Posted On: 06/30/20 9:55 PM

It’s hard to be great right out of the gate. Don’t tell that to CJ Adamson CJ Adamson 5'9" | CG Rochester Lourdes | 2022 State MN of Rochester Lourdes. On a weekend when some of Minnesota’s best prospects returned to the court for the first time in more than three months, our expectations were modest, but CJ exceeded them all and more. That’s par for the course for the 5’9 guard from North Tartan 2022 EYBL who turned in four strong performances Saturday and Sunday at the Great 8 Showcase in Ames, Iowa. The top 30 prospect from the Prep Girls Hoops class of 2022 leads the way as we recap the top Minnesota performers of the weekend.

CJ Adamson CJ Adamson 5'9" | CG Rochester Lourdes | 2022 State MN , North Tartan 2022 EYBL

The Rochester Lourdes guard left her paw prints all over the place during the course of four games as she led her squad to a 3-1 record. Adamson topped the team in minutes played while excelling at both ends of the floor. She may not have matched the 3-point prowess of Maddie James Maddie James 6'0" | SG Princeton | 2022 State MN (the Princeton guard was 11-for-23 from three while averaging 13 points per game) but she held her own with 7.5 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Adamson has a big motor, a ton of physical tools and the kind of mental strength you’ll rarely find. Part pit bull, part greyhound, CJ always gives us more than we expect. After a sub-par summer in 2019, Adamson made a statement at her first tournament of 2020, announcing in fine style that she is back.

Kelley Brennan Kelley Brennan 5'8" | CG Shakopee | 2021 State MN , Minnesota Stars 2021 DeSart

Brennan is a workhorse. The 5’8 guard from Shakopee isn’t fancy. In fact there are many nights that you hardly notice her at all. That’s because the #78 player in the class of 2021 does so many things well and makes very few mistakes. This weekend she hustled her tail off as usual at both ends of the floor, setting the tone for a Stars DeSart squad that usually shows up with their hard hats on ready to work. They certainly did that at the All Iowa Attack Fieldhouse, going 4-0 to begin the season. Brennan is, perhaps, one of the most under-appreciated talents in the state, a scholarship-level prospect who plays the game honestly, making smart plays while enhancing the performance of everyone around her.

Mara Braun Mara Braun 5'11" | CG Wayzata | 2022 State #21 Nation MN , North Tartan 2021 EYBL

We expect a lot from the Wayzata guard, who stands tall at 5’11 and holds the #2 ranking among Minnesota’s 2022 prospects. She’s long and athletic and fluid and gifted and we never tire of watching her work. Mara was her usual brilliant self this weekend. Now playing up a year on North Tartan’s top 2021 unit, Braun averaged 11 points per game over five games while collecting 15 assists and 11 steals. She also shot 89% at the line. The new-look 2021 EYBL squad was impressive in its debut, winning its first four games before fatigue got the better of them late Sunday afternoon. Along the way North Tartan crushed a normally stout Minnesota Comets 2021 Elite team, beat the Missouri Phenom by 24 and scored a thrilling 69-68 win over the All Iowa Attack second team, a game that Braun took over in the final minutes.

Nia Holloway Nia Holloway 6'0" | PF Eden Prairie | 2022 State #45 Nation MN , North Tartan 2022 EYBL

When you watch Nia play now it’s hard to even fathom how different she is from then, as in two years ago when we first watched her in earnest. The 6’0 forward from Eden Prairie has blossomed, working really really hard to parlay her superior athletic ability into a complete set of skills that is eventually going to be among the best you’ll find in Minnesota. Now ranked #5 in the class of 2022, Holloway showed us exactly why this weekend. Nia averaged 14.5 points per game in 21 minutes of play. She was 25-for-37 (68%) from two-point range and pulled down 4.8 boards per game, as well. Nia has a big motor and plays with a tremendous amount of passion and energy. Holloway’s high-major offers are accumulating and it’s not difficult to see why. She’s big time.

