Before Caitlin Clark became a basketball icon during her record-setting career at Iowa, an important part of her development came in high school with her AAU team — All Iowa Attack.

The AAU program based in Ames, now with 600 athletes and its own state-of-the-art facility, was established well before Clark arrived, and it has continued to thrive since she left.

Several of Minnesota's rising stars are sharpening their skills this summer with Clark's former club team.

"It's pretty cool to play for the same team she did," said Duluth Marshall's Chloe Johnson, one of five top players from Minnesota with All Iowa Attack this year. "She's such a huge role model."

Like Johnson, Hill-Murray sisters Mya and Ashlee Wilson and Minnetonka's Aaliyah Crump and Ari Peterson make the three-hour trip from the Twin Cities to Ames to train together. Their 17U, 16U and 13U teams play a 12-tournament schedule from April through July in nine different states.

"It really doesn't matter if you fly to Florida from Minneapolis or Des Moines," said All Iowa Attack founder Dickson Jensen, who started the organization in 2004 for boys and girls players in his state.

Many of Minnesota's top high school girls play AAU for North Tartan, Metro Stars and Minnesota Fury. The "Caitlin Clark Effect" didn't lead Minnesotans to Iowa's premier basketball club. It had more to do with coaching, facilities and the competition, according to Jensen.

"They seek us out," said Jensen, Clark's former AAU coach. "Those girls are all very talented. They work hard. They've got great attitudes. They enjoy being in the gym with other talented players. You want to play with and against the best players in the country."

The All Iowa Attack 17U Nike team was undefeated entering the July recruiting period, which includes the Nike Nationals July 19-22 in Chicago. The headliner on that squad is Crump, the No. 1 player in Minnesota's 2025 class who is ranked No. 4 nationally by ESPN HoopGurlz.

"Aaliyah Crump wants to get better, even though she's a high profile and very successful young lady," Jensen said. "She, just like all the rest of my players, need to get better."

Mya Wilson is the No. 1 ranked player in the state's 2027 class. Johnson and Peterson are the state's top two players in the 2028 class and all are high-major college targets. Other out-of-state stars with All Iowa Attack this year include five-star players Addison Bjorn and Jordan Speiser from Missouri.

One elite team to another

The 6-2 Peterson, daughter of former Vikings star Adrian Peterson, played for one of the best high school teams in Minnesota (Providence Academy) last season, and one of the best AAU teams in the state (North Tartan) as well.

She was teammates with the state's No. 1 junior, Maddyn Greenway, but Peterson is transferring to Minnetonka and now playing at All Iowa Attack.

Peterson said the biggest attraction for switching AAU teams was being able to compete with and against older prospects such as Crump. The teams practice together for seven weeks during the spring and summer on Friday nights, twice on Saturday and once on Sunday, including 10 hours in one day.

"Practices are really hard core," Peterson said. "We really go at each other. That obviously makes us better, along with the coaching as well."

Johnson played on Minnesota Stars' 17U team since the sixth grade, but she opted for another AAU situation for the development piece. Her trainer is Dyami Starks, a Duluth native who is a former Division I player and now an assistant coach with All Iowa Attack.

"I like the coaches and that's probably the main reason why I went," Johnson said. "The drive [from Duluth] is worth it because I just love the competition."

Sister act

In late June, All Iowa Attack (or AIA, as it's listed on tournament brackets) had six teams finish in first place at the Tartan Summer Jam in Shakopee. Two of the AIA teams were led by the Wilson sisters.

Peterson, Johnson and 10th-grader Mya Wilson led the AIA Nike 15U team to the top division title with a 40-38 win vs. North Tartan. They played in front of family and friends in their home state for the first time this summer.

Ashley Wilson, a 6-foot seventh-grader and one of the top prospects nationally in the Class of 2030, led the 12U team to the title, but she typically plays for AIA's Nike 14U team.

"Both of those young ladies have a chance to be extremely good basketball players," Jensen said. "I think they welcomed the opportunity to see what other great players are out there. It works out very well."

The girls in the AIA program look up to Clark, who is playing her WNBA rookie season for Indiana. During an unofficial visit to Iowa City last year, Mya Wilson met Clark and received a Hawkeyes scholarship offer.

"It was cool to meet someone that big in the sport," Mya said. "She's just helped grow women's basketball so much."

Years before Clark made history in Iowa City, becoming college basketball's career scoring leader, she led AIA to the 17U Nike Elite Youth Basketball League title in 2018. AIA also won the 16U national crown in 2019 and 2021.

Jensen remembers the Clark era for his AAU team like it was yesterday, but he's been building on that success for years now. He'll be just fine if the next great player from All Iowa Attack isn't even from Iowa.