Two months into the college basketball season and ESPN has released its list (Insider paywall) of the 25 best players so far, and four of the top 25 are former Minnesota high school standouts.
Actually, to be more precise, four of the top 16 are Minnesotans.
- Daniel Oturu of the Gophers is #4
- Freddie Gillespie of Baylor is #12
- Tre Jones of Duke is #15
- Zeke Nnaji is #16
Oturu, who went to Cretin-Derham Hall, has been one of the best players in the Big Ten, leading the Gophers in scoring and rebounding and to a decent 10-7 overall record (4-3) in the conference against one of the nation's toughest schedules.
Gillespie is far and the away the least-known of the four. He's a former East Ridge High School student-athlete who is now one of the key players for No. 2-ranked Baylor. He's averaging close to 10 points and 10 rebounds per game, which is incredible considering the 6-foot-9 redshirt senior was a walk-on at Baylor after transferring from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.
Jones is the starting point guard for Duke and doing what the Jones' do: Everything. As a sophomore, Jones is averaging 15.8 points, 6.8 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game for the No. 3-ranked Blue Devis.
Nnaji was a star at Hopkins High School at this time a year ago. Now he's the best player for Arizona and averaging 16.9 points and 8.5 rebounds as a true freshman.
Minnesota is definitely on the map as a recruiting hotbed, and things are looking extremely bright for years to come with the likes of Jalen Suggs (5-star 2020 recruit going to Gonzaga) and Chet Holmgren (5-star 2021 recruit) making their mark as top-10 national recruits, according to 247 Sports.