Few AAU programs in the nation stack up talent wise with Grassroots, who boast some of the best players in the nation from freshmen to seniors. Included in that array of talent is Braeden Carrington, a sophomore from Park Center, Minnesota, who also plays with the Grassroots 16u squad. Carrington got his first taste of what it was like to play up in age this spring with Grassroots as it was his first time playing up in age and believes that it was better than playing his age. “I think I did good, the game just started to come after the first few tournaments. It was way better to play up in age because it was more of a challenge. Just playing up with older guys I feel like it made me better because they knew how to play the game better,” said Carrington. It can always come with ups and downs and that was true for Carrington who noted that he had to get used to playing against the kids who were bigger and stronger than he was. “The game moved faster than it normally did when I played my age,” said Carrington.
The game may have moved faster for Carrington, but he was surrounded by some talented teammates who helped the transition be smoother. Those teammates include Chase Carter, Donovan Smith, and Isaiah Davis, who after a stellar performance in Kansas City in April, all earned offers from Hampton University. “Being surrounded by players like that makes the game much smoother, everybody knows what they are doing, we space the floor well, we move the ball well, and we just play well together.”
Carrington was recently at Recruit Look Hoops’ Larry Hughes Elite Camp in St. Louis, where he competed against some of the best basketball prospects in the country and Midwest. “It was a fun camp, great competition, for me personally I think I did pretty good, but feel as if I could have done a lot better,” said Carrington regarding his performance at the camp. What could he have done better? The answer was simple to Carrington. “I could have shot the ball and handled it better. I was out of my comfort zone because I don’t usually run the point, on defense just talk more and move my feet,” said Carrington.
Although he usually doesn’t run the point and prefers to play off the ball, Carrington believes he’s going to be able to take what he learned from the camp and help him if he’s ever in the situation to run the point again.
The improvements don’t stop there, heading into his high school season he’s wanting to improve on his shooting and defense because his high school team boasts 6 seniors and it will help him get minutes. Especially when he has a player like Dain Dainja who commands a lot of attention down low, so he’s always got to be ready to shoot. Carrington knows that nothing is handed to him and he must continue to put in work. “I really have to work for my spot on the team.”
The talented sophomore has parlayed his work into receiving his very first division one offer from The University of Florida, a surreal moment for him and his family. “I was at open gym and Brian texted and said Florida was looking at me. When I got home, I called and he said they just offered me,” said Carrington.
“I didn’t really know what to think, I was so happy because I wasn’t expecting that.”
A surprise indeed, but if you talk to anyone that knows Braeden Carrington, it’s no surprise to them. “Just a surreal moment, I wasn’t expecting that this early on and especially a D1 school that high offering me now. I thought it would come next summer when I would get an offer like that.”
Carrington has had no contact with the coaching staff yet, but that hasn’t stopped them from relaying their message through his mom. “What my mom told me is they like my size, how I can shoot the ball, and they see a lot of potential in me.”
While Florida is the only offer so far, other schools are starting to take notice and express interest. According to Grassroots program director Brian Sandifer, Iowa, Iowa State, Cal, & Vanderbilt are all expected to come see him in the fall. Sandifer has helped guide Carrington through the process so far and is one of the main reasons he got the offer from Florida.
Still early in the process for the standout sophomore who has no visits planned due to time constraints, but that’s not stepping him from getting back to work and earning more offers.
“Nothing is going to change. I’m still going to be in the gym working hard, trying to get more offers.”
He’s a Grassroots kid, and if there’s one thing a Grassroots kid knows is that it doesn’t stop here, always keep working.