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Caitlin Clark's old All Iowa Attack AAU program now has dominant Minnesota players

Before Caitlin Clark became a basketball icon during her record-setting career at Iowa, she completed a key part of her development in high school on her AAU team – All Iowa Attack.

The Ames-based AAU program, which now includes 600 athletes and its own state-of-the-art facility, was established long before Clark's arrival and continues to enjoy popularity even after her departure.

Several of Minnesota's rising stars are honing their skills with Clark's former club team this summer.

“It's pretty cool to play on the same team as her,” said Duluth Marshall's Chloe Johnson, one of the top five Minnesota players on All Iowa Attack this year. “She's such a great role model.”

Like Johnson, sisters Mya and Ashlee Wilson of Hill-Murray and Aaliyah Crump and Ari Peterson of Minnetonka travel three hours from the Twin Cities to Ames to train together. Their 17U, 16U and 13U teams play 12 tournaments in nine different states from April through July.

“It really doesn't matter if you fly to Florida from Minneapolis or Des Moines,” says Dickson Jensen, founder of All Iowa Attack, who founded the organization in 2004 for boys and girls in his state.

Many of Minnesota's best high school girls play in AAU for North Tartan, Metro Stars and Minnesota Fury. The “Caitlin Clark effect” didn't lead the Minnesotans to Iowa's best basketball club. According to Jensen, it had more to do with the coaching, facilities and competition.

“They seek us out,” said Jensen, Clark's former AAU coach. “These girls are all very talented. They work hard. They have a great attitude. They enjoy being in the gym with other talented players. You want to play with and against the best players in the country.”

The All Iowa Attack 17U Nike team was undefeated entering the July recruiting period, which includes the Nike Nationals July 19-22 in Chicago. The star of that team is Crump, the No. 1 player in Minnesota's 2025 class who is ranked No. 4 nationally by ESPN HoopGurlz.

“Aaliyah Crump wants to get better, even though she is a well-known and very successful young lady,” Jensen said. “She needs to get better, just like all of my other players.”

Mya Wilson is the state's top-ranked player in the class of 2027. Johnson and Peterson are the state's top two players in the class of 2028, and all are targets of major colleges. Other stars from out of state who are on All Iowa Attack this year include five-star players Addison Bjorn and Jordan Speiser from Missouri.

From one elite team to another

The 6-foot-2 Peterson, daughter of former Vikings star Adrian Peterson, played for one of the best high school teams in Minnesota (Providence Academy) last season and also for one of the state's best AAU teams (North Tartan).

She was teammates with the state's top junior, Maddyn Greenway, but Peterson transferred to Minnetonka and now plays for All Iowa Attack.

Peterson said the biggest appeal of moving to the AAU teams is the opportunity to compete with and against older talent like Crump. The teams practice together for seven weeks in the spring and summer, on Friday nights, twice on Saturdays and once on Sundays, for a total of 10 hours in one day.

“The training is really tough,” Peterson said. “We go at each other really hard. That obviously makes us better, as does the coaching.”

Johnson played on the Minnesota Stars' 17U team since sixth grade, but decided to move to another AAU situation to further her development. Her coach is Dyami Starks, a Duluth native who was a former Division I player and is now an assistant coach at All Iowa Attack.

“I like the coaches and that's probably the main reason I went,” Johnson said. “The drive [from Duluth] It's worth it because I just love the competition.”

Sister act

In late June, All Iowa Attack (or AIA, as it is known in the tournament standings) had six teams take first place at the Tartan Summer Jam in Shakopee. Two of the AIA teams were led by the Wilson sisters.

Peterson, Johnson and 10th-grader Mya Wilson led the AIA Nike 15U team to the top division title with a 40-38 win over North Tartan, playing in front of family and friends in their home state for the first time this summer.

Ashley Wilson, a 6-foot-4 seventh-grader and one of the most promising talents of the class of 2030 nationally, led the U12 team to the title but normally plays for Nike of AIA's U14 team.

“Both young ladies have the opportunity to become extremely good basketball players,” Jensen said. “I think they welcomed the opportunity to see what other great players are out there. It worked out very well.”

The girls in the AIA program admire Clark, who is playing her WNBA rookie season for Indiana. On an unofficial visit to Iowa City last year, Mya Wilson met Clark and received a scholarship offer from the Hawkeyes.

“It was cool to meet someone who is so big in the sport,” Mya said. “She has helped women's basketball grow so much.”

Years before Clark made history in Iowa City and became the all-time leading scorer in college basketball, she led AIA to the 17U Nike Elite Youth Basketball League title in 2018. AIA also won the 16U league national title in 2019 and 2021.

Jensen remembers the Clark era of his AAU team like it was yesterday, but he's been building on that success for years. He'll be OK even if the next great All Iowa Attack player doesn't even come from Iowa.