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Hoop dreams mix with hype for elite prep players nurturing their brands

By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune, 01/03/20, 10:30PM CST


Instagram brightens the for aces of a Target Center showcase expected to draw more than 11,000 people on Saturday night.

Zaire Wade, left, and Bronny James, right, of uber-talented national team Sierra Canyon were on the bench Friday for the start of their game with The Patrick School at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis. Photo: David Joles * david.joles@startribune.com.

Twitter is yesterday’s news. Facebook is a fossil. It’s all about Instagram these days, particularly among young athletes. Its effect will be evident Saturday night when Minnehaha Academy hosts Sierra Canyon (Calif.) in front of a crowd expected to exceed 11,000 at Target Center.

The game, between Minnesota’s highest-profile high school team and a heavily followed national power, was originally intended to be played at Minnehaha Academy as part of the Redhawk Basketball Showcase. But intense interest in the game, spurred by social media, quickly outstripped the newly rebuilt school’s gym capacity and forced the move to Target Center to accommodate the expected crush of fans.

“It simply comes down to Instagram followers,” Minnehaha Academy athletic director Josh Thurow said.

Read the full story here and see more photos from Friday night at Minnehaha Academy.

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