Totino-Grace's Taison Chatman and Jefferson's Daniel Freitag are the top players in their respective classes in Minnesota, but they haven't settled for that distinction this spring.
Chatman (Class of 2023) and Freitag (Class of 2024) are continuing a trend of point guards from the state proving to be among the nation's best.
As recently as the 2020 and 2022 classes, Jalen Suggs and Tre Holloman were No. 1 players in Minnesota as well. And now they have company in that elite fraternity.
"People had been sleeping on Minnesota basketball for a long time," Chatman said. "It seems like they're finally starting to wake up."
The 6-4 Chatman was arguably the top performer at the Prep Hoops Battle at the Lakes tournament in the Twin Cities last weekend with his D1 Minnesota 17U team finishing 4-0.
A powerfully built 6-2 two-sport athlete, Freitag's talent will be on display playing for Howard Pulley's 16U team in the Pulley Showcase on Friday through Sunday in Maple Grove.
"I think I had the switch from fan to trying to do what they did around last year," Freitag said. "It's been cool to see Jalen, [UConn's] Paige Bueckers and the Jones brothers [Tyus and Tre]. I enjoy what Taison does as well. We've had some really good point guards. It would be nice to be the next [great] point guard out of Minnesota."
Freitag averaged 27 points per game last season as a sophomore for Jefferson, which lost to incoming Gophers freshman Pharrel Payne's Park of Cottage Grove team in the Class 4A, Section 3 semifinals.
Chatman made a statement during the high school season by leading Totino-Grace to the Class 3A state championship over DeLaSalle at Williams Arena.
The Gophers have made Chatman and Freitag top priorities. Freitag also has scholarship offers from Wisconsin and Iowa State. Chatman received his first blue-blood offer from NCAA champion Kansas after Jayhawks coach Bill Self visited him last month.
"I just want to go out and show college coaches what I can really do," Chatman said. "I don't really compare my offers to a lot of people. I'm really just trying to figure out the best fit for me and my family where I can progress the most."
Gophers coach Ben Johnson finished 13-17 in his first season last year, but Chatman and Freitag attended several games and recognize a brighter future is ahead for the program.
"In the beginning of the year, they started off strong," Chatman said. "I know that shocked a lot of people and I really like what he's done with the program so far."
Gophers fans watching Freitag this weekend at Maple Grove Middle School will have to look even further into the future to imagine him possibly staying home. Other Howard Pulley players such as Lakeville North teammates Nolan Winter (2023) and Jack Robison (2024) also have Gophers offers.
"I've been to about eight or nine [Gophers] games total in basketball and football," said Freitag, who is a wide receiver for the Jaguars football team. "They have me out quite often. The visits are always cool. [Gophers assistant Dave Thorson] is super cool. I can't wait to see next season's team."