It's no secret that Minnesota's high school and AAU basketball circuit is a hotbed for big-time recruiting.
The latest example came Friday with Hopkins star Paige Bueckers being named one of three finalists for the Gatorate National Basketball Player of the Year award.
Meanwhile, in men's college basketball, former Minnesota prep stars Geno Crandall, Reid Travis and Tre Jones are playing key roles on some of the best teams in the country.
Crandall, a former DeLaSalle High School star, comes off the bench and plays 19 minutes a game for the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs, who are all but a lock to receive one of the No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
Crandall is averaging 5.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists for the 'Zags, and he recently put himself on national highlight reels with a killer crossover against BYU.
It's also notable that both of Gonzaga's losses came in games where Crandall sat out with an injury.
Travis starts at power forward for the fourth-ranked Kentucky Wildcats and is averaging 11.3 points and 6.9 rebounds while shooting 51.6 percent from the floor.
The former DeLaSalle big man is a graduate transfer from Stanford University. He sprained his knee Feb. 19 but the team updated his status over the weekend saying he's day-to-day and getting close to returning.
Jones, the reigning Minnesota Mr. Basketball winner from Apple Valley, is a starting freshman guard for the fifth-ranked Duke Blue Devils.
He's averaging 8.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists, which is right on par with what his older brother Tyus Jones averaged (11.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.6 assists) in his only season at Duke before being drafted by the Timberwolves.
Depending on how the brackets unfold on Selection Sunday (this coming Sunday), all three could be on the road to the Final Four in Minneapolis at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Note: The 19th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers feature a couple of Minnesotans with Brad Davison (Maple Grove) and Nathan Ruevers (Lakeville North), and the 23rd-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles have a Minnesota duo in Theo John (Champlin Park) and Sacar Anim (DeLaSalle).