Column: Banham and Wagner could light up the Barn, ya feel me?

Samuel Gordon

While I was getting scorched by the South Beach sun over spring break, future Gophers guard Carlie Wagner was scorching at Williams Arena, en route to a second consecutive state championship.

It seems like she’s already comfortable at the Barn.

Wagner’s future teammate and current Gophers star guard Rachel Banham watched one of the state’s all-time leading scorers drop 41 and 36 points in the state semifinal and championship games, respectively.

And those two games were low-scoring outputs compared to the quarterfinals, when Wagner scored a state tournament record 53 points.

“She’s going to definitely help out when she gets here,” Banham said.

Wagner will help on the perimeter for Banham, who has desperately needed it in her three years at Minnesota.

As of now, her Gophers are floundering in the WNIT — not the tournament they wanted to play in at the end of the season.

Banham, individually, has been phenomenal during her time at Minnesota but has yet to play in an NCAA tournament.

That in itself is a travesty. And if the Gophers miss the Big Dance again next year, it would be embarrassing for the
program.

Luckily for Minnesota, help is on the way.

Wagner could be the Dwyane Wade to Banham’s LeBron James, the Scottie Pippen to Banham’s Michael Jordan — the secondary wing scorer that Banham has never had.

Wagner is a proven scorer. She flat-out gets buckets.

In high school, she got to the rim at will, was an effective slasher in the lane and shot the ball effectively from the perimeter.

She was simply unstoppable — capable of weaving through all five defenders whenever she pleased.

“She has an all-around game,” Banham said. “She looks to attack and score, and that’s something I like to do.”

Though the Big Ten is a different beast compared to the high school game, just think about Banham and Wagner in the same backcourt. That’d be fun to watch.

They’re two of the best high school women’s basketball players in Minnesota state history. Together, they could instantly become the best backcourt in the Big Ten.

That might be a lot of pressure, but Wagner has come through in big moments in the past. There’s no reason to think she can’t do it again.

Ya feel me?