Aug. 4, 2021: Park Center, Minnesota guard Braeden Carrington committed to Minnesota Wednesday; giving Ben Johnson his first in-state recruit in the class of 2022.
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Minnesota’s own Braeden Carrington became the first in-state ’22 recruit to commit to the Gophers, under the new regime of head coach Ben Johnson. Carrington, a 6-foot-3-inch shooting guard chose the U over other top offers from Florida, Seton Hall, Colorado, Missouri and Xavier. For some reason, 247sports does not have an in-state ranking for him, but I view Carrington as at least the No. 6 ’22 player in Minnesota. Hopefully, Carrington’s commitment is only the beginning of a new era of Minnesota Golden Gophers basketball.
— braeden carrington (@braedencarri23) August 4, 2021
Who is Braeden Carrington?:
Braeden Carrington is a 6-foot-3-inch shooting guard who plays his high school basketball for the Park Center Pirates, and his AAU team is the Grassroots Sizzle. Sizzle is one of the premier programs in the state producing top talents such as Jalen Suggs, Chet Holmgren and Dain Dainja. The athletic guard averaged 18 points per game as a junior for the Pirates, highlighted by three 30-point performances. Carrington’s strength is his three-point shooting. He has an elite stroke and consistently showed the ability to get his shot off whenever he wanted at the high school level. He is the definition of a combo guard — with the ability to make plays with the ball in his hands, and versatility to be an elite catch and shoot option off the ball. Like most players his age, he has room to grow on the defensive end, but his elite athleticism is a great baseline to quickly improve. Carrington’s commitment comes after a three-day-long visit with the Gophers, after officially being offered on Dec. 9, 2020
Fans of Golden Gophers’ basketball love to talk about in-state recruiting. Ben Johnson was reportedly brought in to fix the program’s inability to keep some of Minnesota’s top talent in-state. There are already four MN natives on the roster now, but he had yet to recruit someone for the future from his home state… until today. Carrington’s commitment comes after three top-six 2022 MN recruits (Eli King, Camden Heide and Demarion Watson) all chose to take their talents out of Minnesota. Now I would love for the Gophers to keep the best Minnesota players home as much as the next guy, but there becomes a point where it shouldn’t matter where the recruits come from, they just need to be Gophers basketball players. With that being said Carrington’s commitment is huge, as there is still plenty of unsigned MN talent in the 2022 recruiting class.
Braeden Carrington’s commitment shows me that Ben Johnson has a type of player that he likes on his roster, combo guard who can shoot. Currently, Payton Willis, Abdoulaye Thiam, E.J. Stephens and Luke Loewe all fit that same mold. As someone that has watched plenty of Gophers teams fail to consistently make shots, it is a breath of fresh air seeing Johnson prioritize shooting. Carrington has a serious argument to be the top shooter in Minnesota, and his playmaking skills are Big Ten level. Once he grows into his 6’3″ frame past his current 165 pounds, there is no reason why he cannot make an instant impact for this program. Carrington’s commitment should only be the beginning, but it is a big step forward in the right direction.
What is next?:
It has been a tumultuous few months for Gophers basketball. Isaiah Ihnen suffered a season-ending knee injury, Eric Curry announced his return, Danny Ogele committed from Mercyhurst (D2), Steffon Mitchell, Sterling Manley and Dawson Garcia all chose not to don the Maroon & Gold and Marcus Carr officially committed to Texas. So it is great to see some more positive news. Carrington’s commitment will obviously not help the 2021-22 team, but it helps the future.
I am going to be honest with you, I have gotten extremely confused with how many years of eligibility people have left with the extra COVID year, but I can definitely tell you that 2021-22 will be the end of the road for Payton Willis and Curry. As for Sean Sutherlin, Charlie Daniels, Luke Loewe, Danny Ogele and E.J. Stephens, they’re all listed as seniors, but I don’t know if this season is their “COVID-year”, or next season is, so I will not tell you the wrong thing. As for players that will hopefully be on this roster in 2022-23, Carrington adds to a very talented foundation for the future.
Cretin-Derham Hall’s Tre Holloman, Park of Cottage Grove’s Pharrel Payne and Byron’s Ahjany Lee remain the Gophers biggest in-state targets for the class of 2022, and there is still plenty of talent that Ben Johnson’s seems to have his eyes on out of state.