By Matthew Davis
Brennan Witt and Ian Smith represented Champlin Park in the Minnesota High School All-Star Basketball Series.
They helped their respective teams pile on the points in their games on March 28-29. Witt and Smith joined top-level players from around the state events.
“It was a good experience playing with different guys, playing with higher talent than what you usually see,” Witt said. “It was fun playing with the guys, hanging out and playing basketball.”
Witt played for the Maroon team, which also had Stanford-bound DeLaSalle star Reid Travis on the roster. Travis could not compete since he had the McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago on Tuesday, April 1 to get ready for.
“It would have been cool play with him and see what he was like,” Witt said.
Witt will play college basketball next year at Division III University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has not decided on a major yet.
Smith competed with the Blue team for the all-star series. He had the privilege of playing for legendary coach Bob McDonald. The recently retired Chisholm, Minn., coach had 1,012 wins in his 59-year coaching career.
“It was amazing getting to talk to him and know what he was about, listening to some of the things he had to share with us about the game,” Smith said.
McDonald will receive the honor of being inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame this summer. Only 12 other high school basketball coaches around the nation besides McDonald have passed 1,000 victories.
Smith and company took in all the lessons they could during all-star series from McDonald. The players learned more about the importance of positioning on the court and getting put-backs in from the legendary coach.
“He said it would be smart to find a niche that you have, find a spot on the floor and take advantage of it,” Smith said. “Not a lot of people like to do the dirty work.”
Smith will play at Division II Northern State in South Dakota next year. He plans to major in journalism.
Smith also had the chance to compete with/against several guys he will either compete with or see during the conference season at NSU. Nick Johnson from St. Francis will also join the NSU team next year.
“It’s going to be fun translating to the college game and playing against them,” Smith said.
Teams in the all-star series piled on the offense with games going into the low-mid 100s. Players also competed individually in three-point shooting and dunk contests.
“We were just chucking the ball up court, trying to get as many buckets as we can,” Witt said. “Our coaches were like, ‘if you play defense, you can take any shot you want.’”
The games took place on Friday, March 28 at St. Cloud State University and Saturday, March 29 at Macalester College in St. Paul.
Contact Matthew Davis at [email protected]