Tessa Johnson Tessa Johnson 5'11" | SG St. Michael-Albertville | 2023 State #36 Nation MN , North Tartan 2021 EYBL

Playing two years up is a big ask, even if you are one of the most talented prospects around. The 5’11 wing from St. Michael-Albertville is only a freshman. Many believe Tessa is the best 9th grader in Minnesota and you won’t get any argument from me. This weekend Johnson played like a seasoned veteran for the most part. As has been her reputation in the past, Tessa also came up the biggest when it mattered the most, scoring the winning bucket with just seconds remaining in North Tartan 2021 EYBL’s win over the Attack. Tessa is smooth and athletic and gifted. What stood out this weekend, though, was her coachability and willingness to adapt her game to the role required of her on a new team loaded with elite prospects who are much older than her. She had 43 points and 20 rebounds in five games while shooting 62% from two.

Kennedy Klick Kennedy Klick 5'11" | CG Maple Grove | 2023 State MN , North Tartan 2023 Nike

We’ve written a lot about Kennedy over the past year and why not. The 5’11 wing from DeLaSalle is a top 10 prospect in the class of 2023. She’s long and athletic and fluid, and plays the game with passion and panache. This weekend she showed us her grit, too. The best match-up we saw on Friday was Kennedy’s meeting with fellow 2023 top-10 prospect Maren Westin Maren Westin 5'8" | CG Becker | 2023 State MN of Becker and Comets 2023 Elite. The two friends went tit-for-tat throughout the game and there were no holds barred in this encounter. Elbow met head in one collision, but Klick paused to help Westin to her feet as the play went on and there were a pair of big grins involved, as well. That’s how it should be – no love lost on the floor but plenty to go around when the game is over.

Paige Meyer Paige Meyer 5'6" | PG Albany | 2021 State MN , Minnesota Comets 2021 Elite

There is no tougher competitor than Paige. The 5’6 point guard from Albany recently committed to South Dakota State University. Watching her this weekend it’s not difficult to see why she is D1 material. Although the Comets weren’t at their best, Meyer was excellent as always and left a trail of bodies in her wake as she got to the hoop through contact over and over again. Paige is super-skilled but it is her tenacity and grit that always stands out. Meyer simply cannot be rattled. The #14-rated prospect in the 2021 class, Paige is a dynamic performer who has redefined the way a small guard can play the game. I remember the first time I saw her like it was yesterday, mostly because she plays like there’s no tomorrow.

Mya Shones Mya Shones 6'1" | PF Lake City | 2022 State MN , Air Minnesota 11th

Air Minnesota AAU coach Heidi Sonju likes to say Mya “is a straight bucket” and she would not be wrong. The long, lanky forward from Lake City has three years of excellent varsity basketball under her belt already and she just keeps on getting better.  She’s got plenty of length, nice touch around the rim and the will to defend the basket and rebound in traffic no matter the price that has to be paid. Air Minnesota 11’s new lineup took a couple of games to get acquainted with each other in Ames but Shones made the necessary adjustments and went on to have a very good tournament. As we said above, playing up is never easy but the #53-ranked player in the class of 2022 has been doing it for so long that she looks right at home.

Maren Westin Maren Westin 5'8" | CG Becker | 2023 State MN , Minnesota Comets 2023 Elite

Maren is one of the most-talented players in the state. The #8 prospect among Minnesota’s class of 2023, Westin is a 5’7 guard from Becker with athletic ability that oozes from every pore. She is also entertaining as heck which is why I started my tournament viewing plan by first making note of when Minnesota Comets 2023 Elite would be playing. Maren is still raw and somewhat inconsistent, and she often lets her rather prodigious talent level get in the way of her common sense, but she also makes you say ‘Wow!’ an awful lot. It’s humorous listening to the opposing dads holler instructions to their daughters when facing off against Westin in her #12 jersey. Cries of “Watch 12!” and “Who’s got 12” and “Don’t leave her open!” are the norm and will likely be for years to come.

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