Isaac Asuma, a 6-foot-2 sophomore from Cherry (MN) High, is one of the top Minnesota players in the Class of 2024.
Asuma is already the school’s all-time leading scorer as a sophomore and went over 2,000 points in their Class A quarterfinal 68-57 win over Nevis at Williams as he finished with 31 points and 17 rebounds. The Tigers (27-4) will face top seed Hayfield (30-2) Friday.
The Vikings beat Cherry 78-65 in a meeting Feb. 5, the last time Cherry lost.
His mother, Jolene, had 1,112 points in her high school career and his aunt, Jean, had 1,517 points at Cherry. Amusa was able to pass both on the all-time school scoring list this season.
GopherHole caught up with Asuma after the win to learn the latest on his recruitment, making the state tournament and his upcoming AAU season.
GopherHole: A big win for you guys. How pleased were you with how well you played today?
Isaac Asuma: It was really a team effort. Guys stepped up on the defensive end and took over offensively, but it is just a team game. I’m super proud of all our guys.
GopherHole: Is this Cherry’s first appearance in the state tournament?
Isaac Asuma: No. We go back to 1997, so it’s been 25 years.
GopherHole: Are you hearing a lot people in the area, congratulating you and wishing you luck since it has been so long?
Isaac Asuma: Our community has really come together. They had a big sendoff for us. We have a real loving community behind us.
GopherHole: Does that make it more special to get a win here, the first win in 25 years?
Isaac Asuma: It is super cool to win our first state game. I think it is the first state game that we’ve won in history, so that is super cool to actually do that.
GopherHole: You play with your brother and cousin (brother and eighth-grader Noah Asuma, and cousin Isaiah Asuma, a seventh-grader, both starters) and another set of brothers on the team. Does that make it more of a fun experience playing with them?
Isaac Asuma: It’s super cool. We’ve all been hanging out since we were little. We are like brothers, all of us together, so it is super cool to paly with them.
GopherHole: Do you think that helps a lot because you know each other so well and know where each other is going to be on the court? Do you think that gives you a big advantage?
Isaac Asuma: Yes. We all mesh really well on the court. If they say “I’ll hit you,” you have that trust with each other.
GopherHole: You play multiple sports as you also play football and baseball. Do you think helps you not get burnt out as opposed to other kids who just play basketball only and get a little tired of it?
Isaac Asuma: It is a little bit of a break from basketball, which is nice. You need that every once and awhile, but I love basketball, so it’s fun to play.
GopherHole: You are hoping to have a great week at the state tournament, but you are playing AAU this spring and summer with D1 Minnesota. What are you hoping to gain from that experience playing on the 15-and-under circuit?
Isaac Asuma: I’m excited to play in front of college coaches and show my talent to them.
GopherHole: Have you heard from many colleges yet? I know that it is so early, being only a sophomore.
Isaac Asuma: I have an offer from UMD, Hampton and TCU.
GopherHole: Are you hearing much from the homestate school yet?
Isaac Asuma: No, not yet. I’ve talked to North Dakota coaches and South Dakota coaches, but nothing from the Gophers.
GopherHole: You are going to play college basketball somewhere. What is that going to mean to you to play maybe Division I basketball?
Isaac Asuma: It’s super cool. I’ve been dreaming about it ever since I was a little kid and it is just blessing to be able to do it.
GopherHole: You are playing here at Williams Arena, where the Gophers play. What would it mean to hear from the Gophers and be recruited by them?
Isaac Asuma: It would be super cool. That is one of my top schools I want to go to since it is in Minnesota, so I am super excited about my future.
GopherHole: Do you watch a lot of college basketball or pro basketball?
Isaac Asuma: Yes, I watch a lot of pro and college.
GopherHole: Are there certain teams or certain players that you like to watch?
Isaac Asuma: In the NBA, I like to watch Steph Curry and Damian Lillard. Trey Young. Crafty guys.
GopherHole: How about college?
Isaac Asuma: I like watching Jaden Ivey play.
GopherHole: What do like about him? Obviously, he plays in the Big Ten. He is a very talented player. What do you like about him?
Isaac Asuma: I just like how he moves on the court and how he scores.
GopherHole: Where did you get the love of basketball?
Isaac Asuma: I think my mom. She played North Dakota College of Science and I just took it over from her.
GopherHole: What has she taught you about basketball?
Isaac Asuma: She was my coach when I was younger. She started me off and passed on all this knowledge. It’s just cool to have her with me through this journey.
GopherHole: What do you like to do away from the basketball court, football field or baseball diamond?
Isaac Asuma: I like to go on bike rides, hang out with my friends and just hang out, basically and play some video games.
GopherHole: Have you gotten to know your D1 Minnesota teammates yet?
Isaac Asuma: We got our roster this week. I think we have practice on Saturday, so I’m excited.