In June I witnessed two fifth-grade AAU teams compete during the Grassroots Alumni AAU All Star Alumni game held at Concordia University. I was there to cover the event, and former Minneapolis Washburn and Concordia University basketball standout ROBERT FINNEY made me aware of the fact that both teams had accomplished quite a bit during the regular season.
One of those teams, The Minnesota Elite 5th grade boys’ basketball team, comprised of WILLIE WILSON, TAQUEZ CHATMAN, ROBERT GRACE, TERRANCE KAMARA, CAIDEYN FERRELL, TRE HOLLMAN, JAKE COCHNAUER, MARCUS OWENS, GABE GANZ, CHASE CARTER and TRENT FINNEY, capped off their season by placing fifth at the MYAB Nationals with a 7-1 record.
The team achieved success competing at the fifth- and sixth-grade levels. At the sixth-grade level, Minnesota Elite captured top honors at the City of St. Paul League Champions, Woodbury 6A Traveling, Monticello 6A Traveling and Blaine 6A Traveling.
Tournament success at the fifth-grade level were wins at the Cornhusker Championship (Lincoln NE), NBT Championship (Milwaukee, WI), NY2LA Championship (Milwaukee, WI), and OSA River City Classic 3rd place (Omaha, NE).
The team, coached by CRYSTAL FLINT, RANDY CARTER and ROBERT GRACE, completed the season with an 82-21 record while participating at the fifth- and sixth-grade levels.
Examining the coaching staff, one would could understand why the Minnesota Elite had a successful season. Flint was standout player for the University of Minnesota from 1989-94. Carter played for the Gophers’ men’s basketball team from 1990-94. Grace, currently assistant coach at Anoka Ramsey Community College, also had successful stints as the head coach at Minneapolis Southwest and Augsburg College.
Mitchell Palmer McDonald welcomes reader responses to [email protected].