Interview conducted by Chris Monter
Braeden Carrington, a 6-foot-3 guard from Brooklyn Park (MN) Park Center, is one of the top guards in the Midwest in the Class of 2022 and is ranked as the number eight senior in the state by Prep Hoops.
Carrington averaged 18.1 points per game this past season. He scored in double figures in 15 of 19 games as the Pirates finished 16-5, losing to undefeated Champlain Park 69-63 in overtime in the section finals. Carrington scored 30 or more points four times, including 33 points in a first round 72-56 playoff over Roseville
GopherHole caught up with Carrington June 19th at the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association D1 Showcase to learn the latest on his college recruitment and upcoming senior year.
Gopher Hole: You are playing out here in front of all the college coaches. They haven’t been able to see you in person for over a year. What’s it like to play in front of all these coaches?
Braeden Carrington: It’s fun. Not being able to play in front of them since, actually I’ve never played in front of them, so it is a new experience. I’m kind of nervous, but I would really say, that I’m just playing my game and going out there and doing what I do.
GopherHole: To be honest, at some events, they are right on the court watching you. Here they are a little bit farther away in the stands, so you don’t notice them quite as much?
Braeden Carrington: Yes, it is like they another fan up in the stands. It is nothing too nerve-racking, I guess. I don’t even really pay attention. I’m too focused on the game usually.
GopherHole: What was this experience like playing this year with COVID? Playing with masks and not having a lot of fans and students at your games. What was that like? Was that kind of hard?
Braeden Carrington: It was hard, definitely with the masks. Some of the refs used to get on you with the masks. I didn’t like not having the fans, because the fans bring a lot of energy to the game. Sometimes, it changes the game and atmosphere in the gym. I got through the season. It was still a fun season. I think it was my breakout year, too, so I enjoyed it.
GopherHole: I know that you visited Minnesota recently. What was that experience like?
Braeden Carrington: It was fun. I liked it a lot. The coaches, I liked them. They had high energy. Very engaged with what they were doing and saying. I liked the facilities. The gym. All of that. My mom really enjoyed the facilities, too. She likes how it is close to home and she liked the coaches, too.
GopherHole: I know that Coach Johnson has made it a priority to keep a lot of the top talent and in-state kids at Minnesota. Is that something that they talked to you about?
Braeden Carrington: Yes. He always talks to me, how he wants me to stay home. How if I stay home and after basketball, I’d be a pretty big name in Minnesota still. It is always something to think about after basketball, if I don’t go pro, I could have opportunities in Minnesota still just because I went to the “U.”
GopherHole: What other visits are you planning on taking here in the next month or so?
Braeden Carrington: This month, I might go to Arizona State for an unofficial, but I’m not too sure if I’ll do that. The rest of my visits will probably be later in the summer, like August or early fall.
GopherHole: How many offers are you up to right now?
Braeden Carrington: I only have four offers right now. I probably have like 15, 16 or more interests.
GopherHole: What offers do you have right now?
Braeden Carrington: I have the “U,” Seton Hall, Missouri and Florida.
GopherHole: What is it going to mean to play Division I basketball?
Braeden Carrington: You know it is going to mean a lot. I’ll be the first person in my family to go Division I. I think I’ll be the first to go to school for free, I’m pretty sure. It will just mean a lot. When I was younger, I didn’t really think about it too much, but as I got older and saw that it was my way of getting through life, it was my goal and to finally see it through and that it is going to happen in the next year or so, it is really amazing and I’m really happy.
GopherHole: Do you watch a lot of college or pro basketball?
Braeden Carrington: I watch a decent amount.
GopherHole: Do you watch certain teams or certain players that are similar to you?
Braeden Carrington: I don’t really watch too much the players to model my game after, not really. My favorite player in the NBA right now is Ja Morant.
GopherHole: What do you like about him?
Braeden Carrington: I like how hard he works. In games, he never stops. He is always looking to attack. Make the right play. All of that. He is just a smart player and he is like the underdog. People always doubted him.
GopherHole: He was a player, who to be honest, wasn’t a big-time recruit and played at a smaller school, but was the second pick in the Draft and was the Rookie of the Year. Is that what you like about him?
Braeden Carrington: Yes. I just like how I could be the next person. I’m not highly recruited. In Minnesota, I might be one of the top recruits, but all over the country, I’m still not known, so I could be that next Ja Morant, come out of nowhere and just shock the world.
GopherHole: You play at a school, Park Center, where they have a lot of talented players. You lost a couple of seniors, but you have you , J.J. Ware and a couple of bigs coming back. What are the expectations for you guys this upcoming season?
Braeden Carrington: To get a state championship. Got to go out with a bang. We’ve got a good core right now, so I really think our team is going to be a team to beat this year. We should be able to win it.
GopherHole: Your head coach, James Ware, has been a college coach as well. Do you talk to him a little bit about recruiting and get some advice from him?
Braeden Carrington: He always tells me like things to do when I’m talking to a coach or not to do. He tells me what coaches are looking for. They are not always looking for that scorer. They are looking for the little things, like if you are talking on defense. Are you going to slide over and take a charge? Stuff like that.
GopherHole: When you finally pick a school, what are going to be the main factors that make you pick School A over School B or C?
Braeden Carrington: It is going to be, if basketball doesn’t work out, if they can help me afterwards. What are the best options for me and my mom and obviously a good basketball school that has a winning culture?