The Grind Session is in its eight season of play and this year just might be the most exciting with new teams from all over North America. The newest team is the Donda Academy out of Southern California and its founder is music artist Kanye West. The school is named after his late mother and its basketball roster has some of the most talented kids in the country. Tonight, the Donda Academy is playing Minnesota Prep in its first ever Grind Session contest at the Target Center, home of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.
Minnesota Prep won the opening tip, but both teams seemed a little nervous on the NBA court with the Grammy winning Kanye West sitting courtside at the game. Braeden Moore from Nashville Tennessee got the scoring going for the night with a knock down baseline jumper for 3 points. Minnesota was dry on the scoreboard until DJ Jefferson hit Brenden Moss inside for a layup.
Robert Dillingham the 2023 5 star commit to NC State lead the way early for Donda Academy scoring on drives to the basket and playing great defense. Minnesota Prep had a 9-7 lead with 11:35 left in the first half when Freshman Jalyn Patterson came into the game. The young Patterson got matched up guarding the speedy Dillingham a tough assignment for anyone yet alone a freshman.
Dillingham scored on a drive to the bucket against the young point guard, but Patterson scored on a breakaway steal and then gave two beautiful assists to Antwaun Massey for easy buckets to put Minnesota Prep up 15-11 with 9:43 left on the clock in the first half.
Jahki Howard the sophomore from Boston got Donda back on the scoreboard with a baseline dunk getting high off the floor. JJ Taylor then hit three deep threes for Donda to give them the lead at 24-18.
Donda extended its lead to 27-20 with 5 minutes left in the first half until Minnesota Prep got in a short run before the period ended. Gob Gob got fouled and hit both free throws and then Tavion Banks finished the break with a dunk followed by a three by Gob to tie the game at 29-29. Alfino then hit two free throws followed by an alley oop lay in for Donda by Chuck Bailey III and then a deep three from Alfino put Donda up 37-29. JJ Taylor and Tavion Banks both hit three’s at the end of the half for a score of 40-34 Donda.
Kanye West must have felt comfortable with his teams 6 point lead because he left the arena for the second half of the game.
Donda Academy came out in the second half and hit three 3-point buckets, but after 5 minutes of play they still only had a 4-point lead. Both teams went back and forth until Minnesota started a run with 7:57 left.
Moss got fouled on a rebound attempt and hit both free throws making it a one possession game. Tavion Banks then threw down a dunk on the break giving Minnesota its first lead of the game at 67-65. Antonio Chol and Moss then both hit breakaway dunks and with 3:32 left Minnesota Prep was up 77-69.
Minnesota Prep held off Donda Academy the rest of the way and won the game 92-86.