comes his way.
Marshawn Watson, Point Guard, Minneapolis, MN (2027)
Coach’s Take on Marshawn:
Marshawn is a floor general that teams around the Midwest have struggled to get to when he takes it to the bucket! Marshawn runs the Splash offensive with excellent precision. Pinpoint accuracy when passing the rock. If you blink, you just might miss this kid cause he’s already at the basket. Lockdown defense and practical three-pointer shooter. On the youngest players on the Splash.
Nigel Caldwell, Point Guard, Irondale, MN (2025)
Coach’s Take on Nigel:
He described Nigel as a supreme scorer that has a fantastic range from deep. He plays the game on his terms, meaning he can get his own shot anytime, anywhere, and against any competition. Kids like Nigel that can shoot lights out usually lack defensively, but Nigel is a high-level defender too.
Isaac Feiler, Guard, Bloomington, MN (2027)
Coach’s Take on Isaac:
Isaac is a player that is playing up with older kids and exceeding expectations as an 11-year old. Feiler is another deep ball threat for the Splash. Feiler’s speed is lightning, which goes well with his tremendous ball-handling and his ability to lock up the opposing offense. Isaac is the one that always makes the right play when passing the rock. Isaac also plays with a ton of heart, which can be described as lion-like.
Camren Jackson-Lyons, Power Forward, Maple Grove, MN (2026)
Coach’s Take on Camren:
Camren is a pick and roll artist when on the floor. Camren has an excellent basketball IQ and is one of the few Splash players that can remember a play after only running it once. The kid is the definition of a bruiser in the paint that dominates in the rebounding, post play, and finishing departments.
Rihkenzo Lee, Guard/Forward, Byron, MN (2026)
The little brother of Ahjany Lee (2022), who holds offers from Florida, Minnesota, Hampton, and others. Big sister Ayoka Lee (2018) is a sophomore center at Kansas State. Talk about a basketball pedigree.
Coach’s Take on Zo:
Zo is a huge threat no matter where you put him on the floor. His ability to be versatile with his shooting from all areas makes him a special player. One of the few Splash players that can guard spots 1-5. His basketball IQ is well beyond his years.
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Jamison Hedman, Point Guard, Rogers, MN (2026)
Coach’s Take on Jamison:
Jamison is very efficient in running our offense. His ability to include his teammates with so many but is an excellent shot-creator makes him a future talent. Jamison’s basketball IQ is outstanding as he grows into an even better player. He must be a scorer because his nickname is J-Buckets!
Jacob Steile, Point/Shooting Guard, Minneapolis, MN (2026)
Coach’s’ Take on Jacob:
Jacob has excellent instincts on both sides of the ball. He has a really long wingspan for being 5’9. A kid that eats and sleeps the game of basketball. Before Jacob arrived with the Splash, he was misplayed as far as his position goes but is now in a great spot. Excellent ball skills that will take you to the bucket or hit a knockdown three.
Alexander Reid, Center, Maple Grove, MN (2026)
Reid is one of the biggest kids on the Minnesota Splash roster standing as a sizable 6’2 170 pounds as just a 12-year-old.
Coach’s Take on Jacob:
Reid is a pounder in the paint that punishes the defense. Reid is a big man that can hit his free throws with ease. Concrete finisher through contact with great strength with a soft touch on the ball. He imposes his will playing on the block that grabs every rebound that comes his way.
A Little Bit of Travel
Minnesota Splash will do mostly regional and light national travel in their first year on the Prep Hoops Circuit. The Splash has planned for the following tournaments:
March 19th-21st: Prep Hoops Next Midwest Kickoff, Kansas City, MO
April 2nd-4th: Prep Hoops Next Future Stars Classic, Appleton, WI
May 7th-9th: Prep Hoops Next Battle at the Lakes, Minneapolis, MN
May 28th-30th: Prep Hoops Next Midwest Regional Final, Omaha, NE
July 1st-4th: World Championships, Greensboro, NC
The Splash will also sprinkle in some more tournaments throughout Minnesota, Iowa, the Dakotas, and as far away as the Dakotas.
Minnesota Splash Goals
When setting his goals, Coach Jackson defined his goals for the year with two in mind, playing with athleticism, enjoying the competition as he joked, “we might get beat by some team from Florida by 50, but we are still going to have fun.”
We look forward to having the Minnesota Splash in our inaugural Prep Hoops Next circuit in 2021!