MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The State Boys Basketball Tournament starts Wednesday morning at the Target Center and Williams Arena.
Minneapolis Washburn is the No. 1 seed in Class AAA. They are motivated by a coach that understands competition, and by who they represent.
Reggie Perkins showed up in Minnesota at St Cloud State University in the mid-1980s. He was a skinny, flashy guard who helped the Huskies roll because he was tenacious. That same tenacity is what he brings to Washburn High School. It’s one of the reasons the Millers are one of the best teams in the state this year, and why they’ll be chasing a state championship.
“As a former player myself I’m pretty competitive. That’s the spirit that I carry over into my coaching, and I think it carries over into my kids,” Perkins said.
Through technology, his team is watching their upcoming opponents in the state tournament on the computer. They can watch film and learn tendencies before playing opponents, something that’s essential when playing uncommon opponents on consecutive days.
The Millers’ family now consists of Perkins is the players on his team.
“They’re my players and a lot of times I like to think I’m their surrogate father,” Perkins said. “We have a pretty close relationship.”
When you watch Washburn play, you can sense it. These players mean something to Perkins, and he means something to them. That chemistry has helped the team build success this season.
“We have really close relationships with him. He’s always there for us,” said player Miles Shepard. “He wants all of us to succeed, get to college and everything.”
There is not a high profile player on the team, but make a mistake and they will run you out of the gym. The team plays every game with a chip on its shoulder, and that’s by design. That’s how they represent Washburn and Minneapolis.
“People don’t give you credit for being good so every night you’ve got to go out and prove yourself,” Perkins said. “That’s what we aim to do when we go out on the floor. We know it’s for Washburn and ourselves, and at the end of the day we’re playing for the Minneapolis City Conference. We know we’re pretty good, but now it’s to let others know that we’re pretty good.”
Washburn (27-2) faces Rocori (18-11) in the Class AAA quarterfinals at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Williams Arena. The winner advances to play the Austin/St. Paul Johnson winner at noon Friday at the Target Center.