Cam Heide and Taison Chatman are arguably the top two high school basketball prospects in their respective classes in the state of Minnesota.
They've also teamed up for the first time in AAU basketball this spring with D1 Minnesota's top 17U squad making its local debut Saturday and Sunday in the Battle at the Lakes tournament at Wayzata High School and other area locations.
Heide, a 6-foot-6 junior wing at Wayzata, will be playing his first local AAU tournament in more than a year after an injury kept him sidelined last summer. Chatman, a 6-4 sophomore point guard from Totino-Grace, is hoping to take his stock and game to another level after playing on D1MN's 16U team last year.
"He'll push me," Chatman said about Heide. "Our chemistry will build on the court. Down the line in the AAU [season] we'll be a deadly duo. I try to find him as much as I can to get him shots and get him going."
Heide's ranked as the state's No. 1 Class of 2022 player and 67th overall by 247Sports.com (closely followed by Cretin-Derham Hall and Howard Pulley point guard Tre Holloman's 68th national ranking). Chatman is the highest rated prep prospect in Minnesota at any level, ranked 27th nationally and No. 1 in the state's 2023 class by 247Sports.
"I'm trying to boost my stock as much as I can this summer," said Chatman, whose offers include the Gophers, Iowa, Iowa State, and Marquette. "Trying to get as many offers as I can to help me make a decision in the future where I want to go to college."
New Gophers coach Ben Johnson quickly re-offered Holloman, Heide and Chatman after he replaced Richard Pitino in late March. Keeping the state's best players is how Johnson and his staff hope to turn the program around.
"[Johnson] actually recruited me when he was at Xavier," Heide said. "They offered me there, so I got to know him a little bit there as well."
Johnson, who hired former DeLaSalle coach Dave Thorson, Jason Kemp and Marcus Jenkins as assistants, likely won't get to showcase his new Gophers team before 2022 targets such as Heide sign in the fall.
"I think that will make it a little bit difficult," Heide said. "But I think it would be a lot harder if you had to make a decision in the same situation as last year [during the pandemic]. Being able to visit campuses, take visits and get to know the coaching staff is [big]. Maybe not being able to see the team play but getting to know the coaches better and being able to visit helps a lot."
Heide, who has offers from the Gophers, Purdue, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Arizona, and Texas among others, said he's wide open in his recruitment. He only played in two AAU tournaments late in the summer last season after recovering from a left foot fracture.
Chatman joins a talented D1 Minnesota 17U squad that includes Heide, Iowa State recruit Tamin Lipsey from Iowa, Colorado Recruit Joe Hurlburt from North Dakota, Hopkins' Elvis Nnaji, East Ridge's Kendall Blue and Osseo's Josh Ola-Joseph.
As with his D1 Minnesota teammates, Heide's enjoying his AAU experience this spring and hoping to continue to build momentum, starting this weekend.
"High school is so much different," Heide said. "The competition I'll be going against this summer, I'll see a bunch of top-level guys. It's about playing team ball and not always having to score. I feel like I'm a great scorer, but college coaches don't just look for a guy putting the ball in the hoop. You got to be able to play defense, facilitate on offense and do the right thing. I feel like if I show my all-around game that will put me in the best position."
The Battle at the Lakes tournament will feature several of the state's top AAU teams, including D1 Minnesota 17U Showcase (Gophers target and Byron standout Ahjany Lee), Minnesota Heat, Minnesota Fury, Minnesota Select and others. Check out the tournament site for more information, including the schedule.