Braeden Carrington doesn't need to see himself in the 2022 class rankings to know he belongs there.
The 6-foot-4 Park Center senior guard proved to be one of the top shooters and playmakers on the Under Armour circuit this summer with his Grassroots 17U Sizzle team. Now that his last AAU season is over, Carrington will be figuring out where he will play college basketball.
That program could be getting a steal.
"Definitely think I'm underrated," he said. "It is what it is. At the end of the day, I'm going to play my game, go to college and do my thing. It doesn't really bother me."
Carrington, a priority for new Gophers coach Ben Johnson in the 2022 class, expects to make an official visit to Minnesota's campus early next week. He's already been around Johnson's team a few times this summer on unofficial visits.
On Thursday, Carrington touched on several topics in a Star Tribune Q&A, including the Gophers, his last summer playing for Jalen Suggs' former AAU team and what his recruitment looks like after the July evaluation period.
Q: When will you make your college decision?
A: There's a few schools I've been talking to, and I want to get down to visit. Hopefully, I can get to the schools in August and hopefully by early September. I originally wanted to make a decision before the end of August, but I don't think that will happen. Sometime in September is probably when I'll make my decision and stuff like that. Definitely the live period helped a lot. Some coaches I've been talking to for a while got to see me play. They like my game a lot more than just on tape.
Q: Who is recruiting you the hardest right now?
A: The hardest is definitely Minnesota. And then there's Colorado and Florida. Those are the top three.
Q: When will you be taking your first official visit?
A: I'm actually going to take an official [to the Gophers] on Monday. That will be fun.
Q: How much stronger has your relationship grown with Johnson and his Gophers staff since the spring when you picked up the home state offer again?
A: I mean, Ben has made sure a Minnesota coach, if it's not him, has been at every one of my UA games. That shows a lot that he really wants me in the program. One of the coaches has texted my mom and me every day. They really are showing how much they actually want me. It's going to be tough to pass up for sure.
Q: What do you think you were able to showcase this summer with your game?
A: Definitely my shooting ability. I feel like I showed that I'm a really smart player on the court. My basketball IQ is one of the highest on the team. I just showed that I can make the right plays. I can come up in the clutch for my team. I try to do it all. Getting to the basket when needed and defending pretty well. I feel like I just showed my all-around game.
Q: How hard were you trying to prove to be more than just a shooter?
A: I know some of my teammates even say I'm just the shooter on the team. It's not a bad label to have, I guess. But I feel like I'm definitely more than that and I showed I could do a lot more. For high school, I switched off and played point guard with our other guard Leo [Torbor]. That's what we did last year, so I assume I'll do it again. I enjoy playing on the ball and playing point guard. Getting to control the game. I also enjoy playing off the ball, so it's really whatever works best for the team.
Q: What did it mean to play for the Sizzle program during your AAU career?
A: Playing in a program like this brings a lot of eyes. At the UA a lot of coaches are coming to watch us because of your name. People hear good things about us. It's big steps to follow after Jalen and Chet [Holmgren], but at the same time you can't worry about all that. You just have to play the game. Playing for a program like this comes with some pressure, but it's very helpful at the same time.
Q: How excited are you for Jalen with the NBA draft coming tonight?
A: I talk to him a few times. Seeing him get drafted [high] will be cool seeing someone from Minnesota actually making it like that. You don't see a lot of Minnesota people going in the top five in the draft. I don't even remember the last time someone was a lottery pick from Minnesota. Even really thinking about it. It's just amazing to see that he just worked so hard and how he got there. It's good to see. I'm happy for him.
Q: What was the last AAU event like with Team Sizzle in Las Vegas?
A: Coming to Vegas was about more than just basketball. It was like the last trip with the guys and last out of town experience with the guys. It was just fun being around them. I'll see them again in Minnesota but being with them one last time and experiencing the AAU vibe and games was fun. We were just having fun with it because it was our last time playing together.
Q: What was the AAU vibe like coming back from the pandemic shortened season a year ago?
A: I really just wanted to get myself out there a lot more. Because during Covid, I wasn't out there a lot. It really just slowed down my recruitment I felt like. After the live period, I feel like my goal was kind of reached. I definitely got out there more and showed my talent. I showed what level I can actually play at. I feel like I reached my goal and I'm just excited for my high school season to start.